Web Log

Our Camper Van




Amy's Cakes

Outboard Hydroplane Racing

Radio Controlled Toys

Strawberry Resevuar, UT

2007-08-09 (E)

First off, sorry for the long delay for all of our faithful readers. I was unaware that there was such a following of our log, however we have begun receiving a number of queries as to our health since we have not updated the log in a couple of months. Thank you for your concern and be reassured that we are well, just exceedingly busy as of late.

This will be a fairly short entry with a few highlights... At the end of our last entry we were sitting on a hill at about 10k' enjoying the view of Strawberry Reservoir in Utah. We ended up staying there for some time before traveling into Salt Lake City to park the van and fly back to Seattle for work and to visit with Amy's parents and a number of our friends who still live in the area, or were also visiting.

For the curious, here is a photo taken out of my office window in Bellevue, WA (suburb of Seattle). Compare this to the views you can see in many of the other photos on this web-site and perhaps our choice of lifestyle is a bit more comprehendible.
Bellevue under construction

We arrived back in SLC in the afternoon and did a quick check of the van as we usually do. We were in for a slight surprise. Inside the van a light was on. Just prior to leaving a week and a half earlier we had somehow left it on, and combined with my habit of shutting off the solar panels when the van was parked for a while (we emptied the fridge and left it open), the batteries were nearly empty (10% according to the monitor)..

I turned the panels back on, turned off the light and figured all would be good after driving out the next day.

The next morning we loaded up the van and I went to start the engine... Nothing. This was quite a surprise, as the house batteries we had inadvertently emptied are isolated from the engine batteries, so their emptying should have had no effect.

We plugged in the inverter/charger to a nearby outlet to charge both the house and engine batteries and figured we would have a day or two of charging before we got moving.

This gave us some time to spend exploring SLC on foot. There were a few arts & crafts festivals that week near the library so we walked the booths and took in the skyline view from the top of the (quite impressive) library.
SLC Skyline

Upon our return to the van that afternoon the van greeted us with a very foul sulphur smell coming from the engine battery compartment, coupled with a pool of battery acid on the ground. Apparently the engine batteries were completely dead of their own accord. With the separator engaged the house batteries had been doing the starting for the past however-long, and we only noticed the problem now, when the house batteries were almost dead.

By this time the house batteries had recovered enough that, with the separator solenoid joined, they could basically jump start the van even with the obviously faulty engine batteries. Since the engine batteries were only 2 years old they were under warranty and we scheduled a visit the next day with a local Ford dealer (not the one we had so much hassle with in the spring).

At the dealer we were forced to wait for 3 hours while they ran tests on the batteries to confirm that they were bad, apparently the leaking acid, sulphur stench, and the fact that they were sitting at only 10 volts wasn't sufficient. After they had run the tests and confirmed that we were not cheating them out of batteries, we were on our way and just headed east into the mountains to escape the heat and get some relax on.


We followed some forest service roads we had noticed on our drives into SLC in the past, and continued up them till we found a track that petered out, had a good view, and no signs of human habitation about except for the odd contrail. New Camping Spot


More later when I get a chance to finish going through our photos....



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