Camping: Comedy of Errors

June 2, 2008

Our family purchased a previously enjoyed motorhome this spring. This weekend we set out on our first excursion to test it out. The destination was a campground close to home.

Before leaving I attempted to fill the propane (LP) tank. Several attempts at a couple of stations brought the realization something was seriously wrong. I contacted the dealer we purchased from and took it in so they could have a look. Examination showed that a third party had repaired the tank and a couple of things were screwed up. First the filler connection was slanted down so much the pump connection could not be connected. The tank mounts had been improperly installed, and there was a leak at the regulator. Result, we couldn’t use the propane. This meant no stove, no hot water, no shower, and no heat. The unit will have to be repaired, but not until after the weekend. Decision time, do we still go?

The kids were really pumped about camping, my sister-in-law was coming along with her motorhome, and the weather looked good. We decided to go for it. Cooking wouldn’t be a big problem because we intended to barbeque, also my sister-in-law said we could use her stove. If we brought lots of blankets and sleeping bags the cold mountain air at night shouldn’t be a big issue.

Friday evening after work we headed out of the city only to run into a major rain storm. This slowed us down and made driving dicey. Out of town and heading west into the foothills we managed to get lost and had to waste time doubling back. At last we found the campground, which is a private one owned by the company I work for. At last we get parked in a nice spot. We do have a power connection so we can run the fridge and lights without worrying about running the batteries down. All seems well, at least for the moment.

Then we find out the potable water tank still has anti-freeze in it. This renders the water unuseable. What the heck else can go wrong. I should have checked this earlier, but being new to the game I had no idea of what to do. We do have a water source at the campsite so we can haul it for cooking and washing. I did have the foresight to bring lots of bottled water for drinking. Guess we can rough it out.

That night I am converting the table/dining area into a bed. When I undo the table from the wall the brackets flop down and it is obvious they were already broken. Fortunately I can still use the table to make the bed. The next day I delicately connect the table to the wall again, surprise it’s still usable. Another item to add to the “dealer fix it” list.

In the end the weekend worked out well. The kids loved running around outside. The site had playground equipment and a sandbox. I did bring my son’s bike so he rode around all weekend with another kid he met. There was lots of firewood so we had nice campfires both nights and cooked on the barbeques. Best of all the sun shone warmly both days. Nighttime was cold, but we managed to keep warm with lots of bedding. There was frost on the windows both mornings, but the sun warmed things up quickly. The kids didn’t want to leave and wanted to come back for more.

On the way out there was a sani-station (trailer dump) for emptying the sewer and gray water holding tanks. I got out the rubber gloves and hooked up the hose. Then I opened the valves and the tanks began draining. Wait is that a leak in the hose? Yes and suddenly the entire hose disintegrated, I closed the valves as quick as I could. Fortunately I didn’t get splashed. I just shook my head and packed the hose, now in shreds, into a garbage bag. This is something the dealer just has to see.

At last we headed home, parked the RV, and unloaded. In the final analysis, even with the comedy of errors, it has been a very good family weekend. The unit will go in next week for repairs so the next outing will be almost luxurious.

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