Tuesday, October 3, 2023

A/C Success; Time to Turn West

Location: Meaher State Park; Spanish Fort, Alabama (near Mobile) 

It was a 250 mile tow to get here but it was a nice drive, mostly on interstates. As I've mentioned before, I prefer towing on interstates because of the room they provide in case of an emergency with the wide shoulders. I pulled in around 4:00 instead of 5:00 as I had planned the night before. My last campground was on the border of Eastern and Central Time Zones. My cell phone was picking up conflicting signals and one minute it would say Central then change to Eastern. In all of the confusion, I left on time in Eastern Time but an hour early on Central Time. It all worked out OK, it wasn't too hot when I got here and the Taco Bell I went to after setting up camp gave time for the sun to go down and provide some good cooling.

My campsite here at Meaher State Park

The A/C tech installed my new A/C this morning. It took him a little less than 1 hour and I forgot to take a single picture of the process. However, I did pester him very much with tons of questions and constantly looking over his shoulder. The new A/C works great with a little more than 20 degree difference between intake air and output air. You can bet I'll be sleeping in 64 degree temperature tonight. When the RV tech got here he was swarmed by three other campers in the campground. Each needed a little work done on their rig. He helped 2 of them since their issues were minor, but the third would have taken too long and he had someone else scheduled for work elsewhere. 

This is the same campground I stayed at when the tech diagnosed my A/C problem. It is a nice one with the campsites separated by a generous distance. It is a little more than twice the price of Corps of Engineers campgrounds but seems to be comparable to most State Parks. 

I didn't do much exploring since I arrived late in the evening yesterday and spent the morning with the RV tech. I was able to have a nice lunch at a Chinese Buffet. I also walked around the campground and explored one of the trails to the marshes and I went to the campground fishing pier for the sunset which was below average.

The Cane-cutters Trail leading from the campground to the marshes

A nice boardwalk leading into the marshes with the sign reading "Do Not feed or harass the gators."

A nice thinking bench facing west towards the setting sun

The campground fishing pier. One guy was fishing.

Another thinking bench facing west.

Sun setting over Mobile Bay. 
'Night ya'll.

I checked the Fort Pickens Campground site again, but still not enough days in a row to get me to go. I'm still disappointed in missing the campground again. It appears that about 4 to 6 weeks is the advance time period you need to make reservations if it includes the weekend. It just didn't work out for me this time. Maybe I'll ease over this way after the holidays. Those decisions can wait cause I'm just about decision-making burnt out. I have reservations all the way home but still need to decide which campground I'll be staying at once I get home. The one I have been using as a home base for the last few years has gone out of business since I've been gone. I'll have to chose another one. I've stayed at just about all of them around that area, so I just need to pick one.

Tomorrow is moving day and I've decided to make another long haul. Coincidentally, it is about the same amount of miles as it was to get here. I like making long hauls on the last few legs of my trips. They become my "thinking drives". Time for me to mull over the previous few months of traveling. To go over, in my mind, things I've seen and done while on this trip. I need those thinking drives and a few days of down time before getting home to get myself centered again.  

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.  


Sunday, October 1, 2023

I Chose Poorly

Location: R. Shaefer Heard Campground; on West Point Lake near West Point, Georgia. On the state line with Alabama.

This is the full moon rising at my last campsite at Whitetail Ridge. It was nice. Definitely a top 10 campsite.

My current campground is the first campground I escaped to when avoiding the heat of southern Alabama while waiting on my new air conditioner to be delivered. On that stay it worked really good because my campsite was completely surrounded by trees and very shady. Almost too much shade because with a little rain it became very humid like a rain-forest. But, I've guess I've become spoiled by my last two great campsites. They each backed up to the lake with complete afternoon shade to keep the temperature manageable during the day. With nighttime lows in the mid to upper 60's, it was ideal. 

So, with those in mind, I saw this campsite when I was looking for a campground before heading towards the Mobile area. It looked similar, in relation to the lake, but I needed to check the afternoon shade. From one of my computer apps, I looked up the angle of the setting sun and plotted that on Google Earth from the location of the campsite. Wow, the sun would set behind a group of 4 big trees providing complete shade from about noon to sunset. This process has worked for me many time in the past so I confidently made the reservation while patting myself on the back for finding another great campsite. I was Wrong. I was only a little wrong, but still wrong. I'll have to add another item to the list of "Close only applies to horseshoes and hand grenades". The item I need to add is "angles of the sun". You see, the sun missed that group of trees by only a couple of degrees which was enough to allow the sun to hit Liberty broadside all afternoon. It got warm and I had to go to town until it cooled off some. As to my campsite chose,,,,the Knight said it correctly in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ,,,,"He chose poorly". It doesn't really matter now since today is my last day here.

It's a nice campsite but only with a good air conditioner.

 That group of 4 trees on the left are the ones I had counted on to provide me shade. 

I don't get to see the setting sun, but I do get to see the afterglow. 

My surge guard protected me and Liberty again. When I plugged into the campsite electrical pedestal the surge guard indicated a "High Ground, 4 volts". Since there wasn't a 50 amp receptacle for me to "dogbone" to, I called the campground hosts and one of them came to my site to check it out. He was not an electrician. He simply checked the voltage and said it was wired correctly. I asked him to check the voltage between the ground of the 30 amp and the ground of the 20 amp, but he said he wasn't comfortable doing that and called the COE ranger. She showed up quickly and called their contracted electrician who also showed up quickly. He removed the panel and you could clearly see the cracked receptacle and burnt wire. This allowed some voltage to bleed over to the ground wire which my Surge Guard identified and prevented power from going to Liberty. Between bad pedestals, nearby lightening strikes and power surges, my Surge Guard has protected me at least a half a dozen times or more. All's well that ends well.

Tomorrow (Monday) is moving day and I'll be making a long tow of about 250 miles to get back to Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama (near Mobile) to get my new A/C installed on Tuesday. I plan to arrive at the campground between 5 and 6 o'clock to avoid most of the afternoon heat. Hopefully, tomorrow will be the last day I worry about hot temperatures for a while. 

I haven't done much exploring around the area this time. I did drive by the dam to see if they were generating power since the lake level is so low. I was surprised to see one of the three turbine outlets going since the last time I was here, it didn't seem like any power was being generated. Maybe some rain will hit this area to fill the lakes up before winter.

This is probably the last picture of a dam for awhile. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.    

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Hanging Out in Georgia (mostly pictures)

Location: Whitetail Ridge Campground (COE); LaGrange, Georgia 

It's another great Corps of Engineers Campground. Although the lake level is low, it is still a great view from my campsite. The weather has even cooperated with no need for A/C over the last two day. Today's forecast predicts noon as being the time when the temperature gets higher than 70 degrees.

This was the last sunset at Old Federal Campground. It was the best of the ones I saw there. Again, it was a great campsite.
My current campsite at Whitetail Ridge Campground. Another good one, I'm on a winning streak.


This shows the low lake level. The brown/reddish dirt is the old lake bottom and the grassy area on the lower right is the normal lake level. 

This walking back to Liberty which is shown in the middle left part of the picture. The elevation drop of the lake is not as dramatic as some I've seen in Texas, but since it is a shallow lake at this location, it looks worse than it is. 

I wish this great weather would follow me when I head to Mobile, Alabama on Monday to have my new A/C unit installed. The predicted high at Mobile on Monday is 88 degrees. It will be a 250+ mile tow so I plan to get there late in the afternoon with hopes of cooling temperatures. The A/C tech plans to install the unit Tuesday morning so hopefully it will be working really good by the heat of the afternoon. If it puts out a 20 degree difference from the outside temperature, I should have it down into the mid 60's by sundown. 

Most of the time when air conditioners are mentioned, I'm reminded of an older man who worked for me early in my career. His name was Austin Lazarus and he told the story about when he and his wife got their first air conditioner back in the late 60's. His wife, being the budget conscious part of the pair, would turn the A/C off or on a high setting during the day while Austin was working. When he would get home from working outside all day, the house would be a little cool, but not cold, since she would turn it on an hour or so before he got home. He told us, he finally put his foot down and told her that "he expected his house to be as cold as it was in the A&P was when he was a kid walking into the store barefooted on the cold linoleum." Doesn't that just paint a mental picture that lots of us can understand and appreciate. Austin passed away several years ago and is missed by many people. His son, Eddie, who also worked for me for a short time, opened his own A/C shop and was very successful. In fact, about 12 years ago, Eddie and his son (Austin's grandson), installed a new replacement central A/C unit in my house. More of life's circles. They are everywhere, we just have to look.

I found a nice Museum called The Biblical History Center here in LaGrange. It centered a lot on the changes in Israel over the centuries. It was kind of interesting with accurate reproduction of items from the different time periods. They also had some exhibits of actual artifacts on loan from some museums in Israel. The actual artifacts were protected behind glass with a strictly enforced "No Photography Allowed." It was an interesting 2 hours of wandering and learning. I could easily have spent another 2 hours if I wanted.

This picture and the next one are pretty accurate replicas of houses and businesses during Biblical times. 

The type of living conditions during Biblical times.

A man operated mill-stone in the foreground and a water wheel operated on in the background.

A partial overall view of many of the displays while looking through the Roman columns. 

A reproduction of an early Jewish Synagogue. That is the Seat of Moses in the middle left. 

This campsite has the rear window of Liberty pointed directly at the rising sun. This morning's sunrise was non-existent due to the overcast sky but yesterday's was a little above average sunrise.

The above average sunrise.

I didn't notice the reflection in the window until I downloaded my pictures. I like it. 

Today's exploration will be of a modern day laundromat or as my East Texas raised mother called it, a Wash-a-teria. Life goes on, even on the road. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll make a short move to the campground I stayed at when I first arrived in Georgia on my escape from the heat. It will be a different campsite and I think it will be a better one. I don't have any explorations planned while there so I may start doing some of my "trip wrap-up" since my trip is almost over. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Good News, Good Campsite, Good Sunset

 Location: Old Federal Campground (COE); Flowery Branch, Georgia (about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta)

The good news: My air conditioner has been delivered to my mobile RV (AC) tech in Mobile, Alabama. It seems everything fell in place as far as delivery and it arrived earlier than we all expected. My tech and I have decided on October 3rd as a good date to install it. I have reserved a campsite for the 2nd and 3rd at Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort which is the campground I was at when the tech diagnosed the problem. There is a better than 50% chance of rain on those two days so it will be fingers crossed until he finishes the job. Between now and then I have reservations at three COE campgrounds with what looks to be fantastic campsites. The weather has been great here in Georgia with highs in the upper 70's to low 80's with a nice breeze and lows in the lower 60's. I will leave Georgia and the nice weather on the 2nd and make the 250 mile tow down to Mobile where the high's are in the mid 80's. It should be a little warm but still OK because my A/C is still hanging in there at 5* lower temperature than the outside.  

I got very lucky on being able to get the campsite I'm at now. I reserved it just a week or so ago which is a very short time frame now a days. This campground is full, or at least reserved, every weekend during the summer. I talked with the host and she confirmed what I had already heard that lots of people reserved their favorite site at the beginning of the summer for every Friday and Saturday. With the senior pass, that would be $34.00 for the weekend and if they canceled early enough in the week, they could get a refund of $24.00. Someone must have just canceled as I was looking and booking my reservation because this site is top notch and much better than the semi-rainforest at the last two campgrounds. I think my next two campsites are going to rival this one. I'm gonna leave Georgia with a good vibe as far as campgrounds.

It was a little tricky backing in since the driveway has a curve to it where it ties into the cul-de-sac. Not a big problem for such a great campsite with morning and evening shade.

The view out my dirty back glass from my computer desk.

And the view looking out my door. A person could get used to this real easy.

No walking to see the sunset. It is right outside the door.

A peaceful sunset over a peaceful lake. I like it.

I went exploring today in search of a waterfall. I saw a place online named Toccoa Falls about 45 miles away so off I went. I should have did a little more researching since I got there about 10:30 but the place didn't open until 12. No problem, the little town had a Home Depot so I figured I would get a 30 amp plug so I could convert my old power cord into an extension cord. The didn't have one so I included Home Depot to my growing list of places that didn't have one. So far, it's Lowes and Ace. I may just order it online and have it shipped to Louisiana. To kill a little more time,  I found a locally owned, home cooking, buffet restaurant in the town of Toccoa. It was great. Very tender ribs, homemade 'nanner' pudding and cobbler. It was really good. 

I got back to the Falls a little after 12 and there was a line at the pay station. The cost was only $2.00 but I was surprised at the number of people. I then remembered it was a Saturday. I'm used to being alone at places like this but usually that is during the week and not on weekends. It was a nice waterfall and correctly priced at $2.00. After taking some pictures I noticed a placard and stone monument off to the side. It told the story about a dam failing that had created the lake on top of the hill/mountain where the falls are located. A wall of water had come crashing down where I was standing and washed everything away. The sad part is that it killed 39 people and injured 60 others on the deadly morning. All of these people were either student or staff at the college located within a 1/4 mile downstream from the falls. The college is appropriately named Toccoa Falls College. It was founded in 1907 and is "dedicated to a single purpose: Developing godly character with intellect." You don't hear or read about a mission statement like that now-a-days. I think it is great and based on the look of the campus, this small college is doing OK. 

Nice looking falls for this part of the country. I haven't seen any in a while, so it was a good day.

My thoughts after I talked to my RV tech about the A/C pretty much summed up the life of a full-time RV traveler. When he told me the A/C came in, I said, "that's great, I'm in north Georgia right now but I'll swing by the Mobile, Alabama area on my way back to Louisiana so you can put it in." That's about an 850 mile trip with maybe a half dozen campgrounds along the way and I casually mentioned it the same way someone would say they were running to the store for a gallon of milk. It just sort of summed up the life we live and the freedom that comes with it. 

A nice looking, but uncomfortable bench along the path going to the Falls. 

 Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Self-Exile, Waiting & Watching

Location: McKinney Campground (COE); Acworth, Georgia (about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta)

Waiting on news of my A/C replacement and watching the weather forecast. Today is day four of my four day stay in this campground. Like the last one, it is a heavily wooded campground. It reminds me of some of the campgrounds in Oregon near the Columbia River. Although I count the Columbia as the best river I've seen, some of the campgrounds feel like a rain forest with very little sunshine making its way to the ground. In my case here though, I guess that is the trade off to get cooler temperatures. The daytime highs around here are running around 80* which is very tolerable. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be heading about 2 hours northeast of here to Old Federal Campground which is another COE campground. I've learned that the COE campgrounds in north Georgia are changing to a joint operation with some of the local cities/counties. The Corp is assuring everyone that the senior discount pass will still be accepted. After seeing what happened to the TVA campgrounds after they contracted with a concessionaire, I'm doubtful if the pass will be accepted after a few years. I have a feeling that COE camping will be changing for the worse in the years to come. Oh well.

My A/C is still producing cool air about 5* cooler than the outside temperatures. I hope that continues until it is replaced. The good news is, I received confirmation from my mobile RV (A/C) tech down near Mobile, Alabama that my A/C replacement under warranty had been approved by Coleman-Mach. Now we wait until the replacement unit is sent to him. Time estimates range from one week to 3 months. My guess is 2 weeks based on the information and vibes I got from the Coleman warranty tech. I guess we will see. Until then, I have reservations at COE campgrounds here in North Georgia thru October 1st. Two of those campsites are out in the open and I'm gambling the weather stays relatively cool or I'll be baking inside of Liberty. You have to make reservations a couple of weeks in advance because most of the campgrounds around here are booked up on every weekend. A lot of people reserve spots for every weekend of the summer and than cancel them, if need be, based on how their plans change. It's a game they play and we have to play it too by waiting for them to cancel and then swooping in to make our reservations. Games People Play,,,, extra points if you remember the singer/writer. 

I've only done a little exploring while I've been here. I drove up to the dam site and visitor's center. The visitors center was so-so and the overlook view of the dam/powerhouse could be much better if the Corp did a little clearing of some trees. The best thing I've done over the last three days was have a meal at Waffle House. I had a big hankering (southern term) for a big breakfast at dinner time. No place better for that than Waffle House and they didn't disappoint. It was very good. Now it's plumb sad that the big thing over three days is Waffle House. I think maybe this heavy forest is bringing me down.

I'll post a couple of pictures to finish up. 

My campsite here at McKinney. It's a nice site and it may sound crazy, but I'm getting tired of all the trees and shade. 

This is the best view of dam/powerhouse. It is from the overlook above the visitors center. From what I could see it is a nice dam and powerhouse. It looked as if only one turbine was in operations. You can tell how deep the lake is in front of the dam by the height of the spillway by the gates.

I wish the Corps would take more interest in creating a nice viewing place of the dam. 

A different kind of "thinking bench". At least a different kind of thinking. This bench has a great view from above the visitors center. It is a memorial bench, dedicated to a long-serving Corp volunteer. There is no back-story provided, but I'm guessing this was her favorite spot, at least that is the feeling I got when I stood next to it. I did not sit down. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road.    

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Two Decisions Made. Run for Cooler Weather & Order A/C

This post is going to be longer than usual and include two campgrounds so I can get caught up. I didn't do a lot of exploring in either place but the campgrounds are good so I needed to document them here. I'll also use this post to document my A/C problem so I'll have it for future reference. Some of the information may be useful for other RV'ers. 

1st Location: Meaher State Park; Spanish Fort, Alabama. It is located just to the east of Mobile, Alabama. This is the campground where I met up with the mobile RV A/C tech. 

2nd Location: Schaefer Heard Campground (COE), West Point, Georgia/Alabama. It is about 1 hour south-west of Atlanta. This is the first of 3 campgrounds I'm escaping to to avoid the heat. More information in the post. 

I'm going to try to recap everything the best I can. If I repeat something, oh well. 

On the last day at Foscue Campground (last post) I made arrangements with the mobile tech I had talked too to have him check the A/C unit on Friday morning. So I canceled my reservation at Miller's Ferry Campground (COE) and made one at Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort for three days. The campground was recommended by the tech since he would be working in that area on Friday. He would be able to confirm the problem, with certainty. {{{{Note: If you have a Coleman-Mach A/C, it comes with a 2 year warranty. Mine is 11 months old. You can go through the dealer or through the RV manufacturer if you want but they will have to go through Coleman-Mach. To short cut the process, you can find a certified Coleman-Mach service center or mobile tech to diagnose the problem. If it is under warranty, make sure the tech is certified by using Coleman-Mach homepage Tech Locator.}}}}}

The mobile tech confirmed it was a slow leak of refrigerant and since it is a closed system, the whole unit needed to be replaced. I asked about the time frame for getting a new unit but he wasn't too sure and was reasonably concerned about saying a time frame. He said sometimes they send the replacement unit out quick, but mostly, here lately, it has been very slow. Slow equals months, Quick equals weeks. He did perform all of the tests and completed all of the forms that are required by Coleman-Mach before they approve the replacement. This is why the service center or mobile tech needs to be certified. If they aren't certified, it can be a big back and forth before Coleman certified the replacement. 

Based on the high probability of it taking months, I told the tech I would probably get it replaced when I got back to Louisiana around the first of October but I wasn't 100% sure. He emailed me the results of the required tests so I could give them to the service center I would use to get it replaced. After the tech left, I needed to decide what to do next. I knew it was too hot to stay in the south without an A/C so I thought about heading straight home to Louisiana. Ut oh, I checked the forecast and the temperatures at my home-base in Mansfield, Louisiana was as hot or slightly hotter than south Alabama. So that option was out. So then I looked at heading north to cooler weather until the temperature came down in Louisiana. From what I checked, I would need to get up into Kentucky before getting daytime highs of 80* or less. That would be a long haul with sweaty nights along the way. There had to be another option. I double checked the temperature forecast for the areas about 250 miles away from Mobile, Alabama and found the area near and north of Atlanta had forecast temperatures that would suit me.  

So, I canceled my 3 remaining reservations at Fort Pickens Campground (National Seashore), Davis Bayou Campground (National Seashore) and Natchez State Park Campground. I was really looking forward to Fort Pickens but since everything happens for a reason, there must have been a reason this A/C problem came up which made me have to cancel.

I made reservations at my current campground (Scheafer Heard (COE)) for Saturday and Sunday. And McKinney Campground (COE) for 4 days and Old Federal (COE) Campground for 4 days. This gets me through September 25th. 

After making the reservations at the campgrounds in cooler Georgia, I decided to call Coleman-Mach and hear directly from the horse's mouth as to the average time frame for replacement delivery. These long delivery times had been mentioned not only by the mobile tech but also by the dealer and the RV manufacturer. I figured for the sake of a phone, it may be worth it. I was right, maybe.

I called Coleman-Mach directly and after being on hold for 20 minutes I talked to one of there warranty technicians. He was not an office worker but a technician that was familiar with warranty work. I immediately got a good vibe from him. He did say the delivery date was flexible and varied a lot. He asked me for my model number and after giving it to him he said that was good luck since it was one of their most popular units and are almost always in stock. I told him about the certified mobile tech performing the required tests and that I was planning to give them to a service center in Louisiana in a month or two. Ut oh, I hate those ut oh. He said it wouldn't be unusual for a future service center or tech to refuse to honor the tests performed by my mobile tech. I asked why, since I thought since he was certified, everyone would honor and use his tests. The Coleman guy said, some refuse to use tests from other people because if the old unit that is sent back to Coleman proves to be fixable, then they will back charge the service center for the new unit but wouldn't charge the mobile tech who did the tests. That would be fought out by the service center and tech. That made sense to me. He then asked me if my mobile tech had a NTP account. Of course, I didn't know but asked if that was important. Apparently, there are two places that send replacement units out to the field. One is from Coleman's factory. If it comes from them, it can take a while, weeks or months, since their primary job is to send their units to the RV manufacturers for use in new RV's. The second place was from NTP. I don't remember what those letters stood for, but if the tech had an account, the unit would be sent directly from their inventory and it is possible that it could be sent within a couple of days after Coleman approved the warranty claim. Wow, that was important information. I thanked the Coleman warranty guy. After hanging up with him, I texted my mobile tech to see if he had a NTP account. He replied quickly and said Yes. I explained the conversation I had with the Coleman guy and told him that it sounded more like a maximum of 2 to 3 weeks for the replacement to come in. We agreed he would submit the warranty claim to Coleman with the tests he performed and have the replacement sent directly to him for installation. I told him I was headed north for cooler weather but I could get back to his area within 2 to 3 days after he lets me know the unit is in. 

So, the plan was firmed up. My mobile tech from Island RV will handle all of the warranty claim and install the unit when it gets in. I'll head to north Georgia or some other cooler place while waiting for the unit to come in. That's how I got to my current campground. Tomorrow is moving day since the campground only had a two day vacancy beginning on Saturday. It works out good since the next campground is a few degrees cooler than this one.

Some advice to RV'ers. Check the temperature differential between the air going into your A/C unit from inside the RV where your filters are located to the air coming out at one of the ceiling vents. If that difference is 20* or more than your good to go. If it is less than 20, you may have a problem. Mine had gotten down to 5* and had apparently been slowly leaking for a while, possibly months before getting that low. Had I been checking it with a simple thermometer, I would have picked up on the problem at 15 or 10*. A simple check can avoid major headache. You may still have to replace your unit, but you will be cooler while waiting.  

Now some pictures:

This is the campsite at Meaher State Park. It is full hook-ups but about 3 times as expensive as COE campgrounds. It was a good place to meet up with the mobile tech so I'm good with it. I also met a nice couple in a Rpod of their own. We visited for a couple of hours and they invited me for supper and breakfast. I politely declined the offer but was really surprised they offered. That is twice in two campgrounds. Wow. I must be looking hungry or I'm getting so skinny I may need to start carrying rocks in my pocket in case the wind blows. 

I was able to get a touch of a sunset at Meaher SP.

A big difference from Meaher SP. This is Scheafer Campground with West Point Lake in the background. The daily highs are 80.

Another view of the campsite with private steps down to the lake which is very low right now. 

Nice viewing locations of the dam and electrical powerhouse. I was disappointed the visitors center was closed on this Sunday. 

This is the powerhouse. That had once turbine/penstock gate opened. I was sure if they were doing that for the fishermen or to produce power. The lake is very low.

I'll end this very long and boring post with a "thinking bench" looking at the dam/gates/powerhouse on an overcast but cool day. The lake in front of the bench is fishing pond for children only. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


Thursday, September 14, 2023

A/C is Acting Up, Decisions, Decisions (**updated)

 Location: Foscue Creek (COE) Campground; Demopolis, Alabama

First, the good news. It is a nice campground and a nice town. My campsite is mostly shady and great for watching the tow boats as they work on the Tombigbee River. There is a great restaurant, near Walmart, that is run by the Mennonites and they have the best lunches. One day I had some great beef tips and rice and the other day I had their meatloaf. You get one of three main entree's with two sides, homemade roll and honey butter along with a drink for $12.00. For people like me that don't do much home cooking, it hit the spot just right. If you only want one side, it's $10.00. Whatever you do, don't miss out on the green beans. I talked to the woman running the place and told her the green beans were great, she said that is because they "put love in everything they cook". There was another unusually nice surprise in the campground. My neighbors were a group people from southern Mississippi, near the Gulf coast. They were in 3 or 4 RV's and routinely travel together but mainly stay in the southern halves of Mississippi and Alabama. I was literally shocked when they brought me a plate of BBQ ribs, tater salad and baked beans. On two additional nights they brought a plate of fish and spaghetti. On the last night one of the sides was a "corn salad" which was very good. Over the last nine years, I've stayed in about 400 different campgrounds all over this country. I've camped in 46 of the lower 48 states and I have NEVER had that happen before. A group of people sending a plate of food to a total stranger in a large campground. Wow, just wow.  

Now, the bad news. My air conditioner started acting up when I got here. From the time I picked Liberty up last October until a few days ago, she had provided cool air that was generally 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. Although I just noticed it a few days ago, I suspect it has been gradually getting to the point where it is now which is about 5 degrees cooler. I did the most common troubleshooting. I made sure the filters were clean, I cleaned the outside coils, and I resealed the baffle separating the two chambers of the unit. None made a significant change in performance. It is under warranty so the cost or majority of the cost will be covered by Forest River (make of the RV) / Coleman-Mach (maker of the air conditioner).

The problem is finding a place and time to do the work. I have the warranty process started and was told I could drop her off at a service center and pick her up after 2 to 3 months. We all know that isn't going to work because I live in her full-time. So I called a mobile repairman that is a certified Coleman-Mach tech. We talked on the phone for a while and we both think it is a high probability that it has a Freon leak. Since RV air conditioners are a closed system, you can't add Freon to it like you can with your house or car. There is still an outside chance it could be something else. Sadly, my current campground is not in his area. He gave me some useful information though. Apparently, if the entire unit needs to be replaced under warranty, Coleman-Mach has to ship the unit to the technician with the sole purpose of it replacing a broken unit. This is suppose to be so they can keep tight control over serial numbers of bad units, etc. Even if the tech has one in stock, he can not install it, under warranty. It must come directly from Coleman-Mach with the express intent to be installed. When I asked how quickly they send them out, his answer was "now a days, 6 to 12 weeks at minimum". Wow. 

New information came in as I was writing this post. I just got off the phone with the same mobile tech I talked to a couple days ago. Good vibes from both calls. I asked if he could work me in either today (Thursday) or Friday or Saturday if I moved to a campground in his area. He said he could get to me on Friday. So I canceled my reservations at the COE campground at Millers Ferry and made a new reservation for today, Friday and Saturday at Meaher State Park near Mobile, Alabama. It was a campground he recommended since it is close to I-10 and he would be working in that area on Friday. This should work out OK since he will diagnose the problem on Friday and I'll know what direction, literally, to go then. I still have my reservation at Fort Pickens, which is on the barrier island off Pensacola, active for Sunday the 17th for 5 days. So, we will see. The whole situation is a little convoluted, but tomorrow's visit with the mobile tech should clear a lot of it up. The weather forecast is "iffy" in terms of daily highs being in the upper 80's for a few days. I did buy a swamp cooler to help with the limping A/C, but it is only effective if the humidity gets down to around 50% or so. The outside temperature limit seems to be around 90 degrees. I considered heading north for cooler weather, but it would take a couple days to get into suitable weather. I also thought about heading back home to Louisiana but their temperature is equal to or slightly warmer than Fort Pickens. So, I'll wait to see what the tech finds out. Hopefully, it will be something he can fix or replace on the spot. If not, I'll have to decide my next move. Everything happens for a reason.

The rest of this post will be pictures so I don't fall too far behind because of the A/C

This is a picture of the Tenn-Tom as I was leaving Pickensville Campground. The white line along the bank on the left is where the campground is located. It was a nice view.

Typical landscape on my way to Foscue Campground in Demopolis. Puffy clouds through a dirty side window. :)

My campsite at Foscue. That is the Tombigbee River in the background. I'm not sure why they changed the name from Tenn-Tom unless this is part of the original river. But that doesn't make sense since the Tennessee River is contributing to it. Maybe they just don't like Tennessee. 

This angered me a little bit. This is the entrance to the lock and dam that was built in 1955. Notice the big blue sign with the implication that Joe Biden had something to do with it. I'm guessing they replaced a toilet and used the Infrastructure money to pay for it which required them to erect this completely mis-leading sign. Like the old song said, "it's a sign of the times".

There isn't a good vantage point to get a good picture of the lock and dam. You can see the end of the lock wall on the right. That long white horizontal line in the background is water rolling over the spillway/dam. It would have been nice to have seen it better.

One of several tow boats working on the river. This was towing barges of coal. Ut oh, don't tell the man-made climate change people.

My set up to clean the coils on the roof-top A/C. I was happy to see that I could do that without getting on the roof. The A/C is close enough to the that I could spray the foam cleaner while standing on the ladder.

For my Yankee readers, this is a field of cotton. It's not a good picture. I think my cell phone was having trouble focusing due to all the white dots. One you see a field like this and picture you bent over all day as you filled a large cotton sack you dragged between the rows, you can appreciate the words, "picking high cotton".

Another travel picture somewhere in the middle of Alabama.

An observation platform to watch the river and sit on "thinking bench".

Looking back at Liberty from the "thinking bench".

I've updated this post while waiting for the Mobile RV Tech. His is suppose to be here around 9:30. Fingers crossed for a "fixable" solution. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.