Batteries in the Desert

There are a lot of things to like about living in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. The landscape while rugged can be quite beautiful especially as the cacti are blooming or as the sun is setting over the red rock formations.

For nine months of the year the weather is perfect. Daytime temperatures hover around the mid-60’s to mid-80’s making it warm yet comfortable. For people with outdoor activities such as soccer, baseball, and motorcycle riding it is the perfect place to be.

Of course there is the summer when temperatures stay above the century mark consistently for weeks at a time. It is one thing when the daytime high is over 110 degrees and sometimes 120; it is quite another when the temperatures are still over 100 in the middle of the night.

batteryThis of course is miserable especially on vehicles. There have been days when I seriously considered wearing oven mitts to drive just so I would not burn my hands on the steering wheel. Windshield sunshades are not a fashion statement in Arizona; they are a necessity.

It’s not just the interior of a vehicle that takes a beating. Car and motorcycle batteries really take a hit in the hot weather of Arizona. While most of the country can make a battery last through it’s allotted warranty that won’t happen here.

In many cases a battery will need to be replaced as often as 24 months. I was feeling pretty good when Trina’s Suburban lasted almost three years. There was dancing around the garage and a prayer of gratitude to Mr. Diehard and his battery manufacturing.

Today though was not a happy day. I went to the garage excited that the weather was now perfect for riding my Harley Davidson Night Train every day. I loaded up the saddle bags with my laptop and briefcase for a ride that would ultimately end up at work.

It’s funny; when I am in the car I try to find the shortest distance between home and the office. When I am on my bike the exact opposite is true. It takes me three times longer to get to my destination. It is not because the bike is slower but rather I look to find ways to be on it as long as possible.

The joy and enthusiasm was short lived this particular day. As I climbed onto the bike and pressed the starter, I was not rewarded with the throaty sound of the Twin-V engine coming to life. I was instead greeted by the all too familiar sound of clicking from a battery that no longer has any juice left.

Initially I hoped that I had somehow left the accessory switch on or perhaps the security system had drained the battery. After a few hours on the recharger though the results were the same. With a quick wrench I removed the battery and placed it in the car.

While I went through the bike looking for possible faulty connections Trina took the battery down to the dealership to see if perhaps my charger was bad. When my cell phone went off with a message from Trina I almost didn’t want to look.

The diagnosis was the worst-case scenario. The battery failed due to the heat and needed to be replaced. This was most frustrating since the bike had been ridden very little due to my shoulder surgeries and subsequent rehabilitation.

Trina brought home a new battery and it was quickly installed. What a difference that made, the engine immediately turned over and before long I was headed down the road to anywhere. The clock is now ticking on this new battery as the heat of summer will return much too soon.

I’m trying to find alternatives to keeping this battery working longer. I’m just not sure I am going to be able to talk Trina into letting me park the Harley in the family room.


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