Oct 302023

Jim Summers, my favorite teacher in high school, always told his students that we should set a goal to learn something new every day. It didn’t have to be anything as complicated as quantum physics, it could be as simple as a bit of trivia or history, or how to do something we didn’t know before. I took that to heart and I do try to learn something new every day. I think it’s one of the reasons I love the research I do as an author. When writing one of the books in my Tinder Street historical series, I spent a couple of days doing research online and watching YouTube videos about how to shift the transmission in an old Model T Ford.

I was this many years old when I learned yesterday that Terry’s Chrysler Pacifica has not one, but two batteries. And as it turns out, quite a few of the newer cars do. We don’t drive the van a lot, but I did drive it a short distance on Thursday. We needed to run some errands yesterday afternoon and when I tried to start it, it wouldn’t turn over. The battery was completely dead. I put a battery charger on it that has a quick start feature, but nothing at all. After charging it for over an hour, still nothing. So I jumped it with the Ram pickup and it started right up. My charger is well over 20 years old and I think it’s just worn out.

Since we’re going to use the van to go to the airport on Wednesday to pick up Terry’s parents, and use it for when we’re driving around town with them because it’s easier for them to get in and out of, I don’t want to mess around with the potential problem. So the first thing we did when we got to town yesterday afternoon was stop at O’Reilly Auto Parts to see if they had a battery and someone who could install it. As it turns out that’s not as easy as it used to be when all you did was loosen a couple of battery cable clamps and take it out. The battery had some sort of fuse box on top of it, and the young man at O’Reilly’s looked at it a while and tried to figure out how to do it and finally said he would try, but was afraid he might mess something up. I thanked him for his honesty and said I would try someplace else.

Someplace else turned out to be AutoZone, which was almost next door. There a very nice young man named Hudson said he was familiar with what needed done and would be happy to install a new battery for me. It was very tight quarters and it took a while before he managed to get the old battery out. This was the original battery that came in the van when we bought it new, in June of 2017.

Hudson also had to remove a second, smaller battery to access the main battery. This battery is for the van’s automatic start-stop system, which is a fuel saving feature that will turn off the engine when we stop at a traffic signal and then turn it back on again when the driver takes his foot off the brake and steps on the accelerator.

As I understand it, with automatic start-stop systems, the engine is switched on and off several times during even a short trip around town. In these phases the main battery continues to supply the rest of a vehicle’s systems, such as radio, navigation, etc. with power. But the continual stopping and starting at every traffic signal creates more of a load than the regular battery can handle, hence the auxiliary battery. Who knew?

It took about an hour for Hudson to get everything changed around, and I very much appreciated his efforts. He didn’t want to take the $20 tip I gave him, saying just purchasing the battery was more than enough, but when somebody goes the extra mile for me, I like to show my appreciation.

Congratulations Jane Selvaggio, winner of our drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

We had 25 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – My demons would make your demons their bitch.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Learning Something New Every Day”

  1. Thanks Nick. I learned something new today. We recently purchased a car with the stop start feature. I bet I have 2 batteries also. I can’t say I’m crazy about it, but it’s suppose to be progress I guess. I also have push button transmission. It’s ok, but still like the T handle or something like stick better. Anything to jack up the price.

  2. Thank you Nick and to Barbara House for donating it!

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