Wouldn't you know it. We come to the desert southwest to escape the cold and the whole area has the coldest weather in 20 years! No fair!
I have a thermometer that records the high and low temperatures and Saturday night's low was 18.5. Last night was warmer -- only 19.8! Fortunately, we are warm as long as we burn lots of propane. We went through a 9 gallon bottle in 2 days, but that's not really too bad. Even though the temperature has not been above 50 in the past 3 days, the furnace only runs in the early morning, late in the afternoon and during the evening. At night we set the thermostat down to 50 and the furnace does not come on until about 4:30 in the morning. It then cycles every half hour or so for a few minutes until it automatically sets up at 7:30. By 9 we are back up to 72 and the sun is shining brightly. We open all the shades and let the sun warm the inside of the trailer.
The solar system is working very well. I now have 4 of the 5 panels tilted toward the sun. The 5th panel is too close to one of the others so it would cast a shadow if I tilted it more than a few degrees. I have chosen to leave that one flat for the time being. We run the generator for about 45 minutes the first thing in the morning while we make coffee. We also run the electric space heater to try to get it warmed up a little faster. After that we let the solar do it's thing alone and it has fully charged the batteries by early afternoon, even though we are on the computer and/or watching TV as well. It is generating about 730 watts of power between 11 and 2, and more than we need until about 4PM. If it were not for the very cold weather and the desire to get it warmed up faster by running the electric heater, there would be no reason to run the generator at all.
So, the solar setup is working very well. It will provide all the electricity we need as long as the sun shines, and we have enough battery capacity to see us through at least one cloudy day. Since the sun is near the lowest it ever gets in the sky and the days are short, we should be all set. If we can make it off solar alone now the summer should be a cinch, especially in Alaska.
We have not been doing much because of the cold. We have been to town a couple times for propane, water and a few groceries, but have not visited any more of the shops. Next week the big RV show runs in the Big Tent, so we hope things have warmed up by then. We did go to Parker Saturday night for dinner. We ate at a Mexican restaurant that was OK.
That's about it from here. We are just staying warm, watching TV, playing on the computer, taking daily walks in the desert and working hard at being retired. Dianna has also rediscovered cross-stitch and is reading more when we don't have the computer on. Life is good.