Oct 272009

Yesterday we had what my friend Greg White calls a Don Quixote Day. We were up and out of bed early because we had a lot to get done, we worked hard all day, and we didn’t accomplish a damn thing!

We have a Magnum Energy 2,000 watt pure sine wave inverter in our MCI bus conversion, which is, in my experience, the finest RV inverter on the market. I wanted to replace the standard equipment Heart modified sine wave inverter in our Winnebago motorhome with a Magnum, so yesterday my pal Michele Henry, from Phoenix Commercial Paint, let us use one of the bays at her shop to do the job inside, out of the cold.

We had previously measured the space where the Heart unit is in the motorhome, measured the Magnum inverter, and though the Magnum is a little bit bigger than the old inverter, it looked like there would be no problem at all getting it in. Wanna bet?

Whoever builds RVs goes out of their way to make it difficult, if not impossible to reach just about anything you need to get to. It was quite a chore to get the old inverter unbolted from its location on the bulkhead of the fresh water bay of the Winnebago, but Greg finally managed to get it out and disconnect all of the wiring.

Then we started to install the Magnum inverter, and we immediately ran into a roadblock. While yes, there was plenty of room inside the bay to mount the inverter, what we had not considered was that getting in into the bay involved sliding past the fresh water tank, and we lacked about half an inch of space in the opening. We spent hours trying to wiggle and jiggle the inverter to get it in, and no matter what we did, there was just no way it was going to fit.

Finally, late in the afternoon, we had to admit defeat. If our fresh water tank had been square or rectangular, we would have been okay, but it is wider at the bottom than at the top, and Greg, who worked for NASA on space shuttle projects, tried everything under the sun to get the Magnum inverter in, without success. I think he was as disappointed as I was, because Greg is one of those guys who love a challenge.

So we decided to put the old Heart inverter back in, and while it slid into the bay opening just fine, getting the holes to match up with the mounting bolts on the bulkhead of the compartment was a real bear. The inverter weighs about 45 pounds, and trying to hold that much dead weight up in the air, in a space with very limited room to maneuver, was another nightmare. It took Greg, myself, and Miss Terry until after 8 p.m. to finally get it mounted and all of the wiring hooked back up.

Meanwhile, Greg had also tried to figure out why the electric side of our water heater was not working. The water heater is mounted on the bottom passenger side of the chassis, and several Winnebago owners have told me that there is supposed to be a reset switch on the back that is often the culprit. Again, whoever built the coach sure didn’t want to make it easy for anybody to service it. Greg could not access the back of the water heater, and that’s a project that will have to wait for another day.

It was dark by the time I backed the Ultimate Advantage out of the paint shop, and I know Michele must have been glad to finally see us leave, though she was as gracious as always. It was only about three miles back to Elkhart Campground, and Terry followed me in the van. I was quickly reminded of why I never drive after dark. My night vision is terrible, and I was sure glad to get back to the campground and pull into our space.

While I was plugging in the electric and hooking up our water and sewer connection, Terry realized that her cell phone was missing. We tried calling it, hoping that we could hear it ring and find it in the van or motorhome, but no luck.

It was 9 p.m. by then, we had not eaten all day, and all four of us were famished. We went to Bob Evans for a late dinner, and then Greg and Jan volunteered to follow us back to Michele’s shop to see if Terry had dropped her phone while she was guiding me out of the bay, and hoping that if she did, I hadn’t run over it with the Winnebago. Sure enough, just as we pulled in, we both spotted the phone laying in the driveway, and all in one piece! That was the only break we had all day!

Thought For The Day – The only thing I know for certain is that I don’t know anything for certain.

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Nick Russell

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  2 Responses to “A Don Quixote Day”

  1. Don Quixote Day — we like that! We remember (gosh, we can’t remember his first name, but the last was Anderson) who wrote a monthly column (for Motothome Magazine?) — anyway, he often wrote about traveling in his motorhome “Rocinante.” He took the name from that of Don Quixote’s horse, because Quixote was said to “jump on the horse and ride off in all directions!” In respect to Anderson’s memory, we renamed our motorhome Rocinante, or “Rosie” for short, and Rosie has indeed taken us in all directions!

  2. Wow know just how you feel. We are in Carlsbad NM at a great RV park. John decided he did not like how the bedroom slide mechanism sounded so we raised the bed to have a look. Well the base that held the motor was made of aluminum and welded at the corners. We managed to take out the base to check it out. As much as we love our Allegro Bus this base for the slide motor must have been made on a Friday afternoon — they didn’t weld the bottom of the base ! The other welds holding it together broke apart. So to make a new base John (hes an engineer) designed a base to make out of either wood or steel. Carlsbad is a great town for projects since it has a large mining operation it has many shops. So we found a place who had steel square tubing they cut it for us put the holes in it. SO now John is putting it al together then back under the bed and our slide should be better then new. Glad I have a great husband who can do this.

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