Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Things I've Learned On The Way To The Sewage Dump

RV'ing with a sense of humor and persistence is key to successful "glamping"
The ubiquitous "Blue Boy" Sewage tote. The key to boondocking

As gratifying as it is to aimlessly wander North America, we've come to know that "stuff" (insert your own four letter word) happens.

1. When you are retired cash flow can be an issue. My wife is a master at shuffling bills. When you're between Eagle defecations and running low on green stuff she keeps us afloat. Somehow?  Humor doesn't often enter into the equation though.

2. We have had eighteen different electrical problems (no, really) since beginning this adventure. Our coach is a 2005 Newmar Northern Star.  I believe that all of these problems are systemic from a single power surge at the very beginning of our journey.  We were "practicing" full timing when this happened.  To endure stuff like this you need to have a "positive" attitude and keep yourself "grounded" (pun intended) when making electrical repairs.

In my case, being severely color blind I always take photos of things before I disassemble and reassemble equipment, switches and receptacles. Or, I have Martha confirm colors of wiring before attempting replacements or repairs. I really hate asking because I know she is mulling the virtues of a color blind old man wiring stuff in her house.

3. When dealing with minor but intermittent fresh water leaks always look at all the possibilities no matter how small they may be. Maybe eliminate one suspect at a time. I have threatened to put food dye in my freshwater tank to see if its coming from the fresh water tank or the city water side. Martha thinks this is a stupid idea...wonder why?

4. Get used to buying things twice or more. We have purchased and fried a coffee maker, a rice cooker and two ceramic disc heaters due to our electrical problems. Now I am seriously considering those "extended warranties" for appliances . I know they're supposed to be a gimmic to make money for the store but....

5. Be sure to stock fuses for your 12 volt system. Have at least one of each size fuse on hand. They will be needed. Ask me how I know.

6. Tire pressures and tires are really important when you drive a 38,000 pound vehicle. Make sure your on-board air brake compressor is optimal and tap into it so that you can use an air hose to air up tires. Having a tire pressure monitor is very helpful so you can watch pressure and temperatures while in motion. But nothing compares to checking the pressures manually. Now, I need to order one of those weeding cushions to kneel on while I check them. I hate getting old.

7. Keep a "Blue Boy tank" aboard for when you boondock. It is a convenient means to transport grey and black water to the sewage dump. If you don't know what this is google it. Oh, and after you dump into the blue boy you have the envious task of toting the thing around the campground. Hey, it's a crappy job.

8. Disposable gloves are your friend. They keep the nasties off your hands. If you tote your waste to the dump (see #7) make sure you have a spare pair with you when finally get to the dump. It's an enigma really. You need a pair to dump into the tank, you need to remove them to drive or manually pull the cart to the dump and then you need another pair when you get there so you can dump without exposing yourself to the sludge.

I actually saw a guy take his gloves off stuff em in his pocket then put the same pair back on at the dump. Ummm, dude you reversed them when you pulled em off. The nastiness is now on the inside of your gloves co-mingling with your fingers. Just sayin

9. Boondocking is a "Thing". This simply means no service hookups. No water, sewer or external power. When boondocking fresh water, battery power and sewage management are your friends. You quickly learn to take "Navy Shower" , Yes, there is actually a written procedure, who knew? When I offered to send that procedure to Martha's email she declined.  I guess I will still make frequent trips to the dump.

If you are a newbie to boondocking you will find that "grey" water will always fill up first. Sewage takes a while. We have thirty seven gallons of black tank and the same for the grey water tank. The stick point is that when you flush the toilet into the black tank, the more water you use the better it is for your black tank to keep waste from sticking to the tank when you dump. So in a nutshell you have to balance how much water you use to flush. So, among all of the other hats you wear when RV'ing, you get to become a "wastewater engineer."  I'll stop on this subject for now because no matter how you sugar coat it, its still a "crappy" subject.

10. Generator runs and battery management is another course you have to take. It'll take some time before you are adept at learning how much generator time is enough. Of course it all depends on the loads you put on the coaches twelve volt system and how many things you are running. Now you are a consulting "electrical engineer."

We like a movie in the evening so we try to time our generator runs with our TV viewing. So far, we've managed our boondocking to occur at enroute locations like Walmart or National Parks. At Walmart your generator won't bother anyone because your noise is competing with rap music blaring from cars in the parking lot and kids running through the parking lot with loud exhaust.

National parks are quite different. All of them have specific generator run times. Usually from 9am until 10 pm. This means that you can run the generator to top off batteries anytime during this time frame. Even though generators can be run during these times you still get some folks that just don't like generator noise.

Thankfully, these people are readily identifiable because they will be the ones that walk their dogs on 90' leashes and let their dogs take a crap in front of your entry door while they stand safely 90' away.

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