Early in our travels, we had trouble with a slide topper awning, displaced by a heavy wind. After our neighbor, an easy-going guy in an older converted bus, helped Odel straighten the slide topper, we spent time chatting about the fairly constant stream of minor and major issues that plague those of us living in RV’s. He told us something that became our mantra: “If I’m 80% problem free, I’m 100% good”. In other words, everything on/in your RV will never be perfect at the same time, so be happy when your issues are few.
So, though we usually have an item or two or three that need attention from a professional, we’re pretty happy with 80% working – as long as the problems don’t keep us from moving. Up until a week ago, our list was short: we have a crack in our windshield (which we are ignoring); we have a noisy problem with our door lock (only annoying on a bumpy road). Our automatic leveling system is automatic in theory only – after the third “fix” didn’t last several years ago, we gave up and now deploy the jacks individually.
Our hot water heater does a half hearted job when heating with electricity – but does great when heating with gas. We have an appointment to get this looked at soon (actually, we are at the service facility right now as I write; Odel is hovering over the knowledgeable repairman asking a million questions).
Five or six days ago, we moved into the RV’ers no-mans land: our refrigerator stopped cooling! Gulp. Big, big, gulp!
We got home to Lincoln Rock State Park from our trip to Lake Wenatchee to find both the refrigerator and freezer about 10 degrees warmer than usual, above what we consider acceptable. After we opened and closed all the doors, bumped the temperature setting up to the maximum cold setting, and turned the unit off and on, it started cooling again. By three days later, it was as cool as we have every seen it (as monitored by three remote transmitters we put inside the fresh food and freezer compartments and consulted obsessively).
Just when we breathed a sign of relief and declared it a glitch – boom, it happened again, as we were enjoying our visit to Baker City, OR (click here to read our review of Mountain View RV Park). This time, we went into full troubleshooting mode.
Refrigerator problems are not new to us, and recalls, fires, defunct or balky cooling are the frequent subjects of RV’ers blog posts and conversations (read Paul and Mary’s recent excellent posts on the issue here and here). Of all the appliances that can fail, an RV refrigerator - which runs on both AC power and propane and requires a DC connection - is the worst. Not only are you likely to lose the contents of your freezer and refrigerator, but past experience has proven to us that finding the cause of the problem is likely to be a long-term and costly process. We are once again beginning the troubleshooting steps. Maybe an easy fix, maybe a difficult/expensive one… we’ll see.
We’d come to Baker City to revisit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and complete the Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway drive that we had begun when we stayed in Joseph earlier this summer. The temperature was in the mid-80’s when we stopped at the Interpretive Center; with the exception of irrigated farms, the rolling hills were brown, dry, and uninviting as far as the eye could see.
“Interpretive Center” is an accurate description for this wonderful center; the exhibits, videos, and interactive displays bring the history of the great western migration alive in a most evocative way. Driven by the difficulties of life in the southern and eastern US, travelers on the trail faced incredible hardships – breakdowns, disease, accidents, skirmishes, death.
Talk about a new perspective! We might not have HOT water, but we have water… and from a faucet, no less. Refrigerator not working? No need to eat maggoty flour or moldy bacon – let’s head to Safeway, or the nearest café! Too hot to walk? Hop in the car; we’ll turn on the AC while we see the sights!
So, while we feel a bit plagued by the imperfections of our modern conveniences (oh, I forgot to mention that our GPS died yesterday, and that our Verizon aircard is giving us fits), life is still good rolling down the (graded, paved) road!