Like most dreams, it all starts with a pipe. Sitting around bored one night, I found a journal that the owners of The Rickshaw kept of their trip around The Great Loop. Then I read another one called The Loopy Loopers. The wanton desire to do this trip grew and grew. I’ve been known to chose nutty adventures. Like the time I road my motorcycle across the country, in the middle of Winter. There was another Winter trip, this time to Maine, then across Canada. All solo. I’ve always loved being on, around or in the water, so this seemed like a perfect trip around our fine country. It takes as few as 8 weeks (but, you will miss a lot) to as long as you like it. I’d like to do it as a year long trip. Traveling down rivers, across lakes, through canals and locks. Even a leg on the ocean. The biggest expense seems to be fuel, then food. Assuming that you have a boat that can do it. I don’t. Yet. The best way to save money is by anchoring out and not spending money to stay in marinas. Plus, I could always stop and work if need be. I continued reading to try to guess a budget. After a couple more, I stumbled on a story about a guy who “couldn’t afford fuel” so he built a solar boat. Now, I was sold. I want a solar boat. Although after looking at the pic of his boat, it seemed that he had at least $10 grand in solar panels, batteries and 2 Torqeedo electric motors that aren’t cheap. The motors are $3000 each,14 Kyocera panels cost $4500 and 8 average Trojan batteries is another 2 grand. Plus, whatever the cabling, inverter , charger, mounts and charge controller cost. You’re at 15 grand for a top speed of 2.5 mph. If it’s sunny. Oh, well. It was a fun thought. I will still have solar panels and a couple batteries so I can run stuff at night. The motor will also charge a battery bank while running all day.
I need to figure out what fuel actually costs for this trip. Most of the people doing the trip are retired and have money shooting out their butts. They have big trawlers that use many gallons per hour of fuel. I’m guessing I’ll probably have a sailboat or a pontoon boat. The goal here will be to have something that uses 1 gallon of fuel per hour or less. Those seem to be mostly in my range of around a $5,000 budget. I’m going to have to do a rough budget to see if this is even close to being able to be done in the next year. It sounds like we have a bunch of work coming, so I’d like to get on any of that if I can. Put in a garden, grow some supplies, can and dehydrate the goods. Buy a boat and test drive on the 3 rivers a mile away. Leave in the fall, snowbird down South for the Winter, Maybe hang out in NOLA and do a movie or 2 to replenish the bank account.
In the meantime, research, read and learn. Whatever I do, solar will be apart of it. I’m going to get a panel and mount it on my truck and start experimenting.
Here’s an in-depth article on Solar and RVing to start with.