In the air, out of air

There’s a daily cycle of life in a campground. Shortly after sunrise many guests pack up, roll out and head for their next stop. The park staff swoops in and, within a window of just two or three hours, picks up litter, cleans out fire rings and generally makes the now-empty sites tidy. They’ll even cut the grass, if time permits.

By early afternoon, that night’s campers begin to arrive. The parade often continues well after dark, with latecomers picking up their check-in packets tacked to the wall outside the campground office.

Long-term guests like us get to watch it all unfold, day after day. I sent our drone up today shortly before this park’s official check-in time, deciding that’d be the hour when I’d be least likely to disturb our neighbors.

An aerial perspective is almost always fascinating, which probably explains the popularity of drones — along with Ferris wheels, observation decks and the like. We humans are more or less stuck at our own eye level, or lower, so getting a view from above is a genuine treat.

This was the second time I’d launched our drone, the first having been on that ridge above Bandera. I had to review the instructions today, to make sure I didn’t screw it up, but the controls as well as the dynamics of the craft felt more natural than they had the first time.

Soon we’ll take the drone up the hill to the campground’s construction site and survey the work in progress. I’ve already asked permission, of course, which the park’s owners enthusiastically granted. It should be fun.


Deb’s cousin returned this afternoon to finish wiring Ernie’s seven-way trailer connector. He’d pre-wired everything he could at home last night. Today he checked his work by applying power to each circuit and confirming that it triggered the proper function on Mercy.

With that out of the way, he methodically connected the pre-wired assembly to Ernie — again, verifying that each wire he grabbed was the right one. Then it was time to plug the towing cable into both vehicles and do one final function check.

We got running lights. We got turn signals. But we got no brake lights — which was why we were doing all this in the first place.

Worse, the brake lights on the bus weren’t working, either.

I suspected it was a blown fuse, so I checked — nope, the fuse was fine. We all just sat there, stumped, and then it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard the slight “hiss” the last couple of times that Deb stepped on Ernie’s brake pedal.

We parked the bus on our site roughly three weeks ago, dumping air down to about 50psi before dropping the jacks. Recently we brought the rig back up to measure the hitch at travel height, then dumped the air again. Since then, repeated testing of the brake-lights circuit had depleted the air system with each press of the pedal.

No air, no brake lights. No brake lights on the motorhome, no brake lights on the toad.

I started the diesel, brought the air up to 130psi and presto — brake lights. Everything worked, Mercy as well as Ernie.

We learned something today. I don’t think any of us realized that in order to have electricity, we had to have air.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath