Bad Batteries, Highway 30,Westward Ho, and Trouble

As you all know, we were going to the beach yesterday to spend a few days at Fort Stevens State Park. Diane loaded pretty much everything we own into the old ’79 Winnebago, except for the cat. Then I strapped myself into the pilot’s seat, turned the key, and … nothing happened. Well, I turned the key, and shorted the two ignition wires together, and nothing happened. That’s how I normally start it because the button fell off so I put it in the old truck. Remember? Now it’s just two blue wires hanging out there, and it works just great.

The “nothing” turned out to be two dead batteries. It didn’t take long to determine the cause, either, because the headlight switch was suspiciously in the ‘On’ position where I left it the day before when I parked it after we went to get all that gas the day before. So, the lights were on all night. At least part of the night.

Diane was all settled into our chase car (we still don’t have a two bar) and she was kinda bummed when I exited the rig and gave her the bad news. Then I got the jumper cables and we tried to kick start it. It gave a few pitiful spins, but nothing like it needed to fire and I was having memories of the old truck from a few days ago, but different.

The next step was to just remove the batteries and install the ones from the old D22 which are actually fairly new. They start the D22 with hardly any effort. So, install them I did. It took me a while to get all the wires on the correct terminals because they’re all the same color (black) so there was a brief moment in time where the first battery was wired backwards causing a satisfying spark, letting me know it was full of juice, and not happy.

Finally it was done and I reassumed my proper position in the pilot’s chair and turned the key. Tentatively, I reached for the blue wires, hoping this was the solution. The wires touched, there was a brief spark, and the engine came immediately to life. It roared with satisfaction. We were all happy campers, almost. We still had to navigate the 60 or so miles on Highway 30 to Warrenton where Fort Stevens lives.

The trip, itself, was uneventful, and only about 2 hours long. It would have been less time but, like normal, there is construction on Highway 30 that require the use of people with stop signs to randomly change traffic patterns from two lanes to 1 for designated stretches.

But, we made it just fine, got checked in, and drove right to our reserved spot, N-25, that has a southern view. I made the necessary adjustments of the steering wheel to line the rig up to back into he spot. When I started backing up I noticed a fairly large puddle of what looked suspisciously like gasoline on the pavement. Committed, however, I had to continued backing until I had the rig right where Diane wanted it, al the while glancing back to the trail I was leaving.

Once parked, I snuck up on one of the puddles and confirmed my gasoline guess, then looked under the engine to see if it was still leaking. It wasn’t so my initial suspicion was the fuel delivery system. It was a deja vu moment from the D22 when I had to replace the mechanical fuel pump. In order to find out if my theory was correct, I instructed Diane on how to start the engine with the two blue wires while I draped my body over the right front wire so I could watch the fuel pump.

She touched the wires and my theory became fact right away as gas came spurting through the breather hole above the pump diaphragm, the part that isn’t supposed to have gas in it. Then my concern shifted back up Highway 30 as I wondered how far we had been driving while pumping gas out onto the highway, and how was the engine even running when the pump was broken? It was a literal whirlwind of doom between my ears for a moment, thinking that it may have cost us $100 to drive 60 miles. Worst case is that we got about 1/2 mile to the gallon on this trip, and we still have to get home. The good news is that the solution is fairly simple, and I have tools. What I don’t have are work clothes into which I could climb that would allow me to do my job without ruining my good khaki shorts. I would do it nude, but Diane won’t let me. Besides, I think the park rangers would object. It’s probably illegal, too. So, I need old clothes.

I suspect the fuel pump failed after we entered the park, because it wasn’t until then that the gas fumes began to fill the cockpit. It was not a good thing. Diane found it hard to breath while inside so we fired up the fans and blew out the bad stuff while sitting calmly in our round chairs under the awning. The weather was pleasant the entire time we were sitting there, then it started getting dark so we decided to brave the interior.

The air was better, but still not clear of the fumes. I briefly considered lighting a match, to see if it would just “Poof” them away, but thought better of it, and let the fans continue to do their thing. Soon it was tolerable and we felt it would be OK too cook something, just not with an open flame.

The decision for dinner was hamburger patties and left over Mexican rice. The patties were cooked on an electric griddle that has a panini mode so it can cook both sides at the same time, and the rice was reheated in the microwave. Milk, too much bread, cherry pie, and cookies rounded off the meal in a festive manner. It was all good.

I forgot to mention that when we came inside, the sky started sparking and booming as the predicted thunderstorms came ashore. It was an exciting time, and lasted for a while. Like all during dinner. It also rained, something we just love when snuggly inside our traveling abode. There’s something peaceful about sitting there, listening to the rain splatter on the roof.

After dinner, before bed, we tok the dogs out for a walk. The trip took us all the way around the “O” loop. We met lots of nice folks along the way, the dogs both evacuated their bowels, and bladders, and we all had some exercise.

Then we read for a while and went to bed. It was time.

As we lay in our twin beds under the fan, we detected it emitting a noticeable squeaking noise. Knowing there are no mice in the rig, it had to be the fan. Thankfully, I discovered that by covering my right ear, the one on which I normally lay, the squeak quit. Apparently the squeak frequency is exactly the same one that my left ear can’t hear. How fortunate for me. I suggested to Diane that she cover her right ear and see if it worked for her, but she refused letting me know she thought it was a supremely dumb idea.

Now it’s morning and time to get moving toward the direction of a solution for the gushing gas. It’s good this happened because I was seriously afraid that I would have to spend all day relaxing and reading. Now I have direction.

I’ll tell you how it goes.

5 thoughts on “Bad Batteries, Highway 30,Westward Ho, and Trouble

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