Sometimes, you take two steps forward. Or two steps back and one forward. I stayed the night in the trailer last night. It was far more comfortable, air conditioned, quieter, and felt much more secure from rodents.
I burned just over 7 gallons of gas running my truck for 14.5 hours keeping the battery charged so the inverter could run the A/C. A good generator should be able to do that from 1.5-2 gallons. Truck also isn't sounding quite as good after the oil change. I am not sure if the heavier oil weight is causing issues with the hydraulic lifters or if the 10+ seconds without oil pressure because I neglected to fill the oil filter before putting it on caused more damage. Those moments without pressure really sounded bad. I think I've learned my lesson to do that. I think engines with hydraulic lifters are a lot more sensitive to that than the usual screw adjusted valves. I really don't know much about the hydraulic kinds, so could be way off the mark.
I started getting terrible performance on my hotspot. Tried debugging and couple hours later figured out that I'm over my data cap. I figured that would have been more like a priority change, but for the hotspot plans on T-Mobile they throttle "to 2G speeds". ICMP was quick and unaffected but any TCP connection pushing any notable data was clearly throttled. And UDP streams had the occasional larger packet dropped. No real way around it.
I think my T-Mobile One plan might be okay for data out there but that phone doesn't get the signal without the booster. If I use the booster, the phone is quite awkward to use so might as well have a hotspot in the booster. As such, will probably cancel the hotspot plan and replace my iPhone 5S with something that gets decent reception and has LTE band 12 support. Maybe a Moto X, dunno. Verizon gets spotty 3G in the area, for the record.
My parents got here today. It was interested to see how drained my Dad was at the property. The wind and dry heat also get to him. Makes me wonder how much it makes sense to try and live off the grid in a place my genes are suited to at all. I've said this before but I am very heat stroke prone. I don't sleep well at all even if it's 75 if there's no fan on me. The people in town are mostly hispanic. They are very, very polite. My Dad was overcharged at a small Mexican place and the owner ran out with the difference. In general, I have nothing against the hispanic people. Some are lazy, some are hard working, but most are honest and easy going. But, part of me wonders if it's better to brave the winters and cold. Maybe my genes dictate where I would do best and who I should be around. I can much more easily see myself working hard in sub-freezing weather than anything over 90, for sure. Not that either is my preference.
Of course of the colder places, there's none that seem to meet all the critera for a Gulch, without buying a bunch of land and subdividing. And West Texas is a great place in many ways. There should be a Gulch here.
Though with all of that said, I have to look at my own priorities and responsibilities. Living off the grid is a job in itself. And hopefully one that ends up being cheaper in return so you're working for savings over straight cash. In this case, it's not any cheaper for me to do. I'm looking at upfront capital + higher monthly costs for a while than I would have renting an apartment. At least, unless I went full solar. Even then, I'm going into town using a fair bit of gas. I think all types of living off the grid / homesteading end up being expensive unless you go all in -- and then it truly is a job.
Physically, I'm supposed to be 25 but feel a lot older. I get a decent number of aches and I don't have bounds of energy, mental nor physical. I have softened up a lot and I am not sure why. I think maybe I burned up my youth earlier on and have never recovered from that. I don't see any particular good way to give myself more energy. And the lack of energy, stress tolerance, heat tolerance, etc, would be pretty manageable if living out at the Gulch were all I was doing. But I have to work and it's very mental work with no easy answers for anything I'm doing. I'm realizing that the hyper-comfort levels we are provided in modern society probably help facilitate extremely high levels of specialization. Maybe I could get into a good groove and do my job well while living off the grid, but I really don't know. I think it ends up distracting me from my work and I don't feel I should be working distracted.
I was thinking about living in El Paso and commuting to the Gulch once every week or two. I think it's a good idea but my heart isn't in it. I don't know anyone in El Paso. I've tried to get to know a few online but they've really all fell through. At the end of the day, my friends are in San Antonio. Maybe I would make good friends in El Paso, I don't know.
There is certainly no perfect option. I don't know what I'll do. The loneliness gets to me and the lack of good food. I've become a sucker for good food and good company.
Not really sure what I'll do. I don't want to lead any of you on with how far I'll take the Gulch. If money was bountiful I'd probably hire a few people to build it for me. But as I am now and by myself, I don't know how far I will get with it.