Getting Ready for a Trip Home

Our electrician installed my new Progressive Dynamics 4645 converter with 4 stage smart charger this week.  So I can leave the trailer plugged in without boiling my battery dry now.

It’s too late for the existing battery.  It was reading 10 amps the other day.  So I plan to get a new Deka Group 27 battery this week.  I wanted an AGM battery, but the RV place said they don’t carry AGMs for RVs because it needs a specific kind of charger.

I guess that’s true technically, but I had very good luck using two 6 volt AGMs in the Aliner with a PD 3 stage charger.  I have to get the battery this week for our trip next week.  If anyone reading this has a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it.  We are in a rural area and there aren’t too many battery dealers nearby, so I’m not sure where to look for true deep cycle batteries.  Most people only know about dual purpose marine batteries.  Sure don’t want to pay for shipping on one!

I caulked around the refrigerator vent, outside lights and kitchen vent.  Not a perfect looking job, but I did it with Proflex, and the seals are nice and tight.

In the process of cleaning before and after the caulking, I damaged my PoliGlow finish, so will have to strip and redo a few areas.

I am not fond of going to Florida when it’s hot (and it’s already in the 90’s at Mom’s place), but that’s how it worked out this spring.  We plan to leave on May 6, spend three days with my sister Ann, then move to Mom’s for Mother’s Day and stay there a few days.  Then we want to head somewhere in Central Florida that’s central to Ocala, Orlando and Clermont so it will be easy for friends and family down there to visit us if they want to drop in.

I was thinking Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont would be ideally situated.  But there’s no shade there, so I’ll look for some place a little cooler.  We might end up staying at Salt Springs again as they have full hookups, the icy spring to swim in, and a beautiful campground for $18 a night with our senior pass.

I’m working on trying to regulate the temperature in my refrigerator.  It usually gets up to 65 when days are in the mid to high 90’s.  It looks like it is only cooling 30 degrees below ambient temperature.

I need to take it in and have the refrigerator properly serviced, but the budget is REALLY tight lately, so I am going to try to make it through this trip without it.

I’ll probably take it in to the shop before we head to Mississippi in June.

I love our little Casita so much.  I would so desperately love to fulltime, but it’s not in the cards.  So I escape out there and just soak in the peace and beauty of my own private little retreat at least once a day.

It’s the most perfect little camper in the world!  🙂

The Good News Continues!

There are real benefits in living in an extremely rural area.

Today we took the truck and camper into our local auto repair shop to have the electric systems checked out.  The guy spent quite a while diagnosing the problem.  It turns out that the truck charge line is only putting out 8 volts instead of 12.  This causes the relay in the camper to overheat and turn off every few seconds.  Then it cools down and makes contact until it overheats and the cycle is repeated.

The electrician spent quite a while diagnosing the problem… and didn’t charge us a penny for the diagnosis!

He is coming to our HOUSE Monday to diagnose what exactly is wrong with the charge line.  Then he’ll know what parts he needs to order.

I think the reason is that he and his wife are looking for a used Casita, and he is really enjoying poking through ours!

In addition, we spent over an hour today excitedly talking about the Indian artifacts he has found on his property along a river in Alabama.  He and his wife spend countless hours looking for them.  They have found broken pottery, arrowheads, knives, spear points and all kinds of interesting things.   He said the Hillabi Indians has a settlement on his property, and it wasn’t that long ago.  He has discovered that the old fire rings are usually within 50 yards of the river.  So he and his wife take rakes and rake back the forest debris looking for rocks that show discoloration from old fires.  Then they rake down about 4″ and find the old fire ring, and usually find fragments of arrowheads and pottery.  He also found a spearhead stuck in a tree with the tree growing around it.  He said in four more years, the spearhead would probably have been completely buried inside the tree.

He said one man from the area donated his extensive artifact collection to the museum at Cheaha State Park.  Afterwards other local people donated their collections.  They can be seen by visitors to the State Park.

Then somehow the subject of mushrooms came up, and he was off and running again.  He said he and his wife have been very interested in learning to identify mushrooms, but they didn’t know where to start.  I told him about the very best books in my collection that would be a good start for them, so I’ll give him the names and authors when he comes here Monday.  I forgot to tell him that there is also a great mushroom club in Alabama.  I’ll be sure to have that info for him when he gets here.

He also said that he could replace our damaged stabilizer jack, install the 3 stage converter with smart charger that I want someday, and he can install the high lift axle and 15″ Load D tires that I want when the time comes.

He is a godsend, as far as I am concerned.  And what fun to make a new friend who is passionately interested in some of the things that I am passionate about!

Also, my new MiFi is here, and I love it.  What I especially love is that when I camp with my sister, she can share my internet access without my having to remember long strings of security codes and passwords.  All she will have to do is enter the password numbers that are right on the MiFi device.

That’s great because the whole reason I got the MiFi is that I couldn’t get the old security codes and password on my old Cradlepoint aircard router to work.  I called customer support where I bought it, but it is out of warranty and I’d have to pay for the online help.  It was much cheaper to get the new MiFi.

So things are really looking up for us!!!!

Demolition Update

We got the water heater out of the camper today.  It was a big job because I had sealed it really well with butyl tape the last time I installed it.

I wrote Joanne at Our Aliner Restoration for advice on my project since she and her husband have been through a floor replacement and complete rebuild of their 1998 Aliner.  She suggested that I take out all the old wiring and have it redone from scratch later.

So I did.  Actually, I’m glad to have all that stuff out of the way while I’m working in there.  Especially the old Elixir converter.  I also removed all the plumbing.

Was too tired to do any more this evening.  I’ll plan on removing the gas lines and the wiring underneath the trailer tomorrow, then start digging out the staples that hold the aluminum siding to the bottom of the trailer.  That project will probably take a few days.

I keep having to fight off thoughts of simply towing it to the junkyard!

One good thing about working on the trailer… I don’t have to cook tonight.  Ron is on his way to pick up KFC.  🙂

 

It’s an Adventure :)

My little camping buddy

When we arrived at High Falls River Campground last night, I noticed that the battery was reading 9.23 amps.  Yikes!  There was no way we could have run it low!  So we plugged into the power pole and I checked it a little later.  It read 12.70.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Then later I glanced at it and it was reading 17.95!  I immediately had Ron unplug from the power pole before the batteries exploded.

Shortly thereafter the battery charge had fallen to 10.20.  Ron checked the battery box, and the sealed batteries had leaked and corroded the tops.  It was obvious that they were toast.  The temperature in the refrigerator was 60 degrees.  So we operated by

Our camper at High Falls River Campground

flashlight last night and didn’t dare run anything so we could save any available battery power for the refrigerator controls.  Then this morning I checked the temperature in the refrigerator, and it read 65 degrees.

We asked the camp host where we could get someone to check out our electrical problems.  He told us there was a Camping World a little south of us in Byron.  So we stopped

The river at High Falls State Park in the River Campground

there, but they were backlogged with service work and didn’t have anyone available to work on our camper.  So the girl at Camping World called Mid-State RV across the interstate for us and told them we were losing the food in our refrigerator and asked if they could possibly squeeze us in over there.  They were backlogged, too, but told us to come on down there and they would try to work us in.

It turned out that the guy who I usually have do the work on our camper had hooked up the 3 stage smart charger, but had not fixed it so the old

Rocks across the river

converter would not charge the battery, too.  Apparently both of them were charging the battery.  Anyway, the old converter was fried, as were my expensive AGM batteries.   Mid-State RV was able to use my old converter as a breaker and fuse box, with the 3 stage charger charging the battery.  So the only thing I had to buy was a new battery. Instead of two 6 volt batteries, which is overkill for this tiny camper, I had them put in one Group 27 battery.  We can really tell the difference with the heavy load off the front of the trailer.

The campground is beautifully wooded

I was so happy they were able to get us fixed and on the road again!  But the temperature in the refrigerator is only down to 55 tonight.  Tomorrow morning I will throw out all the food in there, and we will restock it when we get to Mom’s… if the refrigerator gets down to temperature.  I hope it didn’t get damaged, too.

Tonight we are at Veterans Memorial State Park.  Almost all the sites are filled.  Glad we were able to get space without a reservation.

We went into town for dinner this evening and enjoyed a really good Chinese buffet.

A 13 year cicada on our picnic bench

I forgot to mention the cicadas.  When we were at High Falls, we kept hearing some kind of weird, non-stop equipment noise.  We listened and tried to figure out what it was.  Ron said, “I can’t tell which direction it’s coming from.  It sounds like it’s coming from everywhere.”

A little later I saw the cicada in the photo on our picnic bench and realized that’s what the noise was.  The 13 year cicadas are out in force.

New Water Heater, Storage & Tatted Cat

Aliner under bed storage

Aliner underbed storage. The three drawer chest was taken out to allow easier access for the new water heater installation.

We got the old water heater out of the Aliner and the new one slid into place today.  That part was an easy job.

The difficult part was prying the mounting collar off the old unit and getting the old sealant off it.

We ran out of daylight on our project, so Ron taped plastic over the hole in the trailer.  And we are taking turns scraping the old sealant off the mounting collar tonight.  We are almost to the stage where GooGone spray gel will work.

View of right side storage

This photo shoes the shoe space in front of the converter, a clothes basket, with additional storage beside it.

Then tomorrow I’ll prime and paint it, and we can finish the installation.

I thought you might be interested in seeing a picture of our under bed storage since we have the bed boards and mattresses out until the water heater installation is complete.

All the space on the left is storage, except for the small area where my three stage smart charger and solar controller are mounted.  The controller is on that side because the plugin for my solar panel is on the exterior on that side.  The smart charger is there because that’s where the RV shop put it!

The rear right houses the water heater and water tank.  Next is the converter, which has space for shoe storage in front of it.  Then there is space for Ron’s clothes basket and a plastic box that holds toilet chemicals and such.  And in winter, the little ceramic heater fits in front of the plastic box.

tatted cat

Tatted kitty kat

Last night I worked on tatting an angel.  I started over four times before finally recognizing that the pattern was too advanced for me.  So I switched to a kitty.  The original pattern is by Nancy Taylor at Be-stitched.com.  But her pattern was for an elegant Aristokitty, and I wanted a more ordinary looking cat.  So I used the body and tail part of the pattern, eliminated the chops, and made the head a little bigger.

The fan and kitty will be used on a purse for my granddaughter.  I need to tat one more motif, then I plan to make some pretty beaded edging for it.  I’ll post a picture when it’s completed.

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