It was a dark and lonely night…
We had quite a day Sunday. In spite of the few hiccups a bunch of newbies would have, the trip started out just fine. The kids didn’t fight and enjoyed the fact that they were able to sit at a table on the entire trip and played their version of Pictionary with the whiteboard that we bought.
Mike and I discussed on what we could change while I wrote a “wishlist” of improvements to make.
Courtesy of Kelly Hamilton
The kids enjoyed their day. I missed it, but I was told Nathan had rescued a few runaway tubes from the center of the lake.
Benjamin spent most of his time in the sand – literately and the girls had fun using the Kayak.
In the end, everyone was exhausted and ready to go home. Instinctively, I thought that we shouldn’t be driving in the dark. The running lights were broken and we weren’t sure if all the lights worked.
However, we were convinced to stay for cake and I rounded up the kids. I suspect herding cats would be much easier if you had catnip, but even with promises of cake, it took a few tries to get everyone in one place.
We left about an hour later than we had planned.
For most of the trip, it was uneventful. Mike was used to driving by now and it seemed that we would be home in no time.
About 3/4 of the way, I noticed that when we would go up hills, the motor would downshift, but it seemed to have a different tone.
We both dismissed it as we were unfamiliar with the motorhome driving, and I was still a bit hyper sensitive from our accident. Everything sometimes seems to sound like a disaster waiting to happen.
A little while longer, Mike noticed that the engine light turned on. Then the Autopark light made itself known. Fortunately, the autopark was disabled, so the motorhome didn’t skid to a stop suddenly. Something that seemed to be a problem with older ones like ours.
While I was waiting for my phone to load a search page on why the engine light is on, Mike noticed that the speedometer was off. The transmission was started to shift randomly. This whole time, we were speculating what it could be.
Finally the Motorhome backfired and we decided to stop at a gas station in Whitehall, NY. Mike left it running, since we knew that batteries weren’t charging anymore. He was afraid that it wouldn’t start.
Thinking that the transmission might have been overheating, he cooled it off with some water from one of the gallons I had filled earlier.
We pulled out of the station, and it was already too dark to go without lights, so he turned it on.
We had already pulled out of the gas station when the engine started to die. About a mile down the road, we stopped at an antique place and that was it. everything quit.
We were 7 miles away from home. That’s right. If we were to walk very fast, we could make it home in less than two hours. I used to bike that distance to work every day. We were so close!
I was about to text Jonathan so that we can give them a heads up that they might have to come out and help, but Mike insisted that we troubleshoot first.
It took about 5 minutes for us to realize that he didn’t have his tools. At this point, Nathan had already texted Jonathan anyway. Mike relayed that he needed his meter and some basic tools that were in the garage.
After tinkering a little and determining that the belt to the alternator wasn’t broken. All we could do is sit and wait for my brother and father to arrive.
It wasn’t long.
Jonathan couldn’t jump the motorhome with his plug-in hybrid. It was just the way it was designed.
So we hooked up dad’s car, and it ran for a while.
My phone battery was getting low. I did have the battery bank, but I already used it twice to charge the camera, so I wasn’t sure how much power I had left. If we were to stay there overnight, I would need my phone for an emergencies.
I did take some video, using a flashlight that I should have had fresh batteries for and it wasn’t enough. So I have a lot of footage of blackness and some darkness… and maybe a little of nothingness.
Here’s what I salvaged:
In the end, Mike ended up going to Walmart and buying 1 starter battery and two deep cycle batteries. Deep cycle batteries are usually used on motorhomes, homes with alternative energy and a lot of small vehicles that run on batteries like electric golf carts and forklifts. The batteries can withstand being drained all the way, but the starter battery is meant to stay charged. If it drains too much, you can lose some of it’s functionality.
We are not sure what happened. It’s an old motorhome and I figured there would be problems. It’s a good thing we saw this happening now instead of somewhere between here and Texas.
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