Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas

We are at the Main Street Station casino's "RV park" (map), a term I need to put in quotes because it is little more than a paved lot with angle-striped stalls and hookup pedestals. It is also more or less right underneath an elevated section of I-515, and across the street from the main fire station, so it is anything but quiet here. That said, it's the best RV value in Vegas at just $17 per night for full hookups.

Ben and Karen very generously paid for our spot here, and it is really their bus that was the motivation for coming. They sorely needed new house batteries, and you really want to be able to charge them all the way up right after installation. Plus, this let us bypass their inverters and run their fridge and other appliances while we had the batteries out. It's fine with us -- we stay in plenty of truck stops more closely spaced and louder than this, and it was good for us to get a good soak on our batteries, too, before another week of dry camping in Death Valley. We'll also use the sewer hookup here before we leave -- there's a free dump station where we are going, but why haul all that stuff over the hill.

We arrived here a little after noon yesterday, after Ben squared away the order for the remanufactured head for their generator. After we got settled in and hooked up, I went to work on bypassing their inverters while Ben emptied the bay to access the battery compartment. The batteries on his bus are nearly as difficult to access as ours.

After puzzling a little bit over how Liberty wired the batteries, I got them disconnected and the two of us wrestled the 175-lb beasts out of the rack. While we were working in there, a rig pulled into the space next to us, and the couple set up their lawn chairs and enjoyed the free show. That proved handy later, when we need to wrestle the new ones back in.

Ben had previously tracked down some replacements, which ironically are exactly the same Trojan models that we have ourselves. The whole process was eerily reminiscent of the day six months ago when I changed out our own batteries, and I am similarly sore this morning. Ben kept calling my machinations crammed in the bay "yoga poses," which, when you think about it, is not far off.

I did not get any photos this time around, but Karen took plenty, including video that captured some of my mutterings. I would guess that some of these will find their way to Ben's blog. We had the old Deka gel batteries out by 3ish and loaded them into the Mini to take to the battery dealer.

When we rolled back up to the bus with 525 pounds of new Trojan 8D AGM batteries, the aforementioned gentleman from the next rig observed that we had manhandled the old ones out, but that he had a small floor jack that might help us with the new ones. That jack was a lifesaver, or maybe a back saver. We had been noodling in the car about just how we were going to hoist these to the level of the battery rack while crouched in the luggage bay.

The floor jack made the installation go very quickly, although the new Trojans were a tight fit and I had to use my crowbar to lever them into their places on the rack. Once in place hookup went quickly, and after re-setting the inverters from gel settings to flooded (there is no AGM setting on the older Hearts), we had the batteries back on charge and the inverter bypasses removed by cocktail hour.

Ben treated us all to a wonderful dinner at the Bar + Bistro @ The Arts Factory just a mile or so from here. On our way back, we stopped off at the Fremont Street Experience, which I enjoyed, perhaps more than my companions. While I have been to Las Vegas annually or more often for three decades, the last time I traversed Fremont Street past Binnion's, Four Queens, Fremont, and the Nugget it was still a street and I was in a vehicle, sometime in the 80s.

This morning Ben and Karen had to roll out early to the Kubota shop, where the head has already arrived and parts are being moved. We'll leave here right around checkout time (noon) and head up there to join them; I'd like to be on hand when the unit gets started up, in case there are any issues on the electrical side, which is not this shop's specialty. Once that's done we'll head out of town, ending nearly a month here in the Las Vegas environs.


  1. Here's the link to the battery install video, bus yoga and all. :-)

  2. Darn, all I heard was banjo music. LOL

    That looks the same as working on my boat, I don't care if it looks big, there is not much room in my engine room.

    Bill Kelleher

  3. Batteries.....I feel your pain!
    Our manufactured diesel rig requires hoisting them up and over the frames with near zero extra head room.
    Very nice of you folks to help out your friends in there time of "need." Extra hands for the swap really helps!

    Happy trails...


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