It’s cool in Paradise

It was hotter than Hell yesterday, but today it’s cool in Paradise (Texas).  Not only did the heat wave end, giving us a beautiful day, but our new 15,000 BTU air conditioner was installed and is now chilling out the Airstream.

We don’t really need the AC today, but hey, we’ve got it finally and I want to make sure the unit is solid (not about to have a “crib death” as electronics sometimes do) before we drive away.

The refrigerator, however, is another story.  No “smoking gun” issue was found.  It seems to be slowly failing for an unknown reason.  We found no sign of leaking coolant, no blockage in the vent, no ammonia smell, and it works equally badly on electric and gas.  This points to internal blockages in the cooling unit, which are not repairable.  The cooling unit has to be replaced, or the entire refrigerator.

Since it’s working a little (the freezer still makes ice but the refrigerator warms up to 50 degrees during the day), it was reinstalled for the trip home.  We’ll use it with some bags of ice to complete this trip, then figure out how/when it will be replaced later.

The new AC comes with a high-tech looking thermostat which basically does what the last one did but looks cooler doing it.  It reminds me of a Samsung front-loading washer.

Since we don’t trust the freezer entirely, Eleanor has embarked on a mission to cook up a bunch of the frozen stuff.  Last night she made dinner for seven (Paul, Anne, Marvin, Annie, and the three of us) which we ate in Paul & Anne’s house.  Tonight we’ll have dinner for five, since Marvin & Annie are leaving soon.  Tomorrow, it will be IKEA day: Swedish pancakes and meatballs for brunch before we hoist our moorings and point the ship west.

Struggling with the dual appliance failures and talking to Paul, Denver (tech), and Marvin has gotten me thinking about other upgrades and fixes for the Airstream.  Marvin & Annie are using a very interesting composting toilet in their 30 foot Argosy trailer, which they are enthusiastic about. It has several advantages:  no more black tank, no smell, and the ability to boondock for long periods of time.  On the other hand, it’s expensive at about $1k, does require you to empty a urine cartridge regularly, and requires a little user education.  You can’t just turn someone loose in the bathroom with this thing and expect good results.  I read the manual that comes with it and the manufacturer clearly has a bit of fun with the explanations of What To Do, and Where To Do It.

Eleanor and I had a chance to go inspect the Caravel, which is parked nearby, and see the work Paul did on it.  It looks great.  We asked for a few additional tweaks to the gaucho and battery mount, but nothing major.  It will be great to break the Caravel out this winter and perhaps take it to a vintage rally (if we can find one in a reasonable distance) or do a weekend at some tiny campground like the one in the Chiricauha National Monument.  It has been great visiting with Paul & Anne, so in a way I’m glad I’ll be making the 900-mile trip back soon to pick up the Caravel in the next few weeks.

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Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine