Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Progress report: the good citizen
[I took your advice, rm, but I'm still not succeeding in importing the google map. Looks like it wants to load, but is getting hung up. So here's another homemade progress report, through yesterday.]
Today, while I rest my legs, I'm trying to get a few things done by way of maintenance of the motor home and myself. A new pair of walking shoes is in order. I've discovered that the new ones I bought before I left are a half size too large, thus allowing too much foot movement. Lately I've started wearing my shoes larger, since my feet seem to have widened. But for this much walking, I need my real size, just in a larger width. So that's one item of business.
Probably the more important one was the fixing of the generator. Without the generator I don't have AC power for the computer, air conditioner, TV, etc. That's not intolerable, since I have all other comforts, and I can always go to a wi-fi spot and plug in; it's just inconvenient.
So this morning I went at the problem with determination, even though I had only a vague idea of why the thing wasn't starting. I began by going to a car parts place and asking them to test the batteries that are used to start the generator and that store extra juice for use when the generator is off. The testing of the batteries (a pair of enormous 6 volt batteries attached to one another) showed that they were both weak. So off I headed to one of those farm/tractor type stores, to get replacements, because the auto parts place didn't have any (which was good, since if they had, they would have cost twice as much as at the farm store).
I don't know a whole lot about mechanics, but I can replace batteries, so I did. Then came the moment of truth, when I went to start the generator. Nothing. Just a click, the same as before. So I figured well, new batteries were probably a good thing anyway. The old ones looked pretty old, and the guy who tested them said they were weak (or do they say that to everybody?). As I was going back into the farm store to turn in the old batteries for recycling, or whatever they do with them, I met a man standing at the door, who smiled and asked me something like, "Well, did you get her going?" I explained the situation as I understood it. He replied, "Yeah, it's probably the starter hung up. That's an Onan generator, right?" All this, mind you, from about 150 feet away from my vehicle. I said yes, it was. (By the way, what kind of name is Onan for anything? Wasn't he the one who cast his seed upon the ground, in the Book of Genesis, thus displeasing the Lord enough so that he killed him off?)
So the guy (who looked a little like Howard Sprague from the old Andy Griffith show, with a perpetual small smile of contentment that comes, I suppose, from knowing all about how things work) walked over to the motor home with me. After a couple of questions he could tell I was relatively clueless, so he explained that the starter was behind the generator. He took the hammer I had from my battery-changing, reached his arm around the back, and tapped the starter a few times. Then he pushed the button, and the thing started right up. "Yep," he said with that little gentle smile, "that's what I thought. Happens a lot with these Onan generators. Just tap that starter whenever it gets hung up like that."
I shook his hand and thanked him, and off he went. A good citizen whose name I didn't bother to ask. And I'm thinking that the information I got from him was worth more than the cost of a couple of batteries.
So here I sit in the motor home, in the far corner of the parking lot of the farm store, generator purring, computer plugged in, air conditioning running. Listening to Muddy Waters singing, "Ohhh yeah, everything's gonna be all right this morning."