A reflection of sorts…..

I looked at my ‘Off Grid Friendly’ items page (in the header) and things have changed somewhat.  Most of it is still current but our propane freezer finally died and we had already installed 900 more watts of power (3000 total) and so I now have two new small e-freezers. It seems that I am more of a conformist now.  But I am not so sure…….

……..this winter has been exceptionally lacking in sunshine so far and so we have run the gensets more.  Don’t like to do that.  Worse, we are somewhat less judicious in our use of electricity.  Getting more comfortable means more electricity.  With that longer experience behind me, I am inclined to stick with my amended suggestion of a smallish propane freezer plus a larger electric one.

Or else don’t get old and spoiled.

I didn’t ‘trash’ anything the first time…not too much…but I am gonna warn OTG potentials OFF Mercury outboards.  Virtually all outboards are better than they were but Mercury is just a mess.  The order of preference out here these days is Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda in that order.

Tires!  OMG!!!  If you are OTG chances are you drive some bad roads that in turn, get worse as you go farther into the Outback.  In the last 15 years, we have averaged at least one flat every other year.  That may not seem like much but our returns to civilization are likely to number less than thirty times a year at most – likely less.  So the puncture-to-use rate is pretty damn high.  The best tires I had that never popped were BF Goodrich AT with aggressive tread.  But they went with the car that my son got and so I inherited new Hankook heavy-duty tires that popped like party balloons.  I then sprung for what is considered locally ‘the best’, Toyo AT with semi aggressive tread.  Bought the set two years ago.  One flat so far……

Water tanks.  In the products page, I suggested at least one large plastic 1100 gallon tank.  I dunno…..climate change….insecurity….a few hot months…..I am changing that to TWO tanks of 1100 gallons.  Maybe overkill.  I don’t think so.  Of course, we have a year ’round stream and so my fears are so far unsupported by our REAL experience but I am allowed to change my mind and so I am.

Tools?  Same.  Boats?  Pretty much the same…….but, well, there is a bit something to add: most of the time (after building) you will just zip around in a runabout (say, 19′ or smaller).  Instead of getting a bigger boat, consider getting a second small one.  Even a third……less fuel, more convenient, easier to haul, cheaper AND one will be ready-when-the-other-breaks….two small runabouts are better than a 20+ boat.

“Dave!  No one cares about you and your OTG product recommendations.”

True.  99% don’t.  But, every once in awhile a reader asks.  This is mostly for them.

Further review: the community.  When we first came, we were treated and accepted well.  No welcoming parties or gift pies and hampers or anything but casual encounters were always pleasant and, over the years, getting warmer.  We had no complaints.  But, when I look back on it, it seemed to take awhile.  Fifteen years is a long time.  Still, we are now firmly part of the community and the feeling is palpable.  It’s better.

To be fair, I doubt very much it is me.  Sal warms people up but I am a bit more naturally obnoxious and, at times, ominous looking.  I don’t bake or quilt or even smile that much.  So, Sal has been the passport to warmer community relations more than me.  Having said that, the community, as a whole, is kinder and gentler.  Age does that and half our folks are well over 65.  Not a helluva lot of testosterone charging around these days.  Summary: we are quite a bit more included in the increasingly friendly community.

Guests.  Oh, good lord!  Here’s the deal with ‘guests’:  We had 110 visitor days our first summer.  That averages out to 1 a day over June, July and August.  Over the next 15 years, that number grew for the first five years and then plateaued at somewhere between that and overwhelming.  And so did the length of the visitor season get extended.  It’s now from May to November.

Is it us?  Are we just so great?  No.  Sal is.  But not even Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm could generate the traffic we get.  They come because the setting is so beautiful.  The area is so healthy, invigorating and relaxing.  This place is truly a respite from the outer world.  Plus Sal is a great cook.  The point?  If you decide to go OTG, plan for guests.  Plan well.  And NOT just a tent platform!  As you get older, your guests get older and older people need more ‘amenities’.  There is simply no other way to put this: if you build it, they will come.

Politics and rants…….one might think that politics and rants are a bit out of place OTG…..and nothing could be further from the truth.  The reasons are simple in retrospect: most people out here reject much of what is conventional and that means they are, generally speaking, critical of the way modern life has evolved.  In other words, we are as a group disposed to ranting.

And we HAVE politics.  Much of our politics is very, very local (the free-range horse debate, the garbage disposal debate, etc.) but when it is NOT, it is international in scope.  Visit almost any OTG’er and they are up-to-date on the Trump impeachment process, the run-of-river debacle, Trudeau, Horgan, even the Democratic nominees and Hunter Biden.  These guys are more knowledgeable than my ‘cohort’ in the city ever were.  It’s a cauldron out here!

“Any regrets?”

Nope.  Maybe one:  I should have learned the trades and left earlier.


3 thoughts on “A reflection of sorts…..

  1. Poly tanks tend to explode if you’re in a bush fire. Metal is better. Hard to transport. Might rust in salty climes though? Friends’ permanent creeks have now run dry in Oz. Don’t count on your water always being there.
    Batteries, head torches. In big fires day looks like night. But you know me, fires always upper mind.
    Guests to bring food or wine at the very least. Probably do that anyway. It’s polite.
    Happy New Year.


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