I Screwed Up
I run my generator under load every month, so I was fully prepared to fire it up tonight as I refreshed my wife's memory on how to hook it up. No such luck. It would start great, but after about 10 or 15 seconds, it sputtered out. I tore down the carburetor and cleaned it up, no luck. I drained all the gas (which I'm pretty sure was treated) and tried again, no luck. I did the carb once more, but nothing. It almost seems like the generator part is not spinning fast enough to put enough pressure on the engine to keep it running (at least, that's my purely no mechanical skills guess). We heard a local big box had a bunch of gennys on the floor, but by the time we got there, they were gone. They expect a truckload overnight, so my wife will meet them there when they open in the morning. She'll have them help load it in her rig, but it will have to sit there after she gets home.
Yep, I'm heading out at Zero-dark 30 in the morning for a 24-hour shift in the heart of the storm. Down there, we should be getting full hurricane winds by early evening, peaking at near 100 mph. Up here, we should just have some lower end tropical storm force winds, maybe with some gusts up to 70 or 80 mph.
If we lose power at the house,which we probably will, then my wife will be OK overnight and I'll set it up and fire it up when I get home. We might lose some things in the fridge and freezer, but if we keep power long enough, we should be OK. We're biting the bullet on the new genny in anticipation of being without power for several days to a week. I've got a guy who I'll get the broken one to next week, then we'll have two working setups, and you know, two is one, and one is none (as this episode demonstrates.)
What I Did Right
Other than the generator fiasco, our prep planning went as it should. I came home a little early today (my normal west bound I-64 ride is about an hour, today was almost 2 hours with all the voluntary evacuation traffic) and got my last few items checked off... I went up on the roof and cleaned out the gutters, ratchet strapped the patio chairs to the big patio table, and put the grill, other chairs, umbrella and flag pole in the shop. If the genny would have done right, my plan would have been perfect. Oh well. Murphy should always be an expected, if unwelcome, guest.
Tomorrow morning at 6:35 I'm on the Lee Brothers Patriot Radio show on AM1140 WRVA. You can listen on the radio if you are in central Va., or on www.WRVA.com, or on the I "heart" Radio app for your smart phone. I'll be updating them on storm conditions and what listeners can do for last minute preps. I will probably be on again Sunday morning with Jimmy Barrett's special storm show to talk about the aftermath.