Tuesday February 16th 2021
As I was publishing last nights blog entry thunder was booming, lightening was flashing and rain was pounding on the roof. Moments later the lights went out. The power didn’t return until 1:30 this afternoon. I didn’t think the storm was particularly windy, but the power outage and many small branches and lots of leaves on the ground this morning indicate otherwise. The storm was over in about an hour.
Normally a power outage wouldn’t be a big impact in my RV home. This one was long enough that even if everything went right it would have required action. Unfortunately, everything didn’t go right. My five and a half year old battery bank is on life support. Over the last couple of months I’ve suspected I had an issue, but since in normal conditions the only time I don’t have another power source running is when I stop while driving to a new location, it wasn’t a big issue. Last night the inverter cut out within in minutes. I shut off everything I could to preserve what little battery I had left and sat in the dark waiting for the power to return. At 7:10 this morning the battery got too low to keep the CO detector running. The detector woke me up as it set off its alarm before shutting down. Welcome to the new day Rob!
Seven thirty is too early to fire up the noisy generator. I took a walk around the campground. It was reassuring to see everyone was without power. Toward the end of my walk the power company arrived in an ATV. They followed the power line down into the woods and out of sight. It turns out a tree came down on the line between the campground and the main road more than a mile away. The big line trucks started arriving around 9AM. Once again I thought it would only be a few minutes before the power was restored. I decided against running the generator and took off in the car for some touring.
My touring took me to another area of the park to visit the alligators and water fowl. The gators were enjoying the bright sunlight even though the air temperature was around sixty degrees. From there I proceeded into Gainesville. It is a far bigger city than I thought. The home of the University of Florida has a population over 130,000.
When I returned to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park the ranger on duty told me the power was expected to be restored by 3:15PM. Not wanting to return to a powerless RV home I drove to the prairie observation tower parking area. The number of visitors was much more acceptable today. Only one couple was on the tower while I was there. The wildlife wasn’t as cooperative. Two wild horses were out at the waters edge, but no bison or other interesting creatures were in sight. I returned to my RV home to the greeting “the powers just came back” from my neighbors. Everything is back to normal this evening. I just need to buy four new six volt batteries.
I’m thankful it isn’t cold. People elsewhere in the US are experiencing both power outages and cold. The southern states like Texas just don’t see freezing rain, snow and deep cold very often. The folks in northern states see it more often, but ice storms have got to be one of the worst types of winter weather.