First, thank you for praying for Pastor Larry Lamb from Sweeny, Texas yesterday. The surgery went very well and he is already home. Praise the Lord!
We have owned and traveled in the BoggsMobile for about 11 1/2 years. It is an amazing piece of machinery that I love most of the time and hate it every now and then. Before the bus, we pulled fifth-wheel trailers with pickup trucks.
Our first trailer was purchased in the early 90s. It was a 1979 Holiday Ramblette. The Ramblette was 29' long and we pulled it with a 1989 red Ford 250.
We bought the 1984 Hitchhiker 30' fifth-wheel in June of 2002. We pulled it first with a 2003 Chevy 2500 HD and later with a 2004 Chevy 2500 HD with a Duramax/Allison combination.
We later sold the Hitchhiker and ordered a 2004 Kountry Star 35' two bedroom/two full bathroom fifth wheel. We pulled the Kountry Star for four full years.
Each trailer was a little nicer, with a few more features and each one was also easier to pull than the one before it. I could not believe how much easier it was to pull the 2004 over the 1984.
One thing we never had in any of our trailers was a generator. Occasionally we would park in a campground and the trailer next to us would have a generator and I would talk to the owner about it. At that time, there were a lot of evangelists on the road with trailers and I only remember one of them ever having an onboard generator.
I used to tell Kelly Jo that there was no way a generator could ever pay for itself. I asked about adding a generator when we ordered the 2004 Kountry Star. I do not think it was a standard option and they said it would add about $10,000. That would have been an extra 25% and it did not make sense to me.
Back then we stopped at campgrounds when we were traveling in the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter. We had to have electricity for the AC or furnace. In the spring and fall, we would often stop at a truck stop or rest area as we do now.
I was paying $20-25 a night for a campground along the interstate back then. I would have to look at my records, but I doubt we stayed in campgrounds more than 10 nights a year while traveling between revivals.
$10,000 would pay for 40-50 years of campgrounds at $20-25 a night and 10 nights a year. That means it would take a lot of years to live out the investment in a generator, not counting gasoline/diesel costs and oil changes.
There is no way the Kountry Star could have held up to even 10 years of use like we were giving it, so the money side of a generator in a fifth-wheel did not make sense at all.
There is one thing I never considered. That is the convenience side of the equation. The BoggsMobile had a generator already when we bought it used. It is a 15K Martin generator with a Yanmar engine. It was already figured into the price of the bus. We did not run it much the first two years, although I did exercise it a few hours every month to keep it in shape.
Then we realized the generator was made to run and we began to use it more and more. When we started tent revivals, the generator seemed like it was sent from God. Not having to rely on 50 amps coming from a plug is a huge convenience.
We still plug into 50 amps every chance we get, but we are not absolutely tied to the power pole. We have options that we never had before with our fifth-wheels. I can not even remember that last time we found a campground along the interstate while traveling between revivals and had to go in at night, dodging the trees and cars.
The generator frees us from that. We find a place to park and if it is hot or cold outside, we crank the generator and go to bed. Problem solved. It is cost effective too. 10 hours of generator time, under a full load, costs us about $18 with diesel at $3.00 a gallon
For tent revivals, we are often set up on lots with no electrical service. The days of the power company setting up a temporary pole for $50 are long gone in most places. We have not priced it recently but during City Reach in 2016, we were often quoted in excess of $300 just to get the pole hooked up, not including the pole and the electricity used.
Yes, the generator costs money to run and money to maintain, but the options it gives us are incredible. Take our recent trip to Boston for example. The church in Fall River did not have 50 amp service and there were no campgrounds anywhere close at all. It would have been impossible for us to park and preach there with no electricity and no AC when it was 90 degrees.
Next, we went to Bethel Revival Center in Everett. They have a small parking lot big enough for 4-5 cars. The rest is street parking. I have never been able to find one campground in or around Boston that we can get the bus into.
Sis. Esther obtained permission for us to park at the edge of a businesses big parking lot. We pulled to the far end, cranked the generator and preached revival. Without a generator, we could not take the bus up there. We would have been driving the car, without our sound system, without our own bed and staying in motels.
I am so thankful for the generator in our bus. I am thankful it starts and runs dependably each and every time we need it. We put 344 hours on it during Middletown Tent Revival and the Boston Trip. The oil is changed and it is ready to go again.
We will start making electricity again later this week in Central City by God's grace.
Thank you for reading.