I have a lot of practicing ahead of me when it comes to urban day camping. I’d be typing this up in my RV right now except that it’s already nearing 90 in there again and hot and airless do not make for comfortable writing conditions. Since it’s morning the sun is still on the side of the trailer that my awning is on, so even if I rolled it out, that wouldn’t be providing me any shade. Likewise the campground is not a shady place, so instead I decided I’d drive someplace cool and quiet to park in the truck and get some work done.
First stop was the library, which is closed this time of day and should be pretty deserted. There are a lot of trees around too, so I thought it would be a great place. Not so much. Turns out there is a blood drive going on at a nearby building and there are people all over the place, looking at me suspiciously. I’m just practicing my day camping skills folks, nothing to see here.
With a sigh I closed the laptop and drive down to the other end of the complex near the post office, and find a good deserted lot with shade coverage and not a car parked around. Silently congratulating myself on this first of probably many such outings, I roll down my windows to let the breeze in and am greeted by the sound of industrial lawn mowers. There are two fellows cutting the grass in the empty lot, no peace to be found here.
So, turning around I start heading back to the campground in defeat, driving farther out would be pointless since I need to get back to switch the laundry over in about a half hour. And then I see them, the nice new benches installed along the main drag of old town Bluffton. Shady, quiet, and they even give a good view of the moss covered live oaks lining the street. So now that I’m comfortable and have someplace nice to sit, let me share the story of the disaster that wasn’t.
Yesterday I worked until 4:30 and thinking ahead for once, actually brought my laptop and change of clothes with me so that I could go straight to the library after work to get on the internet. Just so that everyone knows, the wifi at the campground has been pretty much unusable for the past two weeks, I’ve been having to go elsewhere for it, less online time for me.
Anyway, I’m looking into working for Amazon this holiday season (more on this to come later), when I get a text from Julie saying that she was off work and heading home, and that she’d see me whenever I got back from the library. And then I get another text not long after: “May want to come home now – need to figure out why the ac is not working.”
Ack. I’ve been waiting for this to happen. In a trailer this old, something, something has to give out sooner rather than later, and with Bluffton’s brutal 90 degree summer days it figures it would be the AC. My next thought is Julie’s cat Fish. He’s been in the Casita with no open windows for ventilation and no shade trees to keep the trailer from heating up like an oven inside, and I never went home after work so it’s possible the AC has been out all day.
So I rush home, and find Julie sitting out at our picnic table reading a book. I breath a sigh of relief, if Fish weren’t okay she wouldn’t be this calm. Apparently when she got home at 7 pm the temp was reading 92 inside the trailer, Fish was sprawled on the floor, but thankfully was fine.
The next step is figuring out what happened with the AC, at least my Fantastic Fan is working and it’s on as high as it’ll go with all of the windows open to keep Fish and the trailer at a reasonable temperature.
I pull out the trusty 3-ring binder with all the Casita information and the two of us pull apart the rear bed to get at the breaker and fuse box. Nothing looks like it has tripped, if it’s a bad fuse I wouldn’t even know how to tell. We go out to the power pedestal, nothing tripped there either. Then we wonder if the outlet is bad, or the AC unit itself. We try plugging the AC into another outlet – nothing. This isn’t looking good for the AC unit.
Then I realize that the light on the surge protector we used to get the extra reach isn’t on either. Uh-oh. A quick check reveals that all of the outlets aren’t working. Including the fridge – erp.
So I’m running off just the battery, which is getting steadily drained by the fan and lights. The fridge is warmer than it should be, but the food is still relatively cool, so at least the power likely hasn’t been off too long. It gets switched over to propane.
By this point we’re attracting the attention of several of our neighbors. The neighbor who’s RV shares the same pedestal as us reveals that he works as an electrician, yippee! He also reveals that he is drunk (it’s only about 8 pm by this point mind you). Not so yippee. But he seems to be pretty coherent and coordinated and there are other people around to shout to if something happens, so with some reservations I let him into the Casita so he can check the fuses. Fish promptly hides behind the turned over bed, some protection he is.
Apparently all looks good in there, so with some muttering he leads us back out to the pedestal where he pulls open a cover which reveals some wiring, and exclaims. I may not know a good fuse from a bad fuse, but even I can tell something’s wrong when a good number of the wires in there are blackened on the end, and one has broken free completely.
Electrician Neighbor* has apparently lived here for years and knows the people who own and run the campground well. He runs off to get the person who’s responsible for fixing this stuff and in short order the two of them are at the pedestal with a flashlight and tools, bickering as only people who know each other well can do. There is some argument about why it happened (Electrician Neighbor blames the large 50 amp motorhome who was plugged into the pedestal before I moved in) and how best to fix it.
Some agreement is come to whereby Electrician Neighbor supplies the wiring necessary to fix it proper in the morning by Maintenance Man, and in the meantime a temporary fix gives us back our power until then, yay!
So in the end it was the disaster that wasn’t. Fish was fine in the heat, the food didn’t spoil, the RV didn’t need fixing, our neighbors are decent and helpful people, and we got power back before it really interfered with living. We were without power again for about two hours this morning while Maintenance Man did the re-wiring (hence writing this up from a park bench – Fish went to work with Julie just in case it took longer) but otherwise no harm done. I know that eventually I will encounter rough spots on this adventure, but am thankful that it all played out so smoothly this time. Don’t you like stories with happy endings?
* I did get everyone’s name who was present, I just opted not to use them here to protect their privacy.