Power and Practicality

My journey has started off with a 2 1/2 day deluge. It’s perfect if you’re an inexperienced rig driver with an inkling for driving a 25 foot truck over curvy mountain roads with diminished visibility. It’s ideal if if you like sleeping with a wet dog. It’s a bonus when your back up camera becomes obscured by a cover of water and you have to turn a 25 foot rig around in a small parking lot. Lola, my canine copilot, didn’t come with backup assistance training.

The lessons of the road already loom large. Awareness requirements spike up. For example, I’ve reached my zenith in energy supply consciousness. My first five days have been at sites with no electrical supply. My house battery is too small to support many basic applications for much longer than a day. Lights are nice but if the energy supply is running low, conserving everywhere is paramount. Flashlights, lanterns, and candles are God’s gift to low power. My refrigerator runs on propane when I don’t have plug in power but it needs power from the battery for its electronic parts. The water pump that pressurizes the faucets and the toilet needs power from the battery. Message to self…when the battery gets to 1/2 power, charge it with the generator while I have the battery power to start it. In late June I’m having solar panels installed. The sun will become my filling station. I’ll add 2 1/2 times the battery capacity so I can avoid relegating myself to sites where big rigs are side by side with lawn chairs set up for their occupants to watch reality shows on outside TVs.

My rig didn’t include an attached ladder to reach the roof. The manufacturer may not have wanted me up there. Though climbing up on my 11 foot high roof doesn’t make OSHA’s list of safe practices, I’ve got awnings on both sides that need to have fallen tree debris removed from them before they are retracted back to the body of the rig. I haven’t figured out a way to accomplish this task without climbing atop the vehicle with my battery powered leaf blower. Not having an attached ladder may be the beginning of discovering a whole new world of impracticality.

Propane is another matter. I’ve mentioned that it is the power source for the refrigerator when there’s no electrical plug-in source. Whereas there are enough gas stations strategically placed to keep me full of driving fuel, propane suppliers are much farther apart and less easy to locate. Plugging my refrigerator in and forgetting about it is a luxury of my past. In spite of its inherent hazard, I’m beginning to understand why Ben Franklin took his kite outside in a thunderstorm with a key tied to its string.

Between the time I leave North Carolina on Friday and my solar installation in June, I’m going to stay at sites with electrical hook ups. It’s practical. It’s powerful.

Published by jmlewisjr

Hello. This is Jimmy Lewis. I'm in Memphis, Tennessee. My golden doodle, Lola and I are leaving on a North American tour in May, 2021. We'll be traveling in a 2021 Jayco Melbourne 24L motorhome. We have neither time constraints nor exact destination specifications. We'll spend May in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and then head north through New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. If Canadians resume the practice of putting out a welcome mat for Americans, then we'll cross the border.  The seed for this journey began after my wife, Sarla passed away in May, 2020. Sarla was a yogi. An early yoga teacher of hers implored her to "Have what you need, and use what you have." As I prepare to close on the sale of our home on April 30, 2021, I'm deciding what I need based on the likelihood of using what I have. I give some things away without a flicker of feeling. When more meaningful items like the piano I inherited from my parents leave the premises, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time. Sarla's death lessened my attachment to the home we had enjoyed for 15 years and life as I knew it. I didn't need and couldn't possibly use a house that could satisfy the needs of a family with four children. I'll no longer experience residence, a concept identified with staying in a specified place, as I've heretofore known it. Life will never be the same, nor do I want to attempt to shape my future into a likeness of what I once knew.   I've set my sights on adventure. I want to be challenged by not knowing who or what I'll meet on the road. The outdoors is one of my default antidotes for stress. Other than my rig, I won't have an indoors base. Whereas others might opt to downsize so that they have the stability of a landing spot, I won't be able to go "home" as I've known it. I'm jazzed about the prospect of being at the whim of the muse, to go where my finger lands on turning pages of the Rand McNally atlas. My dog, Lola is indifferent even though I've been talking to her about the journey every day. She looks quizzically at me when I enthusiastically say we're hitting the road together. I'm confident that she'll do well. We've previously driven together to and from a destination 12 hours from home. She curiously gazed out the window and occasionally snoozed in the passenger seat. She didn't express displeasure about the podcasts and music selection that I chose to entertain and inform me while driving. This trip isn't driven by personal goals. Will I learn more about myself? Will I take advantage of the opportunity to reflect? Will I be lonely? Will I be uneasy? I'm motivated by a curiosity to follow the questions.

3 thoughts on “Power and Practicality

  1. What an inaugural week, rain, power issues, roof top leaves. Good that you are so calm cool and collected!

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  2. So inspired by your resourcefulness and self-reflection. Would love a photo of you standing on top of the rig! Master of your domain!

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  3. Coping successfully with these early challenges must feel good. Sometimes getting thrown into the deep end can be a great teacher/therapist, ease anxiety once you’re swimming, and build confidence for conquering the obstacles ahead. Please pet Lola for me and I Love your writing style.

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