Monday, July 13
Warning: This is a long post. You might want to hit the restroom before you start reading.
The crew and I are camped at Haystack Campground on the east side of Haystack Reservoir, about twelve miles south of Madras, Oregon.
I go online and find the number for “Dave’s RV Service and Repair” in Madras and place a call. I’m given an appointment for tomorrow at 2 o’clock. Finally, I’ll find out why the Best Little Trailer is having power problems!
Tuesday, July 14
I didn’t unhitch when we arrived here Sunday, so there isn’t much to do before our appointment other than tidying up the BLT. I leave early so I have time to make a few stops in Madras before the appointment at two.
In the electronics department at Bi-Mart I pick up a Cobra DC to AC inverter (400 watts continuous-800 watts peak) to replace the same model inverter that no longer works. I look for chargers to replace the two that I’ve worn out in the PTV. Bi-Mart has 25-watt ones, but not the 75-watt ones I want.
I buy an egg carrier, a little item I’ve wanted for a long time.
I could’ve used an egg carrier a few months ago when a carton of eggs crashed against the refrigerator door while we were on the road. By the time we reached our new camp and I opened the door, the yolk was hardened on the door and three shelves.
(I notice that a reader coincidentally ordered a similar egg carrier from Amazon around the same time I bought mine.)
I like extra-large eggs and later I find they do fit in this carrier.
After Bi-Mart I stop at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts Store.
I learn that my Optima AGM battery (the house battery) is still under the 3-year warranty… over one year left on it since it was purchased in September 2013 (when we were in Port Angeles, Washington). I also learn that they have yellow-top Optima batteries in stock.
Okay, I easily find Dave’s RV on Mill Street.
I check in at the office to let Chris know we’re here.
“Dave’s on an emergency service call in Prineville,” she reports. “He just called. He’s in town. He’ll be here soon.”
“That’s okay. I’m early anyway. I’ll wait outside with my dogs.”
I set up a place for the crew and me on the strip of thick grass at the edge of the parking area.
I haven’t had lunch and I’m hungry. I retrieve a pre-made salad I bought at Safeway on Sunday. It’s still fresh and cool from the styrofoam cooler. Reggie and Bridget, per usual, expect a few chunks of chicken out of the salad. Sheesh. . .
“Here ya’ go. Now that’s enough. The rest is mine.”
Soon a little red car zips into the parking lot.
A lean, jeaned Dave steps out. In a few minutes he’s working on the BLT’s diagnosis. A check of the house battery reveals it is dead, dead, and dead. No surprise there. He hooks it up to the shop’s electric. Then he puts one of his fully-charged batteries in place in order to continue his diagnostic work inside the BLT.
I leave Dave to his work and check on the crew.
“You two are being very good!”
The shop dog has come out to investigate the canine customers, i.e. he sniffs their pee.
“Here’s your problem,” Dave states simply, holding up something electrical-looking. “Your converter is gone.” (“Gone” meaning it’s still here but it’s gone bad.)
Outside he puts a voltmeter on the house battery. I peer over his shoulder.
“You’ve got 12.9 volts. Your battery may still be good.” Dave puts my battery inside its compartment and we go into the office to order a converter. I leave with an appointment for tomorrow at 2 0’clock.
Wednesday, July 15
Again the Perfect Tow Vehicle hauls the BLT into Madras, and again I’m early, and again I stop at Bi-Mart.
I exchange the empty, bum tank for a full one at a cost of $18.99.
I know, I know, but whatcha’ gonna’ do? I hate seeing my pretty white tank being exchanged for a dull grey one. On the other hand, that’s a problem solved!
I also buy a box of Bounce fabric softener sheets.
Yesterday, when Dave lifted up the cushion to get at the converter box, lo and behold… Mold and Mildew!! Ewww!! It must have grown overnight because I had just cleaned! Dave advised me to use fabric softener sheets to absorb the odor. Embarrassing. . . .
When I return to the PTV I notice my phone squawking. Hmm . . . a message from Chris at Dave’s RV to return her call.
I hate making phone calls and I’m already in town so . . .
I pull into Dave’s RV and this time I leave the crew in the PTV. Needless to say, if you see the photo below, they are NOT happy with the arrangement.
Then she gives me the bad news.
“Your part didn’t come in. I called about it and found out that instead of shipping it to Dave’s RV Service in Madras, it was shipped to Dave’s RV Service in Sweet Home.”
(Sweet Home is a town in Oregon on the other side of the Cascades.)
“They must have new help or something,” she continues. “We never have a problem like this with them.” Well, that’s because I’ve never been here before . . .
I leave with another 2 o’clock appointment for tomorrow.
Oh well, what’s another day when you live the good life.
Thursday, July 16
The part came in. Dave installs it. We’re good to go!
Oh, and my house battery is still holding its charge!
The labor rate at Dave’s RV is $90 per hour. Here’s the breakdown on the bill: $45 for diagnostics, $261 for the converter, $90 for installation, which totals $396 (no sales tax in Oregon).
Relieved the work is done, I put my credit card back in my wallet, say thank you and goodbye, and away we go.
On the way through Madras I stop at Safeway.
The parking lot is crowded.
I run in and pick up some General Tso chicken and chow mein noodles for my supper.
Back at the campground . . . .
Oh boy, now I can plug in my brand new inverter in the BLT’s 12-volt socket and blog away!
I stick the cigarette-lighter-type plug thingy into the socket and . . . .
Aaaarrrgghhh!!! Wait a minute . . . What is going on here?
Then I do what I should’ve done several days ago. I take my old inverter out to the PTV and plug it in and it works. It didn’t die, after all! I also check the new inverter and it’s fine, too.
Too late to call Dave’s. Tomorrow is another day . . .
Friday, July 17
I don’t bother to call. I just go over to Dave’s early in the morning, the PTV towing the BLT. Fortunately Dave is there and he’s as surprised as I am that I’m not getting power out of the 12-volt sockets.
“I realize you have people coming in with appointments. Whenever you can take a look at it . . . .”
Soon Dave and I are in the BLT and he’s telling me, “Both your 12-volt outlets need to be replaced.”
We go into the office for Chris to place the order.
Sometime during this marathon-of-repairs week I mentioned that I don’t like not being able to see how my house battery is charging. I can read the meter in the PTV for the two AGM storage batteries which is nice. I’m in the dark about the house battery.
Dave suggested I get an item that I can put into the 12-volt socket that will tell me how much voltage is going to the socket.
Oh wow! I never knew such an item existed! I have Chris order me one while she’s ordering the two sockets. Chris says my parts won’t come in until Monday and it might be late Monday, plus Monday is tight with appointments.
“Tuesday will be fine,” I say.
Chris sets me up with a 9:30 a.m. appointment.
“By the way,” I begin as Chris puts down the phone and Buckwheat wanders into the office.
“I hate to tell ya’ this but your dog is u. g. l. y.”
“What?” says Dave, leaning against the door frame. “What did she say?”
“She said your dog is ugly,” Chris repeats, laughing.
Dave looks at me, shocked.
“Hey, Dave, I’m speaking honestly here.”
Dave defends Buckwheat. “People come over to see him when he’s sitting in the truck saying what a great dog he is, what kind is he, and all that! He’s NOT ugly!”
“Okay, okay. He’s handsome. So much for speaking honestly. Let’s just say he registers a FAT ZERO on the Cuteness Meter.”
“At least he looks like a dog!” Dave adds. I refuse to acknowledge the reference.
Kidding subsides and I leave.
“Have a good weekend!”
Tuesday, July 21
You’re still here reading! Gee, I should think you’d gone for food and water by this point. Anyway . . . .
Well, the parts didn’t go to Sweet Home! Dave installs the outlets and I get to try my new toy!
12-volt wall plate power, $39.39, 12-volt receptacle, $6.89, one hour installation labor, $90, and my cute voltage meter, $21.39 for another total of $112.67.
Altogether the repairs total $487.28 plus the digital voltmeter, making a grand total of $508.67.
What caused this to happen?
It wasn’t the shady Pacific Northwest. It wasn’t the fault of the Optima AGM battery. It was human error! ME! At least I think so. I remember one day I forgot to plug in the PTV to the BLT and then I turned on the fan, the inverter, the laptop, the jetpack, flushed the toilet, turned on the faucet. . . . and proceeded to drain the house battery and then the converter converted for the last time.
At last, we’re done! We can go home and not come back to Dave’s RV Service and Repair!
NOTE: If you’re ever in the Madras area and have a problem with your RV or it’s time for your RV to have a check-up, I highly recommend Dave’s RV Service and Repair. While there, give a hug to their handsome shop dog, Buckwheat!
THANKS, RVSUE SHOPPERS!
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