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Life & Events > Life on the River

Life on the River

Around the river bend from our house, the big 2013 flood eroded our river banks and ever since there were big trees perched on the edge with little to no dirt around their roots. It was a matter of time before they would get blown over or the bank would erode some more and they would fall. This past week we got 20 inches of very wet snow, and two great big trees fell. One of them clipped the power lines and we lost power on Thursday. All was well for about 20 hours because our standby generator was working great, and then Friday morning at 7 am it stopped and we can't get it started again, so we didn't have power back until 5 pm on Saturday.

Friday, Mr. Troutbend spent an hour on the phone with a generator technician because the highway was closed and we couldn't get anyone to come to the house because they would have to drive 40 miles further to get here. The technician had him try everything he could think of, and ended up thinking it's a bad controller board. There are all kinds of sensors - low oil sensor, engine temperature sensor, low battery voltage, and any one of them that can shut down the engine, and I have a feeling one of those shut it down and didn't reset.

Thursday around midnight someone came from the power company and hiked around to where the power line was in the river, but he either didn't see the wires down on the ground or didn't tell anyone at the utility company because Friday afternoon I saw the power guys about a mile down the road from us, 'patrolling, looking for the cause of the power outage.' We had called it in when we discovered the wires down, and I told someone else when they called to tell us they were not going to get our power up Friday night, but nobody told the guys who were fixing things. This was around 4 pm Saturday, and we were resigned to another night of no power and trying to keep a fire going to keep the house warm. But after I told them, they went right over there and fixed it - in a couple of hours the power was back up. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't tracked them down and told them, probably another night and half a day of now power.

The pictures are of that same power pole, taken a few years ago when they dropped the power lines in order to cut down a large tree that might threaten those lines. That time, it was a big production with a lot of workers, and they drove trucks back near it, cutting down smaller trees to make way. This time it was three skinny young guys who hiked in there somehow and got it done. This time the flood removed all the river banks that made it possible to hike to that location on dry land, so I don't know how they got there.



Now that we know our generator isn't invincible, we will be working to figure out what to do about that, perhaps buying a backup controller board and some other spare parts. And we found some other gaps in our resiliency plan. Our goal is to have 3 or 4 days of self sufficiency until power is restored, or rescuers can get here.

posted on May 21, 2017 8:49 PM ()


Yes, some redundancy is called for. I've never used a generator, I just know they're expensive. What about a solar source for some things?
comment by drmaus on May 22, 2017 10:19 AM ()
Your views are so pretty!
comment by kristilyn3 on May 22, 2017 8:05 AM ()
I often refer to our island as "the boonies" but there is no comparison. We lose power once or twice a month, usually because a bird flew into something, but it's usually fixed in a matter of hours or less. Glad you finally got everything fixed. Yes, you need another safeguard.
comment by tealstar on May 22, 2017 7:26 AM ()
being without power is awful so it is worth the expense.
comment by elderjane on May 22, 2017 7:09 AM ()
And the money keeps on going out!
comment by greatmartin on May 22, 2017 5:10 AM ()

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