July 19 (4) Willow Beach -Maiden Voyages
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
BACKTRACKS: During my first week on the road, I had trouble connecting to strong enough WiFi to compose and post my daily notes. For the next few days, I will finish these posts and put them out for you. Please accept my apologies that they are out of order of the trip.)
Maiden RV Voyage 1: Using the 14-50 Charger
Willow Creek is my first charge in an RV park. I will try out the after-market NEMOa 14-50 RV to electric car charger I bought on line. The 14-50, or 50 amp as most people who are comfortable with the technology call it, allows a more powerful charge than the level 1 charge cord that came with the Blue Frog.
The hookup is a gray box at one side of the spot. It has a sign that says, “Before putting in or removing plug, turn outlet off.” I am flummoxed. I go to the camp parents’ RV and ask if they will show me how to turn off the plug because it is my maiden voyage with the charger. (Camp parents are people who live at the camp all season, check campers in when the store’s front desk is closed, help people with camping things, answer questions, and, if necessary, remind unruly groups to take it down a notch.)
The camp dad comes by in his pick-up and shows me the fuse. It is next to the socket and clearly in the OFF position. He fits the 50 amp plug into the socket. It takes a little muscle because the prongs don’t quite line up with the holes. (This problem goes away after I have used it several more times.) Then he flips the fuse to on and I attach the charging head to the Frog’s charge port. The car makes 1 short ribbit (honk) and the green charging light in the center of the dash blinks on. Success!
(The 50 amp plug is #3. #2 is for a 30 amp plug. You can buy an electric car charger for the 30 amp if you want it. )
Maiden Voyage 2: Setting up the tent - I have set up a similar but larger tent with Chip. Today I do it myself.
Maiden Voyage 3: Such nice folks.
Suddenly, several families in RV’s and pickups towing motor boats and carrying kayaks pull into the spots next to and across from me. The little Blue Frog looks a bit out of place, parked among the big rigs.
Camp Dad comes back and asks if I would mind sharing my space with the overflow boat from the group next to me. Of course, I am fine with that. I am not using the space. I settle at my picnic table to explore the WiFi and to eat the salad and artichoke left over from Dillingers. The heat has cooked the salad in a way that does not taste healthy and I have already eaten most of the artichoke. The air is still so hot, I think am not that hungry.
Bobby Scull is the first to venture over to ask about the Blue Frog. His daughter is with him and they pepper me with questions about the workings of an electric car. Immediately they invite me into their lively, fun group and are feeding me hot dogs and brats from grill, spinach dip, chips, lots of things to drink.
I meet Bobby’s wife Erin, their friends Sheila and George Holdren, and Robert and Jamie. They are going to spend the weekend in the motorboat. Some of them are kayaking up Black Canyon to look at the Hoover Dam from the water side and paddle back.
Everyone agrees, No politics. It's all about division and everyone having to be enemies, Bobby says, "and I just don't believe that." (In the coming weeks, I hear this over and over. Most people want to talk but they do not want to be perceived by their listeners as coming from a pigeon-holed, locked-in spot.) Then we discuss weighty issues. People say what they mean, not to confront or convert, but as explanation. We find we agree on most things, although the labels we give ourselves would seem to put us at odds. One big topics we let sit as too freighted to address and as a matters of emotional opinion, not worth even voicing. I follow the conversations with the sense that this kind of talking, talking, talking, hanging around together, recognizing our many common concerns, is much more productive than the policy debate I hear daily on the news.
That out of the way, we drop back into daily life. Sheila tells me she and George are taking their big, beautiful RV on its maiden voyage. With a stove, a refrigerator, bathroom, beds for many, and AC, it is a luxury liner of the road. She also says she hiked the Grand Canyon a few years ago. She says going down, she had fun talking and staying at pace with the other people. On the way back up, after Indian Gardens, it is one steep switchback after another and every person for themselves. No energy for talking, adjusting your pace to stay with anyone else. Just get yourself up and out of there. I am quietly distressed to hear it took 12 hours. She is a runner and clearly in great shape. I am dubious about my fitness.
Afloat on my royal mattress
Bobby and Erin bring out a queen sized memory foam from the RV and put it under my tent. Folded in fours, the memory foam turns the hard concrete into the softest, plushest bed.
I wake up in the middle of the night. The moon, almost full, is bright white in the sky and backlights the small clouds into a smear of glowing cotton balls. Afloat on my royal mattress, I listen to crickets ratcheting their legs over their wings against the hum of my car charging and another hum, more industrial sounding. It takes me a while to work out this is sound of the generators of the RV’s cooling and lighting and charging phones and things.
Half in a dream, I remember that RV generators used to be much noisier. Although my family camped a lot when I was a kid, we almost never stayed in RV campgrounds because of the noisy generators. They sounded like cars without mufflers as they roared to life and chugged along. As I drift back to sleep, I think I must tell my parents about the change.