26 July 2011

Wild Weather - Clementine Comes Home

Monday July 25, 2011

Between my new solar setup and my RV I'm learning a lot about batteries these days.

Last week I took Clementine,  (Clementine and Shadow Photo) , out for her first spin of the season. Usually, I've already been out for a week or two trip by this time but construction projects and weather have skunked me but good. It's was pretty much of a coast down the mountain so I didn't realize something was wrong until I pulled out onto the highway. Clementine has a Mercedes turbo charged diesel and usually goes lickety split but this time she went nowhere with metal to the metal. I stopped at a local mechanics but he didn't have a clue what to do so I ended up having to have her towed to Whitefish. Thanks goodness I have AAA. This one tow saved me way more than the annual fee.

I've always thought if a battery was bad it was dead. I also thought that the battery just started your engine. Apparently, I was wrong on both counts. Clem started but the battery was bad. Because it was bad it was not sending enough power out to operate the engines electronics so Clem just said phooey and quit powering. The battery and diagnostics cost almost $300. Ouch!

One of the nice things about having a tow car, when you are solo, you can send the RV off and then go get it without having to put someone else out hauling you to where you need to pick it up. Shadow is my little Ford Focus that I use.

I spent the morning running errands in Clem and she purred like a kitten. When I returned to the dealership they helped hook up Shadow and I was on my way. Clem was just as happy pulling Shadow as if she wasn't there. This was the first time I had ever been into Don K's in Whitefish. They only recently bought the Dodge dealership and can work of the Sprinter. I was very favorably impressed. Back in 2009, on my way to Holland Lake, I had a very unpleasant experience with the dealership Don K bot the Dodge franchise from Kari Dodge and wasn't ever going back there again.

I had thought I might spend a night in Whitefish and get Clem de-winterized at an RV park. Boy am I glad I didn't. At 8:30 am when I left for the Flathead it was dark and cloudy. By the time I returned, around 5:30 it was pretty warm and partly cloudy. It took me about an hour to unhook Shadow and get Clem buttoned up. Around 7:00 pm it started to darken with thunder rumbling in the distance. By 9:00 the skies simply unloaded. At first I just heard the thunder start building but then I could hear this continuous rumble and couldn't figure out what it was. It was kind of like the sound of a jet. I found out soon enough what it was as hail began pounding down the size of marbles. I guess because it was relatively warm, around 65 degrees, the hail started to melt immediately. As I stood out on the deck watching I noticed the water was shooting nearly a foot out of the drain spout. I've never seen anything like it.

With all the torn up ground from recent construction I feared for my driveway which is gravel. Sure enough the water had come down with such force everything was underwater and running right down the driveway.  I donned by rain gear and pelleted by hail I worked furiously to channel the water off the drive. If I hadn't been here to take immediate corrective action I cringe at the thought of what might have come home to. As it was I was ought until 10:00pm trying to keep things from total wash out. I was able to do a pretty good job and keep the wash out to a minimum. In the middle of the night the rain started up again and all I could do was cross my fingers.

I don't know what's going on with the weather but it sure seems to be extreme all over the planet.

©Kinsey Barnard

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