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Random thoughts

I’m going off the track a bit here tonight, for two reasons: First, we haven’t done a single thing today worth blogging. Really. Second, it’s my blog and I can write about whatever the heck I want, right?

OK, now that we’re all clear on that, I’m going to do a little housekeeping and mention a few utterly unrelated tidbits that I need to get off my chest.

Item 1: Generators are not efficient at charging batteries. All the time I get inquiries from people asking if we tote a generator around. I got one such query this morning. You can skim the old blog entries using the Search box to the left to pull up our history with the generator, including why we got rid of it.

But here’s the short version: generators are great for powering electrical appliances that use a lot of AC power, such as a microwave, air conditioner, hair dryer, toaster, etc. But when you plug your RV into one and wait for it to re-charge the batteries, you’re fighting an uphill battle. A partially-charged battery can only accept a certain rate of charge, which declines as it gets fuller.

It doesn’t matter how big your generator is. If the battery is more than half full, it probably won’t take even 1/10th of the power the generator is putting out, which means you’re making noise and smoke for not much return. Battery charging happens slowly. That’s why we don’t carry a generator. Solar has proved much better for our style of camping.

Item 2: Airstream Life is coming to a bookstore near you. Well, it is if you live in one of the 19 states which have Books-A-Million stores. All 155 Books-A-Million stores will have copies of the Summer 2007 magazine, which should be on sale by May 22. Find a Books-A-Million store near you.

Of course, you already subscribe to Airstream Life magazine, don’t you? (You don’t have to own an Airstream to enjoy it.) So tell your wanna-bee friends to look for it at Books-A-Million stores and buy a copy at the newsstand price of just $4.99 per copy.

Item 3: Yogurt should not have pectin in it. (Hey, didn’t I warn you this was random?) For some reason, most yogurt brands sold in the United States have either pectin or gelatin, or both, added to them. I find this annoying. It changes the texture of the yogurt, makes it slimy, in my opinion.

Why do manufacturers do this? I’ll bet if asked they’d say the American consumer prefers it this way, but I think they have other reasons having to do with manufacturing cost. They also seem to load up with pectin on the fat-free and low-fat varieties, probably to make up some mouthfeel lost when using low-fat milk.

Attention yogurt makers: yogurt should contain MILK and CULTURES. Period. No gelatin, modified food starch, artificial sweeteners, etc.

Brown Cow is my current favorite brand. I eat plain yogurt, a habit I developed as a youth making my own in a Salton Yogurt Maker. Brown Cow’s has a delicious taste, and nothing added. But it’s hard to find. We’ve visited grocery stores all over the country and I can only find it once in a long while. So I welcome nominations of other brands that are pectin-free, gelatin-free, and free of everything else except milk and beneficial active cultures.

Tucson birthday 7 pie.jpg

Item 4: Rhubarb pie. We were too full for birthday pie yesterday so we didn’t cut into it until this evening, but it was great. Just in case you were wondering…

4 Responses to “Random thoughts”

  1. Doug Says:

    Thanks for the info on battery charging through a generator. We just spent the weekend with the Shenandoah Valley Unit of WBCCI Break Out Rally at Martha and Dave Makel’s and using the furnace during the 40 degree first night brought the batteries down to half. Contemplating a second night sans furnace, I resolved to explore the generator solutionfor the future. Thanks to your advice, I have scratched that idea.

  2. Rich Luhr Says:

    I should point out that a generator is good at rapidly recharging a very depleted battery to partial charge. But after the power converter in the Airstream steps down from “bulk” charge to “float” charge, the rate of charge will drop by a huge factor.

    Combining a small generator for bulk charging with a solar panel or two for topping off the batteries is theoretically the best of all worlds, but expensive. We are happy with solar alone since it saves space, is fully automatic, is silent, and we never deplete our batteries more than halfway anyway.

    If you regularly use AC-powered appliances while away from electric hookups, a generator may be a good choice for you.

  3. Mark Johnson Says:

    Rich, Congratulations on the Books-A-Million deal. If I was younger I’d do a back flip. I’m just thrilled. Mark

  4. Rade Pierce Says:


    I must “second” your opinion regarding yogurt. I prefer Brown Cow plain as well. I can eat it for breakfast, alone! Here in Texas it is carried widely at all HEB grocery stores. I have found it to be second to none.

    Oh, I have a bunkhouse 30 as well. (The 05 with eliminated front hatch)