Our First Lesson in Camping

We have still not gotten to go fishing yet. There is just so much to get done before you can pursue a Full-time RV camping adventure that we are just now getting to the point where we can relax and enjoy ourselves. We are learning while doing stuff for our RV including how to hook-up the water and electricity and what we have to do for the waste system. This is not a pleasant subject to talk about but it is a necessary one. Being in an RV with three women there is a lot of washing and bathroom going. We try to use the camp’s facilities as much as possible because those little tanks underneath the RV do not hold a lot of water. You would be surprised at how quickly they fill up. We didn’t have to worry about that at Suwannee River State Park because they have a sewer hookup at each of the sites but when we got to Three Rivers State Park we learned that these little tanks have to be emptied at least every 3rd morning. Yes, the sinks and shower goes into one tank called “gray water” tank and the toilet waste goes into its own. And when the gray water tank gets full it has a tendency to back-up into the shower stall. When that happened on the family trip we assumed that my granddaughter had let something slip into the drain and clogged it up. But after bailing out the water we couldn’t find anything. When we left that park we emptied the tanks and the small amount of water was gone. So we forgot about it until Three Rivers.

On our third morning at this park youngest my daughter, who is traveling with us, insisted that she take a shower in the RV. She has something against taking showers in the public comfort station. However, just before she was finished the shower had standing water in it. I told her she had to bail it out and see if she could find anything in the little trap. Nothing was there and the next morning there was water again in the shower. So, we unhooked everything and drove a little ways down to the Dump Station. Now here is the lesson ladies. I was not paying attention to the slides down below that hold the water in the tanks. Apparently one of them had been left opened and when I went to turn the release valve before hooking up the sewer hose a flood of nastiness came rushing at me and filled the little bucket I had placed under there. I held my cool and quickly put the large knob back onto the pipe before the whole thing ended up in my lap. It took us about an hour to clean everything up, empty out both tanks and sanitize the area, the bucket and finally me. We have an older RV and it looks pretty good on the inside, well taken care of, and we have had to use our entire maintenance budget to get the motor checked and serviced but we were told everything functioned on the RV as it should and we didn’t have anything to worry about. I evened asked the mechanic at Camping World in Ocala (where we bought the RV) and in St. Augustine (where we had the complete service done) if we should replace anything else. But we were assured that everything should hold together for our long journey. (Yea, right!)

There are other things we could tell you that happened and all the things we had to replace or fix just to get on the road but they were all mechanical and had to do with the engine. And how we had to use the Emergency Roadside Service 1 hour after finally getting out of the Camping World Ocala parking lot but we won’t. What we want you to come away with in this article is that before you go to empty out your gray and black water tanks:

1. Put on some heavy-duty disposable gloves;
2. Wear something that can be washed easily and you don’t mind getting dirty;
3. Put a bucket underneath the waste pipes;
4. Put the smaller hooded looking part of your sewer hose into the dump station hole; (there may be some rocks around this area they are used to lay against the dump station lid to help keep your hose in place)
5. MAKE SURE BOTH RELEASE VALVES ARE STILL IN THE CLOSED POSITION:
6. Slowly turn the smaller valve (usually a smaller knob on the main outlet pipe; (If nothing comes out or only a little bit comes out you should be good to take off the bigger knob)
7. Attach your sewer hose to the large pipe securely; (Make sure it is locked on and tighten any rings that have the word tighten on them)
8. Pull down the BLACK WATER release valve first:
9. When it stops flowing lift up your sewer hose to push down any remaining waste into the dump station hole:
10. Close the Black Water Release Valve and then pull down the Gray Water Release Valve:
11. When that water stops flowing lift up the hose again to get the excess down into the hole;
12. Unhook the sewer hose from the pipe under the RV and recapped the pipe while holding up the hose;
13. Spray water down the hose (We sprayed it with a bleach solution and rinse well;
14. Take out the end of the hose in the dump station hole and spray with water;
15. DO NOT TAKE YOUR SEWER HOSE APART (another lesson learned) just push the hose (like an accordion) back together, place it in a large black garbage bag and put it back into your storage area.
16. Hose down the dump station area and your are ready to get cleaned up yourself.

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