Filed under: Family Camping, Humor, Technology & Camping
Our Camper Saved the Day!
As many of you know, during the past year we moved our home and family across the country from Wisconsin to New Mexico. For the most part the move went smoothly, but due to this major disruption in the stability of our lives, we did not have the time or energy to plan and take our typical two-three week camping vacation this summer, but reconciled ourselves to day trips. When Terry finally joined me in New Mexico in July, after hauling the last of our things across the country in the camper, we parked our Trail Lite in its new home near our house and, for the most part, forgot about it for the rest of the summer and fall. However, last weekend, it became a crucial part of our existence.
When we bought our home in New Mexico, it was about six years old. Built in 2004, the home came with appliances, all Amana, which the previous owner had purchased as she was moving into her new abode, so all are still less than ten years old. Last Saturday evening Terry and I went to bed about 10 pm as usual, after enjoying a Hallmark Christmas movie on television. While many men cannot abide those movies, truth be told, I think Terry enjoys them as much as I do.
Our harmony was destroyed when we awoke the next morning, however. Sometime during the night, the freezer had stopped freezing and the refrigerator had stopped chilling. Our freezer was filled with thawed food and our refrigerator actually felt warm to the touch when we opened the door. I grabbed the coolers and the only ice we had, which had frozen in the dogs’ outside water bowl. Throwing the ice in a ziplock bag I popped it into the cooler with some of the food.
One step ahead of me, Terry grabbed the longest extension cord we had and ran it out the the camper. He jumped in and turned the camper refrigerator on full steam and we only had to wait several hours for it to chill, at which point we transferred most of the food to the camper. Then we hopped into the car and ran to check out new refrigerators, fearing the worst.
To make matters worse, while I always thought our refrigerator looked large, it turns out the opening we have in our kitchen in which it fits is actually quite small, 32.25 inches wide to be exact! After spending several hours on the internet we learned that most models are 33 inches or wider. Therefore, in order to upgrade to a model with ice and water in the door, only available from one company, we would have to pay in excess of $3500 and that was only if we could find it on sale. Needless to say, that option was eliminated immediately.
The next morning when the repairman appeared, our worst fears were confirmed. He tested the fridge and told us the compressor was shot. Again, we hit the appliance stores in search of a replacement. At the second store we visited, the woman asked if our technician had tried to “jump-start” our compressor. He had not. Explaining that her husband was a technician and for $35 could perform this task that afternoon, we set up an appointment to have him give it a try.
Initially when he appeared, the compressor started right up; things looked good. But as the fridge ran, he shook his head and told us it should be cooling faster than it was. He had us perform a test, by putting a small bowl of water in the freezer, stating it should freeze by 7 pm that night. When I emerged from my office after teaching my online class at 7 that evening, Terry met me at the door saying, “I couldn’t wait. We have ice!” The freezer was working!
Knowing we had the luxury of time at this point thanks to the camper, we filled two ice cube trays with water and left the food in the camper. What a relief! The trays were frozen in two hours, faster than the bowl had frozen. Things were moving in the right direction.
Our second technician told us he would guarantee the jump start for 30 days. He told us it could run for a month, six months or ten years. But we are thankful that we could avoid an unplanned major purchase at holiday time. We are adding to our savings account in anticipating of replacing the fridge in the future. For now it is working well and our little camper saved the day and a freezer full of food!
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