Monday, March 9, 2015

3.5 Days

Kind of like the old owl in the tootsie pop commercial, I have discovered that 3.5 days of life without electricity is when you find the center due to the outer shell cracking.

We were right in the cross hairs of the winter storm last week that started with about 2" of rain, flooding roads and melting most of the snow that was left from the last go around.  Then the temperatures dropped drastically and quickly and proceeded to leave us with nearly 13 inches of snow in about 12 hours.  Shortly after the snows started, our electricity also went out.  The heavy snow collected on the trees, bending and breaking them.

Trees are remarkably flexible.

The next morning, I made coffee with my camp stove and french press (using a UPS to run my grinder) and then hooked up the Generac ix2000 generator to keep our fridge going, get the TV on, and keep our phones charged.  Luckily, we have the wood stove to keep us warm as the temperature was predicted to continue to drop to a record low over night.  (Due to a level 3 snow travel emergency, even Sunpower closed for the day).

We waited until the afternoon when the snow stopped to venture outside and shovel a path from the barn (wood pile) to the back deck.  While the kids played, I got the tractor out to push some of the snow off the driveway so we could at least walk down to my truck that I had left parked by the road.
We finished off the day with grilled cheese and tomato soup, cooked on the grill followed by a movie, Night at the Museum.

Friday morning was -9F and clear blue skies.  Once I got the house taken care of, I used the generator to run our propane water heater and we took showers and headed to town.  I had to go to the office for a bit while Shelly ran some errands and Ethan worked on his blizzard bag of school work.  We even got a hot lunch and some pie and coffee before heading back home.  Once there, I scraped some more snow off our driveway in preparation of it being in the 40's on Saturday.  Then I headed to the neighbors driveway to do the same, though only doing about half of it before I slid off his driveway.  I ran Ethan to church for the youth group trip to play laser tag in Columbus while Shelly made another meal on the grill.  Finished off the night with Night at the Museum 2.

We had convinced ourselves that the power would be back on over night.  We woke Saturday morning without it however.  Some more camp stove coffee making and a load of wood to the house.  I was about out of gas for the generator and we were also out of food that could be made on the grill, so we loaded up in the truck and headed to Albany for baked steak at Ray's and a tank of gas.  On the way home, we passed an electric utility truck just about a quarter mile from our house.  Surely the power will be back on now!

Umm, no.

I got up early Sunday morning and started the generator, loaded the stove, and headed out for sound checks at church.  Shortly after, I got a text from Shelly that the generator wasn't working (even though it was running).  I dashed home between sound check and the service.  Found the problem with the generator (more below) and we headed out to the truck down the now crazy icy driveway from the thawing of Saturday followed by the re-freezing overnight.  I barely got a warning to the boys out of my mouth about the ice when Shelly landed on her backside.  This is where we found the center of the tootsie pop.  She was done to say the least.  We headed to church and then to my folks for a hot lunch.  It was around noon when our power came back on, almost exactly 3.5 days after it went out.

Normally I love to ride in the snow, but with a bottom bracket height of 11.8 inches, the BB would be under snow.  And since it was dark in the basement, I didn't ride the trainer either.  I checked my log for the year, and thus far I have ridden outside twice and done 93.5 miles on the indoor rollers. That's barley enough for basic physical well being, hardly what I might consider training.  The Gravel Rouser is going to hurt.

The generator (a mini review of the Generac ix2000):
The ix2000 is a 2000w (2200w peak) invertor-generator.  It is quieter than a regular set and it can adjust the engine speed to match the load (as opposed to a 3600 fixed RPM machine to make 60Hz).  I say quieter as it does not compare to the Honda invertor, but at half the price I did not expect it to.  It is also light.  2000W is enough generally, easily taking care of the fridge, TV, and hot water.  It is absolutely miserly with gas.  It ran somewhere between 30 and 40 hours and used about 3 gallons of gas.  The only issue was with the outlet.  On Friday, the fridge shut off when the generator was still running.  I discovered that one of the contacts in the outlet on the generator had a broken contact, presumably from the  vibration.  I moved the extension cord to the other outlet.  The second failed on Sunday morning.  I did not try to repair it since the power came back on a few hours later and because it is under warranty.  The warranty states that repairs can void the warranty, so I guess Athens Sport Cycles will get to look at it for me (would be an easy repair, takes a standard 20A 120V outlet right behind the front panel held in place with four screws).  Other than that, it was great and I am pleased with the purchase.
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