Well, no one ever said there wouldn’t be problems…  Wait, that’s a double negative…  People told us there would be problems, and that it’s just a question of when.  So, we might as well have them now before we even get on the road, right?  And actually, our adventure with “problems” began as soon as we got off the lot with our trailer: the trailer break wasn’t hooked up properly.  In fact, it wasn’t hooked up at all.  It was a bunch of wires hanging down under the dash connected to nothing.  And we decided to check that all as soon as we pulled out from camping world, of course!  But that ended up being a relatively quick fix, and camping world was gracious about letting us return 10 minutes later for a little more work on Beulah before we took her home.  Oops.

But let’s talk about the water tank, shall we?  There are three holding tanks on the trailer: the fresh water tank, the gray water tank, and the black water tank.  The black tank collects sewage, the gray tank collects water from the sinks, and the fresh water tank holds all the water you will need for drinking, sinks, toilet… the whole water supply basically.  When your camp site has a city water hookup, you can actually bypass the water tank and get your water right from the “tap” of your campsite hookup.  But when there is no water hookup (which is common) you rely on the water your have already loaded into your tank.

And as a new-owner measure, we wanted to sanitize the freshwater tank.  Understandably.  Who knows what’s gone on in there?… And sanitizing is a pretty straightforward process.  You add some chlorinated water to the tank, fill it completely, run a bit through the faucets to spread the chlorine, let it sit over night, dump it completely, fill and dump the water tank again to flush out remaining chlorine, and then fill it for use!  Right?….

We brought the camper to the house for the first fill.  Uncertain of how long it would take and wanting to let it sit overnight before our campsite reservation, we warned our neighbors of the behemoth in the cul de sac and ran the hose!  Filling the tank took about 35 minutes (it is 70 gallons after all), and of course we didn’t get started until it was almost sundown and about 45 degrees.  First lesson maybe is that everything takes longer than you think it will 🙂  Along those lines, busy workdays and parenting duties got in the way of our dump plans the following day, so Dave slept at the campsite sans (drinkable) water for a night.

On Wednesday we dumped the water tank successfully (and again, slowly) at the campsite duping station.  Eli and I played in the park while Dave filled the tank again for a flush.  As we returned to the dump station, I noticed water dripping – no, more like pouring – out of the bottom of the trailer from just about every direction.  I commented to Dave, “I hope that’s on purpose.”  To which Dave humorously replied, “Not exactly.”  Something was definitely wrong, but what? And with the water tank enclosed behind a screwed in covering, we were left peeking at a mysterious problem: where is the leak? and why did it happen?

Best case scenario: the connection between the tank and the drain busted and needs a new connecting piece.  Worst case scenario (as far as we can imagine): a crack in the tank that means we need a new really huge and expensive water tank that will take weeks to get.  Either way, we were still planning on taking our trip to Illinois Beach State Park for the holiday weekend.  We didn’t “need” running water as long as we had freshwater in the camper to drink and run down the drains as needed.  Let’s face it, Dave and I rarely shower anyways…

The immediate good news was that the water tank drained very quickly!  Our flush to clean the tank emptied like a dreamy waterfall all over the parking lot.  The other ongoing good news: Dave is amazingly handy!  He already understands how most things work, educates himself about things he doesn’t know, and then tackles them (and fixes them) with confidence.  He figured out pretty quickly that – GOOD NEWS! – it’s the best case scenario: a busted connection.  A few trips to Ace Hardware, and Dave effectively poking around under the camper in ways I don’t understand, and voila!!!  A working freshwater tank!!!

We have running faucets, a flushing toilet, and a usable shower – if we are feeling inspired.  I doubt we will.  🙂  We are still not confident to “drink” the “clean” water yet.  We still want to run some more water through the tank and pipes and get a better water filter.  Snobbery or smarties?  Meh, it’s what we’re doing.

Alas, the fill, dump, fill, break, dump, fix, fill story comes to another beginning…. our first camping trip!