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Life is a Learning Experience!

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tbutler

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After a one month stay in Denver, we finally said good-bye to family and packed away the loose items in the motor home and set out for Missouri and visits with my relatives. As soon as we unplugged the motor home from the shore power the alarm on the inverter went off, setting off a real learning experience. We had a new inverter installed, a Xantrex RS3000. We had left the electric water heater on when we unplugged the shore power and the inverter was telling us the batteries weren't up to running the water heater. Now I didn't understand that at the time and was concerned that something was wrong with the new inverter. I cleared the warning alarm and shut off the electric switch on the water heater. Now the inverter was switching on and off repeatedly. I was puzzled. We finished unhooking, then went to CW where the inverter had been installed. I needed some help figuring out what was going on. The clerks behind the service desk weren't as concerned as I was but we did finally get the shop foreman to take a look at the unit. He couldn't quickly identify the problem and suggested that I reset the unit. Now the genius who designed this unit put the reset button on the inverter itself, not on the control panel. The inverter is buried in the belly of the motor home in a compartment that is accessed from another compartment that is packed with all the necessary stuff the full time RV'ers need to survive. I unpacked the compartment, got to the unit and reset it. This helped! Now at least the menus were operating properly. I found the problem with the on-off-on-off behavior to be a load sense feature. It would test to see if there was a load and finding an insufficient load switch off again. I deactivated that feature and, viola, the problem was solved. I went through several other tests and everything seemed to be working fine.

We were off down the road. Our next stop was the Flying J in Aurora, Colorado. We pulled into the lot and up to the propane tank. We had to maneuver around a truck and trailer parked just before the propane tank but got close enough to get a connection to our tank. We shut down everything including the generator. This made the inverter unhappy because I had shut it off with the manual switch. Apparently the inverter feels that it owns the generator and I should keep my hands off the switch. Now a number of the menu items disappeared from the menu and I couldn't get the generator auto start to work. AAARRGGHH! We got the propane and enough diesel to keep us going to a cheaper fuel source, a Flying J in Kansas.

We took I-70 to Lyman, Colorado then dropped south to US 50 where we turned east toward Kansas. We had been with family for a month and I needed some alone time with Louise so we are taking the long way home through southern Kansas. I have traveled some of these roads a long time ago but it is always different. This trip the winter wheat is thriving and summer crops are being planted. We enjoyed the agricultural scenery and the leisurely pace of a non-interstate road. Just before reaching Kansas we found a nice rest area and parked for the night. We had truckers for neighbors and of course there was a railroad track right behind the rest area. There were no road crossings on the track so we only heard the rumble of the train, no whistle.

The next morning I am on the phone to Xantrex searching for a solution. They suggest resetting the unit! AAARRGGHH! But this time I am ready. I think I can poke the reset button with the window awning pull rod (WAPR). I had to think about something while trying to go to sleep after each train! I crawl in over the top of the stuff as far as I can and then use the WAPR to open the plexiglass door in front of the inverter. With a little squinting I can just see that little red button. I brace the WAPR against the plexiglass and twist it so the end presses the red button. Viola! The inverter is reset! Back inside I am able to reprogram the inverter with no problem. I give Louise instruction on starting and stopping the generator by manipulating the menu for the inverter!

We are off to Dodge City, Kansas by noon. No sense rushing things. We decided to stay at Gunsmoke RV and arrived there about 4:00 p.m. We got a nice pull through site and settled in for the evening. The electrical connection between the motor home and toad were not working properly so I spent some time working on that problem. I fixed one problem only to have another crop up. Turns out I can have the right turn signal or the left turn signal but not both! I am going to have to replace the receptacle on the toad. Those springy pins just don't last forever. I'll have a chance to work on this when I get to Missouri. In the meantime, I can't make any left turns. I'll be a UPS driver in no time!

Wednesday we left Gunsmoke RV and stopped in Dodge City to see the Boot Hill Museum. I had been here before and remember it as kind of a tourist trap but Louise hadn't seen it. I was impressed, either they have improved things tremendously or my memory is really bad. Anyway, we enjoyed touring the museum before heading on down the road. Our lunch stop was a quick shop lot in Greensburg, Kansas. Greensburg was hit by a monster F5 tornado on May 4, 2007, just over two years ago. The quick shop lot where we stopped had only the flooring and the stubs of the pumps left. All around us were trees that had been trimmed by the tornado, just trunks with a few branches now growing out about 15 feet off the ground. Twisted sign posts and concrete pads marked other buildings that were no more. We saw lots of new construction going on as Greensburg rebuilds.

Wichita is our next stop. We'll stay two nights here before heading to Kansas City and a weekend visit with my sister. We watched a line of thunderstorms develop off to the east of Wichita as the sun was setting on our campsite. There are storm warnings out all along that line. Could it be another night for tornadoes? Glad we're on the back side of the line. <UPDATE> Yes, we were on the back side of the line of thunderstorms which did produce tornadoes across Oklahoma and Missouri during the night of May 13-14.

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