Once in a generation: Day Three

Scout and Dipstick let us know around 7am that we were done sleeping. Deb and I bundled up against the cold and walked them outside, where (compared to the last couple of days) it felt downright tropical. The sun was shining brightly from a clear sky. I looked up at the American flag flying from Ernie’s rear deck — it was barely moving.

The temperature at that hour was 7°F, with “feels like” calculated at -8°F. But without the relentless wind we’d been battling for the last 48 hours, we got a strong sense that we’d cleared the worst of what Nature handed us.

I checked the temp in the troublesome wet bay — the built-in radiant heater, supplemented by just one ceramic heater, kept it overnight at 80°F. I switched off that extra heater and turned on the other one, aimed at the waste-water manifold and the fresh-water inlet. That, barring complications, paved the way for restoring our water supply from the hydrant.

Since today’s high was forecast to be 26°F, while on Christmas Day it’d be 35°F, I figured I’d deal with that tomorrow. Circumstances changed my plans, however — around 10am the fresh-water pump suddenly stopped delivering pressure.

There might’ve been ice blocking the inlet or the outlet, possibly inside the pump housing. Whatever the cause, it was time to see if we could get back on “shore water” sooner rather than later.

First I put my ungloved hand on the element of our heated fresh-water hose (which I’d never unplugged) — warm, so we were good there. I unhooked the hose from the hydrant and saw liquid water in the coupling (also good). Flipping the lever on the hydrant produced a strong stream. I reconnected the hose.

Inside the wet bay I felt the hose, the in-line filter and the couplings, finding them (relatively) warm. I turned the hydrant on, went inside the bus and ran the cold side of the fixtures, one at a time. Once the lines were purged of air, we were golden.

I did all that while the outside temp was 16°F and winds were calm. It seemed like mid-July.

A year ago on Christmas Eve, mind you, it was 73°F here. We won’t see that again anytime soon, but by this Thursday it’ll be in the mid-60s.

I’ll leave the heaters running in the wet bay ’til tomorrow morning. I tested the fresh-water pump again this afternoon and it worked fine, but it begs for closer inspection. If it does need replacing we have a spare, still brand-new in the box, though I was hoping to save that for The Mountain.

See, I’m already thinkin’ about 12V backup power in the house, using the pump as a way to move water from a holding tank in case of emergency. That’s just how my mind works.

Now maybe you’re wondering why I’ve devoted most of three posts to detailing how we managed during the recent round of “once in a generation” winter weather, specifically the ways we handled its impact on our motorhome’s systems. Perhaps it wasn’t all that interesting to you. Maybe you saw it as unnecessary drama.

(Yes, that’s a real ad, from 1956. One of my favorites.)

Or something.

Among other subjects showing up here on Ubi Libertas Blog, I chronicle our American Life. The experience of the last few days was just that — life. I didn’t exaggerate or embellish what happened, nor did I whine about our bad luck. (You know how I hate complaining.) We had a plan, problems cropped up that foiled our plan, and we tackled those problems. Not very dramatic, is it?

Lots of you had your own issues because of this weather. You solved (or otherwise dealt with) what went wrong. That’s the very definition of life.

I have a blog where I talk about mine.

Something else is behind these last three posts, as well as many others, and it goes to the threefold purpose of this blog. As I wrote ten months ago, I aim to inform, entertain and inspire. And while accounts of our weather-and-water issues probably weren’t terribly entertaining, I did try to be as informative as I could in describing the problems and how Deb and I addressed them.

Then there’s inspiration. If that word strikes you as too precious, think about it as documenting an example that others may find useful. In this case it began with the understanding that we faced an inconvenience, not a hardship, approaching it calmly and deliberately. It required a basic knowledge of how our coach’s systems work — defining symptoms clearly and figuring out the kind of failure that could manifest itself in what we were seeing. It meant being creative in finding solutions and remaining open to help from others.

All that would’ve been futile, of course, without persistence — resolve, that is, refusing to be discouraged when the first solution doesn’t work, and the second one works fine but doesn’t last, and the third comes with unintended consequences, and so on.

“Well, shit,” you may say to yourself, “I could do that.”

Great — either you were inspired by our story or I wasn’t talking to you in the first place.

As far as Deb and I are concerned, we made it through. We met the challenge. You may see brief mentions of it here on the blog, but we’re moving on.

That’s life. Merry Christmas.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB