The Grocery Runs Continue – #4

Prep-Day, Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Readers familiar with my RV adventures aboard Big Blue II are likely aware of my adversarial relationship with the refrigerator aboard the coach. It has been one of frustration and “partial” repairs.

Modern RV refrigerators are nearly always two way electric/propane units. They are not at all like residential units, and they run on either 115 volt ac, which is “shore power” or supplied by the onboard generator. Because they can run on propane they are ideal for the off-grid lifestyle of most RVers. My troublesome fridge ran fine on ac power, but far too often has run too warm on propane.

Recently I decided that I would fix the darn thing myself if I could, or if not it was time to hire it done. I watched a number of YouTube videos on the subject and learned that if it runs fine on ac power, there is nothing wrong with the fridge itself, but with the propane supply.

After perusing a number of possibilities, I was convinced the burner and orifice needed replacing. I ordered them as one unit from Amazon for around $40, and they arrived two days before grocery run #4.

2020-5-14ac burnerThe new burner/orifice unit that proved to be the answer.
The next day, I slowly and deliberately installed the new burner-orifice unit and… bingo! That fixed it! In a few hours the freezer and fridge temps dropped nicely, and the next morning were down to -1° and 37°! Yessssss! It was repaired and I did not have to hire it done!

2020-5-14ad burnerThis is the outside access to the back of the fridge. There is no easy way to move an RV fridge – but this provides access to some of the components. That little metal panel at the lower right, below the insulation, is the burner box. That’s the home of the villainous burner/orifice which I fired and replaced. Yes – I fired a burner!

Far too often I’d leave home with the fridge in the mid 30° range and the freezer -2° or so. But once on propane, it was just a matter of hours ’til the fridge was in the mid 40° range – or higher. But no more!


Day 1, Thursday, May 14, 2020, to Gridley via CA99, I-5

These grocery runs have been a bit of a relief from the isolation we older folks must live with during the awful Covid – 19 pandemic. For each grocery run, I get out of the house and on board the coach for a couple of days. My twin, Gale, and her husband John, have their groceries delivered, and the three of us enjoy visiting while I’m there.

Our housekeeper was to clean our house that day, and I wanted to leave before she got started so we’d be out  of each other’s way. As I pulled away from the house at 0940, she had just arrived. It was her first cleaning day for us since early March, and we were happy to have her back – we were tired of doing the housecleaning ourselves!

It was a lovely day to be driving. There was little wind and lots of clouds, and I enjoyed the cooler day for a change. The day’s grocery pick up was scheduled at Marysville’s Walmart store. I’d picked up there once during these grocery runs to Gridley, and while it was a bit more of a drive, it had better parking for Big Blue at the pick up area than the Yuba City store. Marysville and Yuba City are twin cities, separated by the Feather River.

Having left early for the housekeeper, I arrived at the store about an hour ahead of time. I had time for a walk and then made a quick lunch of soup.

2020-5-14ab Success!Sweet success! While at the Marysville Walmart store, more than four hours after switching the fridge to propane, the fridge read 37° and the freezer was -1°. Before the repair, they would have read mid 40s and a few degrees above zero. (That very handy monitor is available from Amazon and, for RVers, I’d think it should be considered a must-have item!) 

Naturally, half way through lunch the groceries showed up. The Walmart associates loaded the dry goods into the basement, and I carried all the frozen and refrigerated items into the coach and loaded them into the refrigerator and freezer.

2020-5-14e Marysville Walmart PickupParked at the Marysville Walmart’s grocery pick up area where there was plenty of room for Big Blue to park. It is a nice improvement over having to park in the main parking lot at the Yuba City store.

When the loading was done, I finished my lunch, and then continued on to my sis’ place near Gridley. I arrived about 1400 hours, and set up the coach for my visit.

First thing after settling in, I helped John carry in his groceries. My dear sister, Gale, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, was up and seated in her comfy chair in the living room. The three of us had a nice visit during the afternoon. Gale, who often sleeps during much of the day due to her condition, took an afternoon nap. I headed to the coach and tended to a few chores and began editing photos of the trip. It was an unusually cool day for mid-May in Gridley, and I didn’t need the air conditioners for a change.

For dinner, John suggested some fried chicken that a local supermarket offers in their deli department – and I’m always up for fried chicken! It is one of my favorite foods, but I seldom allow myself the good stuff. As dinnertime rolled around, he drove the short distance into town and picked up the delicious fried chicken, tater wedges, and coleslaw. We had a very tasty meal and yes, I ate all of my three big, crispy thighs! mmmmm. The wedges and coleslaw were good, too.

After a nice visit around the dinner table, I thanked them for the lovely dinner and headed to the coach for the night. I worked on this travelogue, edited more photos, and took another photo of a lovely country sunset. I also watched some YouTube videos as I enjoyed a couple cool ones, as usual. It had been a lovely and productive day.

2020-5-14f Gridley sunsetAnother beautiful country sunset near Gridley. I always enjoy a lovely sunset!


Day 2, Friday, Gridley to home via CA99, I-5: 244 miles entire trip

I was up a bit after 0600 and turned up the heater and water heater – it was a cool night – and headed back to bed ’til things warmed up. By 0630 I was up and began the morning chores. I love living on board Big Blue, even if only for a couple days.

After morning chores and brewing up the first coffee of the day, I headed to the house to say good morning and good bye. I was surprised to see my sis was up, and told her so. John agreed, too, as she’s hasn’t been a morning person since the awful Parkinson’s Disease began. So I had the opportunity to tell her good morning, too. I explained that I wanted to hit the road early and that I’d whip up breakfast aboard the coach someplace down the road. They understood, and we bid one-another good-bye ’til the next time – probably in two weeks.

I pulled out of their driveway well before 0900 and headed to town.  I would again pump on the unusually cheap diesel I’ve pumped the three prior trips, too. And it keeps getting cheaper – just $1.94 per this time, while many others sell diesel for over $3! How they do it, I don’t know. But a new Arco was recently built in Gridley, and it may be he’s trying to drive them out of town. Whatever the reason – I wanted more cheap diesel! I pulled into the station and pumped on 36 gallons. I wished I’d had more room in the big 90 gallon tank. I believe it’s the cheapest price for Diesel 2 in all of Kalifornistan!

2020-5-15a Cheap DieselUnbelievable – and I filled the tank yet again!

I continued south, taking the back roads to miss as much of the heavier traffic as I could. I love those back roads and there just isn’t much opportunity to enjoy them here in Kalifornistan.

While still on the back roads, I pulled onto a farmer’s field, the same I’ve stopped at several times, to whip up breakfast. There is a lovely view of the Sutter Buttes there, and it is quiet and scenic. 

2020-5-15b Rice BreakfastAnother Dale’s Diner – this time out in rice country – they really do seem to be everywhere I go! The service was pretty spotty at best, and so I provided my own. The food was only fair, but I enjoyed it and didn’t have to leave a tip. I especially enjoyed the view. The rice, as seen here as a lovely green lawn, was just beginning to peek above the water. And those Sutter Buttes – just beautiful!

I continued on after the so-so breakfast, and enjoyed a nice drive all the way home. There was relatively little wind, and what there was was mostly a welcome tailwind.

I arrived home a bit before noon, and then the real work began. I hauled two weeks worth of groceries into the house and, with help from my lovely Lavonne, put it all away. And I unloaded all my stuff from the two day trip. I then idled the coach down to the RV lot, dumped the tanks, topped off the fresh water, and put Big Blue away ’til her next call to service.

Yes, my grocery-getting is more expensive by driving 200 miles more than necessary. But I get to visit Gale and John, deliver their groceries and thereby reduce a bit of John’s heavy workload. And, perhaps best of all, I also spend a night aboard my favorite toy while staying sane during all the isolation and fear of the awful Covid-19 pandemic.

So… life is still good!



About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
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