Friday, April 17, 2015

Adios Goosenecks

Wednesday night/Thursday morning it got quite cold, and in our bedroom (we don't run heaters at night) it got down to 43.....I get the shivers just remembering it.  I got up before 6 and turned on all three gas heaters to take the chill off the interior, and then I checked the battery level.....76%.......wait, what?  We started at 100% Wednesday night (yep, one more time back to 100%) could they be down that far?  The batteries were at 98% when we returned home from Linda and Steven's at 8 pm (AST), and we only watched 2 hours of TV on the inverter....I was expecting maybe 87%.

Then I remembered......I had turned on the small generator to watch TV, but it seemed to be laboring, and was only registering 90 volts on the analog voltmeter., which is too low to run any electrical appliance.  I suspected some alternating current appliance was on, but nothing inside the coach was on.....I checked both electric heaters, and the block heater......all off.  Finally I decided to turn off the generator, and just watch the TV on the inverter.

Now (Thursday morning) I am staring at the Blue Sky monitor and remembering how the small generator was inexplicably laboring the night before and then thought I should check the water bay electric heater......I go outside and find that the thermostat dial is sitting at 48 degrees.......just slightly to the left of "OFF", and realize that we were running that heater off the inverter while we watched TV.....thank goodness we don't leave the inverter on while we are sleeping!  To reiterate....the Honda is only a 1,000 watt generator, which means, effectively, it can barely power anything drawing 10 amps, and those electric heaters do draw over 10 amps when in operation, hence the generator "labored".

Okay.....minor that the phantom AC draw has been rooted out I decided to go outside and turn on the small generator to try and get the batteries back to 80% before the sun comes comes over the eastern horizon.  I pull the starter rope to start the Honda and it snaps off in my hand.....what the #@%*&!

So, there I am standing over the Honda on my pajamas at 5:50 am (AST) in the morning thinking I'm going to have to wait until it gets warm enough to start the big 7.5 kw Kohler propane used to start at any temperature, but the past year it will not start unless it is closer to 40 degrees.....I'm not sure why that is, but I suspicion the solenoid that is supposed to open up and allow propane to flow sticks when it gets too cold......may need to replace it.  I can hear all three gas heaters rockin' in the background sucking more volts out of my already depleted batteries and remembering that if they get too low I'll have to merge the start batteries with the house batteries to start the big generator.....if it will start.....we need the big generator to power the block heater on the DD because it is 'cold blooded' and when it gets below 40 degrees it needs a little preheating before it will fire.

So I unplug the Honda, disconnect the Kryptonite Cable that secures it to the trailer so it won't wander off in the night, and take it inside.....I'm going to fix the starter rope and get that sucker going....I will not be defeated! Ironically most of the time it took me to get the housing off so I could re-string the rope was taken up trying to find a 10 mm socket to unscrew the 3 bolts that secure the starter rope housing.   Apparently I only have one 10 mm socket, and it was not where it was supposed to be.....I think this must be the only thing I own that requires a 10 mm socket.....I finally find it after a 30 minute search and get to work on fixing the rope.  It took me a few tries, but finally after an hour I succeed in getting the small generator started, and electrical juice flowing back into the house batteries.

While my generator drama is unfolding in the predawn hours TLE is curled up in the warm bed dreaming sweet dreams completely unaware of the personal sacrifices I am making to keep our electrical system intact........when she awakens just after 7 am all is well, but she does ask...."Why were you going in and out of the door 15 times?".....:-)

As it turned out the big generator did fire up around 8:45 am (AST), when it was still 35 degrees, and we began the preheat on the 6V92 in anticipation of our departure from Goosenecks after 12 blissful days bringing our boondocking total to 38 days off the grid over the past 2.5 months.

Linda and Steven came by to say 'until next time' and we got this 'usie' to memorialize the event.......we spoke deliberately of making sure our paths cross again in the next year, and we are looking forward to the next installment of our burgeoning friendship.

 Until the next time

Our official time of departure was 9:30 am (AST), and as Goosenecks grew smaller in our review mirrors we both expressed a bittersweet feeling about leaving, but it is time we began our migration back to southwestern Arizona, and TLE's impending dental surgery.....first up will be two days in Flagstaff, which sits at 7,000 feet elevation.  The drive down US 163 to Kayenta, then US 160 over through Tuba City to US 89 and south to Flagstaff was without incident......out of Kayenta we climbed steadily to 6,700', then skated downhill to Tuba city, then began the climb all over again up to Flagstaff and 7,000'.

We stopped off at the local Safeway on US 89 to do a 'big''s nice to be back in a state where you can purchase alcohol easily.....then it was a short 3 mile drive to Black Bart's RV Park where we will plug in for a couple of days before heading south to Wittmann.  The day time temp in Flagstaff on Thursday was 42 degrees with a projected low of 21......we left the front electric heater on when we went to bed.....when I got up this morning at 6 am (AST) I was greeted by the scene below.......

......this is not the first time we have hit snow in Flagstaff in April......

Thanks for stopping by!

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