Sunday, January 6, 2008

Heading to Infinity

We are at the Gateway Elks Lodge, on the east side of Portland (map). We were here back in June, and what a difference -- back then, we were crammed in to the only remaining space in the lot, and all the 30-amp receptacles were taken and we had to settle for 20 amps. Last night, we were the only rig here, with the whole place to ourselves.

We came here thinking that we would need a full 30-amp power hookup today through some undetermined time in the future, as our intent was to pull the inverter out today, and trundle it over to ASE Supply tomorrow to have them fix it. (Interestingly, we killed some time yesterday at the Portland Boat Show, now going on at the Expo Center, and ASE had a booth there.) I even came up with an emergency wiring plan to get most of our direct inverter outlets (which include the microwave, the coffeemaker, the computer network, and the TV system -- all daily "must haves" here aboard Odyssey) working on shore power. (Shore power, when available, is normally "passed through" to those outlets by a relay inside the inverter, necessitating some fancy footwork to keep them running with the inverter out of the bus entirely.)

This morning, however, I got a call from Jim Lewis at Infinity Coach. Jim has a love-hate relationship with our electrical system, but I know he feels our pain. He made us an offer that's too good to refuse: he will swap our inverter for one of the factory-rebuilt units that he has sitting in his shop, which come with a one-year warranty. He will then send our unit off to Xantrex for repair, and keep it for shop stock when it comes back. We will pay whatever Xantrex charges for the repairs.

This is really a no-brainer for us -- with Jim's offer, we might have to pay a few more dollars to have Xantrex "rebuild" the unit versus whatever the direct repair of our existing unit might entail. (It might be something as simple as a loose or burnt wire running over to the 25-pin bulkhead connector, for example.) However, we will not have to be "down" for several days while it is repaired, I won't have to do any temporary work-around wiring, and I'll only need to make one "trip" into the tunnel to do the work. Also, we won't be paying nightly for hookups while we wait, and we'll have something of a warranty on the rebuilt unit.

Rather than pay the freight on such a heavy object, which would likely end up costing us close to $100 round trip, we are simply going to drive up to Infinity this afternoon, and I'll make the swap in their parking lot tomorrow. A side benefit is that, if I need some help, they can provide it. And, while we are there, we will probably have them look at our leaks again, and maybe the front bodywork that I still have not repaired from San Bernardino. At roughly $0.60 per mile, the detour will cost us a couple hundred bucks, but that's offset by the freight savings, and I'm sure we'll get a nice dinner out of the deal as well.

I've already picked up a refund from the Elks on my pre-paid parking, and we'll be on the road here shortly.


  1. Were you an Elk before embarking on RVing? Can one join principally to take advantage of the parking privileges? I wouldn't mind participating in local activities in return for this benefit. Do you have a "home" club where you do the same? -- Jon

  2. I joined the Elks in Pasadena, CA to take advantage of the big dinner they had every Friday nite. Only learned about their large campground network later. Never really used it much but it was nice to know that they were available.

  3. @Houn: Yes, actually, Jon, I have been an Elk for twenty years. Louise kids me all the time that I must have been the youngest ever Elk when I joined in my 20's, and I might still be close to it now that I'm in my 40's.

    Joining "just" for the RV parking is frowned upon, but there are some lodges that are so hard up for money that I don't think they much care as long as you pay your dues on time.

    Our "home" lodge is the one closest to our mailing address, but we've only ever been there once (I transferred into that lodge from the one where we formerly lived, in California, at which I spent a bit more time).

    There are now a couple of lodges that cater to full-timers, in the sense that they have made it a bit easier to get your application processed. You will still need a current Elk to "sponsor" you, and possibly two other members to co-sign, and you will need to pass an entrance interview and go through the "initiation ritual."

    @DML -- good to see you chiming in here, Richard.


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