Teardrop Trail Log: June 13, 2016
I guess I should be grateful we didn’t have more problems. If you think about it, trailering is an unlikely pastime, wherein one drags a small metal box on wheels at high speed over sometimes nasty, bumpy roads and expects everything to arrive at the same time. Then there’s the summer heat, rain, and wind — all of which can be extreme. Top it off by camping in the woods with open campfires, animal encounters and rutted trails masquerading as roads, and it’s a wonder things go as smoothly as they do. It’s a testament to the essential hopefulness and naïveté of the average camper. Certainly it describes our view of staying in the woods.
Repairing the antenna tube
Looking back, I understand our first several trips were usually trouble-free. Perhaps it was payback time. After a day of construction, rain, and detours, I thought we might have taken our lumps. As it turned out, we were just getting started. Day 2 dawned cool and overcast, and wonder of wonders, there was a Starbucks nearby. We went in and ordered, and within minutes I was in possession of the magic elixir. A Mocha. On the way back to the rig, I noticed that the antenna storage tube was askew. One of the supports had broken. Better fix it.
I decided to run our solar beer cooler while we were on the road. The day promised to be sunny, and I would have cold beer while setting up camp. Off we went through Paris, Texas, on our way to Joplin. Easy travel.
Since I was curious how much power we were generating and using with the beer cooler, I checked the voltage monitor every time we stopped. The battery voltage was falling slowly, suggesting the solar panel wasn’t keeping up, but nothing to worry about. Then during one of our stops, I noticed that the battery voltage had dropped by two volts. Not normal behavior. Considering the problem while we drove the next leg of the trip, I realized that one cell in the battery had catastrophically failed. This battery was toast.
We would have to find another. Marilyn got to work with the maps. As she plotted routes and queried the web, I mused on the rotten luck. What were the odds? Batteries don’t normally fail like this. On the other hand, it was over a year old. Maybe the battery maintainer wasn’t very good. Then, she announced her result. There was a Costco in southeast Kansas City, and going there would only take us a few miles out of our way. The camping gods had smiled.
We stopped at Costco, bought a replacement battery, and installed it in the parking lot to recover the core charge. Even so, we arrived at the Jacomo Campground by 7. Plenty of light to set up while Marilyn cooked a delicious dinner. Maybe we had finally paid our karma debt and could sail unconcerned into the adventure!
A New Battery