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EscaPOD Adventures - 2021 edition

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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: EscaPOD Adventures - 2021 edition
    Posted: 05 Jun 2021 at 8:15pm
We are in the middle of an extended trip. I've cataloged my travel adventures before, but rather than add to an old topic, I think it is time to begin a new one.

We left home and this time, we didn't forget anything significant. The refrigerator was working well, the gas tanks were full, the fresh water full, the black and gray tanks empty. Everything seemed to be good for the trip.

By the time we reached Oklahoma, I noticed that the refrigerator did not seem to be cooling adequately. I did bring the Free Piston Sterling Cooler so that we could have something that would keep proper cold temperatures. It is small, but held the majority of our perishable items, leaving ones not quite so sensitive to ride in the Dometic unit. I thought it might be a dirty orifice, so I shut the refrigerator off and cleaned the orifice. When I went to start it up again -- Nothing! No lights, no fans, no sounds. The refrigerator had died. I checked both 120V and 12V power and both were present. A quiick trip to a Walmart to purchase another cooler (Lifetime 28 qt) which is heavier duty than the regular coolers. It also claims to be bear resistant. It is similar to a Yeti, but it likely isn't quite the quality. It was much less expensive though, and it meeting the needs for the additional space to store items that won't fit in the FPSC cooler. Unfortunately, this situation will be the norm until we get home and can get it looked at to see if it can be fixed or if it is time for a replacement. It is not quite 6 years old.

Second mishap was at a tight gas station. I now have yellow paint on the water heater door, along the bottom metal strip, and the fender has a little bend. Hopefully, I can straighten the fender and buff off the yellow paint. It could have been worse.. 

Third was that the two-way connector for our DC to DC charger came out of the socket and was dragged along the road enough to wear it down to where it can't be used. I have another one on order to be delivered to our older daughter's house. When we get there, I will install it and also figure out a way to tie it up so that if it were to come loose again, it would not be able to drag on the road.

Fourth was that my cell phone was not behaving properly. It was discharging and shutting down, even though it was plugged in. I was running the Torque app. I purchased a higher power charger along the way, but it was still not doing right. I found a USB-C to USB-C cord which would be used with the highest power outlet on the charger. That seems to be working, but it is time to either get a new phone or find someone who could replace the battery in the Moto X4 I have been using. I opted for a new phone, ordering it from Google Fi to be delivered to my daughter. It arrived today and will be waiting for me when we arrive.

Fifth was that the propane hose I use to connect the 20 lb cylinder to our grill-stove quit working properly. I thought it was the regulator, so we purchased a new stove. When I connected it, it did not work. I had used some silicone spray in the hose and it was working well enough so that I could see that the old regulator and stove was okay. Still, I connected the new stove and it did not work. Turns out the regulator for the new stove was bad. I returned it and purchased a replacement propane hose instead.

Enough of the woes. We spent a week with our younger daughter and grandsons. I installed a 30A RV outlet for her. That meant that we could run the AC, which is important when the temperatures are up over 100F We also did some other projects that were helpful to our daughter. All too soon, it was time to leave to head to see our older daughter and grandchildren.

We drove up toward the Grand Canyon on 89, which took us toward the Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Arizona. We continued on into Utah, hoping to stop at an RV park so we could have power for the AC since it was still quite hot. That was not to be. They were booked. One young man suggested a horse camp. We missed that turn-off because it was not well marked an instead headed toward the Coral Pink Dunes State Park. It tuns out that they were also booked, but I had seen some vehicles pulled off in an open area. I asked it it would be okay to stop there as it was getting toward dusk and we needed a place to stop for the night. He said yes, and dry camping is not unusual for us. The heat of the day had passed, and it does get cool in the desert at night. Pulling into the area, I did not know that the harder packed surface was at the perimeter so I headed into the center area and got stuck. The truck does have 4WD, but the tires were not off-road, so I could not get enough traction to move us and the RPod. A young man came over with an off-road 4-wheeler and connected a tow strap to the front of the Frontier. Between his 4-wheeler and the RPod, we got moving and onto a harder-packed surface so we were able to set up for the night.

It was in the morning as we were preparing to leave that I noticed that the 2-way connector had fallen out and dragged. I am very glad I installed the LiFePO4 battery. It had the power to run the FPSC cooler, even without being recharged during the drive. I do have a generator with us that I could have started for recharging, but it was not needed. We left and drove though Zion National Park. I had hped that there would be space available for camping, but all sites were booked. I was thinking it might be like Yellowstone with some first-come, first-served sites. It was an absolutely beautiful drive. We stopped a few times for pictures at pull-offs when there was room. Because I have the Access Pass, the drive did not cost anything for the truck and us. I did have to pay a $15 fee for the trailer for the tunnel. Our RPod could have made it no problem, but we were told that we would need to drive down the center of the tunnel for clearance. Traffic was limited to one way for this. There were larger RVs which needed the additional space.

Since we could not find a space in the park, I used RV Parky to look for an RV park that would not cost too much. We ended up at MCArthur's Templeview RV Resort in St. George. The outside temperature was 107F when we arrived, so the first thing to get connected was the power so I could get the AC going. It took a while, but the inside of the RPod is finally comfortable. We will only spend the night here before heading up to our daughter's house. If we could have gotten a site in Zion NP, we would have spent two nights there.

That pretty much gets us up to date. Even with everything, it is a nice trip and we have seen some beautiful scenery. These are things that can't be seen at 30,000 feet. I am glad we are making this one at ground level, even though it does take much longer. It is worth it.
StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

ouR escaPOD mods
http://pilgrim-wanderings.blogspot.com
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campman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote campman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2021 at 8:57am
Glad you are enjoying your road trip, even with all the hiccups on the way!

I have heard about how hard it is to get a campsite and I imagine this year that it is even more difficult to find a place to stop for a night or two....almost anywhere.
Andy and Laurie
'16 F150 5.0 4X4 w/factory tow pkg
'21.5 RP192 (coming off the line June 23rd)
"If the women don't find you handsome...at least let them find you handy!"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote chasl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2021 at 8:58am
Enjoy your trip and your family. Sorry for the problems, but you certainly are resourceful. I enjoyed reading about your adventure. 
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2021 at 9:07am
RV "resorts" near the major parks are available -- at a price. We found a place and even with Good Sam discount, cost us $50 for one night. RV camping is certainly not a way to save money anymore. Instead, it is being able to sleep in one's own bed and maintain some distance, unlike motels. 
StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

ouR escaPOD mods
http://pilgrim-wanderings.blogspot.com
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podwerkz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 2021 at 9:51am
I dont know if you have looked into BoondockersWelcome.com, but it might be an option for you. I have been a 'host' and I have earned some 'guest' credits, so if you sign up over there (trial basis) and let me know your username I can donate a block of credits (3 months free access) to your account. 

Just let me know. 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote RFrog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2021 at 10:46pm
Zion is one of my favorite places in the world. I hope the rest of your travels are safe and uneventful (in a good way)!  Enjoy the time with your family!
~dani~ 2019 RP180 purchased 5/15/21; towed by 2014 Willys Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jun 2021 at 10:22am
We left the RV park and drove back through Zion NP in order to go and see Bryce Canyon.  If you have never been there, first you drive through the Dixie National Forest and Red Canyon. It is only the beginning of some spectacular scenery. When we arrived at the Bryce Canyon visitor center, the ranger said we would need to park in the overflow parking lot which had spaces for RVs. She added that I could drop the trailer there in order to drive the park. I was very glad to hear that and I would suggest it to anyone wanting to go there as an option. Another option would be to try to get a site in one of the two campgrounds there. I parked the trailer and we drove up the canyon. The road has a lot of twists and turns and climbs to over 9,000 ft. I could have done it towing, but our options for pulling off and taking pictures would have been limited.

Zion is majestic. Bryce is spectacular. The colors seemed to be bolder at Bryce as well. Zion seemed to be more pastels in comparison. If we had taken the shuttle at Zion, my opinion might be different, but that will need to wait for a future trip. The drive was enjoyable and will warrant a return trip as well. If we had wanted to take the additional time, we could have taken the shuttle for a guided tour, but we did not do that.

We returned through Red Canyon and pulled into the campground there. It is a National Forest Service campground and is first-come, first-served. When we got there, we found a great site. There were a number of others who pulled in after we did so that by evening, the place was rather full. There were a surprising number of tent campers there as well as the large RVs. There is a fee, but the Access Pass got us a 50% discount. There were no connections available. There was a dump station that had potable water for filling fresh water tanks, and the sign recommended doing so before moving to a site. Since we had topped off before leaving the RV park earlier that day, I did not need to do so. I took a hike on the trail and got more pictures. I also set up our Renogy 100W solar panel in order to take advantage of some sunlight to charge the battery. If we had been there earlier, I could have done a significant bit of charging as the FPSC cooler was consuming less than the panel's output. However, it was evenin  Ig, so I got some charge, but not a full charge. It was enough to prove the concept that an efficient 12V refrigerator would be feasible for boondocking.

We left the next morning to go to our older daughter's house and arrived there without incident. We will be here a few days before heading home. Tomorrow the replacement connector should arrive so I can repair that and the battery will get charged while we are moving again. The new phone is in service, so there should not be any more issues with phone charging. I will be doing other maintenance today.
StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

ouR escaPOD mods
http://pilgrim-wanderings.blogspot.com
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2021 at 7:25pm
So, I replaced the end of the connector cable that came loose and dragged on the road. When I plugged it in to test, nothing. My DC to DC Renogy charger was not responding. Fortunately, it turned out to be two 20A internal blade fuses that were easy to replace. I opted to purchase fuses with a light that will light up if the fuses fail again. That way, I will be able to check it visually without disconnecting. I think the high temperatures that we have experienced in the southwest had caused the charger to get too warm and the fuses blew to protect it from damage. I have a spare set just in case it were to happen again.

As for the refrigerator, it is dead. All my research over the past couple of days leads me to the conclusion that replacement is the only viable option. The RM-8501 is discontinued. I'm not sure what the replacement model is. Forest River's parts department would not give me the information but said I had to go through a dealer. They said that liability issues were why they would not sell one to me.

I have been looking at suitable replacements. I would like to go with a Danfoss/Secop compressor 12V/120V model since my experience with the FPSC cooler leads me to believe it would be a great option for us. I am considering the Dometic CRX-1110E/F-S 3.7 CF AC/DC Silver Refrigerator. With the Space Saver Flange, it looks like it would fit the existing RM-8501 cut-out with possibly only minor modification. I will be looking into this model more thoroughly. Has anyone tried one of the Dometic CRX models?
StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

ouR escaPOD mods
http://pilgrim-wanderings.blogspot.com
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Today at 10:28am
Well, we finally got home. We arrived at our older daughter's house without further incident. We had an enjoyable time there. When it came time to leave, we decided to visit one more national park on our way home. We chose Arches National Park. As with Bryce Canyon, we dropped the RPod at the visitor center parking lot for the drive into the park. I'm glad we did as the road had enough climbs and switchbacks that it was good to not be towing it.

Each park we visited seemed to be more spectacular than the last. There were plenty of "Oh Wow!" moments as we rounded various curves and saw things that were even more majestic than the last. We only drove to the Delicate Arch as we wanted to be able to find a place for the night and it was already getting late. The campground in the park was full (as could be expected). Arches is a dark place so it would have been great to be there at night with a telescope.

The Access Pass (or Golden Age Pass, etc.) is great. It not only got us into the parks free, but it gave us a 50% discount on our camping. I recommend looking into these passes if you are eligible.

While we were at our older daughter's house, I did place an order for the Dometic CRX-1110E/F which I mentioned in my previous post. It will be delivered tomorrow. I have removed the old refrigerator in preparation for installing the new one. Since I will be using it this weekend, it will provide a good test of its functionality. I will report on it in my mods once it is installed and I can evaluate it for functionality and energy efficiency.
StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

ouR escaPOD mods
http://pilgrim-wanderings.blogspot.com
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