Ron and Hazel's 'Travels with Nuggie' travel blog

20 years of faithful service, but it can no longer stand the...

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To clean the filters, the entire ceiling unit needed to be removed.

When it hit 95° one afternoon, I ran the dash air for...

Heading into the shop at Camping World.

The new energy efficient air conditioner.

The new ceiling unit is smaller, and filters can be cleaned without...

The weather in Minnesota this summer has been unusually hot, with temperatures in the 90's for several weeks in a row. The original Coleman Mach air conditioner on our 1993 Fleetwood Flair has been failing for the past couple of years, and now it could hardly run in these record temperatures. Designed to draw about 15 amps, it was popping the 20 amp circuit breaker constantly, at times running only a few minutes before doing so.

I had to make the move and order a new one. Coleman's standard Mach III is still being sold, but a new model, the "Power Saver", actually was advertised as having better cooling and would only draw about 11 amps. I don't know a lot about electricity, other than not to grab the cold water pipe when screwing in a light bulb, but I do know that I was never able to run our air on those occasions when we parked in somebody's driveway. The standard electrical source in an RV park is 30 amps, with the bigger rigs taking 50. Outdoor plug-ins on a house are just 15 amps, so running the air conditioner would pop the breaker almost immediately. But, with this new "Power Saver" rated at 11 amps, maybe I would stand a chance at air conditioning in those situations, if I remembered not to throw anything in the microwave.

My local and faithful RV repair station, Patten's RV in Princeton is not a Coleman dealer, I would have liked to have bought it from them. But, they carry another brand that draws 15 amps, and by now I had my heart set on this 11 amp thing. There is only one "Camping World" in Minnesota and those folks were nice enough to put it just 30 miles from me. I called them up, and they quoted me a price, about $825. The unit wasn't in stock, but they could have one on the next truck, and there was no charge for the shipping. I started to think about saving the $112 installation by doing it myself, but a quick calculation of the cost of dropping the 100 pound unit and smashing it to pieces as I tried to get it 12 feet in the air, and adding the price of the emergency room when I fell off the roof, made the fee look like a bargain.

I ordered, it would be in "next Thursday". I waited, the temperatures were in the 90's, I sweated, I re-set the circuit breaker several times a day as my old unit tried to make it to the finish line.

On Wednesday, I got a call, the air conditioner "missed the truck", but would be in the following Thursday. The lady on the weather channel said temperatures might hit "the high 90's" for the next few days.

The following Thursday came, I called Camping World, was my air conditioner in? I waited on hold for the answer. "Yes, it is here" was the reply. "Great", I said, "Can I come down? Can you install it today or tomorrow?, It's supposed to be 98° tomorrow ..." There was a pause. "I can work you in at 2 o'clock next Tuesday", he said. The lady on the weather channel was on in the background, telling me of more record high temperatures until Tuesday, then it was going to cool down, maybe even get cold.

A little after noon on the following Tuesday, I cranked-down the antenna, rolled up the awning, unhooked everything that needed unhooking, put away everything that needed putting away, and headed for Camping World. I was taking no chances, and would be there early.

They were actually waiting for me, I turned over the keys to a bright looking young mechanic, told him I'd be roaming around the store memorizing their inventory, and he went right to work. About an hour later, I was writing one of the bigger checks I'd written for a long time, and was happy to be doing it. The cost of the unit, the installation, the sales tax, the fee for disposing of the old unit, and the cost of the rag the fellow wiped his hands on, came to about a thousand bucks.

While I'd been waiting, I'd looked at some information about new motorhomes for sale. One was very similar to mine, and with only a 20% down payment, I'd only have to pay $464 a month for 20 years.

In 20 years I'll be 90. Realizing that makes my reliable 1993 Fleetwood, approaching 44,000 miles with a brand-new air conditioner, look pretty good.

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