Tucson RV Life on Wheels

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...have barely had time to read emails, never mind replying to them and needless to say, the blog has been at the bottom of the priority list. Several things to catch up on:

Garmin Nuvi GPS updates
- Garmin is snail mailing me software for routing on the computer....FREE. Now why didn't they just put it in the box? (Thank you to those who helped me find out about this.)
- When following a route it will display my current speed if I go to an alternate screen. Aggravating but at least it's there.
- Still haven't found elevation (grrrrrr) or direction. Wouldn't you think any GPS would show you what direction you are heading? BIG aggravation

Missing Mail
Well, the package DID show up in Bouse on Monday. But the Postmistress was out till Wednesday and she was the only one who could authorize a one-time mail forwarding. Called on Wed and she was out till Thursday. Called today and she promised to get the package on it's way to Tra-Tel RV Park where I will be staying until at least the package arrives.

Inverter/Generator/Air Conditioner issue
Not sure where I left this in the blog...I learned on a very hot day while outside Yuma that my A/C would no longer run on the generator. I also had three complete shut-downs when running the microwave at night with the generator on. Discount Solar tweaked the inverter settings, raising the high incoming voltage limit from 130 to 135 (maximum for safe usage). I haven't had a change to test it out yet since I've hardly been in my rig all week.

They also tried to troubleshoot the A/C issue and ended up deciding that it was an A/C problem. I needed a new relay or maybe the thermostat was bad. Fast forward to my 2 nights in the Gila Bend campground. Plug into shore power and just for the heck of it, I try the A/C. Works just fine....not a blip. Hmmmm.....

So I arrive at Pima Community College for the RV Life on Wheels conference (after fighting Sheila who kept insisting that I needed to get back on I-10 which was impossible due to construction). I was early so people were only trickling in, other than the instructors who were already here. Met with my friends and got to talking about the issue. They informed me that Greg Holder of AM Solar (who is the most highly recommended solar person I know of, from multiple sources) was here from his home in OR and suggested I talk to him.

Turned out that he was parked just across from me but with all the hullabaloo going on around me, tons of old friends coming by and new folks introducing themselves mixed in with registration and orientation, I didn't get a chance to talk to him until after his Boondocking Class on Tuesday. He thought it was one of two things....the easy fix would be if my inverter was set too high for the low voltage side and that when my A/C kicked in, the generator power dropped low enough to kick off the inverter.

So he told me I needed to check the setting....brave soul that I am (NOT), I dug out the book and actually managed to get to the place in the menu to read all the settings. Turns out that it could only be set down by 5 points...and after trying the A/C with the generator again, no go. With the inverter running, it worked.

This means that there should have been a sub-panel installed that would isolate the A/C from the inverter. About a $500 item at initial install time....much more expensive to go back and retro. But he said that it wouldn't hurt the inverter to have it enabled along with the generator and since the generator would be charging the batteries, it shouldn't hurt them to run this way. We agreed that I would try it for a couple of months (hoping to NOT need the generator for A/C for a while though) and if I felt it was a problem, I'd schedule an appointment for late summer/early fall to get it retro-fitted.

Needless to say, I will be sending a letter to Discount Solar. I feel this should have been done or at a minimum I should have been offered the option to have it done and the reasons behind it fully explained to me.

Bike Issues
Once again, something new jumps up and bites me in the a$$. Jeesh....just before Nick & Terry stopped by to say hi, I had opened up the trailer and peeked in to be sure all was okay. Well it wasn't.....the bolts holding the chock to the floor had vibrated completed out and the chock was loose. The bike was leaning to the left with only the tie-downs holding it. Nick & Terry helped me unload the trailer, back up the bike so I could put the chock back together, get it strapped down again and reload the trailer.

I have been thinking for some time whether to keep the bike or move to a car. This was kind of the clincher. Looking back over the last 5 months, I have done almost no sightseeing. It has been too much of a hassle to unload/reload the bike for short stops, weather also makes a difference and I have had help with the loading/unloading every time and STILL had problems.

Factor in that I've never truly bonded with the BMW.....don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful bike and it rides really well. But I guess I'm a cruiser (read...HARLEY) gal at heart. Now, if there was any way to keep a bike AND get a 'toad', I would do so. But financially it's not going to happen. I need the funds from the sale of the trailer & bike to pay for a car.

So today I listed the bike and trailer in the Tucson Craigslist and I will stick around to sell them. This weekend I will be looking at a 2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara, loaded. It used to be a toad and needs a good home. The price is right as are the options so if it's in good condition and runs well, I may be able to offer that good home. LOL!

Tomorrow I will post about the conference itself....it has been wonderful. In the meantime, our last night here the sky EXPLODED with color to the west and the full moon shone to the east. Here are a few shots to enjoy.

Till next time - keep on rollin',


  1. uh...what's "air conditioning"???sheee...Donna, it isn't even "warm" yet down here!...lol...yeah, people keep looking at me "funny" when I tell 'em I don't have it in ol' Wanderwolf...
    Tell Nick and Terry that I said "Hey!"...
    Yep, that sunset tonight was great over here on the West side of those mountains also!
    See Ya, Hon!

  2. Donna,
    So sorry to hear you'll be giving up the bike. It would break my heart to have to give up our bike. We are fortunate to be able to carry the bike on a lift and tow a toad behind it. It is nice to have the best of both worlds. We are also able to carry the bike's tag-along trailer in the car with us, so we can hook it up to the back of the bike and carry our clubs or our Sea Eagle blowup kayak with us when we head out on the bike. Sorry, didn't mean to rub it in, just expressing how much we'd miss the bike.

    I hope you enjoy your new toad!
    -- jcw

  3. You will love the Grand Vitara. I have an XL-7 with the same options except no Lo-jack and the alarm isn't the expensive Karr system. 63,000 for a 7-8 year old car is low (at least for me due to communting 35 miles each way to work - 1 year & 1 week to go). I wonder how many towing miles the suspension, etc. was put on it. It wouldn't hurt to get it checked out. I just can't believe that after 7-8 years there is a loan balance of $6,500 remaining. It matches the NADA value but that is the pay off amount? If it is a balance then I'll bet the total is what remains of a debt consolidation loan. Either that or he got it used just a few years ago.

  4. Hi Donna - Very sorry to hear about these difficulties, especially the bike. One way or another, I bet you'll end up riding sometimes anyway!

    Thanks for the pictures - I think skies like those are God saying He loves you, and the problems don't mean anything (not that they're not a total pain!) Hoping you get a break from mechanical failures for awhile, and that Discount Solar does the right thing. It would be in their best interests to come through handsomely, esp. considering how many RV'ers read your blog!


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