Monday, February 22, 2010

Hunkered Down

Winter has made a return visit to the desert!  Yesterday morning started off bright and sunny, but windy.  As the day wore on, the wind stuck around, bringing a few clouds, but no rain.  This morning, the wind is still with us, and a few rain showers have appeared as well.

I went for a long walk with Janna and Mike yesterday morning.  When I got back, Jim had my sewing machine out of the closet – hint, hint.  He had several things that needed some sort of mending or alteration.  So, he went off to Quartzsite on a water trash dump run while I got the sewing started.

When he got back, he had another 20 gallons of fresh water to top off our fresh water tank.  Kareninthewoods, of RV’ing: Small House…Big Backyard, sent a comment about Jim’s little pump set-up, asking for pictures, so here are a couple Jim took yesterday.

The parts consist of a 12 volt pump (which will be our emergency back-up if our regular pump fails), an on-off switch, a 10 amp inline fuse on the red (positive) wire which is connected to a 12 volt extension cord.  The black (negative) wire from the pump is also connected to the extension cord.  Then  Jim got a 6’  white hose and cut it into a 4’ and a 2’ section and used the pump fittings on it:

Jim 006

One end of one hose slips onto the fitting in the lid of the water jug and the other connects to the inlet side of the pump.  The other hose gets connected from the pump outlet to the fresh water tank.  The 12v cord gets plugged into an outlet conveniently located under our dining table.

Jim 001

He just flips the “on” switch and pumps the water into the tank.  When the jug is empty, the pump creates enough vacuum to collapse it, then the switch is turned off.  I hope that’s a good enough technical explanation, but if you need more info, we’ll try to answer any questions.  It ain’t pretty, but it works great!

Now, while Jim was taking care of the water stuff, I was still slaving away over a hot sewing machine.  I had the generator on because I thought the sewing machine would use up a lot of battery power.  But the batteries were fully charged so I guess I didn’t really need to have the generator on.  Anyway, when Jim came in to check the levels on our “See Level” gauges, they didn’t work!  He turned the generator off, we waited awhile, and still no read-out on the panel.   Uh-oh.  He theorized that we’d overcharged the batteries and caused a problem with the electronic circuit for the read-out panel.

He went to get his phone to call the guy that installed this system, and couldn’t find his phone.  Finally, I started calling his phone so we could track it down by the ringing.  No ringing to be heard inside.  Hmm…. Call again.  No ringing outside.  Double hmmm….  All of a sudden, someone answers the phone!  The voice on the other end is telling me to have the owner of this phone come pick it up at the Quartzsite transfer station.  Jim had dropped the phone on the ground when he took the trash in.  Ok, so he jumped in the car and took off to go get his phone.  When I glanced at the clock, I saw that he had a grand total of 16 minutes to drive nearly 20 miles over a winding road, as the transfer station closes at 2:30 and it was now 2:14!  I called the phone again, and the same voice answered.  I explained that the phone’s owner was on the way, and could she please wait an extra few minutes for him.  Well, he made it in 17 minutes, got his phone and came home.

This day wasn’t going so well for him.  Once he got home he put in a call to Brannon, the fellow in Alabama who installed our See Level system and left a message for him.  Brannon called back a couple of hours later and had Jim pull the fuse to reset the power to the read-out panel.  Success!

The day improved greatly!  Meanwhile, I had finished the sewing projects and cleaned up my mess.  Good thing Janna was doing most of the cooking today.  Although she had her own issues to contend with, as their generator wasn’t working and she needed to borrow our oven to bake her cornbread.  We got that done and headed over to their place for beans, grilled pork chops and cornbread.  When she took the foil off the pan, she realized she’d forgotten to add baking soda to her batter, so the bread didn’t turn out as she’d expected.  But dinner was still great.

We played a round of Mexican Train after dinner, and it was my night to claim a win.

Today we’re trying to keep a lower profile and not get into trouble.  We’ll just see how that goes!


KarenInTheWoods said...

Thanks for the pics! We were kinda thinking of picking up a spare pump to use too... and setting it up like you did. Great for you to share your information and photo...

Karen and Steve

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you guys are enjoying the boondocking experience. I didn't think I was going to like it and I am missing it so much. Hoping to see you two in the desert next fall. Keep enjoying yourself and I will keep reading about it and wishing we were there lol

Brenda Brown

Mark and Dortha said...

I am glad Jim recovered his phone. It could have been lost in the desert forever!