Friday, July 15, 2011

Overdue Update

Photos: (1) Ma and Pa at a WallMart parking lot (2) Danny installing safety device to start the generator (3) Dog is always our copilot, in this case, Ginny (4) PJ enjoying the St. Augustine Pirates Museum (5) Bailey chilling out on board in St. Augustine (5 and 6) at our favorite beach parking place, Beverly Beach Camptown in Flagler County

Sorry folks that it has been so long since I've visited with you. I'd come up with an excuse if I could thing of one that was really entertaining and still true. Its not that we haven't spent time on our RV, cause we have if week ends and day trips count. Just haven't posted. That's the fact, Jack. No excuses. But, we are getting ready for our summer vacation trip in a few days so I thought it was high (way) time to check in with you again.

Aside from some beach weekends and day trips from late winter to now, we took a whirlwind drive to Atlanta in mid May when Danny's youngest brother had a very serious accident which required airlifting him to Grady Memorial hospital where he had to have immediate brain surgery. Danny's mother and sister had driven down to see us here in central Florida the day before and their car broke down on the highway and was in a local shop for repair when we got the early morning call about Brian's fall from a roof of a building. We quickly drove them to the airport and a day later, having picked up their repaired car, we rented a trailer thing from uHaul, hitched the toad to the back of our Serrano and towed it to Atlanta. A grueling 10 hour drive in one day. Aside from the tiresome trip, towing turned out to be a breeze. We'd never done it before. Gas mileage was half of what we're used to though: about eight miles to the gallon instead of 13 to sixteen. Ouch.

Anyway, we parked the RV in Danny's mother's driveway and hooked up to her household current. The next morning we turned on the a/c, left a window or two open slightly for the dogs
and drove downtown to meet the family at the hospital. While we were gone, the temperature outside soared up to nearly ninety and something tripped the breaker in the house and our RV power went off. Our dogs were locked inside an RV in the sun with very little ventilation.

We were lucky. We must have returned at just the right time. We opened the door to find to our horror that the power was down and the dogs were seriously panting. I looked at the thermostat which read 95 inside. I got the dogs off, into the shade on Charlotte's back porch, turned on the ceiling fan and gave them water. Went back on board and in the five minutes that had passed the thermostat read 98. I took the dogs into the house, we all cooled off, and we left for home an hour later.

After that almost horrible and heartbreaking experience, I ordered a part for the RV that automatically turns on the generator for back up power if something like what happened to us occurs when plugged into shoreline power. I further replaced a ceiling fan and outside vent with one that has a thermostat control so it also automatically comes on if the temperature in the coach gets to a preselected level. Together these two items cost about a thousand dollars, but Danny was able to install them himself which saved some further bucks. There is also a RV/boat nanny device which calls your cell phone if the RV power goes out. Its very pricy but one day I will get that too. We also have an outside Genturi system that vents the generator fumes overhead so they don't come in the windows if they are open while running the generator.

We are a little nervous about traveling in the heat with the dogs even with these precautions so if anyone out there has any other safety addition suggestions please let us know.

After that tiring two day trip, we spent a nice long Memorial Day week end at the KOA on Anastasia Island near St Augustine with my daughter and family, which includes a two year old and an eight year old. The 'kids' stayed in a cabin and we drove into the old city in their car, returned to the campground for cooking out, swimming, and s'mores. If you go to St Augustine, I recommend the new Pirates Museum just opposite the Castillo De San Marcos. It was fun for all ages.

As a sidelight, we've had a lot of annoying stuff go wrong with our still almost new RV. Sone of the windows still leak in Florida's bad storms, the a/c over the bed drips water on us, the pantry door hinge is stripped, cruise control doesn't work, and the captain and mate's Flexsteel leatherette chairs aren't wearing well. "Fabric" is ripping and splitting. I am told that is par for the course with RVs. Should all be under warranty, so I guess we will send her into the shop when we return from our summer trip to Gettysburg, Pa. and West Virginia.

We're leaving in a few days. I will report post trip. Happy trails.

PS: 1. We are doing podcasts called, All Things Overnight Parking. Check us out.
PS 2. Danny's brother has made an almost full recovery.

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