Miscellany: the RV/Observatory

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7/25/2014. Sea Trials for the RV.
Instruments begin to come together. Plus, the great RV interior mulligan, and the Doughton Park Adventure of July 23-25, 2014.

Mulligan. A do-over of the interior. We painted the walls; hung new curtains; made a new table; hung new window treatments; installed a pirate chest; tested LEDs for a night-vision red indirect lighting scheme (also, purple!), and designed new exterior graphics.

Then we took off to Doughton State Park for two nights (7/23 and 7/24) to see how it all works. As a bonus, an unexpected clearing let me preview the skies there. More details below. The operational highlights are these: we use more water than we thought (and my filling the water heater from the general water tank after we arrived didn't help); the house battery is probably too small for extended dry camping. The water heater worked perfectly on day one but would not start on day two; it again worked fine the morning we left, the day after we returned, and on every subsequent test. If that's the only real glitch, great. Microwave, stovetop, TV and DVD, shower, macerator pump, overhead A/C and the heating system all worked perfectly (yes, in July, in NC, we had occasion to try out the heater; the morning low was 61°F). We got about 8.1 mpg on mountain roads after allowing for generator use -- less than I wanted, about what I expected, better than I feared.


Doughton Park

Southern sky from Doughton State Park, NC.
Two panel mosaic: 10x4s each. ISO 6400, Rokinon 24mm F1.4


Doughton Park

6-inch F5.9 Kunming achromat on G11 (non-Gemini) with Kendrick battery pack.
(Background: crop of Doughton Park's southern sky with a 14mm Rokinon,
15s at F2.8 and ISO 6400)


I'm setting up the telescope(s) I want to park in the RV, the better for casual stargazing and fly-in dark-sky adventures. Those notes used to be here, but they probably fit better in the stargazing section of the Slowblog, so if you're into that sort of thing, head over there for all the details and arcana.


The Jayco jaybird, name, and swooshes are off the driver's side of the RV -- heat gun, scraper, your choice of WD-40, acetone, or Goo-Gone, followed up by a quick touch of 220 sandpaper. There's probably a better way, but this gets it done. "Ghosting" under the decals is an issue. It's where the surface has been protected by the vinyl. The 220 sandpaper erases the difference, but is surely too coarse for a final surface. Maybe I should try a sequence ending with wet 600? Rubbing compound? Marine epoxy? It'll work one way or another. Those long stripes... there are tools, but there is also patience. And no matter how you do it, undecorating the RV is going to be work.


8/5/2014. The pimping of my ride continues. The front cabover decal is gone, and the rear wheels are covered with bolt-on stainless steel wheel simulators.

8/9/2014. Lost the RV keys. I used to have a memory. Then I had Google. Now I have Facebook. Thought, when was the last time...? When I moved the thing to give the mail lady room to turn around. When was that? Check FB. August 1, stupid story about being freaked out by a "registered letter" which turned out to be LED lights from China. So, the same day the lights came, I moved the thing and that's the last time I know I had the keys. Could these two events be related? Possibly. Maybe when I stashed the lights, I also stashed the keys. Bingo!

8/13/2014. No, actually, when I went out to balance a 10-inch reflector on the G11 mount, I stepped on something hard. What's that? The keys! Where I must have dropped them weeks ago when I unpacked the G11 parts from the van. The ones I found were a duplicate set that I didn't know existed. I knew there was a spare ignition and a deadbolt key in the cabinet where I put the LED bits, but not a complete set of duplicates.

The Doughton Park Adventure.

By and by. Until I get it posted here, see the pictures on Facebook.


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                   © 2014, David Cortner