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Not On the Schedule

I am not one of those guys that has a problem being flexible – most of the time.  Miss Kathy probably has a different opinion.   I do like looking forward to a hot shower and an hour or so of downtime at the end of a long shift.

Yesterday afternoon was no different.  A dreary, chilly rainy day was drawing to a close.  Gusty winds had skewed the DISH dish around and I spent the better part of an hour getting it lined back up correctly.  Got that accomplished in between the rain bands but I was still chilled to the core; that hot shower was sure going to feel good.

2 hours later, I was winding down and thinking about calling it a day.  Shower was done, supper was done, a little TV and I could feel the drowsies coming on.  You know it is funny,  that diesel generator drones night and day 50′ from the Old Girl and you get to where you pay no attention to it at all.  Unless it hiccups; which it did.  Just a little burp, a change in exhaust note and the power to the Old Girl clicked off.  I looked at Miss K; Miss K looked at me; we waited for the power to come back on.

The power shutting off momentarily is not unheard of.  Sometimes you have a little surge or the voltage gets a little low and the Progressive Industries Electrical Management System kicks in.  That is what it is there to do and I have complete faith in it.  It has saved our ass innumerable times.   Usually, the power comes back on in 30 seconds or even less and we go on about our business.  Not this time….

There was nothing to do but put my clothes back on and suit up to go out in the rain and gathering dusk.   The first stop was in the rear electrical bay to check the readout on the Progressive Industries EMS and it was black-no power.  Now that was odd, was the generator hosed?  I went and checked the circuit breakers on the generator and they were all on. WTF?  Thoughts of a chilly, wet night boondocking  with no 120v power crossed my mind.  Next stop was a check of the 30amp extension lines feeding power to the Old Girl.  It takes two lines to reach the RV and the junction where the lines connect is up on a concrete block to keep them out of the mud and wet.  The 30amp cord I use has a lighted receptacle when it is powered. As I reached down to pick it up,  I noticed the plug was not glowing as it should have been.  I touched the plug and I got bit.  The electricity coursed from my hand right down out the toes of my boots and into that soaking wet ground.  Holy crap, that smarted!  Dumb ass me, huh?  Next stop was to turn the circuit breakers  off on the genset and then see just what in the hell was going on.

Think it is ruint?

I didn’t need to be an electrician to figure out the male plug on the RV power cord was burnt plumb up. That kinda stuff happens and I had replaced this same same plug about 3 years ago. As a matter of fact, I had cautioned the pitfalls of long electrical cable runs and high loads just this past week in a blog post.   Now the question was did I have a replacement end?

Back in the summer, one of the boys doing flowback stopped on his way out and asked me where the closest RV dealership was.  I asked him why and he said they had burnt up the end of their power cord in the recreational vehicle they had up on the pad.  I said maybe I can save you a trip to town and started rummaging through the under-guts of the Old Girl to locate the spare plug I always have with me. He did a U and headed back up the hill a happy camper.  But did I replace the plug I gave away?  10 minutes of rummaging with the cold rain just a -beatin’ on my back located the plug I needed.

I just hate replacing these plugs!  The wire ends you have to work with are short and stiff and it is a chore to wrassle them into the proper place on the plug.   I knew for sure it was going to be no picnic tonight.  The cold made the wires even stiffer, the rain made it even more miserable and the coming darkness was going to make it worse. Best get crackin’ because the plug was surely not gonna fix its’ own self.

It took me a solid hour to get it done and I was soaked and cold and shivering when I retreated back inside the Old Girl.   Miss K had  kept things toasty warm inside the RV with the Mr. Heater Buddy Radiant Heater and no electricity.  ‘Whiskey!’ I said through chattering teeth.  Now, we don’t drink here on the job — it is not allowed. We do keep some on hand for medicinal purposes.  Tonight, the doctor prescribed 2 fingers of Knob Creek and a single cube of ice in a water glass.  Bob’s your uncle!  I got me a good doctor, huh?

 

End Note: Lie No Better by Delbert McClinton from the cd One of the Fortunate Few.  By damn this old man can sing and play that harmonica.  Delbert always makes a bad day look better.

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3 comments to Not On the Schedule

  • coal

    Yup that sounds about right, it always fails in the miserable weather and usually at night. Can’t happen on a nice clear warm day can it?

    Reading your post reminds me that my plug ends need attention. If I procrastinate enough, I will be doing the job in a minus 30 snowstorm, best to get at it now.

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    • Andrew

      I probably need to fix something up in a small weatherproof junction box.

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  • Don

    Had a 2000 Cougar (Keystone) fifth wheel once – long cold winter in Virginia and fried the plug. Park owner and I had disagreement about why. Of course I had the water heater on electric to keep it from freezing – long story short – two years later (back in Houston) I discovered that the heating element in the water heater was the culprit. If I left it on all the time, goodbye plug. If I only used it periodically, plug was OK. Go figure.

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