Say you found a piece of landWet Willie (1974)
You’re gonna change from city boy to country man, yeah
Try to build your life with your hands
And just keep on smilin’
Keep on smilin’
The heat in Ozarkansas, like much of The South, is beyond oppressive. Last time Deb and I dealt with anything like this in an RV was two years ago this month in Bandera, Texas. Back then we were “moochdocking” with 30A shore power, so we could run only one of Ernie’s air conditioners. That’s not unlike what we’ve got goin’ now with the generator.
Extremes require changes in behavior, routines and expectations. We managed last winter when an overnight low of -6°F and winds of 47mph produced wind chill of -40°F. We’ll survive this, too. (I’m sure that the dogs wonder what we’ll put ’em through next.)
Part of adapting to the heat is getting stuff done early and then, if at all possible, hunkering down indoors ’til temps moderate after sunset. We had a long list of chores today, so we got up and got started before 6am.
Actually, we took time to enjoy coffee outside before doing anything productive. The dogs joined us, clearly sharing our feeling of peace in this place.
When we were done, I loaded the gas cans into the truck and headed down The Mountain toward Flippin. There I filled the cans and the Silverado at $3.019, swung through Walmart curbside pickup for provisions and was back home shortly after 9am.
The temperature already was 83°F.
On my short trip, I realized that I’d never traveled that direction at that hour (early morning, that is). Shadows fell in the opposite direction from what I’d seen before. Mountainsides were cast in new light. Familiar scenes looked different.
That made an ordinary errand special.
Next I started the generator, replenished our supply of fresh water and dumped the waste-water tanks. By the time that was done — around 11am — it was getting too hot for this old man to mess around outdoors anymore.
Deb’s been busy applying some of what we learned in the 2021 Texas heat. Yesterday and today she cut sheets of Reflectix (bought at Bandera True Value Hardware, actually) and put them up over most of the windows. It makes a huge difference.
You’re just hangin’ out at a local barWet Willie (1974)
And you’re wonderin’ who the hell you are
Are you a farmer? Are you a star?
I think it was 2pm or so when Deb ran up to her cousin’s (air-conditioned) cabin to do a load of laundry and scrub the Berkey filters. And that’s when my day started going downhill — the generator, which had purred for five straight hours, began falling on its face. We’d borrowed the dogs’ canopy to shade it, but I had to restart it eight times in three hours.
It has to be the heat. At one point my Weather Channel app said it was 102°F on The Mountain, with a heat index of 111°F. My handheld anemometer begged to differ — in the shade of the canopy, it read 107.7°F. The heat index was 127°F.
Whether or not all Predator 3500s are this susceptible to overheating I can’t say. What I know for sure is that this one’s goin’ back to Harbor Freight, to be replaced with a new unit — just as soon as we can afford the downtime.
Even if it means nursing a balky generator ’til the weather breaks, even though it’s a world-class hassle, that’s what we’ll do to keep the dogs comfortable. The alternative would be a span of four hours, give or take, without power. Neither option is particularly appealing.
It’s after 8:30pm as I type this. Knock wood, the generator has been humming along with nary a hiccup for three-and-a-half hours. The interior of the RV is pleasantly cool, if not necessarily icy — and it’s still 90°F outside.
If I can unlock the secret to keeping the thing cool enough to keep it running ’til we exchange it, that’d be great. At the moment, that’s the plan we’ll execute (again) tomorrow.
There are no right answers. In related news, there’s no place I’d rather be.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.