On Your Mark…

It was the perfect storm of Harper Factor and Hurricane Matthew but the truck is packed and I’m ready to hit the road, just six days behind schedule.

The Truck Is PackedTruth be told, the weather here has been about perfect these last few weeks so I haven’t minded hanging around. Frost on the pumpkin tonight, though, even right here on the shores of Lake Wannabe, so it is time.

I’ve been spending money since our last installment. I ordered and configured a fuschia footlocker to be my mobile office. All the camera gear I’m going to take fits in it plus a laptop and its auxiliaries as well as a power strip, chargers for the phone and tablet and iPod and laptop and cameras and …

The new truck didn’t have a backup camera. That seems like a first world problem and, since American truck stylists all think their products have to “stand tall,” it is. You simply cannot see a small car in a parking space or a person under 4-feet tall within 10 feet of the back of a truck. I replaced the inside rearview mirror with the stock model that includes a display screen and installed an OEM camera mounted in the tailgate bezel.

I also built a handy new mezzanine in the bed. Better storage allocation.

OnStar sent me a come-on for three years of free coverage so I turned that back on you betcha. I don’t much care if they email me that my left front tire is down three pounds but I would like it that someone will answer if I’m hanging downside up by my seatbelts.

I bought a genuine Motorola car charger, a Hunda (really) 3-way socket splitter with dual USB, a 30-amp switch, a couple of Marinco 12V receptacles, two six-volt DieHard golf cart batteries, and a Whynter 12V/110V “portable” RV freezer.

The new truck also has just one 12V (“cigarette lighter”) port and almost everyone has a bunch of stuff to plug in. I installed a Power Center in the console I didn’t even know was there. While I was between the seats, I also built a nice trash can/sunglasses/pens and crap tray to keep all of the above from sliding all over the cab.

It’s nice to be able to carry food on long trips and I’ve gotten tired of the ice makers in motels. I will run the freezer on the truck system when I have to and on plug in to a handy outdoor outlet where I can.

I had planned to install a “house” battery under the hood of the truck. GM puts a nice battery tray there right from the factory and, for about the price of the backup camera, will wire it in to the system, complete with an isolator so camper loads won’t draw down the starter battery. Unfortunately, the new smart charging systems mean you can’t mix deep cycle and starting batteries on that circuit. Oddly, you can put deep cycle batteries on the battery charging circuit at the long end of the trailer connector. So I did.

I built a battery box for the pickup bed and paralleled it with the trailer connector. Nice, 40 amp circuit. That will keep the 195AH house batteries up to snuff while I’m underway and the charger will bring them up if I park next to an outlet for a while.

Now, if my replacement freezer would just get here.

See, I plugged the new freezer into AC to do a cold cycle test of the pull-down time and to freeze eight, 1.5 quart canisters of water. The average ambient temperature was 58F. After 8 hours, the LED readout still showed 45F. After 16 hours, the LED readout showed 23F and the canisters were slushy. After 24 hours, the LED readout still showed 22F and the canisters were less slushy.

Amazon ordered up a replacement. It shipped from Jacksonville. Thursday.

UPS is in some disarray. I know the freezer was Departure Scanned at 11:31 a.m., ahead of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival. From there is anybody’s guess.
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Anybody have any board games? And a blanket wrap?