Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

Nothing is Free

Monday AM, with sad hearts, we leave our friends from the mountains of Georgia! We had a great time with lots of laughs and good times and we met very nice people along the way. Now we are back in the truck and heading on down the road to our golf hosting assignment at Meadow Links Golf Club in Ft Gaines Ga. The trip was uneventful and familiar and as the saying goes, we have been down this road before! We pass through Columbus making very good time and suspect to be on our ‘free’ site before 3 PM. Once we’re past Georgetown, Ga, we are in familiar Spanish moss country. The moss hangs in the trees, swaying with the breeze and brings a sense of calm.
The greens crew is just wrapping up their day as we arrive at the shop. We stop to exchange greetings then move onto our site. Everything looks exactly the way we left it 2 years ago – nothing changes sometimes. The rig is level, the water, electric and sewer are connected. The batteries are very low when we left Jasper so we’re glad to have power, let’s go inside to finish setting up! The heat pump comes on and there is a very large spark and the Microwave lights up like a Christmas tree but neither of us touched it! Wow, we both jumped about a foot! I grab my volt meter and measure 199 volts – should be 120 – on one of the Kitchen outlets. What is going on? Before we could go outside and kill the juice, we notice that other items are not working! Holy crap, we’ve had a power surge and most of our electronics have been fried!

Outside, I disconnect the 50Amp cable we use for shore power and check things with the volt meter. I get weird readings, 177 volts on one leg of the 50A 240V circuit and only 60 volts on the other. No continuity between ground and neutral so that’s good. What happened? Now both legs on the 50A circuit read the same! What is going on here? I check again and still okay so now what. I’m afraid to plug back in but the damage is already done. Our batteries are down to 12.1 volts – way to low to use many lights so it will be a ‘dark night’ for us. I’ve got to get the batteries charged! The converter was one of those devices that gave out a lot of smoke when it had its last cough! So, off to Camping World in Dothan, Al to get a new converter so we can remove the old one and install a new one tomorrow. I could run an extension cord to the shop if we can’t get the electricity straightened out – we need those batteries for lights tomorrow night. So off to Dothan we go (75 minute drive), we might as well get our weeks supply of grub in and maybe lots of adult beverages are required considering the way our stay here has started! Oh yeah, lets stop for dinner because neither one of us is interested in cooking, we just want to cry! What a start!
At Camping World, I get another rude awaking – over $300 bucks for a converter! Ouch, I didn’t want to buy the store, just a converter! Of course, they are located on the shelf right below the surge protection devices. Is that another message? Let’s go eat. Spending these bucks makes us hungry! It’s a quiet ride back to the rig, we’re both tired and know that if we had purchased that surge protector years ago when we talked about it, we would be happier today! We’re also very despondent!

Wouldn’t you know it, the sun did come up in the east again and another day has started. We would love a do over of yesterday but I’m not sure we would have done anything differently. I tested the power and it looked good until a load was applied then zap!

The challenges today are to get a reliable power source, check the shore power cable, the breaker panel and the house wiring for problems, replace the converter and determine what electronics devices have gasped their last gasp! The batteries are still a concern so I’ll change that first and run an extension cord to the shop – about 125 feet. At that distance and with our luck, I’ll melt the extension cord! The converter swap goes without a hitch but I can’t round up enough extension cords, I’m about 20 feet short so now onto the reliable power item.

I check the electric pedestal again and all looks good – again! I plug the shops battery charger in the 120V GFCI and wow, the voltages go haywire again. Remove the charger and back to normal! Hummmm, the shop ‘jack of all trades’ suggested it is an open neutral leg. He opens the pedestal and everything looks ok from there so the power company has to be called. It’s mid afternoon now so Barb & I start looking at what has become recyclable materials! The list includes: 2 TVs, 2 satellite receivers, 1 DVR, 1 power bar with surge protection (apparently it didn’t work) and our microwave! Who lives without a microwave? Hey, maybe it is just fuses! Take all the junk out of the cabinets, remove the covers and list the fuses – of course I don’t have any of these sizes so off to Radio Shack in Ft Gaines. $11.00 later (you just know you can’t buy 1 or 2, you have to take the pack of six!) we are on our way back with the possible fix to turn the junk back into our electronics! Yes, this could be a fairy tale!

When we return, do you believe it, the power guys are there with their bucket truck and all! Before we got back, they checked the pedestal and said all was good but the shop ‘jack of all trades’ showed them the error of their judgments by placing a load on the GFCI – we’re glad he was around to help! Up, up and away, the power guys start checking the feed coming from the transformer. He pulls on the centre leg (I’m assuming he knew which one was the neutral) and the wire moved in the crimp connector! He said, “I’m going to re-crimp these lines to make sure we found the problem”! 15 minutes later, he’s done and we have good electricity again! Now that everyone has tidied up and gone on their way, I check the batteries and they are still not charging! The output of the new converter reads 13.6V! Now what? Maybe they are so low that they will take over night to show any improvement.

Barb & I try the new fuses in all the blown out units and guess what, they are still blown out and now I have fewer fuses to store! What a day! Lot’s of wheel spinning but at least we have electricity, just nothing to operate with it! I don’t know how but the surge missed the heat pump, electric water heater and the fridge! Now that’s good luck! Another quiet evening without our main entertainment stuff so we play some cards, write in diaries and blogs and early to bed!

We hope your days are better than we’ve had and that you are well wherever you are.


  1. Very sorry to hear of your troubles. I have a surge protector that I bought at a garage sale (hopefully it will work if needed) I always check with a 110V plug tester before hooking up too. Maybe I'm just fooling my self, I hope not.
    What about the last people who used that pedestal? Did they have a problem too? Oh well, if your lucky you live and learn. Maybe I had better check out a newer type surge protector.
    By the way, I did move my trailer out of storage, so we should be able to get away right after Christmas. Take care and again we are sorry about your troubles.

  2. did i read another post ,just earlier that said you blew some appliances???or some electronics before there ..not long ago ,,i think you said in geogia,or was i dreamin..anyways sooo sorry for you bad luck,,hope all else is good and get the surge protector ,,no matter how much ..should have bought one in gillette,crap,ok huggs and ttyl

  3. Wow!! Sounds a lot more fun when you read the blog than from your e-mail. Go figure; 2 months in Mexico with the Van and no blown goodies; so much for technology. Hope things are on a brighter note now you have the hydro service fixed. Look on the bright side; all the electro shopping you have to do. HUGS Barr & Lorrie