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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!