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  1. #1
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Big Texas Freeze Out - Lessons Learned

    We lost power at the Galveston RV Park Monday morning at 0230, we got it back at 0200 this morning and we re not out of the woods yet cause they are warning of rolling blackouts.
    The wife and i learned a lot through this. When this started we had about 10# of propane in one tank and the other 30# was full. Had 1/3 full fresh water on board and just by chance we had increased that to 2/3.

    When power went off wife woke me up, went outside to howling winds, stinging sleet, snow, ice pellets. Wind gusts 30-40. For 3 days the RV has been wiggling in the wind! Wind chill @ 6*. We got the genny out of the back of the truck and fired up and connected. Its max output is 25 amps. Throughout this we have learned how much a lot of stuff draws by monitoring the EMS power panel L1 - L2 amps. We found in the real world for our RV;
    Fireplace on HI-12 Low-6
    Electric H2O heater 12
    Microwave - 12.5
    Convection Oven - 12
    Coffee Pot - 9
    Converter on average 6-9 depending on the 12 Volt draw
    Electric Skillet - 13
    Electric Floor Heater - 13
    Fridge 5
    TV 1
    Recliners 1 amp each
    Heated H2O hose - 2
    Tank heaters - 1 amp each we have 3 switches Fresh Black Grey
    Furnace fan 3 shows up on converter draw.

    One thing I'm glad I did was put the EMS power monitor inside the coach in the coat closet. If I had installed it in the storage compartment, I would have had to run outside to check the amp draw and I would have lost a lot of heat opening the front door all the time and the storage compartment door to check the amp draw.

    We did not run fridge or H2O heater on propane and to conserve propane. At one point I drove a 60 mile radius around Galveston, no propane to be had. We had what we had, it had to last!
    The trick to power is to cycle things on and off and keep the draw under 25 amps and the more amps you ask for the more gas the generator eats. Watts / 120=amps
    We would run the tank heaters, fireplace on low and fridge, then switch out the fire place for the H2o heater and so forth. And for all the complaining we do about the LCI reclining chairs the butt warmers were a godsend! Keeping the total draw @ 20 amps or below the gen would run @ 7 hours on 2 gallons gas. This is critical as gas became real hard to find. Most stations were without power or out of gas!

    We started out keeping the coach in the 56-57* range and the storage compart stayed @40-43. We ended up with trying to keep the coach 53* and lowest the storage compartment got was 37 to conserve propane, we almost ran out after 3.5 days. Then after 50 hours of continuous use the generator started have problems. It kept shutting off like we were pulling too many amps but I know we were not because i kept a close eye on it. It would run for @ 1 hour before it started making noises, so now we are relying more on propane to keep warm and its running out. The generator 1 hour run then cool off and restart later would recharge the RV battery and the fireplace on low to supplement the heat. About every 2 hours or when we couldn't stand it anymore I would go out and fire up the generator for 30 minutes more to conserve the life of the gen but also to conserve gas, .

    We had made a pot of chicken and noodles and a pot of chile earlier so it was like dish out some soup, fire up generator, turn microwave on to heat food, turn off, turn fireplace on or give the H2O heater its turn or a tank heater. Damn! It was tiring! Somewhere between cycles we got some sleep.

    Somehow we managed to keep the H2O tank and lines from freezing, kept the tank heaters on a lot. The coldest it got in the RV was 52 and the storage compart 37. And through all of this we were better off than most. RVers were down to using jumper cables from their truck to rv battery. Swapping water for food, those of us that had generators sharing gas to run them. Some that had spare propane tanks offered to others that had run out. Some gave up and got a hotel room, but guess what the hotels had no power either, they were just as bad off as we were. Told the wife lets stay put and work through it.

    Damn when the power came back on this morning at 0200, we thought it was christmas! We are not totally out of the woods yet but doing much better. Wy wife took this pic on one of my naps.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by [email protected]; 02-18-2021 at 12:18 PM.
    Steve & Tami Cass - Escapee's Fulltimers
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, Pin Weight 3550#, Avg Loaded Weight 15,500#, MorRyde RPB72-1621 pin Box, TST-507-TPMS, Centramatic Wheel Balancers
    2018 Ram 3500, Laramie Longhorn Southfork, 6.7L CTD, 4x4, 220a Alt, Exh Brake, AISIN 6sp Auto, CC, LB, DRW, 3.73 gears, Payload 5,390#, B&W Companion RVK3600 Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License

  2. #2
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    Wow, thanks for sharing that. I’m curious about your generator- what do you have and were you able to figure out why it wasn’t working properly?
    2021 Solitude 310GK: Linen/DP windows/gen prep/slide toppers/king bed/EOH disc brakes/Cooper-H tires
    2019 F-350: Lariat/CC/LB/Diesel/DRW/4x4/Bakflip MX4/B&W 20K/AirLift 5000
    Other stuff: TST 507 TPMS/Victron BMV-712/Champion 3500 dual fuel gen/Garmin 780 GPS/22" Blackstone

  3. #3
    Site Sponsor Steve7's Avatar
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    Thanks for the write up. Very sobering. Glad you made it through!
    Steve & Sue (pups:Sky & Sierra) Gardnerville, Nv
    2017 Refelection 297RSTS
    2017 Ford 350 CC 4x4 Lariat Superduty 6.7, Long Bed

  4. #4
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Throughout this ordeal the Solitude did great! Yup we have had problems with the Dometic 12 fridge struggles in hot weather, but through out this it never got above 34* even not running. We haven't lost any food.
    It's still really cold now and blowing winds, but as I write this the coach is up to 70* inside, sure feels good! Sure it got cold in the RV but we helped her along keeping things working.

    Now lessons learned, have a game plan, know what you are going to do, and or maybe plan for worse than you hear it will be, then have a fallback plan. We did some things right, others not so much like only filling the fresh water to 2/3 we should have filled it all the way up. Water may become the next needed item, boil notices are already in effect. Have lots of bottled water, we had bought extra. RVers here were taking turns running in town bringing water back to the campground and sharing with others. We did manage to keep the truck full of diesel, that was our fall back plan to keep the RV battery charged.
    Food - we already had some can food, we did stock up 3 days before the storm hit and we bought easy things to fix, thanks goodness. Stakes would have been useless. I ate a few bowls of Beefaroni, and we had soups we could heat up by the bowl fixed in advanced instead of a heating a whole pot. One thing I found out on propane, even though the regulator shows red there still maybe some residual in the tank, it may not run the furnace but the stove will light long enough to heat up some soup. Then we would switch back over to the other tank for the furnace. It got that close on propane.

    Don't necessarily count on the campground to help you out or keep you informed. The internet and cell service was spotty at best through all this. A lot of communication was by RVers talking and helping each other. The campground closed their office. The 4 big campground trash dumpsters are overflowing, have a plan for your trash, seems trivial but cut down on your waist.

    What to do to prepare for the future. Now mind you this widespread power outage for 3 days was not forecast for a freak ice and snow storm on the gulf..
    Do you carry an extra 30* propane tank? Do you maybe upgrade to 40* tanks? I hear they will fit in the Solitude. Do you install an extra battery? We have one group 27. After the furnace would cycle through twice the batt power was down to 2/3. Each run of the genny brought it backup to full. I didn't think we needed another battery since we had the genny, but we learned our genny had problems after 50 hours continuous use. We will get it replaced under the extended warranty we bought with it, its a Predator 3500. It worked extremely well while it worked. Might be some time before they are back in stock in stores.
    Some people here in the campground have solar but with the ice, snow and clouds it didn't work as well. Dealing with the cold and wind chill, we had plenty of blankets and warm cloths. The butt warmers on the recliners as long as you had genny power helped supplement the heat to keep warm but when you lose power you can not close the chairs. The downstairs rear living area was warmer than the front bedroom, so the couch and recliners doubled as beds. We have started a list and maybe improve some things on our RV.

    Our heated water hose ended up useless without power. The camp ground cut off the water anyway, so always have some fresh water on board.
    Last edited by [email protected]; 02-18-2021 at 12:50 PM. Reason: correction added
    Steve & Tami Cass - Escapee's Fulltimers
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, Pin Weight 3550#, Avg Loaded Weight 15,500#, MorRyde RPB72-1621 pin Box, TST-507-TPMS, Centramatic Wheel Balancers
    2018 Ram 3500, Laramie Longhorn Southfork, 6.7L CTD, 4x4, 220a Alt, Exh Brake, AISIN 6sp Auto, CC, LB, DRW, 3.73 gears, Payload 5,390#, B&W Companion RVK3600 Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License

  5. #5
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orbsah View Post
    Wow, thanks for sharing that. I’m curious about your generator- what do you have and were you able to figure out why it wasn’t working properly?
    Its a Predator 3500. It has a trip mechanism that if you pull more than 25 amps it shuts down. Once we pulled too much, something came on that I didn't expect and it tripped the gen. I was able to reset and restart it and it was sometime after than it began to have problems. There is a whirl noise it starts to make after running now, maybe we damaged it. After every 7-8 hours of running I would check the oil and it was always ok. We got the extended warranty with it at Harbor Freight, they swap it out. At the time we bought it, the Onan, Westinghouse and a lot of gens were out of stock, so we bought the Predator. Damn glad we had it for part of the time.
    Steve & Tami Cass - Escapee's Fulltimers
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, Pin Weight 3550#, Avg Loaded Weight 15,500#, MorRyde RPB72-1621 pin Box, TST-507-TPMS, Centramatic Wheel Balancers
    2018 Ram 3500, Laramie Longhorn Southfork, 6.7L CTD, 4x4, 220a Alt, Exh Brake, AISIN 6sp Auto, CC, LB, DRW, 3.73 gears, Payload 5,390#, B&W Companion RVK3600 Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License

  6. #6
    Site Sponsor Canyonlight's Avatar
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    Steve &Tami - thanks, for sharing your captivating story - WOW ! A scout would be proud of your thinking things through; your actions; and being pretty well prepared all things considered. It is amazing what we can and have to do to deal with challenging situations. Some folks like you do much better than some others.

    The campers spirit and willingness to help each other out is a wonderful attribute of the camping experience and community. As you shared, then after the storm, sharing what was learned and what to improve on will help us all in the future.

    Well done ! Get some rest and have a wonderful meal/beverages when this is behind us.

    Dan
    Dan & Carol
    2014 303RLS Reflection #185 (10/2013 build)
    2012 Silverado LTZ Crew Duramax 2500HD
    2700/16K Pullrite Superglide

  7. #7
    Site Sponsor Steven@147's Avatar
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    We just lost power again! Don't know how long it will be out this time. We're back on genny! This morning at 0700 I was in line to get a propane refill at the campground, at least they have it here. They would fill one tank only or 10#, motor homes were lined up. I was just talking to them and the campground is now empty on propane. They hope to get a tanker tomorrow, if they do I'll get our other tank filled. There are lots of very big campgrounds here in Galveston, lots of people need propane and home owners here use it as well. Before power went off again we still did not have water.

    We're back on conservation mode just in case, backed the furnace temp down initially to 61 from 65, we'll follow the same plan as before. While we had power we had used the fireplace on high and our floor heater pretty much to bring the inside up to 70*. At least the temp was rising and should be around 38 today. Throughout this ordeal I was telling the wife, wish we had double pane windows. How can you really plan for these once in a blue moon occurrences? Still you get conflicting information from sources, when and how long, its just out of the blue, BAM your power is gone.

    To leave here and go someplace else you would have to go @200 miles to get out of this. Some RVers left to go to Lake Charles LA, man I would hate to get stuck on bad roads or worse run out of gas because stations have no power or in bad weather. Could be worse, get there and find they don't have power either, but LA has fewer outages than TX.

    See Ya got to conserve power.







    l
    God i hope is not long this time
    Steve & Tami Cass - Escapee's Fulltimers
    2019 Solitude 3350RL S-Class, Pin Weight 3550#, Avg Loaded Weight 15,500#, MorRyde RPB72-1621 pin Box, TST-507-TPMS, Centramatic Wheel Balancers
    2018 Ram 3500, Laramie Longhorn Southfork, 6.7L CTD, 4x4, 220a Alt, Exh Brake, AISIN 6sp Auto, CC, LB, DRW, 3.73 gears, Payload 5,390#, B&W Companion RVK3600 Texas Class A Non-CDL Drivers License

  8. #8
    Fireside Member mikeygesus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Its a Predator 3500. It has a trip mechanism that if you pull more than 25 amps it shuts down. Once we pulled too much, something came on that I didn't expect and it tripped the gen. I was able to reset and restart it and it was sometime after than it began to have problems. There is a whirl noise it starts to make after running now, maybe we damaged it. After every 7-8 hours of running I would check the oil and it was always ok. We got the extended warranty with it at Harbor Freight, they swap it out. At the time we bought it, the Onan, Westinghouse and a lot of gens were out of stock, so we bought the Predator. Damn glad we had it for part of the time.
    I have a Predator 4000. Came in handy here at the house while the power was out for a couple of space heaters and the tv.
    While it was running, it was quite loud and I would feel kinda bad about running mine at a camp site.
    Is the noise a problem, or do people understand and tolerate it?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Site Team traveldawg's Avatar
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    Thanks for all that information. It sounds like you did well in spite of a tough situation. I especially like the info on the power consumption.
    Larry
    2018 F350 SRW SB - AirLift 5000 w/Wireless One; ForScan; 37gal RDS Fuel Tank; Demco Hikacker
    2019 310GK-R - Sailuns; MorRyde SRE4000; Disc Brakes (StopYourTrailer.com); Electric Cord Reel


  10. #10
    Site Sponsor GeoffnCheri's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. It provides a good strategy should we be faced with similar circumstances
    Geoff and Cheri
    2011 F250 CC 6.7L
    Pull Rite 16k SuperGlide
    2018 Reflection 303RLS, Build date 9/2018
    USMC-Ret
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