Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Upgrades, Upgrades!

At Red Bay RV Park, Red Bay, Alabama...

We had been trying to condition ourselves for what we knew would be an early wakeup today. Brannon Hutcheson starts work at 7:00 a.m. sharp, so that meant that we had to stumble out of bed at 6:00 a.m. It was not pretty; the alarm on Sandy's iPhone is not any gentler than the infernal alarm clock we once used back when we were w*rking. I spent a good bit of time sitting on the edge of the bed, remembering how I used to do this five days a week and being so grateful now that I escaped from that special hell nearly three years ago. It doesn't seem possible that I have been retired for that long; the time has just flashed by. Now for my retired friends who voluntarily arise even earlier than this when there's no need to, I say--as lovingly as I can--that you need help. But I digress.

Sure enough, it was almost exactly 7:00 a.m. when Brannon's white Ford diesel pickup pulled up to his Custom RV shop. This four-bay garage of his probably qualifies as a major industry in tiny Vina, Alabama, located about five miles from Red Bay which, in comparison, qualifies as a metropolitan area with its three thousand souls.  

I was sitting in Sandy's cockpit chair looking out of Phannie's open entry door at the time of Brannon's arrival, unsure as to why I was there. I muttered something to him that was probably inaudible and certainly unintelligible. Whatever I said was largely wasted, however, as he sort of grunted a greeting and proceeded inside. Brannon is not what you would call overly talkative. He doesn't seem to have much time for idle chatter, preferring instead to get to work and stay busy. That was fine with me, especially so early in the morning when perhaps 90 percent of my brain was still asleep and probably unable to form words.

Brannon returned momentarily and told us we could empty out our old Nevercold refrigerator (a much-deserved corruption of Norcold, the real brand) and put its contents in a refrigerator inside his shop. When he said this, another part of my brain woke up, and I suddenly remembered why we were there--to get a new refrigerator! 

By this time, it was also becoming clear that there was another person in the coach with me who seemed very familiar. Sandy had suddenly emerged from the nether world of Phannie's posterior area where she performs certain mysterious rites of preparation for the day that, to me, are at least as complex as a launch of the space shuttle. I try not to go near that area for fear of radiation or something. But I digress again; it's been a long day.

Having been out of sight during her launch prep, I greeted Sandy warmly and enlisted her aid in carrying several canvas tote bags full of food from the Nevercold to Brannon's refrigerator. That done, she collapsed on the couch in the customer lounge, and I unhooked the water and electricity at our overnight parking spot and pulled Phannie nose-first into one of the bays. Brannon and his helper, Jason, took it from there. 

The first item of business was to replace the old Xantrex inverter with a new Magnum pure sine wave (whatever that means) inverter that will have the muscle to power the new refrigerator/freezer:

Next was the replacement of all four batteries. The ones in the coach were five years old, and that's when they get replaced. I don't want things to go dark out in the boondocks somewhere:

Watching all this work began to make me hungry, so I grabbed Sandy and, somehow, we were able to find Mae and toodled off to Red Bay for some breakfast. We tried a new restaurant named the Mason Jar, and it was quite good. Arriving back at the shop, we watched TV for a while and probably napped a bit. In fact, it was more than probably.

I awoke in time to capture on camera the removal of the Nevercold:

In a few minutes, it had been passed out of the main cabin window that had been removed for that purpose and onto a forklift that lowered it to the shop floor where the old fridge joined a large group of other similar derelicts whose lives would soon be unceremoniously ended at the scrap yard. Good riddance, I say.

After that, Brannon and Jason loaded the new Whirlpool fridge onto the forklift and pushed it through the window opening:

In almost no time at all, the new fridge was hooked up and working great:

After re-installing the living room window, the guys went to work replacing both of Phannie's headlights with some smart-looking new high-tech models. I'm very pleased with the fresh new look it gives to Phannie's front end. Take a look at the difference between old and new:

Well, I told you that we were getting some upgrades, didn't I? But guess what--there's more to come, so stand by!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day. 


  1. Are your new headlights plug and go or were there modifications to the wiring? Would like to know what these we made to fit cars/truck.

    1. I'm afraid I don't know about the wiring. I do know that Brannon had to make some minor modifications to the structure holding the light assembly. You might want to give him a call at 256-668-0973.


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