Monday, July 14, 2008


We are at McKinney Falls State Park,
in Austin, Texas (map).

We arrived at the Red Cross Disaster Services Maintenance Facility (DSMC) just about on the dot of 3, at the early end of our projection. We spent an hour or so meeting with the staff, getting oriented on what needs to be done in the next few days, and calling around to get our logistics in order.

Rather than renting a car, we've signed out a Red Cross vehicle that is used as a test mule for communications projects. It's an old Nissan Pathfinder bristling with antennas, and with so many radios and microphones in the console that there is hardly room for your knees. But it runs well, and the air conditioning works. On the downside, it's a fully identified Red Cross vehicle, with giant red crosses on the doors, which means we've been getting quite a few stares as we drive around the campground. Also, hanging out at the local watering hole is out of the question.

The park is just four miles from the DSMC, although it takes almost five minutes just to get from our camp site to the park entrance. But basically, we are ten minutes from the office, so it will just be a 20-minute affair each day to walk the dog, possibly less if we combine it with a lunch stop.

The sites here are mostly 30 amps, for $16 per night (not including the $4 per person park entrance fee, which our Texas State Parks pass covers), although there are perhaps a dozen sites with 50-amp hookups for just a dollar more. We snagged one of these latter sites for tonight, although we arrived after the office closed so we don't know yet if this site is available for a full two weeks. We may end up moving at some point, possibly as soon as tomorrow morning.

By morning, our batteries will be fully charged (as they were when we arrived in Austin, but we ran them down a bit by running the air conditioners for a couple hours while we were at the DSMC), and we can probably get by on 30 amps if that's where we have to move. But it's so stinking hot here that the 50-amp breaker tripped while we were out at dinner, even though I had the input draw dialed down to 37 amps. We've since dialed it further down to 30 amps, which really should be plenty of headroom. I have to imagine that we'd only be able to pull 20 amps from the 30-amp pedestals in the heat of the day, which is really tight for two air conditioners.

It's the end of another long day, so this will be a short post. More later as time is available.

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