So I cleared the driveway and smoking area on the deck to prepare for my day. I knew I had not enough propane to completely smoke the turkeys but wanting to get all the goodie out of my propane tank, I was just going to run the smoker until the propane ran out, drive to the grocery store to exchange the tank and continue on with the process. I hooked the nearly empty propane tank up but due to the cold weather and little volume left, I couldn't get the smoker to light. So I decided I would sacrifice some gas and go get the refill right then and there.
At the store, I paid for the exchange along with a few Thankgivingish groceries and went outside to exchange my tank. The clerk struggled for 15 minutes with the lock and finally gave up saying they would have to refund my money and I would have to get it somewhere else. He was working with an extremely heavy set of wool gloves on his hands and didn't really seem to know what he was doing so I asked if I could try. I certainly didn't want to drive clear across town to the big box store no doubt packed with weekend before Thanksgiving shoppers to make an exchange. I breathed some hot breath onto the lock and found that the slot he was trying to insert his key was actually a groove for a protective slide that covered the actual lock. Less than a minute after I took a stab at the lock, I had it unlocked and was carrying my now full tank back to my car.
Back home I hooked up the tank and lit the smoker. I could hear gas leaking out from around the coupling you see above at the top of this post. I gave it a slight twist to tighten it and that is when it shattered into a dozen fine cracks with gas now hissing out at a good clip. I may have said a few words not of good cheer at this point. I gave up and went into tell my wife that there would be no smoked turkey this year but she asked if I could get a replacement. I told her definitely not. But then I wondered and went out and looked at the issue again. I found that I could get a socket and twist off the metal part of the coupling to free the broken plastic part. Now all I had to do was find a replacement broken plastic part which I thought would be impossible short of the internet and some time which I didn't have.
Never the less, I drove down to the local mom and pop hardware store which I figured was my best chance over the big box stores which probably only sold entire smokers. The mom and pop hardware store had the whole assembly including regulator and hose which I didn't need and it was $20, but the coupling was there and would work. When I got my purchase home, now $40 in the hole for a new tank of gas and new coupling, I tried to get the metal part off the new one using a socket like I had used on my old one but it was some sort of specialty fitting which I didn't have anything to fit on. Again, some more non cheer filled words followed by some head scratching and then I got the hacksaw and just cut the fitting right off at the threads next to the regulator rendering it completely useless for the rest of its life. But I was able to get the coupler off and a few moments later it was installed and my smoker was at last working without leaks.
As you read this, I'm off hiking in the mountains somewhere but write after I wrote this before leaving on our vacation, I made a mental note to make sure I have batteries for my flashlight because after taking all this time to get the smoker up and running, it is going to be a late night. I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and I hope it was full of cheerful words!