If one were to look up the behavior of a Meerkat, one would find the definition of a Meerkat to be “small burrowing animals, living in large underground networks with multiple entrances which they leave only during the day, except to avoid the heat of the afternoon.” The definition also goes on to say, “They are very social, living in colonies,” and “live in very tight-knit family groupings.”
The morning that we left Key Largo, once we disconnected from shore power, our rig lost all internal electrical and generator power, which meant that anything that ran on 12-volt and 120-volt electricity (refrigerator, microwave, outlet plugs, toilet, Electrical Management System (EMS), inverter, back-up camera, and slides) would not work. The only thing we could do, basically, was drive from point A to point B. Before leaving Key Largo, Dave tried to troubleshoot what the issue was, but unable to find it, we decided to press forward and head 3 hours north-west to our destination in Naples.
While en route to Club Naples RV Resort, I phoned the front office and explained our situation, asking for information on any RV techs in the area that they could recommend. The registration woman gave us the name of one fellow, Mark Peavler who is the owner and operator of RV Support Services. I telephoned him and told him of our dilemma. He was over-booked for that afternoon, but assured me that he would be at our site the following morning between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
Once we checked into Club Naples we made our way to the site that had been assigned to us, slowly navigating the narrow roads. Upon visually seeing our site, I had grave doubts that we would be able to fit our rig into the narrow space assigned to us with rigs and cars on either side. And, trust me; I am not exaggerating the space limitations here. Dave is a very skilled driver and I had no doubts in his ability to get us in, but since we did not have a back-up camera, it was going to make his job that much more difficult. We had to have two people move their vehicles and, thankfully, an employee from the park assisted in guiding Dave with maneuvering the front of the rig, while I was in the back guiding Dave with backing up. It took us two tries, but we did manage to get the rig in. Getting out of here may be another challenge, but we’ll deal with that when the time comes.
Once we were in our site, Dave reconnected us to shore power as we were hoping that a miracle would happen and we would miraculously have interior electrical and generator power again. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Oy! Dave started opening up the basement compartments that held the miles of electrical wiring and fuses that supplied electricity for our coach to try and resolve the issue. While we were traveling I searched the internet (thankfully I always charge up our phones and computers the night before heading out) to see if there might be any suggestions/solutions as to why we were having issues and what could be done to remedy the situation. Unfortunately we didn’t find anything concrete. We even tried phoning our friend, Barry, who is a Certified RV Technician to see if he could give us any sight. He gave us some great advice as to what we should try, but there was nothing that would work.
In the interim, while Dave was doing what he could, I ran to Walmart and purchased bags of ice to pack in the refrigerator and freezer to keep our food cold, and picked dinner up at McDonald’s.
Within 30-minutes of arrival to our site, the men who owned the rigs surrounding us where all here to help, either by offering trouble shooting suggestions or, as in the case of our neighbor down two doors down (whose name also happens to be Dave), jumped right in and began testing every electrical line from the house batteries on the passenger side of the coach, around the back in the engine compartment, and all the way up the driver’s side to the front fuse panel. The guys spent HOURS outside in the dark, and often times in the light rain, trying to help us get electric to our rig. Finally, it became too dark to do anything, so everyone dissipated. Our neighbors across from us, Brenda and John, offered us an open door to their rig for anything that we might need; a cup of coffee, cold beverages, respite in their air conditioning from the heat, or food to eat.
Dave and I spent a very dark, confining night in the rig (we couldn’t open the slides) with the windows open and prayed for a light breeze to cool us down. Neither one of us slept well that night, in part due to the heat, but largely because we weren’t sure what we were dealing with in regard to the electrical issue and how it would play out. Alvin and Waddles were apprehensive as well, as they knew that something wasn’t right and they didn’t like the close confines of the coach that night.
Mark, the RV technician, arrived promptly at 8:00 a.m. the following morning and began troubleshooting. With all of the information that Dave and the other men had discovered the night prior, Mark had enough information to go on and discovered that our main 12 volt battery disconnect had fried, setting up a series of faults that the EMS system and the inverter re-acted to by shutting everything down. It was a catch 22; low battery power because the inverter couldn’t charge the battery through the faulty switch, and the inverter read low battery power, so the inverter was shutting everything down through its normal protection cycle. He was able to restore electrical power to our rig and life, once again, was good.
Our current residence for the month of December, Club Naples RV Resort, as I noted earlier, is a very tight RV resort in regard to the physical proximity of space between each rig and the roadways within the park. After our first interaction with our neighbors, I began to jokingly refer to this resort as “The Meerkat Community” to Dave, because when one person is outside, everyone else comes out of their rigs and interacts with one another. If someone needs help with a project, or assistance with anything, everyone pitches in to help. Just taking the trash to the garbage bin the other day, which is approximately 150 yards away from our rig, I had five people speak to me on the way back. With the exception of meeting our wonderful friends last year, Arlene & Barry, we’ve never had this type of interaction with people in any of the parks that we’ve been in before. What this park lacks in physical space, the people make up for in heart.