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One of Those Days

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It all started as we prepared to depart from a one-night stay at a campground on Matagorda Bay in Texas. We couldn't resist a morning walk along the seawall in Palacios. When we returned I completed most of the outside work while Louise cooked breakfast. French toast was delicious and welcome on this cool coastal morning.

We were just beginning to clean up the kitchen when Louise reached for the refrigerator door to put something away. She pulled the right-hand door on the two-door Norcold 1200LRIM just as she had hundreds of times before. This time the door came off the refrigerator and dropped to the floor! The bottom of a bottle of wine broke from the bottle. A plastic container of tea dropped to the floor and the lid popped off. A variety of other jars and bottles rattled on the floor with the trays that contained them. Louise stood there in shock - holding the door and just looking at this completely unexpected mess on the floor.

I finally took the door from Louise's hands and placed it on the floor out of the way. We used half a roll of paper towels to clean up the liquids and rinsed the other containers before putting them back in the half-open refrigerator. As Louise continued with the cleanup I began to analyze the door and the hinge on the refrigerator.

How had this unimaginable mess occurred? My post-crash analysis showed a piece of plastic about 2 inches long by 3/8 inch that was held in place by two screws with a metal plate of similar dimensions backing the plastic. Further analysis showed a screw hole in the bottom of the door - but no screw. We had lost a key screw in the door and the door had been hanging by the plastic for who-knows-how-long. When the plastic failed, there was nothing to hold the door on the lower hinge. The upper hinge is simply a pin on the refrigerator that inserts into a hole in the door. Since the pin is inserted from above, the entire weight of the door rests on the lower hinge. When the lower hinge fails, the door falls and "down will come cradle, baby and all!" So if you have this model of refrigerator, get down on the floor and look up under the hinge to see that the screw that anchors the door to the hinge is still in place. Without it, the door will eventually fail.

I found that I could put the door on the upper hinge and, with the lower hinge in the open position, the hinge supported the door while the vertical section pinned the door against the refrigerator. The door doesn't open normally, but we can reach around to get anything stored on the right side of the refrigerator. A healthy application of Gorilla Tape made sure that the door didn't move off the lower hinge. There was one small glitch: The door kept dropping out of its latch, which sets off a beeping alarm. Louise can't stand to listen to the beep, so I got a few washers to insert under the door to lift it about 3/16 inch and that did the trick. No more beeping.

We traveled non-stop for about six hours before arriving at Rayne, Louisiana, just before sunset. This is a place of special memories for us. We purchased our current motor home at a rally at Rayne. There is a convention center with hundreds of RV hookups. We were told to stop by any time the facilities weren't in use and stay overnight or for a few days.

Sure enough, the convention center was completely empty. We pulled in, followed shortly by another motor home. We talked briefly with them. We were looking for 50A, they were happy with 30A. We went on to look for our spot.

We arrived at a point where a turn was going to be difficult, so I elected to drive through the dump station. We were almost back to the main road when, WHOA! I hit the brakes. There, resting on the windshield right at eye level was an electrical wire, a single cord of insulated wire supported by and wound around a bare metal wire. It was twilight and I felt lucky to have even spotted it in time to stop. It would likely have cracked the windshield or even worse if it slipped off the windshield onto the front cap of the motor home.

I put Louise into the drivers seat and went outside to assess the situation. We could unhook the car, 20 minutes, and then hook up the car in the morning, another 30 minutes. Or I could find something to raise the wire above the motor home. One option was to get on the roof and walk the wire down the roof as we passed under. Then I thought of the wash brush. With its extended handle and a rubber covered handle, I thought it would work.

We started off and I had to shout instructions through the window to tell Louise if there was a problem. After a short trial, I moved to the other side of the coach and used a radio to communicate with Louise. We eased our way along without a hitch, over the satellite dome, the front air conditioner, fan vents and sewer vent. Finally the back air conditioner and the ladder and we were free!

We found a place to hook up and plugged in. In about 30 minutes a city employee showed up to collect our camping fee. Water, electric and a dump station for $20 a night. I told the employee about the low-hanging wire. We had encountered more than our usual challenges in a single day on the road. The refrigerator was working, maybe better than before. The encounter with the wire hadn't damaged the motor home - or me.

We slept well that night. The next morning, the electrical company was out with a truck and secured the line. We were on down I-10 headed for Montgomery, Alabama, and our next adventure.

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Hi Tom & Louise, Sorry about the refrig! We have never had the door come off, but have learned to be very careful of the refrig when opening it after a day of travel. On several occasions we have forgot and just opened the door and had a bombing run of eggs come out of the refrig. Yuck! What a mess! Ah the adventures of motor homing! LOL! We found something interesting in our stove once we got here to Goliad. We had been fighting mice invasions when we were storing the MH in the front yard of our Maine home. However, we could never find a nest until the other day. Would you believe one built a nest in the stove! Yup! Where you lift up the burner cover, the mouse had build a nest there. Lucky we never had a fire when we were using the stove.

Hope you are all have a great time in your further travels! Jack

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