5 Apr 2016
|When I was investigating campgrounds in New England, I came across a special, called "Spring Spectacular". The discount price was for two month’s stay, April 1 through May 30. As a result, I came north earlier than I had originally planned.
The campground, Normandy Farms, is extremely nice. In fact, I think it's the best campground I've been to on this entire trip! I arrived here on opening day, April 1st.
In hindsight, it seems appropriate that it was April Fool’s Day. What a disaster!
When I arrived, the staff warned me that they might be turning off the water since there were predictions of below freezing temperatures. No problem! I have plenty of on-board water in my holding tanks. My tanks are enclosed in my heated basement, they'll be fine. I can easily go a full week without connecting to the campground system.
Sunday morning started out quite normal. I checked my email, did my morning calisthenics, and had breakfast. Other than the snow that had fallen that morning everything seemed normal. I noticed that the pilot light on my power strip was not lit. I checked the microwave display. It was blank. I have no campground power. No problem! Almost everything in my RV works off battery power. Even the light inside my fridge still works. I'll be OK.
I went over to the recreation center. They told me that three telephone poles had come down due to the storm. It will take three to five days before power is restored. They're shutting down the rest rooms and closing up the camp. No problem! The few of us full-timers are welcome to stay but there will not be any services available.
My RV has dual, deep-cycle batteries. I checked. They were down to 88% full. No problem! I decided to top off my batteries and charge my devices by running my generator. After 20 minutes, my generator shut down. No problem! I still have plenty of power for tonight. I'll deal with it later.
When I returned from doing some errands, my inside temperature was down to 40 degrees. My furnace had turned itself off. My fridge had shut down. My stove wouldn't light either. And, my generator won't start. OK. Now, we have a problem!
After switching to my alternate propane tank, I got my fridge and stove working. Still no generator. No furnace. This does not bode well!
For fear that my holding tanks would freeze and burst, I drained my freshwater tank and added RV anti-freeze to my other tanks. Now, if it gets worse, I can just abandon my rig and go visit my son or find a motel.
Apparently, when it gets very cold, the liquid propane (LP) doesn’t evaporate well. After a while, the pressure slowly increased and I finally got my furnace going. Time to go to bed.
The next morning, we had more snow. The inside temperature had stayed at 62, where I had set the thermostat. I checked the battery bank, now down to 14%. Could that be correct? The gauge said I had used 140 amp-hours out of its available 175 amp-hours. The fan for the furnace uses 5 amps, it’s been running nearly continuously for more than 24 hours. Yes, the numbers all make sense. But, they add up to serious trouble, if I don’t do something soon.
I called the only working phone at the campground. They said that power had just now been returned! I connected my RV to the campground. Yes! I have power!
Now, about that water situation. I now have reliable heat, meaning my holding tanks are safe. But, I have no way to refill them. The next two days are expected to be well below freezing. No hope of campground water for the next two days.
I went to the nearby Planet Fitness, where I have a membership. I got a nice hot shower. This is a workable system but not ideal.
On Friday, a full week after I had arrived at the campground, we finally had both water and electricity. It's time to do the laundry, wash the dishes, flush the holding tanks, etc.
You might think that the moral of this story is Be Prepared.
No, the lesson to be learned from this episode is that no discount campground price is low enough to be worth returning north this early in the spring!