A Bad Day RVing: Comes With the Territory

I mentioned yesterday that I had to leave Charlestown and head west to the Evansville area.  Eville doesn’t have a lot of options for camping, but I discovered a county park in Boonville (yes, Boonville) called Scales Lake a few years ago.  It has a campground with pull throughs and back in spots, and full hookups.  It’s a bit of an RV parking lot, as the sites are pretty tight, almost all just gravel with varying degrees of level to them, and in the summer its packed with families enjoying the lake, which has a nice beach and swim area.  I’ve stayed here 4 or 5 times now, and while it’s about 30 minutes from Deaconess, it’s an easy drive and I get to continue camping!

However, today was just not a good day for me.  And when you RV, these things happen.  You’re pulling 11,000 pounds (in my case) of a giant rectangle down a road at freeway speed.  Just over 13 feet tall and about 34 feet long.  It’s not always easy.

So, my first clue that today was going to be rough was when I went to shower…and no hot water came out.  I checked that I had my water heater on: I did.  On electric.  Turned it off, then on.  Nothing.  I went outside, turned on my propane tanks (I hadn’t used them for the trip to that point), went back in and turned on the water heater on propane.

Nothing.

I checked the fuse box, praying that was the answer.  Nope.  Opened up the water heater access point, but couldn’t see anything obviously wrong.  Crap.

So, I bucked up and took a very, very cold shower.  It was in the 30’s overnight.  It was not fun.  But, it’s not like I’ve never had to take a cold shower–I have tent camped in the past, after all.

atwood
Example of an Atwood water heater, which is the kind I have. I can’t find anything obviously wrong with mine…

Next, I went outside to hitch up.  It was very, very muddy from all the rain, but those clouds passed in the night and it was a beautiful, sunny day.  I got hitched up and started to pull the trailer forward to pick up all the leveling blocks I’d used, only to discover one of my trailer tires was literally at 1psi.  Flat as a pancake.

Ok, I’ve got an air compressor for a reason.  It runs off a 12 volt battery, so I had to pop my hood, hook it up to the passenger side battery (Rory has 2 batteries, one on each side) and run the long hose back to the tire.  The trailer tires need 80 psi in them.  That takes a while.  Especially when someone is impatient and keeps stopping the air flow to check the pressure.  40 psi, dang!  62, dang again.  73…getting closer….

400p
Example of a Viar 400P, the same kind I have.

Finally, it’s inflated and doesn’t seem to be leaking.  I get all the leveling blocks up, which takes a lot of reversing and pulling forward as I had the chocks positioned just so it was really difficult to get weight off of them.  This is when being alone really sucks.  If I had someone else with me, I could move the truck a tiny bit, they’d grab the chock and then tell me to move forward or backward to grab the next one.  Instead, I have to move it blindly, as I can’s see the chocks at all, then put on the emergency brake so nothing rocks, hop out of the truck, go see if I can move the chock, and then go get back in the truck and do it all over again.  Of course, there are lots of other great reasons to have a traveling partner besides chock removal (or placement when you arrive), but it’s definitely a time when I’m very jealous of not having someone with me.

lynx blocks
Kind of levelers I use. I had one each under the passenger side tires of my trailer to get the side to side level squared away.
chocks
These are the chocks I use. Simple and easy, as long as you are careful about placement…which I wasn’t this time.

Anyway, I’m finally done and hit the road.  No issues with the drive, except I had new shocks put on the truck while I was camping and they are definitely not dialed in.  They’re adjustable, but I have to crawl under the truck to change their setting.  I was hoping it’d be ok at the default setting, but my back says otherwise.  Lot’s of bouncing, which is a lot painful when it’s 11k pounds bouncing on your rear end.

Sadly, my challenges weren’t done once I got to my destination.  I pulled into my site, needed 2 levelers per tire on the driver side to get close and put down my front landing gear.  However, once I unhitched, I could not get the trailer to auto level without it raising the front end very high and even pulling the driver side landing gear off the ground!!  I hitched back up and repositioned the trailer, but the same thing happened.  I hitched back up 2 more times to change how far my landing gear went down and eventually gave the whole auto level up and manually extended the rear jacks.  It appears I need to recalibrate the whole system.  Well, not tonight.  I’m exhausted.

On a positive note, I have become much more comfortable hitching up the trailer by myself.  I’ve gotten lots of practice!  And, I had time to enjoy the beautiful Easter sunset today.  I put the picture at the top of the page, but just to enjoy it again, here it is: img_20190421_192814

I hope everyone had a great Easter, and a much less challenging day than I did.  There’s a saying in the RV community that a bad day camping is still better than a good day working, and with the sunset above and now me sitting in my trailer listening to the frogs sing, I have to say that I agree!!

2 Replies to “A Bad Day RVing: Comes With the Territory”

  1. I have memories about leveling, hitching, unhitching and the stress that can cause. I’m hoping you find an easy solution to your hot water issues. The lake does look serene. Hope you have more good days.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. It does seem to be stressful, for all that it’s not a big deal. But there’s so much to remember, and the order is very particular. I’ll never forget one of my first lessons on the order of things with an RV. It was my first time pulling my trailer, and I couldn’t get the Equalizer bars for the anti-sway hitch hooked up. I’d forgotten how to do it. So, I pulled onto the campground road, up a slight hill to get it all straightened out. I hopped out and still couldn’t go it, so decided to unhitch. Instead of chocking properly, I put ONE X-chock in between the tires, figuring it would be enough. As I put the jack down onto a wood block (to make it go faster), and the trailer lifted off the ball of the hitch, there was this low, groaning sound–a sound I will never forget in my entire life. I was helpless as the trailer rolled backwards and the jack fell off the block with a huge BANG. Thank God the jack dug in enough that the trailer stopped before it went more than 6 inches, but man was my heart racing and my mouth dry as a bone. That sound will haunt me until I die. But, I never made that mistake again!

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