Saturday, July 1, 2017

Ridiculous Road Trip #1, Part 21 - Beauty Creek, Refrigerator Repair

Back to Part 20

June 11-12
That Sunday morning, just before we left the most northwestern state of our trip, we stopped for coffee, and found this odd roadside attraction.

Then we crossed the Washington border and made our way into Idaho, where we stopped for two nights near Coeur d'Alene, at the Beauty Creek Campground in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. It's a lovely primitive campground, along a creek and just a half mile from Lake Coeur d'Alene.

We set up camp in the nearly empty campground, Doug chopped through a huge tree that was blocking the trail that ran along the creek next to our site, then went to find some good fishing, while I worried about the camper's refrigerator. Another one of the gadget we had shipped from Amazon to Andrew's house was a weather station. This nifty weather station came with 3 outdoor sensors, plus the base station. I set things up so the base station could read the temperature inside the camper. I attached one of the sensors in a secure place under the camper, so we could know the outside temp. But the real reason for this purchase was that I was worried about the temperature of our refrigerator. Since Yosemite (mid-May), the refrigerator just didn't seem to be cold enough despite being on its coldest setting. So, I put the remaining sensors inside, one in the fridge and the other in the freezer. Now I was really concerned. It was only getting down to 50 degrees in the fridge, not food safe at all. So I shifted all the food the cooler, along with one of the temperature sensors.

We had just enough cell signal for me to to start searching the web about our refrigerator model. Weirdly enough, I actually had the manual for the fridge stashed away in camper. The troubleshooting section of the manual was no help. But there was one notation in the LP operation section that mentioned that the gas burner should be cleaned annually, but there was no instruction for how to do that. About the same time I was reading this in the manual, the rPod Facebook group folks had responded to my post about my refrigerator woes--and they had the same advice. With their help, plus a YouTube video, I figured out how to disassemble most of the burner assembly. Unfortunately, one important nut could not be loosened. Between Doug and I, we pretty much had stripped the nut. And at this point, night had really fallen. And I was grumpy and worried that we had REALLY broken things. Doug had loosened a different nut to remove a larger section of the gas line, but that meant that now we couldn't use our gas stove either. Sigh.

So, I cooked over the fire that night instead, and had nightmares about refrigerators and gas leaks all night.

The next morning, there were a few more messages from the rPod Facebook group. It seems the nut that we couldn't loosen was common with at least one other person, so I decided to figure out how to clean the burner anyway. I finally succeeded with a bobby pin, an alcohol wipe, and our battery operated air compressor. Crossing our fingers, we reassembled all the parts, and turned the gas back on. Unbelievably, it worked. We stared at the temperature gauge for a while, a breathed a sigh of relief when the temperature in the fridge started dropping. Ahhhh...the excitement of full-timing in an RV.

Igniter, burner, and flue of the refrigerator.
That's probably more than anyone ever wanted to know about an RV refrigerator. Other good things did happen at this stop. We gave our neighbors a tour of our rPod and they loved it. Doug got in an early hike up into the hills. And after I stopped worrying about the fridge, we did another hike together. Then Doug did a bit more fishing and I enjoyed watching the fridge get TOO cold and read my book for the rest of the afternoon. As we drove out on our last morning, we saw wild turkeys and elk along the road.

Up next, Part 22

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