November Island Trip – Days 3, 4, & 5

Day three was mostly spent figuring out what the hell was wrong with the barns’ electrical system. Long story short… The first night I ran both little electric heaters on their high setting and popped the breaker. The second night I tried heating with a reduced load. Not enough to pop the breaker, but enough to cause the wires of the first outlet downstream of breaker number 6 to melt.

What my Amazing Neighbor (here after known as ‘my AN!’) discovered is that three sides of the lower barn’s outlets, and ALL of the upper barns electricity is ‘daisy chained’ from outlet to outlet. This is the definition of a shitty electrical job. We also had a neutral wire problem. This was caused by the overheated, melting wires on the first outlet on circuit #6. My AN had me buy commercial grade outlets. He replaced two of them, on circuit #7, which Stella is now plugged in to. He also bypassed the melted wires, and there is now power to the lower barn outlets and the entire upper barn. My DH has a tedious job ahead of him in replacing a bazillions electrical outlets.

Day 4 was a miracle day in that we completed the sewer line install and moved Stella onto her pad. Not necessarily her final position, but close enough to the sewer dump that we could empty her black tank, and then move her a little further so as to be out of harm’s reach for water and electrical install.

Stella was hooked up to power via three extension cords, still. I ran to town and purchased an additional heavy-duty 100′ cord in order to reduce the number of cords to two. That evening I had dinner with another neighbor, keeping 6-feet apart. It was good to catch up.

Day 5 started with more exploratory work on the propane system. My AN figured out the regulator wasn’t doing its job, on top of leaking hoses. He, of course, had an extra regulator, but needed some additional parts to hook everything up to Stella. I made a dump run, and then a town run when I discovered the longer sewer hose I bought, in order to empty the black and grey tanks before I leave, was only 10-feet if two people held it stretched out at each end… And it didn’t fit the waste water connection. I was much more careful with my second choice, but ended up needing to surgically augment the hose to fit the Airstream attachment for the connection. By this time I had discovered that my black tank slicer valve (the valve that keeps things where you want them in the black tank) wasn’t sealing perfectly. I had a small drip. A little later in the day, and after much research, I figured out why my toilet wasn’t willing to do its job… The small leak leaves behind all the, ah, solids in the tank. So I have this catch-22 going on where I can’t easily fill the tank with water in order to get things, ah, mixed up so the tank will empty properly, allowing the loo to work properly again. There have been a lot of shake-down challenges this trip, and I confess to feeling defeated more than once. I have a plan of action for the current, ah, crappy situation, but not before a nice cup of tea, which I can now enjoy because upon my return from town (with some hot lunch) I found the propane attached to the trailer! I used Stella’s furnace for the first time last night. It was a luxury to take the chill off in 15-minutes.

As I was coming up the drive from town, I saw smoke, panicked and drove up the west drive faster than I normally would have. My AN had started one of the burn piles. I didn’t know that was on the day’s list of activities. I spent a couple of sessions managing the fire. It was the warmest I’d been since arriving on the Island.

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