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About My Nest
Written By: OC Fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
 About My Nest
 About My Nest
 About My Nest
 About My Nest
 About My Nest
 About My Nest

    The weather guessers were right - they promised a deluge of rain.  It came last night rapidly, frequently and hard, complete with thunder and lightning. I was secure in a dry bed in my nest (a slide-in camper on a pickup truck). In the tent I used here deep in the Big Cypress (www.nps.gov/bicy/) in the EverGlades, although it was very adequate, it was a little leaky at best in long sustained rains, especially in the corners, along the seams, or if you touched the inside of the tent surface. The nest has none of those problems plus I put my stuff where it goes once; it’s portable so it stays that way. Everything needs to be attached or secured, though, because when I’m driving and turn, go up a steep hill, or on a rough washboard-like road things will go in motion in the nest!  Permanence is very nice; I was so tired of setting up and tearing down the tent and campsite. I had an eight-person tent and coupled a screened in room with a tarp floor, so it was as big as a cottage with the kitchen and living room outside, and the sleeping quarters and storage in the tent.  It was very close to nature and I liked it but I’m done with that!
    That’s not the reason I’m doing this, though. I go to remote natural areas at the end of roads to nowhere, so when I awake I can photograph the natural world right away without driving for hours or miles.   I’ve been here at Pink Jeep camp ground, which requires an ORV (Off Road Vehicle) permit for a week. I’ve walked for 6-8 hours every day and sort of welcome a “day off,” that the rain has given me.
    I glance up at the refrigerator control panel and see the check light is still on. I thought installing a new tank of propane would solve that, but it’s still on! I better get that solved before the rain starts again. Maybe the truck battery that also powers the starting mechanism to start the fire that creates cold in the refrigerator somehow, and the nest’s water pump has run down. A quick check for that is to start the truck engine. It starts, hmm? I return to the refrigerator and shut it off and turn it back on going through the sequence of buttons on the control panel.  This time I hear the striking mechanism do its thing and the check light goes out. All is well!  Maybe it needed a break between the check request and starting up, who knows! Why don’t I follow the owner’s manual? There isn’t one. I had the camper built to order by a little company south of Dallas Ft. Worth.  When it was mounted in the bed of the pickup the TexMex guys who did it attempted to explain how the different amenities worked for me. The problem was, I didn’t understand TexMexican!  They tried using hand signs, gyrations, demonstrations, and were friendly, good natured and smiled, but I’m sorry that didn’t get it.  For it to be meaningful to me it needs to be a simple 1, 2, 3… set of procedures. I stopped their attempts, thanked them, and went on my way. So it’s been a learn-as-I-go project and has worked fine so far. It’s a pretty simple camper without all the convenience of home, but with all conveniences of a secure, permanently constructed tent with a refrigerator, stove, water system, and lights & electrical outlets. I almost never use lights or electrical outlets, because I don’t ”camp” where there’s utility hookups. There’s too many people there and it costs $$$. There’s no TV, air conditioning or heat, or toilet and when I’m in nowhereland there’s no internet, email, or cell phone. There’s almost always restroom facilities near where ever I overnight or I know how to use a shovel and the others I just don’t need. There’s lots in life that everybody thinks they need, but really are not essential
     I mix the nowherelands with breaks in places like Key West, South Padre Island, and Las Vegas. I’ve gotten the nest setup and organized.  Everything has a place and if it’s in it, then my nest is not cluttered and there’s ample living space for one. If there were two, they better really like each other! It’s like living in a “PODS storage unit” with windows. No, it’s a little smaller!
    Somebody said, keep it simple (yeah, there’s another S to the KISS Principle) and that’s what I try to do, but I did muck it up some.  Since the git go when I bought it in 2009 I’ve collected electricity with a solar panel to power my laptop computer with an external memory and DVD burner/player, radio, and a light.  The laptop facilitates my photography downloading, editing, and storage, etc. and occasional internet and email. Of course understanding solar power is well beyond me, but I do understand the concept: it collects Redy Kilowatts of energy I can use and it’s free after the initial costs. What size panel or how many do I need to power what I have?  I really don’t know. Yes, there’s a theoretical mathematical equation that will tell that precisely, but it’s based on consistent collection and usage, neither which I have and I don’t need to be precise. So I’m satisfied when I have enough power to run what I have when I want.  I added a second panel, installed both on the roof of my nest so they’re exposed to the sun continually and purchased a second deep cell battery, similar to a marine one for a boat that looks very much like a car battery, that takes real effort for me to pick up. My electrical engineer buddy, who camps near here in Bear Island camp ground, said if I have trouble lifting the battery, then it’s the right “size!”  That ‘measure’ I can understand!  The continuous exposure and heavy battery, I think, is what now gives me an abundance of power for my needs. Before I had light-weight batteries and they ran down in about two hours. All in all, the nest sure exceeds the requirement of just work. It really works!
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