Trekking with Trello: Gear Tests and Practice Walks

Series Menu: Intro | Gear Tests and Practice Walks

In this post of the “Trekking with Trello” series, I’ll share how I used Trello software to prepare for my long distance walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I’m a planner and a researcher. I like data and hate unknowns. I want to know exactly what I’m getting myself into whether it be a new project, a new business, or a new personal adventure.

Planning this trip was no exception. I researched this topic to death and enjoyed every minute of it! I read 7 books, browsed countless websites, viewed every documentary I could find, and even watched two different people’s daily videos of their own experience. I’ve shared the most helpful books, websites, and movies in a public Trello board.

Rachel used Atlassian’s Trello application to research, plan, and prepare for her long-distance walk on the Camino de Santiago. She created this board to share helpful books, websites, and movies with others planning their Camino journey.

Copy this Trello Board

Copy my Trello board

Planning your own hike on the Camino Francés route? Use my “Camino de Santiago Resources” board as a starting point! Trello makes it really easy to copy cards, checklists, and even entire boards. Here’s how:

  1. Visit my board
  2. Open the board’s menu on the right
  3. Select the “More” option and select “Copy Board”
  4. Give the board a new name and click the “Create” button at the bottom

A copy of the board, complete with the cards and my recommendations, is created in your account to further customize to your liking.

This feature is an excellent way to quickly create new boards and share information. Use it for onboarding new team members, performing regular maintenance duties, or as a template for any repeatable set of tasks. To let everyone (including search engines) view a board, set its visibility to “Public”. The visibility setting is at the top of the page, to the right of the board’s name.

Camino Decisions

Add a checklist

Also included in my resources board, is a decision checklist. The checklist is automatically copied to your new board along with the other cards. You can add one or more checklists to any Trello card by clicking the “Checklist” option, on the “Add to Card” menu, in the right sidebar.

This is the questions list I wish I’d had when I was researching. Answer the following to start planning your Camino journey.

Top Camino de Santiago Decisions
  1. Will you walk, cycle, or travel on horseback?
  2. Will you travel alone, with a group, or join a tour?
  3. What is your budget?
  4. How many days will you spend on the trail?
  5. Will you camp, sleep in albergues (hostels, shared accommodation), or stay in hotels?
  6. Will you pre-book accommodations or choose where to stay along the way?
  7. Which route will you travel?
  8. Where will you start and end your journey?
  9. Will you wear shoes or boots?
  10. How will you stay cool in the heat or warm in the cold?
  11. How will you stay dry in the rain?
  12. When will you go?

Training & Exercise Plan

Part of my planning was training my body to walk long distances. I set some overall goals in Trello and tracked the details of my preparation walks.

As you can see, I marked the “Training & Exercise” card “complete” but didn’t actually check off all my goals. I didn’t make smart decisions on my 10 mile test hike, which you’ll see in the video below. I also didn’t complete any sizable back to back hikes.

For each official prep walk, I noted how far I went, the conditions that day, and the failure or success of the gear I was testing. If I wanted to report on or sum this data, more structure is needed and that’s a job for Jira. Since I only wanted to record the details for my own memories, a simple comment in Trello worked just fine.

Gear Tests and Practice Walks

Caring for your feet and preventing blisters is a high priority for any long distance walker. I spent a lot of time breaking in shoes and finding the right brand of socks. I walked into a river to verify my shoes were waterproof and tested all of the “smart” socks to learn which would work best for me. I took short practice walks to disqualify socks that were too hot or too thin. I took longer distance walks to make sure my body was up for the challenge. I learned what distance I could handle and made some silly mistakes along the way. This video shows some of my preparation:

What’s next with Trello?

In the next post in this trekking series, I’ll share more Trello tips, Camino advice, and photos from my trip.

Have a question about my trek or about using Atlassian products like Jira, Jira Service Desk, Confluence, or Trello? Ask questions in the comments section below.

Jiracratic Oath

You’ve probably heard of the Hippocratic Oath or the phrase “first do no harm”. The Hippocratic Oath is a list of ethical statements for doctors. For us, we have the “Jiracratic Oath.” Think of it as the 10 commandments for Jira.

“Sign” the oath below to receive your PDF certificate.

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant.

Trekking with Trello

Series Menu: Intro | Gear Tests and Practice Walks

I frequently combine my love for travel with my love of Atlassian products. In my “Boondocking with Jira and Confluence” series, I used two Atlassian tools to plan our first “off-grid” camping experience. We’ve been touring the US in an RV since 2015, and have always used Jira and Confluence to plan trips. Now it’s time for my next adventure! This time, I’ll use Trello to plan a 200-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain!

Frequently asked questions about Trello and my trip:

What is the Camino de Santiago?

The Camino de Santiago is a network of ancient pilgrim routes that lead to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Each year, over 300,000 walkers, cyclists, and even a few horseback riders, travel many routes originating in Spain, Portugal, and France. This 4-minute video provides a good overview of the journey.

How far are you walking?

Trello "Due Date" function
Decision made and Trello card completed

Which route will I take?“, “Where will I start and end?“, and “When will I go?” were all early questions on my Trello board. I couldn’t plan any other travel details until I answered those questions. I read countless travel books and blogs to decide and once I had answers, I used Trello’s “Due Date” function to mark those cards complete and move on to other planning tasks.

My portion of the walk is approximately 200 miles or 313 kilometers. I’ll walk the most popular route, called the Camino Francés, and start in Leon, Spain. I’ve been to Barcelona twice, both for Atlassian Summit, so this time, I’m arriving in Madrid.

The full Camino Francés route starts from St. Jean Pied-de-Port in France. This route is approx 480 mi /775 km, requires a climb over the Pyrenees mountains, and takes 5 or more weeks to complete. That seemed a little daunting for my first long-distance hike! I’ll try this shorted version first and see how it goes.

While I’m “Trekking with Trello” enjoy $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store
Code: TREKKING Shop Now
Valid: September 2019

Why are you walking?

To be completely honest, I don’t know yet. I’m hoping I’ll know when I arrive in Santiago. I’d heard of this walk a very long time ago but I can clearly remember the day I decided I wanted to attempt it. In the fall of 2017, our RV trip took us to Phoenix, Arizona. I saw an advertisement for a documentary film showing right down the street from our campground. “I’ll Push You“, is a film about a man who pushed his wheelchair-bound best friend the entire length of the Camino. Their inspiring story, and the desire to do something interesting with my vacation time, motivated my trip.

Others do the walk for a variety of reasons including spiritual, religious, adventure, tribute, remembrance, transition, celebration, etc. In another documentaty, a group used the experience to overcome addiction. I even read a story of walking the Camino as penance. The potential reasons and personal motivations are endless.

What type of terrain is the trail?

The trail is every material except sand and lava. (If you haven’t done a lava trek, add that to your bucket list. I highly recommend it!) The route leads through large cities, tiny villages, and vast countryside in between. I’m expecting a mix of rock, mud, grass, gravel, dirt, cobblestone, and asphalt.

There’s quite a debate on which type of footwear is best for the varied terrain. I’ve concluded boots vs. sneakers is a personal preference. I’ve selected a waterproof trekking sneaker and have tested them thoroughly. The first pair is worn out from many miles of testing. The middle pair is slightly too small. The last pair is just right and will accompany me on my trip.

How are you using Trello to plan the trip?

Trello lets you create lists and tasks in a flexible and highly visual way. It helps people and groups organize their “to do” lists and projects. Work teams can track projects like a new product launch, a social media schedule, or to prioritize a list of ideas. Families can track their kitchen remodel project, weekly chores, or shopping list. I’m using Trello to research, plan, and prepare for my long-distance walk.

Initial Trello board and lists
Initial Trello board with 5 planning lists

I started with a blank Trello board and added 5 lists to encompass my planning process. The “Resources” list includes all my research items, like books to read, videos to watch, and logistics, like time zone and currency differences. The “Decisions” list captures all the questions to answer before booking flights and making additional plans.

In the “Travel” column, I added the Skyscanner power-up to monitor the costs of flights to Madrid. A power-up is a way to extend Trello’s features and integrate it with other Atlassian and third-party apps. The Skyscanner tip is from Bridget Sauer on the Atlassian Community Team. Thanks Bridget!

The “Gear” column is for items carried on the trail. I used it to choose between a poncho and a rain suit, to test different types of socks, and to research whether hiking poles are permitted on an airplane. The result: I’ll take a poncho and rain pants, double layer Wrightsocks work really well, and hiking poles are only allowed in checked baggage.

Finally, the “Prep” list includes “to do” items like practice hikes, a reminder to purchase travel insurance, and my packing checklist. My packing list is normally stored in Confluence. I could have connected Confluence and Trello with a power-up, but decided to simply cut and paste. Select your Confluence task items, copy them, and paste them into a Trello checklist. Each item is automatically converted to a checklist item!

Trello board with planning cards
Trello board with beginning planning details and the Skyscanner power-up

When are you going?

I’m devoting the month of September 2019 to this adventure and to taking a break. I’ve worked since I was 15, started my first company at 18, and started my first post-college job a few months before I even graduated. This is my first extended break and I’ve earned it. Thank you Giles Knights from ClearHub who helped me realize this break is an accomplishment. I’m grateful for the ability to take this time off.

We have a special promotion for the month of September 2019. Use code “TREKKING” for $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store.

If you need assistance while I’m away, please contact Chris Lutz at

What’s next with Trello?

The next post in this trekking series is about physically preparing to walk long distances. I used Trello to stay focused on my walking plan.

I’ll post additional content as I approach the trip and after I return.

Have a question about my trek or about using Atlassian products like Jira, Jira Service Desk, Confluence, or Trello? Ask questions in the comments section below.

Jira Scary Stories Poll Results

Poll results, from the opinion questions, for the “Jira Scary Stories” presentation.
View polls

Jump to Results:

  1. Security Horror
  2. Next-gen Project Poltergeist
  3. Password Fright
  4. Add-on Upgrade Scare
  5. Reporting Nightmare
  6. Backlog Burial

1. Security Horror

How would you solve the problem?
(3 votes)
Reset passwords as needed
(7 votes)
Connect Crowd to network credentials (Example: Active Directory, G Suite, etc.)
(5 votes)
Train users to reset their password in Crowd
(7 votes)
Ask users to contact the Help Desk instead of the CEO
(5 votes)
Recommend a secure password management tool
(0 votes)
Record passwords so you can remind users when they forget
(8 votes)
Put the applications behind a firewall
(9 votes)
Add SSL (Secure site certificate)
(0 votes)
Total Votes: 11

2. Next-gen Project Poltergeist

How would you handle independent projects?
(0 votes)
Let all users create independent projects
(7 votes)
Let a subset of users create independent projects
(8 votes)
Turn off independent projects
(0 votes)
Total Votes: 14

3. Password Fright

How would you solve the problem?
(10 votes)
Reset exposed passwords
(9 votes)
Remind users not to share passwords
(2 votes)
Remove passwords from Jira issues
(0 votes)
Remove passwords from the Jira database
(0 votes)
Total Votes: 12

4. Add-on Upgrade Scare

What would you do?
(6 votes)
Request funding for the plugin
(5 votes)
Rollback the plugin version
(3 votes)
Research alternative plugins
(3 votes)
Would not have clicked "Buy Now"
(1 vote)
Total Votes: 13

5. Reporting Nightmare

What would you do?
(9 votes)
Add the missing selections to the Components list
(9 votes)
Explain the pros and cons of Components and Labels
(0 votes)
Use Components and Labels together
(0 votes)
Post label strategy to Confluence
(0 votes)
Total Votes: 12

6. Backlog Burial

How would you improve this situation?
(5 votes)
Create a separate "ideas" Jira project
(4 votes)
Store ideas in a separate Atlassian application (Ex: Confluence, Trello)
(0 votes)
Store ideas in a separate non-Atlassian application
(0 votes)
Install an add-on like Portfolio for Jira
(10 votes)
Create a backlog grooming process
(7 votes)
Create a prioritization and scheduling process
(0 votes)
Total Votes: 11

Jira Scary Stories

These are opinion questions for the “Jira Scary Stories” presentation.  There’s no one correct answer.  View results

1. Security Horror

2. Next-gen Project Poltergeist

3. Password Fright

4. Add-on Upgrade Scare

5. Reporting Nightmare

6. Backlog Burial

How to Make Atlassian Summit Suspenders

The Problem

Summit Flair

After attending every Atlassian Summit user conference since 2013, I’ve acquired a lot of buttons, or “Summit flair” as I call them.  I’ve run out of room for them on my conference lanyard however, and honestly, they were getting heavy!  So this year, I needed a different solution.  How could I display my flair?

The Solution

I thought for a while and came up with nothing.  Then, somehow, I thought of suspenders!  Now, being a girl, and never being a farmer, I’ve never worn this contraption.  But I asked my boyfriend where I could get them and we found some in the men’s section at Walmart.  $6.50 USD later and I had a craft project!  Follow along below to make your own.

How To

Step 1:  Configure suspenders
Realize you don’t know how to wear suspenders and watch many YouTube videos until you can successfully adjust the length.  Learn that women should wear thinner versions.  Ignore that tip; it won’t be the first time you’re not “on trend” in fashion.  PS – A wardrobe of only Atlassian t-shirts is always “on trend”!

Summit Materials

Step 2:  Gather Summit materials
Your Summit hording pays off!  You have 4 lanyards from previous Summits ready for a second life.  Realize you’ve collected far too many Atlassian pins though.  Choose your favorite ten, give the other twenty a hug, and put them away.

Step 3:  Gather craft materials
Realize that you travel full-time in an RV so craft materials are scarce.   This is the one time where a can of WD-40, a drill, and awning repair tape won’t fix it.

Look in the tool box and the office supply drawer.  Find a glue stick, a needle, less than a yard of thread, scissors, permanent markers, a seam ripper (why is this needed in an RV?), a label maker, safety pins, a putty knife, and something called “Super Weld.”  Put half of that stuff away because it won’t help this project.

Step 4:  Get crafty
Use the scissors to cut the lanyard fabric from its hardware.  It frays immediately.  Run back to the tool box and find the “Super Weld.”  Use it as super glue on all the lanyard ends.  Do it quick because it’s unraveling!  Try not to super weld fingers together.  Use the needle and scarce amount of thread to affix the lanyard to the suspenders.

Realize that you haven’t sewed anything since seventh grade home economics class.  Remember?  You attempted to make jean shorts.  Floral.  Denim.  Shorts.  Horrific!  How did you even pass that class?

Step 5:  Add finishing touches
With the pins and two pieces of lanyard on the front, it’s time to decorate the back.  People standing behind you need to know about your Atlassian devotion too!

Resist the urge to glue the remaining lanyard with the “Super Weld.”  Sew a few stitches with the remaining inches of thread.  Curse loudly as you struggle to knot the thread by the dim light of a lantern.  Only stab yourself with the needle once.  Impressive!  If this Jira consulting thing doesn’t work out, maybe you can be a seamstress?

Step 6:  Finish up
It’s way past your bed time but you have a completed an almost respectable attempt at custom suspenders.  Costs, injuries, and permanent damage to the RV is minimal.  Congratulations!  All that’s left now is to put them on and get yourself to Atlassian Summit!

Find Rachel and Her Summit Suspenders

Will you be at Atlassian Summit, in Barcelona, the week of September 3, 2018?  Meet Rachel Wright and win her Jira Strategy Admin Workbook or one of 5 new training courses!  Rachel will be hard to miss with her custom-made Summit suspenders.  Find her in these locations.

Not at Summit?  Use coupon code SUMMIT for 15% off your order in the Strategy for Jira store!

Retrospective: Boondocking with Jira and Confluence

Menu:  Intro | Day 1-2 | Day 3-4 | Day 5-7 | Retrospective

Retrospective in Confluence

In the software development world, each time you complete a project, you review what went well and what you could do better next time.  It’s called a “retrospective” or a “post-mortem.”

We did a retrospective on our boondocking adventure, using Confluence’s template.  These are the results.

What We Did Well

  • Excellent preparation, research, and pre-event testing
  • Used Jira and Confluence to plan and track the adventure
  • Didn’t ruin or damage any critical systems (except for the battery)
  • Bought the right equipment (generator, drill pump, water tank filler attachment)
  • Built a structure in truck bed to transport and store gas and water containers
  • First try was at a large event attended by experienced boondockers
  • Had fun and connected with new people
  • Stayed close to town in case other supplies were needed
  • Managed and conserved water well
  • Parked facing the best direction for temperature control
  • Planned for known cell reception issues
  • Have future plans for solar equipment

What We Should Have Done Better

  • Develop a use and charging schedule
    • Charge with generator more often
      • Took longer than expected
      • Requires us to remain onsite
      • Only possible during day hours
    • Recharge devices on AC (not inverter) power
    • Utilize existing USB and solar chargers
  • Understand the measurement for 50% battery draw (12.06 volts – see chart below)
    • Killed the battery
    • Battery may have already been weak from age (no good baseline stats)
    • Failed to maintain needed distilled water levels
  • Failed to realize cell booster requires constant electricity
    • Device is not generally reliable
    • If not attending an event, we would have switched locations
  • Neglected “day before” moving list
    • Was having fun and decided to do the “day before” tasks on the “day of”
    • Was rushing and made stupid mistakes
      • Closed slides out of order
      • Caused injuries:  Hit face with drill, cut leg on screen door (again!)
  • Remove hitch when driving on dirt roads (cleaning takes more time than removing)
  • Develop a better system for managing grey water levels
  • Spent more than normal on food and entertainment (due to social events)
    • Saved on camping costs however

Subsequent Mistake

Overall, we met our goals of living off the grid for one week.  By gaining boondocking skills and equipment we’ve enabled ourselves to camp in different types of locations.  City power, water, and sewer are no longer a limiting factor.  We also had fun networking with other full time campers.

We were so confident with our experience that we decided to try it again immediately.  We needed a one night stop between Pagosa Springs, CO and Santa Fe, NM.  We searched the online camping directories and decided on a free overnight spot, in a municipal park, near the half way point.  The location was excellent and we had the entire park to ourselves.   How could this go wrong?

We neglected to check the weather report.   RVs and travel trailers heat up very quickly, just like a vehicle does.   When it gets hot, you put our your awning, unfold your camping chair, and work outside until the sun goes down.  It’s not too bad if you also have a cold glass of iced tea to enjoy.

113° F (45° C) Temp

It’s Summer in the United States so we expected it to be hot – but not this hot!  The truck’s thermometer read 113° F (45° C) and the analog thermometer inside the RV read 106° F!  For the first time ever, the inside of the RV was just as hot as the outside.  There was no escape and no amount of iced tea provided a reprieve.  We had to sweat out the afternoon and night and learn a hard preparation lesson.  I always check the weather report for storms and high winds, but never for excessive heat.  The learning continues…

I hope you enjoyed following along on our adventure and alternate use of Jira and Confluence.  Atlassian tools can track anything!  I encourage you to experiment with alternate uses from both your work and personal life.  Happy Jira issue and Confluence page creating!

Day 5-7: Boondocking with Jira and Confluence

Menu:  Intro | Day 1-2 | Day 3-4 | Day 5-7 | Retrospective

We’re “Boondocking with Jira and Confluence“!
Enjoy $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store

Valid: July 8-15, 2018

Day 5

When boondocking it’s easy to run out of water.  How many times you wash your hands in a day?  Simple things like this deplete the supply quickly.  Our 46 gallon fresh water tank won’t last forever, no matter how much we conserve.  We got lucky though;  there was an on site water hose we could use sparingly.  We filled our 5 gallon portable container, used a pump that attaches to a drill, and slowly pumped the water through a hose and into the travel trailer.  A few rounds of filling the tank really made a difference.

I always research our location before we arrive and knew cell service would be a challenge.  The previous post took 2 hours to actually publish.  It was quick to write, but each time I’d save or upload a photo, the connection would die and I’d have to get it back and then recover the content from the cache.  Luckily I officially took off work this week for the experience and the Convergence.   Had this been a normal working week however, we would have needed to move to a different location.

Pagosa Springs, CO

With the morning chores done we took off with our boondocking buddies on a 60 mile, dirt road, scenic tour.  We also floated in a tube down the San Juan River.  Pagosa Springs didn’t get the normal level of snow melt so the river was low.  It was still fun though.

Day 6

We killed our battery.   I can’t be sure if the battery was already close to end of life, if we killed it during our tests, or if it happened during the Convergence.  We bought a hydrometer, which measures liquid density in the 6 battery cells.  They measured “dead”, “really dead”, and “give up now”.  The generator will recharge it, but will only hold a charge for a few hours before we need to charge it again.  I’ll be buying a new battery soon and will try to figure out where we went wrong.

Rising Water from Tropical Storm Colin (2006)

I’m starting to compile my list of items for the final post:  the Confluence retrospective.  After major events, we always review what we did well and what we need to work on for the future.  For example, when we evacuated for a surprise flash flood in Florida, we compiled a retro and reworked our emergency plan.  When we evacuated for a Tornado in Texas, we used our improved plan and made small adjustments then too.  Documenting our mistakes and making improvements makes us more prepared for next time.

This day we attended a pot luck brunch, played miniature golf, and watched “We’re the Millers” (an RV themed movie) together under the stars.  A Convergence attendee provided popcorn for the movie.  They must have figured out how to power their microwave.

Day 7

We survived!  We learned a lot about batteries, solar, and met lots of great fellow full-time travelers.  The Convenience was a lot like Atlassian Summit:  you have something in common with everyone and are instant friends.

Normally I complete the first half of my Confluence move day checklist the day before, but we were having so much fun, we saved it all for the travel day.  (Not smart.)  Everything was completed, but some tasks were done out of the preferred order, and I made two stupid mistakes.

  • I hit myself in the face with the drill and almost broke my prized Atlassian sunglasses!  I was raising the stabilizer jacks with the drill, like I’ve done 300 times before.  Only today, something looked odd and as I bent over to take a closer look the still moving drill smacked me in the face.
  • I also cut my leg (for the second time in two weeks) on the corner of the screen door.  I’ll need to file that down or cover it with foam.  Or, I could just be more careful and do the “day before” work on the actual day before.

We packed up, said our goodbyes, and hit the road for our next camping destination in New Mexico.  At the next location, we’ll have full hookups (power, water, and sewer) for a whole week before we move on to the next adventure.  I hope you’ve enjoyed following the journey we planned in Jira.  The Confluence retrospective will be available soon.

Day 3-4: Boondocking with Jira and Confluence

Menu:  Intro | Day 1-2 | Day 3-4 | Day 5-7 | Retrospective

We’re “Boondocking with Jira and Confluence“!
Enjoy $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store

Valid: July 8-15, 2018

Day 3

Lightning Strike Damage

In 2006, my stationary house was hit by lightning.  One strike sent electrical outlet face plates flying across the room and broke mirrored walls.  The fire department opened walls with their axes, checking for internal fire.  All the house’s appliances were fried.  No more fridge, no more hot water heater, etc.  The only electronics that survived were my computers, because they were connected to an APC battery backup and surge suppression system.  The APC took the lightning strike – not my devices.

From that experience, I don’t plug important devices directly into a wall outlet.  But how do you handle surge and voltage fluctuation when you live in a travel trailer?  The answer is you have to protect the entire dwelling.  Power pedestals at campgrounds are notoriously problematic.  They are wired incorrectly, deliver uneven current, shut off and on as they please, and frequently deliver too low voltage or too high voltage.  It’s really easy to ruin everything.  I will NEVER plug my travel trailer in without a Electrical Management System (EMS).  The best is made by Progressive Industries.  It is the one “must buy” thing for your RV!  It’s saved our travel trailer and the items inside it from disaster twice.  It’s worth every penny and more.

BUT you can’t use an EMS with a generator!  What???  We’re going to plug the trailer into something without my precious safety system?  Queue my anxiety.

Today was the big day where we’d use the new inverter generator for the first time.  On the previous day, we tried plugging in an old fan first, just to make sure everything was working as expected.  If the fan exploded, that would be alright but I wasn’t willing to take that chance with the entire travel trailer.  Luckily, there were no explosions.

In two days, our battery drained to 11.76 volts.  That’s probably lower than we should have let it go.  Time will tell if we’ve damaged it.  To recharge the battery to 12.45 volts (under 100%) we ran the generator for 1h 45m and used 0.5 gallons of gas.

After our morning generator fun, I joined the Convergence festivities.  There 32 people and 28 “rigs” attending this off grid get together.  “Rig” or “coach” is slang for your camping setup.  At the convergence, we have travel trailers (towed by a hitch on the bumper) like ours,  fifth wheels (towed by a hitch in the bed of a truck), and motorized RVs of all sizes and configurations.   The day’s activities started with a trip to the in hot springs which included a shower.  I was excited to use someone else’s shower and not waste our water!  Back at camp, we ate a “Taco Tuesday” pot luck dinner.

Day 4

It’s time to charge again.  Our travel trailer is wired for 30 amp, which is a different plug than a regular house outlet.  We have to use an adapter to connect to the generator.  The adapter cuts our amp possibilities down by half.  When connected to a normal power pedestal, we can run multiple things at a time as long as we don’t exceed 30 amps.  We can use the microwave with the lights on.  We can use the hot water with the radio on, etc.  But with the generator and only half our amperage capacity (15 amps), we have to limit what we use.  We did some tests and learned we can run the air conditioning, as long as we start the fan before the compressor and NOTHING else is running.  We cannot run the microwave using the generator however.

As shown in the picture, the generator has standard US wall outlets.  There are two – the left one is empty and the right is used by our yellow trailer plug and yellow adapter.  If you look closely, you can see we had to file down the adapter in two places to make it fit.  The outlet on the left has a red button that’s in the way and the one on the right has a grounding screw in the way.  Also pictured is where we had to file off the handle on the yellow trailer plug.  The plug is a replacement and was too big to store with the original handle.  This is typical of the RV lifestyle.  You buy something perfectly nice and intentionally ruin it to make it work.

I’m used to having my laptops plugged in all the time, so it’s pretty annoying to run out of power and have to wait until our next generator charge to be productive again.  Today I got a bit of work done but was up against the laptop battery deadline.  I stood up a new Jira instance but I was rushing and messed up the database part.  I created the database with the wrong table collation.  Jira requires “utf8_bin.”  When Jira started up, it notified me of the problem.  There are two options:  recreate the database or change all the tables and columns.  I opted for the latter.  The needed queries are documented and it didn’t take long to fix.  Some of the queries make the change and others generate a new set of queries to run.

Day 1-2: Boondocking with Jira and Confluence

Menu:  Intro | Day 1-2 | Day 3-4 | Day 5-7 | Retrospective

We’re “Boondocking with Jira and Confluence“!
Enjoy $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store

Valid: July 8-15, 2018

As previously announced in Boondocking with Jira and Confluence, this week, we’re “off the grid” in our travel trailer.  We’re boondocking which means camping without hookups to city power, water, and sewer systems.  We’ll provide our own resources which includes enough power and internet to connect to Jira and Confluence – vital resources for our long-term RV trip.

We’re also attending a “convergence” which is like a conference with fellow digital nomads.  We’ve all parked together in the same place.  If we fail at boondocking, we’ll do it surrounded by experienced campers.

Week Before

The week before our trip, we further tested our preparations.  We were at a campground with full hookups, but instead of plugging in, we tested how long we’d last with conservative use of battery power and stored water.

I quickly discovered a problem recharging the computers.  My 12 volt inverter charger works perfectly in a (running, and therefore full battery) truck, but not so well on a dwindling trailer battery.  Its 75 watt output could handle the Chromebooks and phones but couldn’t recharge my HP laptop.  Also, it only has one outlet, which is inconvenient.  I immediately upgraded to a 2,000 watt device with 3 AC and 4 USB outlets.  Right now I only have a WiFi booster plugged in and its internal fan is running more often than I’d like.  We’ll see if it works long-term.

Week Before Test Results:

Item Measure Notes
  • Full battery:  13.09 volts
  • After 48 hours:  11.63 volts
We’ll need to charge our trailer battery every day or every other day, to sustain the 12 volt system and recharge electronics.
Electronics Battery time with heavy use:

  • HP laptop:  6 hours
  • Chromebooks:  8+ hours
  • Phone 1:  10+ hours
  • Phone 2:  5+ hours
  • WiFi 1 (Verizon):  Requires phone use, needs boosting
  • WiFi 2 (Sprint):  Lasts day however, unusable due to proximity to tower
  • WiFi 3 (Sky Roam):  4 hours, dupe of Verizon signal
While boondocking, we can only use the 12 volt system, which powers the lights, water pump, and fire and carbon monoxide detection systems.  It also generates the spark for propane appliances, like the fridge, stove, and oven.

We won’t be able to use luxuries like the microwave, coffee maker, or air conditioner.

When the trailer is briefly connected to the generator, we’ll be able to use the wall outlets to charge electronics.

Water & Sewer Tank capacity:

  • Fresh tank:  46 gallons (+6 gallons from hot water heater)
  • Grey tank: 33 gallons
  • Black tank: 33
Our fresh water lasted 4 days with moderate use and 4 showers.  We can easily extend that with conservation, including less dish washing and fewer showers.

Our grey water tank lasted only 3 days.  Storage of used water is an issue.  We can extend capabilities by limiting how much water goes down the drain.  Next week, we’ll need to use the outside shower and wash dishes outside to avoid storing excess water.

Our black tank is never an issue.  We can go a week or two without dumping it.

Day 1

RV Moving Day Confluence Checklist

We woke up, made a quick breakfast, and completed tasks from our Confluence “moving day” checklist.  There are 32 things I do the day before any move like:  verify our route, fuel the tow vehicle, and check the pressure on all tires.  (The correct pressure is CRITICAL for trailer tires!)  On moving day, there are another 52 items to complete like:  draining all tanks, turning off the electric and propane systems, and properly coupling the tow vehicle to the trailer.  My Confluence checklist is vital to the moving process.  Missing any item could put us, others, or our property in danger while rolling down the road.

We completed our standard checklist but this time one thing was different.  We filled our fresh water tank, otherwise, we’d have no water at our next destination.  We’ve never traveled with a full tank before.  Water is heavy and the extra 450 pounds means extra risk and even less gas mileage.  Luckily our off-grid destination was only 10 miles away.

Boondocking Parking Spot

We arrived and parking was much easier than usual.  Usually you have to line up very carefully, so all your connections reach and you fit in the spot.  But with boondocking, there are no connections to worry about.  We simply parked, drove up on leveling blocks, detached the tow vehicle, and opened our slides and awning.  Voila – we’re camping!

This night we met our fellow convergence attendees and cooked dinner together on many grills.  There’s a fire ban in this part of Colorado, so only propane grills are allowed.

Day 2

So far so good!  I’m able to launch Jira, Confluence, and other web apps, but only through my phone’s hotspot and only when the cell booster is on.  Both are a constant draw on the battery.  Our electronics are running low and we’ll need to charge the battery tomorrow.

We spent the morning re-reading the generator manual and filling it with gas, fuel stabilizer, and oil for the first time.  We only broke one plastic piece doing this.  We turned on the generator and tested it with a cheap appliance.  It worked as expected and the generator was quieter than anticipated.  Tomorrow we hook it up to our entire rig.

Today we took a group hike to Treasure Falls, saw part of the continental divide, and drove a dirt road up a mountain for a beautiful view of the area.  I’m looking forward to charging everything tomorrow and possibly a soak in the natural hot springs!