Monday, May 24, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

I haven’t blogged in a few days. Mainly because I have nothing exciting to report. Its rained every day for so long I had to go hunt down my sunglasses when the sun finally came back out.

I ordered a new 12v fan to replace one that squeals like a stuck pig. The bearings are shot. I guess I don’t know what I expected, but what I got is a fan with a cigarette lighter plug in on the end. Well the fan I have is hardwired in. I hope I can just cut the plug off and wire the new fan into the camper electrical system. I’m electrically challenged.

I got a new leak with all the rain, its around the fan above the kitchenette. I got some new sealant, weatherman says I have 2 days to fix it all, then another round of rain will be here.

Actually got to 80 degrees yesterday, I ran the air conditioning on shore power all day and it got right chilly inside. I’m very pleased with the a/c unit now.

Need to make a trip to the post office, sold a few eBay items this week. Wow my week has been boring, lol. I guess boring is good once in a while.


Quick update: I got the new fan installed and it is functioning. I did cut off the plug and then hardwired it in. I also got the roof resealed around the vent fan so the new leak should be fixed.

Started planning our July vacation trip last night. Tentatively: 3 days at Beaver Lake, AR near Eureka Springs, then a night at Fort Smith, AR where Cheri spent time as a child, then back up to Branson and Table Rock Lake for 4 days, then a night at a winery in MO before making our way home. After many many years of no vacations, its hard to believe it’s only 8 weeks away.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ebay Store

Karen asked about my Ebay store and how that was working out. It has it’s pro’s and con’s. I have sold probably 300 items over the last 5 years since Ebay came to be. Just recently I made the jump to having a Store. What do I sell? The answer to that is as varied as the stuff in my life. I’ve sold books, used clothes, crafted items, model rail road parts, car parts, motorcycle parts, antiques, collectable coins, electronic items, old magazine collections, lumber, tools and much more I’ve long forgotten about. At one time I was hitting small town auctions and garage sales specifically to find things to sell on EBay. Have I gotten rich, no, but I have had a few exciting finds and sales. I bought a silver serving tray for $20 once and sold it for $200 to a buyer in Singapore. I found a set of 4 8x10 prints from the 1960’s of Mexican dancers at a garage sale, gave $2 for them, an individual opening a Mexican restaurant bought them for $40 for wall decorations. You just never know.  I always offer to do business overseas. I do use Turbo Lister, the free store management software. It may take several hours to photograph, type copy and upload a batch of items, but with 4 day weekends, I have time on my hands. Having the store has been a good thing, I do not have to monitor and relist every 7 days so once an item is listed, its hands off until it sells by setting the time to “Good Til Cancelled”. I use Photobucket to host my ad photos, which works good. I always use large photos, photos sell items. And I’ll be honest, I charge about $1-3 packaging and handling fee to cover costs like bubble envelopes, boxes, tape, paper, batteries for the camera, store fee, eBay's cut and gas to drive to the post office. Depends on the item and packing requirements. I charge a few dollars for overseas shipping because I must do the special customs paperwork and beef up the packaging. I print my shipping labels online through EBay. Am I getting rich, no… am I cleaning out my house, yes, and I am building a nice little savings account at PayPal that I don’t touch.

How can I make this work on the road, don’t know yet. It will have to be something small, some ideas we have are, quilting patterns, coins, small collectables, fishing lures, pens, watches, fabric, pet rocks… people will buy anything. Used children's clothes is a big market. Space is really the defining issue, hence we may tow a 10-12 foot trailer to haul the stuff in. There is always the drop ship scenario which is widely used, just have to figure out how all that works and decide what to specialize in. If anyone does eBay with drop ship let me know.

If anyone else eBay's give me a shout we can compare notes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stormy Weather

Wow what a few days of storms. Its been raining non-stop for days now. Dealership finally called my window seal came in.. great timing huh. Oh the leaks aren’t too bad. Turned the bad window away from the direction of the rain and put a towel under it. I’ll be glad to get that new seal in. I hope it fixes ALL the leaks in the front of the cabover.

Been running the furnace for 3 nights, the batteries are down to 90%, so that is encouraging.

Found a secret spot to hang out. Now don’t try this in your 30ft 5th wheel of pulling your Airstream… I can pull into one of the parking spots fairly close to the Dillon's Grocery store and pull in their WiFi in the camper. Yey Kroger & Co. I run in, grab something to eat from the deli and eat in the camper and catch up on my email.

I always get a grin when I get an email from ebay that someone bought some little thing I have in my store there. I have photographed over 50 items I need to write copy for and get listed. I’d like to figure out a way to make a few dollars with ebay when I retire and hit the road full time. Should be small things, things I can pick up on the road and auctions/sales. I may tow a small 2 wheel trailer. I have time to figure that all out, right now its giving me a way to declutter my house and life in preparation. And a few bucks to fix up the camper here and there.

Anywho.. its my Friday, headed home after work tonight. Stay dry all.

Friday, May 7, 2010

No Utilities

With electrics working, I decided to get a camp spot with no utilities for 4 days and see how it goes. Found a spot way away from the crowd, back away from the main roads private and under some shade trees. Well it was until I got neighbors.

Monitoring the battery usage, I started with 13.7 volts, brand new batteries . The first day used the furnace for 2 hours in the morning, then the small fan for 3 hours in the afternoon, at  the end of the day I was at 12.9 volts (still above full). Second day I didn’t need the furnace, but only ran the fan for 3 hours, at the end of the day I measured the batteries at 12.8 volts. Not going down very fast.

I purposely haven’t used the radio, water pump, or refrigerator. I do have a generator with me now so I could recharge if I needed to. Its amazing what you don’t need when you put your mind to it.

All is well, that nice man came by and mowed my lawn again, rode his tractor clean around my truck camper in the middle of my night. I went right back to sleep when he was done.

Tonight's the last night here, I’ll head back to civilization when I get off work tomorrow.


Back home, final usage check tells me the batteries are down to 12.65 volts. I had used the fan for 4 hours again in the afternoon. From what I’ve gathered, 12.6 volts is considered full, so I don’t know what to think.

I must say the absolute best part of this trip was the time NOT spent loading and unloading the camper. Even though I had to haul it the 6 miles to work everyday, it gave me a place to get away for a few minutes, change clothes after work before going to breakfast and just not having to deal with all that's involved with the unloading/loading. The boondocking (camping without services) worked well, I never once needed anything I didn’t have with me. And I saved $27 by getting a “no utility” camp site. That alone paid for the fuel for the commute from Kansas City to Lawrence.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Generator X

Another day off, another project complete. I picked up a $60 Hitch Haul from Walmart and a locking hitch pin yesterday and got to assembling. All went well. I have a very very very old Craftsman generator I picked up from my dad. I think he said it went through the Missouri floods back in 1991, so it was under 20 feet of water along with the rest of his farm. He dried it out, cleaned it up and what do you know it runs again. Its 2000 watt and runs my roof air conditioning unit just fine. It will also charge my batteries. I bolted it to the Hitch Haul and bungeed a trash bag over it for the time being. I’ll get some sort of waterproof cover soon. I’m thinking maybe an upside down plastic tub just sat over it would work fine.

HitchHaul 002

The folding steps even fit right down over the platform with the generator sitting to one side.. Its about half way to the door so even makes a very usable step for quick trips in and out on the road. Need to get a small gas can now to carry a bit with me.

I think I’m going to get a non-utility site tonight when I go back to the lake and boondock the next 4 days and see how it goes. Its not hot enough yet to need A/C.