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You Just Never Know….Unexpected Boondocking Off the Grid

Here it is the end  of October and certain things are just expected.  The humidity is tolerable in Deep East Texas now.  The nights are cooler and the leaves are just showing a hint of Fall colors.  Hurricane season is over November 1 and the rowdy Texas weather is settling down – or so I thought.

As normal here lately, it was just drying up pretty good when the weather forecast showed the possibility of a pretty good rain event for this past Thursday.  Imagine my surprise when the Weather Radio sprang to life at 4am Thursday morning with of all things, a tornado watch!  What is up with that?

I had debated the night before about putting the big awning out.  It is just so much better to keep the rain off the porch area and keep the mud at bay around the entrance door to the Old Girl.  Now, my brother is braver than I am .  He keeps the big awning out all the time on his Heartland Fiver over in the RV park. He has it tied to the chain link fence running down the side of his lot but I just can’t do it.

The Fiver and the Old Girl south of Abilene last year

The Fiver and the Old Girl south of Abilene last year

I tell him that God looks out for the ignorant. He sure has been lucky so far!

The front started moving in with torrents of rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph.  The weather radio was going off about every 15 minutes and that was something I had not experienced for a month or more.   It got even worse.  I watched the trees bending  and limbs blowing off as the rain fell in horizontal sheets.

And then the power went off, blinked back on, went off, came on and then went off for good.  Or NOT good; whenever it does that you can be pretty sure it is gonna be off for awhile.  Just the other day when I was out driving the backroads I thought to myself what a nightmare it must be maintaining the electric lines through the thick  Pine Forests.  The Old Girl is equipped to boondock.  The TV and DISH receiver run of my small inverter as does the one outlet where the laptop and Wilson internet amplifier is plugged in so I was not suffering by any means.  The Trimetric 2020 battery monitor said I was drawing almost 8 amps off the battery bank which is pretty high but this was not going to last very long, right?

Six hours later it was getting dark, still no power and the Trimetric said the batteries were at 12.3 volts.

External propane tanks used with the Extend A Stay

External propane tanks used with the Extend A Stay

I was thinking it may be about time to fire up the trusty Generac propane generator.   I went to the drivers compartment and pushed the remote switch and let it crank for about 3 seconds before I remembered the propane was shut off to the generator.   That changed the logistics to some extent.   I installed dual Extend A Stay
adapters on my onboard 40 gallon propane tank. One Extend A Stay feeds the onboard appliances like the furnace, fridge and stove. The other Extend A Stay fuels the Generac Generator. I reserve the onboard tank for true emergencies like hurricanes or extreme boondocking situations.

The Extend A Stay plumbing  on the 40 gal onboard tank.

The Extend A Stay plumbing on the 40 gal onboard tank.

The logistics required to go to generator power are not arduous but I just did not want to have to go outside the Fish Bus and wade that mud! All I needed to do was turn on the valve on the external propane tank and swap the plugs in the electric compartment. The Old Girl is old technology and to supply generator power to the RV I have to unplug the 30 amp plug from the pole and plug it into the generator receptacle in the electrical compartment. A five minute job tops; I would spend more time cleaning the mud off my boots!

Generator receptacle on the left

Generator receptacle on the left

Decisions decisions! I looked at the Trimetric 2020 and i was down to 12.2 volts. Should I be lazy and procrastinate or should I just pull on the rubber boots and bite the bullet? I decided to give it 30 minutes and watch the local news. Well, it really isn’t local news. I am closer to Houston than I am to Dallas but I get the Dallas locals off the 110 satellite on DISH. Dallas looked like it had been hammered by the same front hours earlier as well. Footage of drowned cars and creeks overflowing, traffic snarled and just a general all around mess.

The clock was ticking down, the batteries were draining down, it was getting dark outside and I had no electricity. 6:30pm and the deadline was on me and I decided to play the true procrastinator and have one beer and then venture outside. I had no sooner twisted the lid off the Miller Light bottle when the lights got bright signaling sweet electricity flowing from the lines onto the Old Girl! Life is good, huh?

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