Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Touring and an inverter question

I truly decided to relax this morning.  After making my bed, I stayed in my PJ’s until 11:00 in the morning.  It’s been decades since I’ve done that.  By noon, though, I’d had enough of that so I showered and headed out to do a little exploring.


This is where I ended up.  I decided to visit the Oakland Plantation outside of Natchitoches.  Lots of plantations were located along the Cane River back in the day.


It turned out that this was National Junior Ranger Day at this National Park.  There were quite a few youngsters moving around from exhibit to exhibit, but the crowds weren’t stifling. 


I was there for the 1:00 tour of the Main House.  It was built in 1821.  It still retains most of its original heavy cypress timber construction and bousillage-filled walls.  Bousillage was a new word for me today.  It’s kind of like adobe, but uses Spanish moss in the mixture instead of straw.  It was used to insulate the walls.

_MG_2027 _MG_2028

We had a good park ranger for the tour group.  The area leading to the front of the house is lined with giant live oak trees.  Just what you would expect in a southern plantation.  The canopy of trees provided a tunnel for the breezes off of the Cane River to flow down into the open windows of the house.


I also learned that these first Creole plantation owners drank a lot of French wine.  They used the empty bottles to line their flower gardens.  Many of these bottles are from the early 1800’s.  So I guess recycling isn’t really a new thing.  Winking smile


I walked some of the grounds, but although my hip doesn’t hurt one bit, my stamina isn’t what it was before the surgery yet.  I need to figure out some lower back exercises.  Any ideas out there?

I also stopped at the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery on the way back to the rig, but the only part open was a small aquarium featuring local river, lake, and pond species.  I had forgotten that most FWS staff don’t work on the weekends, so the ponds with the fish they were growing were closed to entry.

I have a long, for me, drive coming up tomorrow to get to the Maumelle COE campground outside of Little Rock, Arkansas.  In all my years of traveling with a trailer or motorhome, I’ve always turned off the fridge while driving.  As Emma and I were sitting outside this evening, I got to wondering about my small converter.  Since I have a residential fridge now that only operates on electric, could I use the converter to keep it running while I drive down the road?  This is the first rig I’ve had with an inverter, and I do next to no boondocking, so I really haven’t used it.  With the small solar panel on the roof that charges the batteries, and running the engine, won’t that be enough charge to keep it running for six hours or so?  The temps are likely to be in the 80’s for my travel day.  Don’t know why I haven’t thought about this before.  I would appreciate any input from those of you that know about inverters.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Provided the current draw from your fridge doesn't exceed the maximum rated wattage from the inverter, you should have no problem. I would simply try it. When you start the motorhome in the morning, plug your fridge into the inverter circuit, and see what happens. Your alternator output should be enough to keep the batteries charged even with the drawdown from the fridge.


  2. Bill says: Look at the spec plate (probably on the back) of the fridge and see how many amps it draws... or... see what the wattage is. Compare that with the specifications on the inverter to see if it's large enough to handle it. Bill goes on to say he wouldn't plug it in without checking first it as it could either burn it (inverter) up or blow a fuse. Obviously I know nothing about this stuff... I just know when we use our inverter I can't use the microwave or other high powered stuff. Good Luck!

  3. You'll be in our neck of the woods at Maumelle, a great park. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock is well woth seeing. As you make your way north, lots of beautiful country awaits! Safe travels and thanks for sharing your blog.

  4. Interesting on the bottles. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Can't answer on the fridge. Yes, it would depend on the wattage of the fridge vs what the inverter is capable of handling. If overloaded, it can damage the inverter. Not sure if the fridge could sustain damage too?

  5. Your inverter should work just fine with the engine running. The engine alternator will charge the house batteries as they supply the 110 voltage to the fridge via the invertor. Your house (and engine starting battery) are charged all the time by the alternator, there is a solenoid that directs the battery charge to both sets of batteries.

    We use our inverter all the time when driving, we power not only the fridge but a XM radio "boom box" or the in motion satellite and TV when the grandkids are with us.

    PS: I bet you fit in just fine with all those Junior Rangers! ;c)

  6. One more thing, an inverter takes 12 volts and changes it to 110 volts. A converter does just the opposite, takes 110 volts and drops it to 12 volts.

    I used the spell checker this time... :cO

  7. Glad you defined bousillage - I was about to ask! New word for me too.

  8. Simply lying supine (on your back, face-up) will stretch out those lower back muscles. Make sure you are on a hard surface and relax your legs. Do this for 5 minutes a couple times a day. When comfortable with that, do the same thing lying on your stomach.

  9. What a beautiful plantation! That's so neat about the wine bottles!

  10. Maumelle Park is one of our favorite spots. Hope you have a wonderful trip and visit.

    We run our Norcold on the inverter while we are underway all the time. What everyone has said so far about making sure your inverter has enough capacity to handle the draw of your fridge is important. But, it's my understanding that while RV fridges can run on the standard RV inverter (which is typically known as a "modified sine wave" inverter), most residential refrigerators require a "pure sine wave" inverter. So, I'd make sure your fridge manufacturer says its OK to use an MSW before I ran with it.

    I've done just enough research on this to be dangerous. When the cooling unit went out on our Norcold, we briefly considered replacing it with a rezzie fridge. As we learned that the fridge would require a new inverter for our Winnie and additional batteries to run while we were underway, we tossed that idea. Somebody who actually has a rezzie fridge on board would have a better idea. Hope this helps.

    Enjoy Little Rock!

  11. I agree the inverter should work provided that Winnebago matched the inverter to the house fridge. Knowing Winnebago, I would double check that:)

  12. Maumelle COE is one of our all time favorite campgrounds. The setting is gorgeous and we love the hiking. Safe travels.

  13. Another great national park to explore. By now, you have your answer on the inverter/fridge. We only turn off our residential fridge when we put it in storage. Since your rez fridge was installed after-market, you might want to verify with Billy that you have the right type of inverter; since he did the install, he would probably know.

  14. I wonder if the French wine also explains the popularity of bottle trees down here?

  15. An electric-only fridge that didn't work on your inverter wouldn't be much good for anyone who might even overnight at a Walmart would it? I agree that a double-check with an RV tech to ensure the inverter is compatible with your fridge is probably a good idea.

  16. We always travel with our fridge on, but it isn't residential..I didn't realize you had to have "special inverter" stuff to do that...That might calm my yearning for a residential fridge, eh?? We toured Bill Clinton's boyhood home in Hope Arkansas, South of Little Rock..We were the only ones on the tour, and we found his home very interesting.

  17. Judy, after a quick recovery from a few major surgeries, I thought I was doing very well, but it took some time for my energy levels to get back to normal. Now that it's been more than a year since my last surgery, I realized I'm feeling so energized! I'm walking all over the place without getting tired.

    I've heard it takes a year to get back to normal after surgery, and I've found that to be true. You'll keep getting better and better and all of a sudden you'll realize you feel great again. :)

  18. To help your refrigerator while you are traveling with it off, keep some frozen half-gallon containers of water in your freezer, and move them to the refrigerator when you leave camp. Try not to open the door of the refrigerator if at all possible. You will find this makes a big difference. The big blocks of ice in the freezer will help the freezer out during your normal times, too, and always be ready for you to use in a cooler for a day trip.

    If you know what items you will need out of the refrigerator during your trip, take these things out before you turn off the refrigerator and put them into a pre-cooled cooler with another half-gallon container of ice. The big blocks of ice will last a really long time. Put a layer of Reflectix inside the cooler - on top of the contents. If you have just some lunch and snack items that need to be kept cold, use a small, six-pack-sized cooler, with some Blue Ice packs instead of a half-gallon container.

  19. Hang in there energy wise. I found that each month after surgery made a profound difference.

  20. Well I'm late to the party and it's all been said but I wanted you to know I'm out hear and appreciate the tour. You seem to be making excellent progress to me but I know it must seem slow to you.

  21. A lot of what hurts your lower back comes from your hips. There are a lot of excellent videos that show how to do exercises to help your lower back. And general core exercises to strengthen both your back and stomach should also help.

    Here is the return when I typed in "u tube lower back exercises" check out what might work for you. Also look for yoga fro lower back pain, strengthening lower back, and opening up hips.

    My belief is that you will get better faster with exercise and pushing yourself a few days a week. Then you make repairs on the rest days.


    Hope you have a full recovery soon.

  22. We run our fridge on inverter all the time . You should have no problem with engine running

  23. Sounds like folks have tackled the inverter topic and since i have nothing of value to add there, I'll stick to the lower back exercises.

    The ones I try to stay up with from several rounds of PT for lower back pain are:
    1. Bird dogs -- down on all 4's, extend one leg and opposite arm. Hold, switch, repeat. Do 10 on each side

    2. Superman -- lie on your stomach with arms extended in front. Lift arms and legs off ground an hold for as long as you can. Don't forget to breath. Goal is to get your upper chest and as much of your hips off ground as possible.

    Other than that, I try to always focus on keeping my core muscles tight when walking, standing, sitting, etc. I've been told preventing lower back pain is all about core strength.