Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Not an Uneventful Trip

Orange City, Florida

We packed up and left Flagler Beach in record time and were on the road around 8:30 am. 

There was a very curvy exit road out of our campground, with raised curbs.  It was not the original entrance to the campground, and it wasn’t really made for large rv’s.    Al had a little trouble with it when we came in and rubbed the left rear tire against the curb and ended up going over the curb a little bit on the way out.  One little bit of stress.

About half way there, we called Blue Springs State Park to see if our two favorite sites were available.  One was, but she said it was for rigs under 35 feet.  It was the same site we had looked at and determined we could fit, but now we were nervous. 

We decided to go on to the Blue Springs.  They weren’t booked up until the week-end, and we could at least stay until Friday…it would be better than nothing.

The Gps gave us good directions, but when we had to make a right turn onto French Street, we knew we had a problem.  No way could we make the sharp right turn if there were any vehicles coming out… and there appeared to be a steady stream of them.  We had no choice but to just sit and wait for all the vehicles to move out of our way, so that we could get into their lane during our right turn.  It’s a really bad turn, narrow and with high curbs on each side.  Any rv would have had trouble there.

Finally a dump truck stopped far enough back from the intersection,  to allow us to turn.  Al started the right turn, but at that point the dump truck moved forward some, and then he was also in our way.  I think he thought he was still giving us plenty of room to turn, but it wasn’t. He underestimated how much room we needed.  We were committed by this time, so we figured the dump truck would just have to back up.  It was like a Mexican stand off.  We were committed and could only go forward. He finally figured out what we needed and he backed up, and we made the right turn.   Phew… 

So, we got to the campground  and decided to unhook the toad and go check out our options.  Site 18 could not be reserved, so we could stay as long as we wanted.  Site 27 was free until Friday. 

We actually physically measured site 18 and decided we could fit, but it would be tricky. 

Remember, it is listed for rv’s 35 foot and under.  We are 41 feet 2 inches, not counting the bikes on back!  The nice lady at the office, said if we could fit, we could have it.  It’s not just how long the site is, but how much room you have to maneuver to back into it, the trees overhead, if there is room for the slides, and where you can park your vehicle.  Al did a great job backing in and we maneuvered it around some trees that were in the way of the slide.  I think our driving class from Lazy Days really has helped his parking skills.    The motorhome fit nicely, but we really have to squeeze the truck in.  

Phew….we were in!  The satellite quickly found the signal, and we had a very nice site with plenty of privacy between the other sites.    But….

Remember, the Progressive Industries power protection device I mentioned in a previous post?  We are still using our old defective one until the new one arrives.  It has many different types of electrical protection and only the surge protection part of it isn’t working.  They told us to keep using it since it still gave us some protection.  The parts that show high or low voltage, bad grounds, reverse polarity, open neutral, open ground, ac frequency, and accidental 240v protection all still work.  Just the surge protection is not working.

The first thing we always do is to plug the unit in to make sure the campground pedestal is working at all.  We kept getting an error message showing low voltage and nothing on one line.  We kept thinking it was due to our faulty surge protector and we thought of just bypassing it and taking our chances.  We had worked so hard at getting into that site, we really  didn’t want to have to move! 

Finally, our good sense came back to us and we decided to call Progressive to see what they thought. Please tell us the surge guard was giving us bad info and it was safe to plug in…please, please…  He walked Al through it and it was determined that the campground pedestal was faulty and we should not plug in.  Phew…glad we didn’t plug in.  So, we paid good money for this item, and when it is just going it’s job, the first thing we want to do is bypass it!  That makes NO sense, but that was what we thought about doing.  How dumb was that?

We decided to go tell the park ranger what was going on, and hopefully they could fix it, but before we did that, Al came up with a brilliant idea.  We could plug into the 30 amp side and see if it was good.  Our surge protector checked it out and the 30 amp plug was fine.   We plugged in and soon the air conditioner came on, so I knew we were good.  

Good lesson, have a 50 to 30 amp adapter on hand for just this kind of thing.

We can get by just fine with only one a/c unit since it’s not real hot right now.   In fact, we’ve been getting by on one a/c unit for the past two weeks because our bedroom a/c is not working.  Al thinks it has a bad capacitor.  He’s going to wait until we get back to Tampa and attempt to fix it himself.

So we drove over and paid for 5 nights and told the lady at the office of our problem with the pedestal.  We figured in two or three days, they would get an electrician out to fix it.    We went straight back to our site and there was already a park ranger there working on it!  That’s what I call good service.  We told him about the error message on the surge protector and he didn’t even question it.  He confirmed that low voltage is just as bad as high voltage. He had it fixed in a few minutes.  He seemed to know what he was doing but I might have been a little worried if we had not had our surge guard.  We tested it again with the surge protector and got a go ahead to plug the coach in.  We were back in business.   Phew.

I don’t know what would have happened to the coach if we plugged in directly, but I am sure glad we didn’t and that our surge guard warned us, and that we listened to it.  I really don’t want to take the chance.  We pay money for insurance for the car, the rv, house, health and various other things.  This is another type of insurance and we were very glad we had it and that it did it’s job.

So, we’re nicely situated in a beautiful state park.  We went for a long hike last night and are getting ready to go again this morning.  There have been 3 bears sited around the campground.  We left the welcome light on for them last night, but never saw them!  Hoping to see them while we’re here.  We really like it here and might even extend our stay.




  1. I'm always amazed at how many people don't have a surge protector. It is very good insurance. :)

  2. We're some of those who don't have that gizmo. I'm thinking it might make a good Christmas present for Roger. Glad you kept your good sense and didn't cause any problems. Roger put in a capacitor in our a/c last year - no problem other than ordering one would take two weeks - but we finally found one in Casper, Wyoming in stock.

  3. nice work on the driving and the backing in!..the two of you are getting to be experts!! for the surge well spent!!!

  4. I agree with Judy and Emma and Sue and Doug, a surge protector is very good insurance!

  5. We have stayed at Bulow Plantation several times....leaving is always a nightmare..they need to get rid of that island. We have a 40 ft toyhauler...normally dh goes ont he curb, this time we had 6 new tires of the we backed up traffic and he went back and forth so we didn't curb it. Had to put the truck mirrors in so they didn't hit the rock wall on the outside. Glad to hear it is jus tnot us that has problems getting out of there.

  6. Certainly sounds like you all had an exciting day!! There is NO doubt the surge protectors are worth their weight in gold. Great insurance for your rig.

  7. One of the first things we bought was a surge guard. Wouldn't be without it. The park we stayed at in Flaming Gorge was really tight. And we were only 37 feet. But it was so worth it. Just like your site. Enjoy and I hope you get pictures of the bears.

  8. Sounds like a fun day of maneuvering the rig - good job.

    Your surge protector is sure paying for itself!

  9. Lower voltage would mean HIGHER amperage to your appliances. NOT GOOD. A slow death to a residential fridge if you have one.
    Stick with the gizmo, and if not, use a digital meter to measure the output of the pedestal. Easier to use the gizmo of course.
    And...I hate scuffing the tires. I know "just tires", but dammit, it's not nice!

  10. We're hardly ever plugged into electric, so we don't have a surge protector. Ahhh, we do love our solar panels and batteries!

  11. We do not have a surge protector, and we had some electrical problems this weekend. luckly no damage, but I am going to have Craig read this post. Can you send me the URL or something so I can find your other post about this?

    my email is

  12. Me too, love my progressive industries protector and take its word for everything.

    I think I'd better sign up for that driving class you talk. That sounds like some parking job you did. Congratulations!

  13. Some excitement, but all ended well! WE have used a surge protector since day one. It has saves us on a number of occasions.

    We were once camping with a group and the surge guard cut. I used my meter and found the voltage was running between 90 and 95. I quickly advised everyone in the group. One couple decided that if it ran the AC it must be OK.

    A few hours later he burned up his AC, inverter and Microwave. The inverter caught fire and burned a hole up through the bottom of the cabinets. Bad power is nothing to fool with.

  14. Cheryl and I just completed Barney's drivers course today. I cannot believe Cheryl drove a motorhome! We take delivery of ours Saturday.

    :) Don and Cheryl

  15. Paul doesn't like right turns either.
    We rely on our electrical mgment system also. One campground we were in had high voltage and they didn't even know it until we kept getting knocked off. We told them, the electric company came out and said they were lucky they hadn't had any fires. They fixed it. The owners were so happy we told them.
    If they tell us that we should fit...we don't go. We want to will have plenty of room to spare...LOL

  16. Karen, I am so glad you guys made it to Blue Spring!! I hope you decide to extend your visit...we'd love to meet you, but we're camping until Saturday. If you decide to stay, let me know and we'll work something out!


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