Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Propane Follow-Up: A Comedy of Errors, or "Not-So-Great Minds Think Alike"

Well, we made it through the night, our new portable heater keeping us sufficiently warm. Luckily, the temperature only dropped to 38 last night, avoiding the risk of a freeze. The wind also died down, so we slept fairly well over all, even little Miss Tina.

This morning, after making calls to RV mechanics and a propane service center (all of whom were exceedingly courteous and helpful, I may add), I had the bright idea of lighting a match and just checking to see if, perhaps, the propane valve had been locked in the "open" position rather than in the "closed" position. With Mary watching, I lit a match, et voila, the stove lit! Further testing my hypothesis, we went outside with a wrench and forced the propane valve in the opposite direction we had tried last night, et double voila, I was able to close it! Who'd have thunk it, Watson? We called three RV techs last night who all puzzled over our dilemma, and not one suggested that perhaps the man who filled our propane tank yesterday had erroneously turned the propane tank to the open position, tightening it so much that I couldn't "reverse" the turn even with a wrench. It turns out that we were assuming that the propane was stuck in the closed position, not having the presence of mind to consider that it was the opposite. Go figure.

So, our fatigue, brain fog, and the inability of five intelligent adults to think this problem through in the first place cost us: a) a trip to Wal-Mart, b) excessive fatigue and stress, and c) a bent ladder caused by aforementioned fatigue when we arrived to the campground a second time, thoroughly exhausted and spent and not thinking clearly, and d) Mary's MCS reaction to the chemicals released into the rig by the brand new heater (I'll spare you the details). We will be blogging more about life on the road with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) in subsequent posts.

All things considered, we have made it through the vicissitudes of the last few days relatively unscathed, and we now have three days of sun and 50-degree weather forecast for our stay at Fort Pickens. With any luck, we'll post some videos and photos, and regale you with a few stories of a peaceful time here on this peninsula in northwest Florida. Although we're close to an Air Force base and there's the sound of a few jets and helicopters here and there, we have the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Pensacola Bay on the other, and there is truly nothing about which we need to worry in this present sunny moment.


  1. Thank you for the funny update and I hope you both recover quickly. I cannot handle new heaters either, so healing thoughts and prayers for Mary.
    You may know about this website already, but it can alert you to some bad air quality days in advance of your travel. http://airnow.gov/

  2. Who said you weren't handy brother!! Glad this resolved and sorry I didn't think of this meself!