Having just completed two farmers markets with the same two scheduled for the upcoming weekend, we looked forward to our six day stay at Periwinkle Park on Sanibel Island. We are early enough in their season that we had no trouble reserving nearly a week stay, but once peak season hits in January this place gets really hard to find more than a few weekday openings. Even during our stay we watched the place filling up with a couple of new arrivals each day.
The RV side of the park has very regular seasonal customers that are given first right of refusal on future reservations. For those seeking more than a week here and there during peak season, you basically have to keep coming back to the park year after year such that you become known to the staff and eventually offered longer stays as openings occur. Such seasonal spots only open up due to changing circumstances of the regulars, and to be perfectly blunt about, that often means someone has died. We have been coming for a few years, and that might be a factor in how easily we have gotten nearly week long stays these last couple of visits, but the cost is such that we are unlikely to pursue anything like a seasonal or even month long stay, particularly given the fantastic deal we get down at Key West.
But we plan on continuing a week here and there as long as we are RVing, and are grateful to be back again. Our first day we did pretty much nothing but relax in the RV and recover from the weekend, The second day saw a lot of rain so we didn’t get to enjoy the beach, though we made our traditional excursion to the public library for the free wifi and then a took a late lunch at Island Pizza, one of the few very affordable good deals on the island: two for one happy hour every day from 12-5 and $2.50 large pizza slices.
By day three we were sufficiently recovered and with cooperative weather, so I dropped Rosemarie off at her favorite shell hunting section of the Island, Bowman’s Beach. The tide wasn’t ideal, but its almost impossible to go to Bowman’s and not find a few nice ones. And as low tide progressed forward each day, by Thursday Rosemarie was willing to get up earlier than our usual leisurely hour for proper shelling at that prime location.
We took the downtime between weekend markets to work on a few projects as well. In addition to prepping additional jewelry for sale, I did some maintenance on both the bikes, including replacing both of my tires with salvaged ones from a bike being thrown out back Coral Springs. My tubes had never quite recovered from having been punctured by a dozen thorns back in Idaho, and the green goo sealant put in them had now blocked the valve stem, so two free tires of a slightly larger width and tougher tread were a welcome find, as was the softer seat I took from the same trashed bike.
I made the mistake of thinking I could at least do a bit of troubleshooting of our electrical system, but not only did I fail to make headway, things actually got worse the longer I played with it. We are, unfortunately, seeing a return of the degraded 120V system issues that we experienced before Horizon RV replaced our shore power cable. I suspect that the bad cable was masking other problems, such a a degraded converter and automatic transfer switch.
We hooked up in connections here in Sanibel and noticed that the rear AC and water heater, which are on the same breaker, were not working. Once I started messing with the system, I “improved” things by making it so we had no electrical power at all throughout the RV. Turning on the generator, however, returned not only power to the rig but even the rear AC and heater. Remembering that we had experienced a weird failure of the 50 amp system in both Washburn, WI and Scott AFB in Illinois, but had attributed it to a bad pedestal and just used the 30 amp adaptor, I decided to try that little trick here and voila, power restored. At that point I decided to leave well enough alone and just schedule a visit to the mechanic for what I suspect will be an automatic transfer switch replacement.
Keep in mind this is in addition to the complete loss of 12V power throughout the bus whenever we operate without shore power or the generator. I am thinking the electrical converter/invertor is going bad, and the deep cycle house batteries might also be shot. Ah well, time to let the experts work on it.
Oh yeah, I also suffered the loss of another coffee maker, putting me in dire straights until I came up with a jury-rigged temporary set up.
Finally, we made a bold purchase of an entire bin of pencil urchin spines for Rosemarie to turn into jewelry, most likely earrings and necklaces. Look for some of those items to soon appear in her Etsy store and be on display at our various markets.