I hope that this will be the last maintenance post for a while. It’s good to have gotten things tweaked and fixed but I’d rather write about our travels.
Just to wrap up the repair saga, Super Terry came through with an amazing job on the Dometic AC/heat pump. He salvaged the 1/4 hp electric motor from another unit and installed it in ours starting at about 6:30 Monday evening. The job, conducted entirely atop the roof of the Airstream, took until about 9:30 pm, so mostly in the dark by flashlights.
I went up and down the ladder a dozen times to fetch tools as requested, and otherwise just stood at the top of the rungs admiring a mechanic with 30 years of experience solving what appeared to me to be an insoluble problem. That unit is not designed for easy serviceability, and the motor didn’t come out without a fight. But at the end it was in, the whole thing went back together and upon testing it ran like new. I’m amazed and grateful that this effort allowed us to avoid an expensive replacement, which is normally the only option.
For those who suffer this issue, believe your mechanic when he says the best fix is a whole new air conditioner. Counting the time it took to salvage the motor from another unit, Super Terry put in a solid five hours on the job. He did this as a friendly favor, but if I were paying shop rates it would have been probably $500 plus parts, and I’m left with a 6-year-old unit that probably will have some other fatal issue in a few years. At the risk of sounding like an old RV codger, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Hopefully ours will hold on for a few more years but I’m not expecting decades of service.
With the late dinner and the usual post-dinner conversation it was a late night, and then this morning we had a slow-motion getaway. It was 11 a.m. before we got on the road, westbound for Alabama. We got as far as 30 miles past Atlanta (hit downtown right at rush hour, which was challenging), then stopped for dinner and overnight parking in a private lot. It’s pouring rain tonight, so I’m very glad we resolved the leak in the Fan-Tastic Vent.
Our goal tomorrow is Birmingham. It’s a city we’ve never visited, and there are a few sights we want to see there, which I’ll write about in future posts. From there, our travel plan is basically to head back to Tucson in two weeks or less. We’re going to leave the exact stops loose, but this is familiar territory so if we want something different we’ll have to divert plenty from the beaten path. There are a few days built into the schedule for that.
The big splurge of our two-week return budget is going to be this weekend. I’ve actually made reservations — a rare thing indeed — for a park in the Florida panhandle for four nights. We all want beach time, to fill that piece of our souls and sustain us through the dry interim in the southwest this winter. Detouring to the panhandle will add 300 miles to our route but I’m sure it will be well worth it.
So that’s the sum total of our remaining travel “plan.” Not much, really. Rather than figure it all out, we’ll let circumstances and whimsy suggest the opportunities. In the nearly 1,900 miles ahead, I have a feeling we’ll find more than a few interesting things.