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Hard Starting; Lanai Lights; Water Heater Blues; Ollie North? Gloom and Despair; Minnesnowda Musings?

It’s been a very busy week. We returned from our weekend trip to Port Richey with a couple of unexpected “maintenance issues” on The Bus. The first was what sounded like dying engine starting batteries, you know, that rrrr-rrr-rrrrr sound? The Bus has two large 12 volt,  660 cold cranking amp starting batteries wired in parallel (large black batteries on top in photo), and four 6 volt house batteries wired in series and then in parallel, for lights, fridge, inverter, etc., the smaller white batteries below the big black batteries). They all seemed fine the last time we ran the engine a month ago, but “stuff happens”. So while looking at the batteries, I saw some green corrosion on the negative battery terminals. Not necessarily evil, but corrosion can actually build up between the connections, reducing electrical flow and making the engine hard to start. Out comes the socket set, a file, a wire brush, safety glasses, and other necessary bits and pieces from the tool bag. Remove all terminal connections, wire brush and file down the connections, and put some electrical grease on the terminals to prevent corrosion. Also turn on the battery charger in equalization mode, which pumps in 15 volts to the 12 volt batteries to boil accumulated sulfates off the battery plates. Result: engine starts easily and purrs like a kitten. Yee-Hah!!!!!  

My Lovely Bride had a brilliant idea this week… actually a couple, but the one with the most “Ty man-hours” attached was to buy those white rope lights and string them around our lanai (patio). Okay, measure twice… no, thrice… then off to Lowe’s to buy 120 feet (5 x 24 ft strings) plus the hardware to mount them on aluminum framing, as well as an extension cord that matched the white rope lights… “No, Darling Ty, an orange extension cord will not suffice, even if it’s the perfect length and in good condition… it would clash!” “Yes, Dear… no clashing.”) So, about five hours later, the last self-tapping screw was going in and the lights came on, and no, I wasn’t electrocuted. I have to admit that the lights look pretty good… but there is no waving Santa or dancing elves…  

Back to work on The Bus. Last weekend, the hot water heater worked on 110 volt electric power, but not on propane gas. Back at home, I now have time to attack this issue; like the battery problem discussed earlier, I suspected poor electrical connections, or maybe a blown fuse. Okay, remove the water heater back cover on the side of The Bus, check the fuses (all good), and clean up any corroded connections, including the small electrical circuit board. Everything looks okay; try to start her up… Voila, we have ignition! Hoo-Ray! (Like on our sailboat, Liberty, fixing things that break is one of my joys.) 

An old classmate of mine from the US Naval War College, Newport, RI, class of 1980-1981, was in town the other day. Ollie North, then known simply as Major Ollie North, US Marine Corps, was visiting The Villages on a book tour. Unfortunately, I didn’t know he was coming until that morning, and I knew that trying to break the line of adoring fans to invite him over for a beer would likely get me smacked about the head and shoulders with handbags from his many adoring fans. Maybe next time…  

Along with about 100 million other Americans, I bought a few PowerBall tickets the other day, hoping to be at least one of the winners of the $500 million jackpot. Sadly, I didn’t travel to Arizona or Missouri to buy my tickets, so I am rolling in self-pity right now. It’s a gloomy day in The Villages… I had already earmarked $35 million to deserving friends and readers of this blog, plus about $5 million for a new boat to entertain you all aboard… so you can share my misery tonight. Sigh…  

Lastly, I received an epic email from a blog follower from The Frozen North, but it’s late in the evening and my witty repartee skills are waning fast… I’ll just spark your interest with a teaser about Aesop’s Fable, a food company in Minnesota, and two guys named Sven and Ole feeding alligators with Spam and Oreos. 

1 Comment

  • Laura
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Now I am sad for you and ME about the PowerBall! Thanks for thinking of us!


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