Layed Up In Lynnwood

Because our license plate and taillights were blocked by our new bike cover, we decided it wasn’t safe to proceed.  Before we had even made it to Seattle, we were at a standstill.

Rear of motorhome with covered bikes, and not taile lights or license plate visible
Not a light in sight

I spent the morning developing a solution to add some additional rear tail and signal lights and to move the license plate (and its light).  Unfortunately, regulations vary across the United States about the minimum and maximum heights of both brake lights and license plates and also the colour of signal lights (red or orange?)  After some online research and trips to Walmart and O’Reilley’s auto parts, I came up with a design that should work, without requiring any permanent alternations to the motorhome and using only the tools that I had on hand.

By the end of the day, I had acquired all the necessary parts and roughed up a wiring diagram. Still in the Walmart parking lot where we’d slept the previous night, I laboured into the very cold evening until I had a working prototype.

Patrick working on project at rear of motorhome in Walmart parking lot
It’s still winter in Lynnwood!
Patrick standing in front of bikes on rear of motorhome
At least it wasn’t raining!

When it got too cold, we walked back to the same pub where we’d eaten the night before, this time enjoying an inexpensive prime rib and helping a team of young guys win the trivia competition (“We’ll take the Food Network for 400 Alex”).

I spent most of the next day completing the build and installing everything.  It was cold but sunny, and not the ‘liquid sunshine’ that the Pacific Northwest normally receives at this time of year.

Patrick kneeling at rear of motorhome working on lights and wiring
Still at it the next day

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, as prior to this, my collective experience as an electrician included:

  • the science kit that my parents gave me in Grade 4, which I tried to wire into a household electrical socket and almost killed myself
  • changing light bulbs when Diane couldn’t reach them

The rear of motorhome with 2 new tail lights, the license plate and its light relocated to the ladder

The completed project -2 new tailights, license plate and its light relocated to ladder

The parts included a 7 pin to 4 pin trailer wiring adapter, 2 LED rear lights, a license plate holder, automotive wire, a variety of connectors, wiring shrink wrap, kitchen drawer liner, some non-skid carpet tape, a lot of zap straps (known as ‘wire ties’ in the U.S.), and of course, duct tape.  Canadians can’t build anything without duct tape.  Total Cost $160.

Close up of new tail light on rear bubmper on right rear corner of motorhome
Look close to see the white drawer liner covering the wires

And so, almost 3 days into our trip, we set off again, passing through Seattle just in time to enjoy the evening rush hour.  At least we were moving again!

Related Post

6 thoughts on “Layed Up In Lynnwood

  1. Your fix looks good and should be brighter than factory lights. If your passing through Reno give a call or stop by. Enjoyed your blog on Europe. Don’t agree on your politics. Have fun and enjoy my country.

    1. Hi Tony – Thanks for your comment. We won’t be in Reno this trip, but your kind offer is appreciated. Perhaps next time. Another thing that I love about America is how people of varying views can live together in relative harmony. I’m sure that you and I have a lot of things of common.

  2. We remain impressed with your dogged determination, cheery disposition through adversity and your consistently patient and innovative approach to problem solving. You always seem to go that little bit further than most people to research and apply solutions – by the way the head looks much better – time and a cold wind are great healers, don’t you think?

    1. Thanks for the kind words S&M. Apparently I have too much time on my hands. Yes, my motorhome head wound healed quickly, but I do have a nice scar which is even more visible now that I’m had a little sunshine on it. But it’s nothing compared to Diane’s. Stay tuned…

  3. Hey Pat,

    I imagine you’re trekking through Washington or Oregon at the moment but you may want to stop for this! The Travel & Escape channel has a contest for a tv show travel host. Saw it advertised and thought it was right up your alley! Deadline is March 15. Enter at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.