Daily Archives: July 5, 2018

Happy ‘Belated’ 4th of July . . .

Especially To All The Veterans.

Statue Of Liberty 4th of July

We appreciate your service to our country.

Today, the 4th, was a very nice do-nothing day here at the Rancho Blanco RV. We had BBQ and we never even left the rig.

Besides the Lawler’s BBQ we brought home from my aunt Virginia’s last night, we had some leftovers from Sonny’s, Rendezvous, and Jim & Nick’s to add to the feast. Then for dessert we had some delicious sweet ripe cantaloupe also from my aunt’s.

We still have not brought the TV up front or put the DirecTV dish out. And somehow we don’t really miss it. Jan does have one show that she really likes that starts back up next Tuesday after we get back to Houston, so maybe then.

We’ll see.

Regular readers know I always have a backup plan . . .  for everything. Kind of like the old saying, “Be polite to everyone you meet, but have a plan to kill them if necessary.”

And I have one for my generator problem too. 

I now seem to have two problems with signals coming from the controller board on the genset. Last summer I lost the the START signal coming to the solenoid/starter from the controller board. So my backup plan was to wire in one of those remote starter switches you use when turning up your car. So now it’s push down the GEN START button on the dash and pull the trigger on the remote.

So when I discovered that I didn’t have 12 volts coming from the controller to the governor actuator, I was hoping another kludge would get me running. So I jumpered 12 volts directly to the actuator while Jan cranked it over.

No luck.

I’ve got a couple of more things I want to check, but now that I seem to have lost two signals from the controller board, for the starter and the actuator, I’m looking at the possibility of a bad controller board.

And a new board looks to be about $1500 from Onan-Cummins. Ouch!

Of course then I would be looking at putting that amount of money into a 19 year old unit that could easily die from something else expensive . . . the very next day.

So here’s my backup plan.

Predator 8750

Predator 8750 Generator

It’s a 7 kw (compared to 7.5 kw for the Onan) running watts generator from Harbor Freight. The online reviews seem to be pretty good, and at 22” x 23” x 27’ it’s smaller than the Onan, and at 183 pounds, it’s about 240 pounds lighter than the Onan.

It has a 240 volt twistlock plug that could be wired up for the rig, giving me about 30 amps per leg vs. 35 amps for the Onan, so not a lot of difference. Especially since our Coleman 15K BTU unit only draws about 15 amps, and our 13.5K BTU one draws even less.

It also comes with a 120 volt 30 amp twistlock receptacle, 4 GFCI protected 120 volt receptacles, and a 12volt output.

Even better, it has electric start if you hook up a 12 volt battery to it. But I won’t need a separate battery since I’ll just use the 12v line that comes in to the Onan starter now.

It uses standard unleaded gas, and the 6 gallon tank will run the unit for 10 to 12 hours, probably longer than we’ve ever driven in a day.

I still haven’t given up on the Onan generator, but I’m prepared.

The power went off about 10:15pm last night and stayed off until a little before midnight. Then it went back off a little after midnight, so finally I gave up, post the No Blog Tonight message from my phone and went to bed.

This morning I did website stuff for a while and then went back to poring over the Onan service manual trying to get a handle on the sequence of things during startup. As part of this I’m making a list of questions to ask them.

I didn’t feel so bad last night when I went outside to check if all the power was off, or it was just me. I ran into a couple of other guys doing the same thing. And neither of their generators worked either. The guy next door in the big, brand new 5th wheel said his generator cranks and runs, but never puts power to the coach. I told him it was probably a transfer switch problem and he said, “What’s that?”

I think he was just as new as the RV. So I explained it to him, and told him it was probably part of his inverter and he should check for a blown fuse or popped breaker.

The other guy had a 2016 Expedition, and his generator wouldn’t even crank. So it’s not just me.

A little before 1pm Jan and headed over to my cousin Anna Jean’s (CuzAnna) house to see her and her sister Marjorie and her husband Walter who were meeting us there.

Anna Jean Margorie and Walter with Jan

My mother, Anna Jean, and Marjorie were all first cousins, so I guess that makes us second cousins. Anyway we had a great time catching up on all the family and near-family gossip, and even about my ex-girlfriends here, with some good and some bad stuff that happened to them.

We talked for about 4 hours until I think we all started getting hoarse. When we finally headed out I noticed all the beautiful Tiger Lilies covering her side yard.

Anna Jean's Tiger Lilies

Really striking flowers.

Getting back on the road we make the 15 mile trip south to Decatur to have dinner at another of our favorites, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ, a local institution. And listed as one of the 10 Best BBQ joints in the US.

The walls are covered floor to ceiling with plaques, and big trophies like these

Big Bob Gibson's Awards 2

Big Bob Gibson's Awards 3

are scattered around the dining room.

I had the 2 meat combo plate with ribs, pulled pork, beans, and turnip greens, And as usual I had leftovers.

Big Bob Gibson's Combo Plate 3

while Jan had a 1/4 white meat chicken dinner with beans and a side salad.

All really delicious, and well worth the trip down here.

Then coming back up to Athens, we made a quick WalMart stop and then it was back to the rig.

Hope the power stays on tonight.

Lastly I want to wish my sweet Jan a happy 51st Anniversary. No, not the marriage one, but the first meeting one. I think I’ve told this before, but it’s worth telling again.

July 5th, 1967 I started a summer job at Florida Wonderland, a small, slightly-seedy amusement park in Titusville, FL. I did the porpoise acts and gave the tours through the facility. Since we didn’t have an ice machine over there, twice a day I had to walk across US1 to bring back buckets of ice from the Miss Kitty’s Saloon that was part of the Old West town in the park. The ice was used to keep the fish we fed the animals from spoiling.

My first trip over I walked through the swinging doors and a beautiful long-legged redhead saloon girl caught my eye, and she’s kept it for the last 51 years.

Jan for Mother's Day

Suddenly I needed ice a lot more than just twice a day, even if I had to throw it in the Indian River.

It took me two weeks to get her to go out with me. I just kept pestering her until she finally gave in. I guess I’d be considered a stalker today.

But my persistence paid off.

Thought for the Day:

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else” .-  John Burroughs

“But if he successfully blames someone else and gets away with it, he didn’t really fail, now did he.” –  Greg White


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