We arrived at Ryan’s dorm by 9:30 AM. In the chaos of loading the E-trek, we failed to check the battery strength. We were on the road a little after 10:30 AM, but we had to make a stop to pick up Ryan’s artwork about a mile from the dorm. It was the hottest day of the year in Boston, and while we were waiting for Ryan (who was surprisingly quick), we ran the coach AC for about ten minutes to cool off the suddenly very hot RV.
We were still in Boston when an ominous message appeared on the dashboard: “Coolant Low—Stop Engine.” At the same time, Karl noticed the cabin AC was not cool at all. Great, it is the hottest day of the year and suddenly our AC is not working. We pulled off at the nearest side street, and Karl got out to check the coolant level while I read the manual which warned NOT TO OPEN THE COOLANT CAP…I woke up the already asleep Ryan with my warning shriek! The coolant level turned out to be fine (halfway between min and max) and no one was burned by opening the cap. So with trepidation, we continued our departure from Boston, without AC on the hottest day of the year.
After we finally got on the Massachusetts Turnpike (this had taken almost an hour—should have been ten minutes) Karl pulled over at the first service area and bought some coolant and checked the level again, in case we were not level at our first stop. Still appeared okay, so we proceeded, and even turned the AC back on—both cabin and coach. (Did I mention it was the hottest day of the year?)
We were finally making some progress and we decided to stop for lunch in Connecticut at the Route 91 rest stop, which was slightly less than halfway home. I used the inverter power to microwave the mac & cheese, so the battery was still at an acceptable level; however, we could not verify the battery strength since the couch was down in order to accommodate Ryan’s huge amount of clothing, schoolwork, and various things he had acquired during his first year at college.
Ryan slept peacefully in the captains chair throughout lunch, dog relief, and our successful use of the free sanitary dump, and when we were just about to pull out of the rest stop some very nice man flagged us down to ask us about our E-trek. His wife was also peacefully asleep in their car while he asked how we liked our new RV. He would have liked a tour, but it definitely wasn’t the day since we were loaded with a sleeping teen, two crazy dogs, and a dorm-load of stuff. (Did I mention it was the hottest day of the year?)
The second half of the drive was worse. The traffic was stop and go, and the cabin AC was intermittent. The inverter and CO alarms went off when we were still an hour from home, so we could no longer use the coach AC. By now we were 100% convinced that the batteries were not being charged by driving. We somehow made it home a little after 5:00 PM (yes, more than six hours after our journey home began.)