Our last official Rally Day 7 (Friday) was another unqualified success and an awesome finish to another superb week-long Alpine SoCal rally!
Rally host Bob Bowers and co-host Stephanie Archer posed for a picture together during our final breakfast together. Bob toasted bagels one last time while Stephanie kept the donuts, yogurts, fruit, and hard-boiled eggs stocked.
Breakfast was outstanding as usual and provided a great start to our last official rally day.
We lost one coach this morning; Rick & Judy Fisher had to hit the road early. See you next time!
After breakfast, I used the morning to get up on the roof of the Coach to see if I needed to recaulk anything. While inspecting my solar panels I noticed the tape on the sides was getting pretty worn out. I never gave this (black duct) tape much thought in the past and never questioned why it was even there… maybe I should have because after I peeled the old tape off, I found that it was actually holding one of my panels in place! I was missing two bolts on one side of the forward panel. These bolts are very hard to see and get to because the panels were originally bolted to the aluminum brackets which were then screwed onto the roof.
I also unplugged the wire that goes down into the roof and found the connector to be corroded with one of the pins rusted away. This means that I haven’t been getting any voltage to the batteries. I had to wonder how long its been that way.
There was also some damage at one front corner of the solar panel. It looked like the screw holes in one corner where one side is connected to the other were broken out and the screws were missing.
After seeing all these issues with my solar panels, I decided to just take them down off the roof to make repairs and/or get them replaced. It was very difficult to get to the bolts in the limited space under the panels, but as I mentioned earlier, I only had to get one off on the side where the two panels are side-by-side because one of the bolts was already missing. I was able to lift the forward panel enough to get underneath with my wrench. I have to wonder how I’ll get those two bolts back on there when the time comes… maybe I’ll have to take the brackets off the roof too.
Here’s what the space looks like with the solar panels removed (below). There’s about ten years of dust and dirt accumulated under those panels.
Here’s the panels I took off the roof (below). Thanks to Noel and another resident here at the RV park for helping me get them down the ladder. I used a multimeter on the corroded connector to see if they were still putting out any voltage and found a respectable 19.1 Volts were being cranked out.
Here’s the data sticker I found on the back of one of the 50 Watt panels. Now I just have to see if I can fix the connector and the one panel corner I mentioned earlier. But first, I have to go to the RV Park office to see if we can extend our stay here at the park. We’re only paid up to Saturday the 12th.
After getting the solar panels down off the roof, I used some self-leveling caulk that I still had on hand to touch up a few spots on the roof. All in all, it doesn’t look too bad up there, I just have to stay on top of any cracks that develop in the old caulking in the future. Maybe I’ll get some of that Eternabond® tape that I noticed a few of my fellow Alpiners have across their front and rear cap seams.
I went to the park office and found out we might have to leave the RV park if an opening doesn’t come up soon. The NASCAR race is going on this weekend in Phoenix and all the spots are filled. I’ll go back on Saturday to see if we can extend. Meanwhile, I finished up what I could on the roof and then relaxed a bit while watching Noel and Jack play another game of “washer throw” or whatever they call the game. Ed kept score. At least the rules didn’t keep changing like they did the last time I played 🙂
Before we knew it… it was time again for Happy Hour and our group BBQ.
Bill Figge was at it again with his famous margaritas!
Ed replaced Jack as the unskilled (or is it semi-skilled) labor this time to assist Bill 🙂
The ladies of Alpine SoCal posed for a great picture:
The Happy Hour “circle” grew larger and larger as it came time to start the (bring your own meat) group BBQ.
Mike Hambarian brought out some tasty spicey-guacamole dip that was a big hit.
Jack was seen jumping in to help Bill with the margarita’s after Ed went missing at one point 🙂
Our daughter Jennifer and grandson Kaan came by to visit and spend the night with us which is always a treat (especially for Stilla) 🙂
Jack experimented with limes soaked in tequila overnight. He might be on to something here…
Folks started bringing out their choice of meat to throw on the BBQ grills that were fired up and ready:
Lots of side dishes also appeared on the rally tables.
Before long all the grills were cranking out the BBQ and we all started eating (again) 🙂
Good food; Good people!
We took a moment to thank our rally host(s) and co-host(s) Bob & Connie Bowers, Jim and Stephanie Archer. Thanks guys… another A+ rating and a tough act to follow for future rally hosts! We also sang happy birthday to a few folks (names withheld to protect the guilty) and/or those who wish to remain anonymous 🙂
Our lighted neon margarita sign really came to life as dusk fell on our awesome gathering.
Finally, it was time to take down our Ez-Up tents and stack the chairs. As usual, many folks jumped in to help out.
And then the party wound down and we all (slowly) went back to our respective coaches to reflect on all the good times that we are fortunate enough to experience.
This morning (Saturday) I was able to score another spot here at the Cotton Lane RV Resort for another week. We’ll have to change spots but that’s okay. A few others in the Alpine SoCal group are also staying on. So check back soon to see what we’re up to…