The RV Life – First Days – Part One

I have no idea how this thing (my Freelander) works, and I know I have to become intimately familiar with every detail of its operation.  It’s quite a daunting task, especially since I am not the least bit mechanically inclined, and I am so grateful that Eric is here with me to help me learn.

The first few nights in the RV were kind of a blur.  We were still cleaning out the house so got to the campsite late each night and just crashed.  I used the campground bath house because I didn’t know how anything worked, plus something was wrong with the water (see below).  On the day of closing, which was a Friday, I worked all day, then Eric and I consumed an outstanding bottle of champagne (thanks to Val and Ernie!), and we both went to sleep early.  So we hadn’t had a chance to focus or even notice much about any issues with the RV.

At one point during those first few days we realized that the water in my rig smelled bad.  We had the “city water” hooked up, which is a hose to the rig from the outside faucet provided by the campground, so the water wasn’t coming from my water tank – that was empty.  We initially thought the smell was just the hot water, and that if we ran the water for a while, the smell would go away.  But it didn’t, and we could smell it coming out of both the hot and cold water faucets.  (Not that the water coming out of the hot side of the faucet was actually hot in temperature – we hadn’t yet gotten to learning how to turn on the hot water heater).  The smell was repulsive – like rotten eggs, but really strong, and it only got stronger the longer we ran the water, and filled the RV with the horrible smell.

SO, my first task on Saturday, the day after closing and the first day I had a chance to breathe, was to figure out what was wrong with the water.  Eric was not there, so I was on my own with this.  First, I read the RV manual.  It said nothing about what to do when there’s a bad smell.  The only troubleshooting it addressed was how to sanitize the water system, which it said should be done if the rig had not been used for a while.  And mine hadn’t been used for almost a year, so this was certainly a possible solution.

After reading the manual, I wanted to google the problem with the smell, but the campground wifi was useless (see separate post called “Connectivity”).  So, I had to go the local Minit Stop, and within seconds, I found that the bad smell was definitely because the water system was contaminated (ewww – gross!!) and needed to be flushed with a bleach solution.  I knew that the manual had described how to do this, so problem solved – I just needed to follow the steps.  I was headed out for an overnight visit with a friend in Washington Crossing, so I planned to complete the sanitization process the next day (Sunday).

On Sunday, I began following the steps in the manual.  The first step was to empty the water tank.  My inside monitors indicated that the tank was already empty, so I wasn’t worried about this. The next step was to prepare ten gallons of a bleach and water solution.  I had bleach and a five gallon bucket, so I went with that to start.  Next, I turned the knobs on the water tank control panel (on the exterior of the rig) to the “tank fill” position.  The next step, according to the manual, was to take the “short hose”, put one end in the Winterization outlet, and the other end in the bleach solution.  Then, by turning on the water pump, the bleach solution would go into the tank.

I found a short hose which came with the rig, and took the cap off of the Winterization outlet.  Water poured out of it.  I hoped that it wouldn’t be much as I was afraid of flooding the campsite.  After perhaps 15 minutes of draining, it finally stopped.  I learned that the monitor which said the water tank was empty, was not completely accurate.  Next, I tried to put the short hose into the Winterization outlet, but it clearly wasn’t the correct hose.  There was no other short hose to be found – so I was stuck.  I had to wait for Eric.

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