Wondering about wild grapes

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wandering back home (from Ben’s)

I left off on yesterday’s blog saying I would tell you more about my RV not starting after getting gas at Lillian. I always try to keep my promises whether you want me to or not. Well, you see, I went down to Lillian after I left Ben’s house and stopped at the store/gas station where we bought the BBQ that we ate for lunch earlier that day. We left Ben’s plantation at 16:00 thinking that we would get home before dark and because the old gas in the tank gave us such bad gas mileage on the way up to Ben’s, we knew we needed to fill up before we left for home.

Filled the gas tank up and paid for it. Got back in the driver’s seat and turned the key. It clicked and all the gauges just started wiggling. I have never seen gauges do that before. Tried it a few more times and decided we were not going anywhere. Went back in the BBQ place and asked if they knew of any mechanic. I could work on vehicles made back in the ‘50s and ‘60s but these new computer and IC chip controlled engines are a mystery to this old fart. The girl in there looked at a young fellow sitting in there and asked him if he could help. He said he would try and we both went back out to the RV. He had me try it and said it appeared I wasn’t getting voltage to the gauges and relays. So, he hunted for the fuse boxes. Found two of them, one inside under the dash and one under the hood. He methodically pulled and checked every fuse, since there was nothing on the lid that told what they were for, only the sizes. This took quite awhile. After he finished, he said that maybe he could find someone to jump it. I immediately thought of the Jeep. I knew I didn’t have cables, but there was an auto-parts store next door. Then I slapped myself on the forehead and said, “Self, you are so stupid. This RV has a switch to allow the house batteries to start the motor if the motor battery fails.” I had just, less than an hour ago, showed this switch to Ben. Hit the switch, turned the key and, presto, it started right up.

My wife said, to be safe, not to stop until we got home. So, like any well trained husband, I drove straight through. Didn’t get home before dark, but that was the first time I have been on the road at night when the GPS system was. It surprised me as it was getting dark, it switched from a white background to a black background. I thought that was neat. See, it doesn’t take much to please me. That, and I had a big bowl of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream as soon as we got home.

Just think how much time was wasted and how simple it would have been if I had thought of a dead battery right from the get-go. Like I said before, I am an old fart. Back in my day, a battery would give you lots of warnings before it failed. You know, like slow starting, dim lights if you idled too slow, etc. Now-a-days they just up and die, quick like they got shot through the head. And they say this is better???


  1. Glad you made it home ok. I thought you'll were going to stay there for a spell. Didn't seem like you'll were gone long?

  2. Yes this is better. I'm old enough to remember when auto batteries were lucky to last a year. I remember my first 2 year warranted battery (Diehard I think and it failed within 2 or 3 days of that) now I regularly get 5+ years without even thinking about it. The batteries are lighter and more efficient. In the old days they would last a year reliably then another year or two unreliably. The trick is to know when it is going to fail. Since they last reliably 5 to 7 years the memory of when it was bought or even where is gone. So is the receipt.

    I tried to figure out how many times I thought I had a dead battery but only needed to clean the battery post the other day and I came up with about a dozen and it was a surprise everytime. I'm a slow learner but now I mark the battery date and when time is up I replace it. I always carry jumper cables except when I ride a bike.

    I think I'll have Banana Pudding ice cream for breakfast.

  3. One of the handiest things I have is a portable power supply, that's rechargable! Sorta like a battery, except it has plugs!

    Sure is a handy thing if you ever have to use it!

    Glad you had a good visit and made it back home OK.

  4. lmao,,,cant believe that wasnt the first thing u thot of.

  5. If it ever happens again, that will be the first thing you think of, and will save yourself a lot of grief. And now you know where at least 2 of your fuse boxes are, which is 2 more than I know about mine.

  6. DIZZY!! You forgot the number one rule. KISS!!! Keep it simple Stoopid!!! :-)

  7. David, I had to go home so that I could think up some more “true” stories. Since he is not too far away, hope we can do it again.

    Oldfool, I don’t know about lighter. This one weighed almost as much as my wife, or I am getting weak in my old age. The Ford E-450 with the V-10 sits up fairly high and you know the law of physics for old farts is the high you lift something the heavier it gets.

    HermitJim, Yes, I have heard they are handy. That switch that connected the house batteries to the motor sure was handy, if I had only thought of a dead battery first.

    Trouble, I just thought it was one of those new fangled electronic things. I never said I was smart (grin).

    Gypsy, Yes, that is the bright side. But my Dad had an old saying that he used a lot, “Wise is he who learns from his own mistakes, but doubly wise is he who learns from other’s mistakes.” Makes sense to me, if I had only followed the advice.

    Ben, Sure did Ben, but like I said above, I never said I was too smart.

  8. Dizz before you do anything take your battery termanials loss and an clean them an the post.What happens on a battery post a film develops over time an acts as a insulater

  9. Ted, I did use fine grit sand paper on the inside of the cable end clamps. The clamps are a wrap-around metal band with the cables attached to the end.