Saturday, October 24, 2009

Aaah. That's better.

I left you hanging with that last post, didn't I? All gloom and doom and more than a dash of self-pity.

Well, my batteries are recharged (pun intended) and life is better now that we finally got out of Montana.

We left Montana a couple of weeks ago . . . but I still get shivers thinking about how much that state tried to get us to stay. Bad luck and bad weather made us wonder if we should just tuck our tails between our legs and turn back.

The nice people in Missoula fixed our coolant leak and put in a new alternator -- but it took a couple days and we got the RV back at 5 p.m. We had to race to get to Bozeman. We unhitched Jane Honda and I drove, too, so we could go faster. With a tow car, you're not supposed to exceed 65 mph. We got to the nice RV park very late. It was freezing cold (remember, bad weather) with snow on the ground.

We saw a couple of deer on our way out, in the dark, early next morning. We felt pretty confident we were finally over the hump. And we made it all the way to lunch! We stopped for half an hour at the Glendive Pizza Pit (not as glamorous as it sounds). When we got back to the RV, the alternator clearly wasn't working like it should. I got on Google and my cell phone and found a place one exit behind us that said they could help.

Our new alternator was bad.

Four hours and several hundred dollars later (alternators are more expensive in Glendive than in Missoula), we were racing to Bismarck. Again, Jane Honda, the dogs and I were in the lead. Ross and Destiny were close behind.

We got there around midnight. Ross was setting up in the dark when something else went wonky with our electricity.

Remember my previous posts? 4. There's something else weird wrong with our electrical system, so the coach battery isn't working either.

And, even before that . . .
After a couple of hours of sitting around, playing on the computer, watching TV . . . the lights started to fade and the heat went off. The outlets weren't affected, though. Weird, huh?

Yeah, that was still going on. But until then, it was a minor inconvenience compared to alternators going out. So we were used to using battery-operated lanterns at night and a space heater.

Now we were in Bismarck at midnight and the whole electrical system seemed to go kaflooey. Ross tried all kinds of things to restart the "new and improved" invertor/convertor, but nothing worked. We ended up shoving a long extension cord through the window to operate the space heater. And we slept just fine under our two sleeping bags. (You have to admit, Ross is prepared for just about anything!)

The next day, October 8, we met our friend Dale Ahlquist in Aberdeen, South Dakota, around lunchtime. We were now officially back on schedule! Woohoo! We drove to Dale's house in Minnesota and had a wonderful time seeing his family again. We parked the big rig right in his cul-de-sac -- and that extension cord came in handy again.

Meanwhile, I had delegated a research project to my brother in Racine. Find us someone who can repair RV electrical systems! And he did.

We got to Racine on October 9 -- our birthday -- and dropped Destiny off for another round of repairs. Randy graciously let us stay at his house and we took full advantage of his washer and dryer, among other things.

It was great to see the family. I even went out with a friend from high school. We connected again on Facebook after mumblemumble years.

They finally cured Destiny of her electrical woes. It was an installation error with the new system. Now everything is running perfectly. Pretty much. At least with the new inverter/converter. We've had some small issues. The new macerator stopped working a couple days ago. Turns out the ground wire came loose. The water pump also stopped. Again, I think it was another loose connection.

Bouncing along all these roads does tend to shake things up.


Laraine said...

Here I thought my limping old Passat wagon was a pain . . . . May the world of electrical light and magic cooperate with y'all from here on out, especially in Destiny! Love Jane Honda--cracks me up every time.

Carolyn Hansen said...

I love "Jane Honda," too. But my own jokes always crack me up!

Eric Chastain said...

Wasn't Jane Honda the hottie who starred in "Carburella"? I loved her in that. She might have also been in "On Golden Bondo".