Tuesday, February 16, 2021

If You Don't Like the Weather....Part 2

Harlingen, TX.     High: 26, low: 12!!!!     Site: 437 

WE-L-L-L...Last time Sparky said if you don't like the weather, you can just move. So we did, from Lake Conroe, TX, to Harlingen, TX, less than 30 miles to the Mexican border, where we thought it would be warmer and where the arctic vortex wouldn't find us.

WRONG! The arctic vortex is here in Harlingen. Here are the temps for a few days this week....We wouldn't have sweated these temperatures as we have a 4 season rig. It's supposed to handle temperatures down to 15 degrees.  We weren't too worried about Monday night until....The power started going off and on on Sunday.

It went off Monday morning at 3:00 AM. After 1:00 Monday afternoon, the power stayed off. O-o-o-k-a-a-ay....We do have two house batteries and they can run heat and lights, the water pump, the residential fridge, etc. for about 12-16 hours (?) before running down and getting low. In severe temperatures, you have to pick and choose very carefully what you are going to run and whether it uses 12 Volt battery or 110 electric. On battery power, we can't use a toaster or the microwave, for example. (Which is not a big problem, because Sparky doesn't cook as much as I thought she would, laughs E). A residential fridge which is entirely electric (instead of another type of fridge that is capable of using propane OR electric)

uses a LOT of battery power. We spent our first arctic night with the heat set to come on at 50 degrees. We didn't use lights, we used flashlights. By 4:00 in the morning, the batteries were down considerably and the house was 48 degrees inside. 

You are not supposed to let your house batteries (if you have deep cycle batteries) get below 50% power. If they do, they are damaged and will have to be replaced sooner rather than later. We don't know if that happened or not, we just know that some protective action occurred during the wee hours of the morning which alerted Eldy that the batteries were getting low. He heard a beep and got up at 4:00 AM and noticed some of our notification lights were out. We are thinking that the system went into a lower power mode of some sort so we shut the furnace off to protect the remaining battery power. (Sparky is not scientific or knowledgable enough to know how much amperage is needed for a residential fridge but you can look that up.) We are still learning how to manage our batteries and read the codes on the displays! They are NOT very user friendly!

We don't have a generator....many class A motorhomes (the ones that look like a deluxe bus going down the road towing a car behind) have one, but fifth wheels (a rig towed by a truck) that seems to be more of an option. Eldo has been researching them for a long time. They are kind of expensive and heavy, so we thought, nah, we won't be needing one. (Sparky has some large heavy craft supplies, so she MAY have give some more up, thinks Eldo). NO-O-O-O-O-o-o, say it isn't so! Sigh.....

We aren't going to be boon docking (camping without power/sewer hookup) and we are going to be chasing the warmer temperatures all year, so we haven't gotten a generator. (Yeah, right...how's that worked out for us? fusses Eldo.) Not too well. Sparky has gotten a TON of cooler weather, some snow, and sub freezing temperatures and Eldo, not so much of the warmth and sun.

So we are freezing our butts off here at the Tropic Winds RV Resort in Harlingen, TX, just a few miles north of the Mexican border, WA-A-A-Y down in the SE corner of Texas. It's nice park. It has lots of amenities, but none available at this time, both due to the weather and COVID. We'll show you more of the park next blog...but here's the rest of the saga.

After running our batteries dangerously low, and the power being out for over 20 hours, we had to figure out a way to charge up the batteries without park power. Possibility #1. buy a generator....buy gas cans, figure out a way to keep the generator secure (people steal them), and add more weight to the already heavy rig. Decided the troubles of finding one and securing it were not necessary for 1-2 days of cold weather. We kept thinking the power would come back on before we did all that. NOPE! 

Possibility #2. Use the truck to charge up the batteries as if we were towing the rig down the road. Just hook up the electric cord to the second truck plug in the tailgate. Keep the truck running or you'll run the truck battery down. So we did that for an hour or so each day, which brought the temperature up in the rig, and kept the bays heated during the coldest part of the day.

Possibility #3..Encounter a wonderful neighbor--he loaned us his generator for couple of hours while he ran errands. That gave us some warmth during the second coldest day in the cold spell.

Possibility #4...Go get a hotel room. O-o-o-oh, YES! A real tub bath! Woo-hoo! Yeah, right. Everybody and their brother were trying to get one. We tried for two nights in a row...All hotels in the area for up to 25 miles were booked solid. Eldy booked the first night thru Booking.com. It said he got the last room. We arrived at the hotel, and they said, "Sorry, no rooms available." Sparky booked the second night for a hotel thru Expedia, they took her money immediately from her bank account, we arrived at the motel, and it was closed due to power outages. Back to the rig we went. On the way, we saw panic buying of gasoline, as quite a few stations were closed due to pumps not working because no electricity. Cars were lined up 25-30 cars in a row, blocking city streets, trying to get gas at the few stations open. We were glad we purchased gas before the arctic freeze hit. Maybe people were having to sleep in their cars, as 60% of the homes down here are all electric. It reminded us of the time we drove back thru the remnants of a hurricane and people were stranded on the highways because there was no gas to be had anywhere. Tonight's temperatures are supposed to be high thirties.

Ice crystals on our street sign

Life is an adventure for us on the road, that's for sure! See you later!

1 comment:

  1. Hi folks- well here in Canada we can sympathize with the cold.In my RV days with a 5th wheel always had a Honda 2000E quiet genny , kept full time in the back of the truck bed,secured with a heavy cable lock.When required,just plug in & approximately you have 8 hours of power- enough to keep up the batteries,run the fridge,furnace & even 1 ac unit if boondocking.NEVER regretted buying it & #1 son doing same with it now.All the best.