Disappointment and Deception

I chose the title for this blog entry before we had any drama, but disappointment hit us hard two nights ago. We returned from the beach just after sunset, clicked the button to fire up the generator and instead of starting, the entire DC power system shut down.

That system is all of our lighting, our fans, the refrigerator, the water pump, and the starter on the generator. Out came the flashlights and the scramble began. Kendra checked forums for information and I flipped every breaker and pulled every fuse. After three hours of failures, we decided the food would be lost and we would need to move the next day to a plugin to prevent damaging our batteries.

The next morning we packed up, turned on the engine, pressed the button for the slide, and nothing happened. We cussed properly. We needed a plugin, or I had to pull power off the batteries completely. We decided we could limp to another spot within the campground with the slide open. Kendra went to talk to the ranger about a spot while I retracted our levelers. I cussed again because the levelers also would not retract. They are hydraulics that spring retract so no power is involved beyond opening a valve to allow the fluid back into the tray. I cussed a little more as I thought that through.

I hopped on the phone calling mobile repair places. Only one of them was still in business and it had a two to three-week waiting list. He listened to my issue and all the testing I had done, then asked if we had jumper cables. I said yes, wondering where he was going with this. He had me take both positive leads and bypass a solenoid under the passenger seat. This involved physically unbolting and removing that seat. Victory! While Kendra monitored the cable to make sure we didn’t start a fire, I brought in the slide and pulled up the levelers. We were road ready once again.

In my mind, it was pretty obvious the solenoid was bad, so after we landed in a spot where we could plug in to charge up the batteries we went to an auto parts store. The part was not available even for order. Thankfully, we are always watching for ways to upgrade Torta and knew there was an improved solenoid that would grant additional charging to the house batteries as we drove. I had the part number saved on my phone and that was available. We just had to drive to the next town over to get it.

It took me about an hour —in a position that only a Cirque Du Soleil dancer might find comfortable— to get the part swapped. I flipped the house battery switch and nothing happened. Some tremendously creative cussing ensued, and I may have stomped my foot like a child.

We canceled our upcoming reservations, found a spot locally for four more nights, and got onto the waitlist for repairs. The View forum on Facebook had recommended checking a fuse, which I did, but my results were the opposite of what was expected because of the upgraded battery and solar. Now that bypassing a part was in my mind I grabbed my jumper cables and bypassed that fuse. Bingo!

That fuse was a CNN-150 bar fuse. We started calling around for that part and after a couple hours had exhausted every open auto, RV, hardware, and marine store in a hundred-mile radius. It is an older style fuse and everyone carries the newer style called mega instead of CNN. The newer one is a half inch shorter because fuck backward compatibility.

We ordered the part online and I bought one of the mega fuses then hit a hardware store for the parts so I could rig up something until the part came. It took almost 48 hours, and we lost all our items in the refrigerator, but we are safe, with parts on the way, the power is restored, and I am sipping a little whiskey while I write. This will live on as the CNN-150 incident for us.

The cherry on top came at midnight Sunday. Kendra woke me because our shore power kept cycling on and off. With the recent issues, and sleep-fogged brain, I was checking for heat on my temporary patch, and probably looking insane as I ran around trying to figure out what I had done wrong. It turned out the power at the campground was laid in the ’70s and needs upgraded. A big fifth wheel pulled in and when they plugged in it dropped our voltage from 120 to around 100 causing our EMS to cut our power. So not us, and not a big deal, just a little extra middle finger from the world.

I now return you to the regularly scheduled blog entry.

Cape Disappointment

Along the Washington coast, just north of the Columbia river is a twenty-eight-mile beach of the finest sand I have ever seen. Where that beach ends on the southern side is a beautiful bluff with massive trees and two lighthouses named Cape Disappointment. In 1788 a British trader named John Meares came looking for the Columbia River. He found it but somehow managed to think it was a bay and gave that beautiful cape its horrible name. I am guessing rich parents instead of merit landed him his job.

Our site was about two hundred yards from the waves. I spent many hours walking on that beach and listening to the waves hit land. It is a close second to Pismo as my favorite beach. The town of Astoria Oregon was a short drive across a really cool bridge and we enjoyed exploring it as well. I can see why they called it heaven on earth in Star Trek.

Deception Pass

Early mariners must have hated the Washington coast. On the East side of the Salish sea is a gorgeous island with huge trees and magical sunsets. The color of the water during sunsets is beyond words. This area was named by Captain Vancouver and his navigator Joseph Whidbey. They found that what they had hoped was a peninsula with a bay, was actually an island with a deep channel and gave it this awful name. At least they weren’t incompetent.

We stayed on Whidbey Island and could see the sunsets from Torta, though we typically went to the beach for them. It was just perfect until excrement hit the wind generation device.

May peace find you.

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