July 29, 2017

We’ve taken our motorhome out 4 times!  Test runs are complete.

Our first trip was a very short one, just a half an hour down the road.  It was a nice park and early enough in the year that the park was less than half full.  What we wanted to do was get some practice in setting things up, see how they work.  We wanted to find out what it was like to sleep in the rv.

Max found his spot right away.  On the passenger side corner of the dash!  Like a beacon, he stayed there for the drive to the park.  Maggie did her thing, which was to hang on for dear life to me and shiver till she was almost out of her skin, poor thing.

Larry was awesome, it took a bit to set up, get all the hoses and electricity hooked up and a bit more to get the rv levelled and the slide moved out, but he did it!

Setting out the black water hose was a bit daunting.  25feet of “I don’t know”.  When reading about the principle of it,  it seems easy but you just don’t know till you try.  So with some apprehension he took the hose out and set it in the sewer pipe.  The book says to hold the nozzle down so it doesn’t slip out of the pipe.  So you’re faced with the question whether you should put something on top of it to hold it down.  I was able to jam  it in and it stayed (fingers crossed).

Step two of the simple instructions says to pull the black handle and open the black water valve.  You should wear gloves because again, until you experience it you just don’t know.

So it would seem we were all set for our stay.  Two nights!

Max and Maggie thought it was great fun going for dozens of little walks and being one with nature.  We cooked the usual, hot dogs.  We had bacon and eggs for breakfast and frozen pizzas for supper.  We were able to set up our tv and watch movies that evening.  The only negative really was that the park’s WIFI was not working.

Then it was time to leave, after a pretty positive experience and we had to disconnect and pull in the levellers.  And of course it was time to bring in the “BLACK WATER HOSE”!  Larry was nervous to say the least because of course now, there was potential for a biological disaster!

That being said “gloves are not an option”!  It’s supposed to be as easy as pulling two handles, one black water and the other the grey water.  You pull the black water handle and let it do it’s business by draining the black water out of the unit, down the hose and into the hole!  Praying that the hose stays in the hole.  Once the black water has emptied, you close the valve and open the grey water.  The grey water runs down the hose, into the hole, thus cleaning out the hose.  Sounds simple – right?  But you have to wrap your head around it all.

All this was completed with the exception of one thing, the hose was 25 feet long and I was 8 feet from the hole.  Needless to say when I pulled the black handle, the 25 foot hose filled up, and expanded and wormed out everywhere!  All this time with me watching the hole to see that the pipe didn’t come out.  The scariest thing ever!  No one wants to be that guy, that guy with sh–t on his face, but I was successful!

Eureka – trip was a success.

On with trip number two.  This was to Moose Jaw to do some visiting and the plan was to stay at the Walmart overnight.  We’d heard that travellers do this and we wanted some first hand experience as this is going to be something we do a lot on our long eastern trip.

We headed out on a very nice Sunday morning and it was promising to be a very warm day.  By the time we stopped for lunch it was very warm indeed and before we started off again, we decided to use our bathroom.  Oops no flushing!  So we did what you do at home when you can’t flush, you pour a pail of water down the toilet.

We were off again.  it was really hot in the rv by then and we decided to turn the air conditioning on – no air conditioning!  It was blowing hot air!  Max was still on the dash doing his beacon thing and panting like crazy.  I got him off so at least the sun wasn’t baring down on him.

We made it to Moose Jaw but I was melting.

We had a lovely visit but the wind started coming up and the sky was getting dark.  We decided not to stay and to head home.

The trip home was a little scary, Larry found it  hard to keep the rv on the road with the heavy wind and the rain was coming down in torrents.  People in their small normal vehicles seemed oblivious to the weather and passed us with ill regard to the storm.

We since found out that while on the road you cannot flush.  This is just the way it is.  Just be prepared with extra water.

The air conditioner though, was a little tougher problem to solve.  $2000 later and two weeks later, (because they could not get the part in Canada) we were set to get on the road again!

Our Third trip was to Big River.  This was a very nice park, it was in the middle of the week, after the July long weekend, but it was still pretty full.  Again, Max and Maggie loved nature and the weather was very nice.  Larry got us hooked up in record time.  He seemed to be getting the “knack”.

One of our purchases since the first park experience was a black hose slinky.  It’s an expanding saddle for the hose.  The hose sits in the slinky which is a support for the hose, used to direct the hose from the rv to the hole.  It also does not allow the hose to become wormy when you empty the black and grey water.  Yay!  Great invention!

We will have many experiences in different parks but in this particular park we realized that there were actually two campgrounds in Big River, one was by a lake and the other was not.  We happened to be at a site in the campground that was not.  Also a lot of park offices have amenities where you can purchase ice, chips and maybe even a hot dog.  However this one did not.  We found that when you are in a motorhome and you are all set up, unless you have these things to go to, like a lake or somewhere to walk to to get a ice cream cone or something, you must keep yourself busy at the campsite.

Perhaps this is why, at least in this park, where there were seasonal campers, we seemed to get to know our neighbors quite quickly.  We were only there for two nights, but already knew that one of our neighbors a short distance away had a 40 foot fifth wheel that they paid $70,000 for, they had a boat and that the man had been ill and they were close to retiring, but he was on medical leave but it he was finding it difficult getting his insurance company to pay.  We also found out that the campers next to us were in fact spread out to about 3 or 4 campsites so kids, uncles, aunts, grandparents were all there and moving back and fourth.  There was a couple on motorcycles from Alberta with a tent trailer and their daughter was living in Saskatoon and did we know that our water heater was making noise and keeping them up as well as making the birds flush!

Very interesting indeed.  By the time it was time for Larry to do the black hose thing, which he was still a little nervous about, there were two families camped out a few feet from the hoses having a visit and he envisioned emptying the black water and having it splash out and messing up their coffee click.

Another campground experience complete and although the horse flies were in abundance none of us got bit.

The following weekend we went to visit my sister Linda in Calgary.  She lives in a condo area with narrow streets so we couldn’t see ourselves parking anywhere close so we decided to stay in Balzac RV Campground.  The sites were much smaller and shall we say rustic, very few trees and we had a view of the highway.

The site of the continuous traffic is really quite soothing, kind of like watching fish in a tank!  This is another kind of rv park in that it is very transient.  Lots of coming and going.  People generally just stop for a night rest.  The Calgary Stampede was in town and for this reason it was probably fuller than normal.

We got all set up, but it was really hot.  Thank goodness we had the RV air conditioning.  This works aside from the air you have on when you’re travelling.  We have two air conditioners on the roof.  One above the bedroom and one above the living area.  We had been using the one above the living area but it didn’t seem to be working the way we thought it should.

Linda came over for supper the next day and brought some salads and a pie that she was very proud of.  It was a key lime pie which she had literally worked her fingers to the bone preparing!  She scraped her fingers squeezing limes!  Talk about making something from scratch.  When most people are more than happy throwing in a can of eagle brand milk, she had to make her own so that it was sugar free!

Larry sat outside in the heat of the day barbecuing hamburgers and luckily I could bribe him with a cold beer.  We had a good meal and then of course there was dessert!.  OMG  it tasted like something I should not be eating.  It was delicious and not made with any sugar!  it was truly a work of art!..

Max and Maggie enjoyed the company but it was all but too soon time for her to leave.  As we sat there trying to watch tv with the living area air conditioner on, we decided to try putting the one on over the bedroom.  We realized that the one over the bedroom forced air into the vents over the living area, but the one in the living area did not do the opposite!  So it became comfortable and the noise was so much better.

We were also wondering about our fridge and how it works.  How do we keep food over a long trip like the one we are taking soon?  We had an epiphany.  Out of the blue I remembered something my girlfriend said about using her fridge in their rv.  electricity during travel and propane at night!  As long as the Coach Power is on, the fridge will run on that while you are driving.  When you can’t use coach power, you use propane!  Another learning curve!

The four trips we’ve taken have taught us a lot.  We have a much better understanding of how things work.  When we look back at the idea that we were going to just start out in early spring, without all the things that have happened to us we laugh at ourselves.  We are thankful that we didn’t.  We look forward to what’s ahead with confidence.  Only time and our blogs will tell.

For Linda



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