We here in the hollow where the Gulch is located was more fortunate than most folks in town since we didn’t lose power...until 6pm last night. Most other parts of our town had been out since sometime yesterday morning.
The outage was no problem since we had the Official Weekend Pundit Generator all set to go – the extra 40lb propane tank was full and I had a ginned-up cover for the generator to keep the rain away from its electrical panel. By 6:30pm it was hooked up and powering The Gulch. We had lights, heat, TV, computers, refrigerator, and most important, the microwave oven.
The other thing I did was call the power company to inform them of the outage. This is something I do even if I know it is highly likely that other people have already called them as this serves two purposes: It lets the power company know of the outage just in case no one else called it in and gets us on the ‘call back’ list so we get updates on the progress of the power restoration efforts.
One thing I did last night before going to bed was swap the propane tank – the one we used during the previous two outages and hadn’t yet refilled – with the full tank. This meant I wouldn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to change tanks when the ‘old’ one was empty. The idea of having to go out at 2am when it was 12ºF with a wind chill of -10ºF to change the propane tanks didn’t fill me with excitement, so it made sense to change them early. This would allow the generator to run for another 16+ hours before I swapped in the old tank. That should hold us until the power is restored, assuming the power company’s estimate – received during one of their call back messages – is anywhere near accurate. (I always add at least an hour to their restoration time as that seems to be the standard ‘fudge factor’ for their estimates.)
One other thing I did before turning in was to grab one of the gas caddies we usually use to fuel the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout and head to to fill it. I don’t often do this but this was more of a just-in-case precaution as at times there can be problems with the regulator on the propane fuel line freezing up which caused the generator to shut down. Since the generator is a duel-fuel unit, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to fill it. (If we don’t use it for the generator I can use it to fuel the trusty RAM 1500 since I don’t like storing gasoline for more than a couple of weeks, if at all.)
It was an eerie trip.
There were no lights in the rest of the neighborhood. No lights along the road. It was an ocean of darkness as far as the eye could see with the occasional island of light – places with emergency power - and it was like that until I crossed into the next town over. It was like a switch had been flipped since it appeared they hadn’t suffered anywhere near the number of outages we had. This was good because it meant that at least one gas station would be open.
I filled the gas caddy, hauled it back into the bed of the trusty RAM 1500, strapped it down...and then couldn’t get the tailgate to latch. I could see it was because some of the ice that formed when the temperatures plummeted 40ºF in a short period of time had jammed the latches, so the tailgate remained down. Then it was that disquieting trip back to The Gulch with the only lights seen being those same islands of light I saw on the way to the gas station. There were no streetlights, no traffic lights, no house lights, no light of any kind. It wasn’t until I was close to The Gulch that I saw lights, but in this case they were on the opposite shore of Lake Winnipesaukee a good eight or nine miles away. The next lights I saw were those at The Gulch as I pulled into the driveway.
So ended my day.
And how was your day, all things considered?
Update: Our power was restored at 2:36pm this afternoon.
According to the power company there were 3800 customers in our little town without power until this afternoon. That means that most of our town was without power due to the storm.