Sorry for not having written sooner, but we took our first vacation/trip back south to visit family, and were gone about two solid weeks.
In preparation for our trip, we emptied our fridge and then shut down all loads on the power system. I was really curious to see what would happen in this scenario.
On the first part of the trip we spent time on Manitoulin Island to celebrate my father’s birthday – We were able to put together the entire family, including my brother and his girlfriend, and my sister.
Kenny made a new friend in a German girl he met at the beach. She didn’t speak much/any English, and Kenny doesn’t speak much/any German, but she stuck to him like glue and by association, we got to know her parents very well too. They were really great and fun people to spend time with, and we sure hope that they had a good time in Canada.
We followed my family back to Kitchener-Waterloo, via the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, which I hadn’t taken in many years. It is a pricey journey, but saves some driving time, and is a real experience to take.
In Kitchener-Waterloo, we had very full days trying to touch base with our friends, family, church and dojo. Amazingly, we were able to fit most everyone in – including Kenny’s girl-friends on more than one occasion. It was a really fortunate coincidence that the Sunday we were at church, they were installing our newest pastor, as well as our youth worker, who I remember babysitting many years ago!
Donna and I also were able to have our first date night in a long time, thanks to Kenny and my awesome sister deciding to hang out together overnight. Donna and I headed down to the Princess Twin to see a really entertaining movie – Robot and Frank. I would recommend it highly as a fun, thoughtful movie.
It was a little melancholic though, seeing our friends and family and the places we use to frequent. We realized that by a long stretch, it’s the people we miss most. (A close second was hot showers and automatic washing machines.)
The trip back was equally interesting – we visited Garwood, the home of my brother’s cabin. Then we aimed to get to our preferred motel, but alas! No room at the inn! We ended up at the Webbly – under new ownership for all of three days. I can’t supply a review, other than to say it was inexpensive, and that the new owner seems enthusiastic to do his renovations.
Next it was on to Nipigon to spend the night with my Aunt and Uncle-in-law. They served up a delicious, fancy and filling meal that sent me straight to bed with a full belly and a smile. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with them. My aunt is a fabulous cook and always knows how to entertain guests with equal parts of feast and conversation. My uncle regaled us, and especially Kenny, with stories and observations about his growing up in Greece and moving to Canada to teach.
Finally we returned home. Mummu was super-kind and supplied us with lasagna (a current favourite food of Kenny) and news of what we had missed.
Now that you are all caught up on the vacation, back to the happenings here at the homestead —
Basically, we returned to a full battery, that was nearly instantly depleted just by turning on the inverter, even with no load! Fortunately Mummu and Grandpa had picked up my third solar panel while we were gone, and so the next chance I got, I hooked it up. This time went the smoothest of any. It was very prescient of me to have designed my system for three panels from the beginning – I had a spot for it on my mount, and it was easy to bolt it in place and then hook it up using standard automotive electrical hardware. Immediately I could see a 30% increase in my amperage, which, while still pitiful, is helpful.
Tomorrow I intend to modify the mount so that I can rotate it further east to take better advantage of the morning sun. I also will seriously look at thinning some of the trees that are blocking the late afternoon and early evening sun.