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Alice

First trip is just over a week away!

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Boy are we ready to get the trailer and GO! We picked up our TT on July 27 and it's just been parked. frown.gif We can't even park it by our house thanks to the tiny, steep lot we've got, so it's in a storage place nearby.

Today I reserved a spot in a campground about an hour and a half from home. It's got great reviews and our spot has a big "yard" area around it so we're not going to be stuck up against another RV. There's a little fishing (catch and release) lake and some trails and a pool etc., but mostly, this is just us learning what we can. The only downside is there is no dump at our site, water/electric only, but that's okay because the RV Storage lot has one and we can dump when we get back. It's just a weekend...won't be like we'll fill her up.

So...any pointers for us rank amateurs? biggrin.gif  What do you consider "essential" for a little weekend jaunt?

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Dumping at the storage when you get home is good if you can do it first thing.  Then all the 'stuff' is agitated while you drive and you'll get a better dump.

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To avoid fillin up the black tank, use park's restrooms.  Use their showers to avoid going through all your water.  Take a hot dog stick for the cook-out, for the marshmallows, etc.  Sunscreen, whatever you are eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner x 2 days (depending on how long we plan on being gone), bottled drinking water, a deck of cards, some brewski/wine, some baggies/small shovel if taking a pet.  We always take 3 days clothes for one or 2 nights.  Depending on where and how far we are going, firewood for the nights campfire.  Some places won't let you bring your own, check first.  Couple folding chairs to sit in whilst fishing, don't forget the bait.

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5 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

Dumping at the storage when you get home is good if you can do it first thing.  Then all the 'stuff' is agitated while you drive and you'll get a better dump.

Just don't empty the tank.  Or if you do, first thing afterwards is to dump 5 gallon bucket of water down toilet and leave it in (unless winterizing).  Come to think of it, dump 5 gallons in before using it the first time.  Always dump the black tank first, then the gray water.  Idea is too use the gray water to clean/flush out your stinky slinky before disconnecting for storage.  Otherwise, you might develop a raunchy smell in storage.

IMHO

Another thought.  When my wife does the dishes, she uses a pan about the same size of the kitchen sink.  We dump that in the toilet alot.  The soap helps keep the black tank cleaner, ie no build-ups.

Edited by NDBirdman

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Thanks NDBirdman, I thought of those suggestions after I posted.  

OP:  Since you'll have water at the campsite, run the faucets and press the pedal on the toilet to fill the tanks before you make that drive home.  Then you can safely empty the black tank.  Don't try emptying it if you only have a little liquid in it.  That's how 'things' build up.

We also used the dishwater method.

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My mother always told new campers in Colorado to bring a winter coat and a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. You'll want that coat in the Arizona desert, too; temps drop quickly once the sun goes down.

Linda

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1 hour ago, NDBirdman said:

To avoid fillin up the black tank, use park's restrooms.  Use their showers to avoid going through all your water.  Take a hot dog stick for the cook-out, for the marshmallows, etc.  Sunscreen, whatever you are eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner x 2 days (depending on how long we plan on being gone), bottled drinking water, a deck of cards, some brewski/wine, some baggies/small shovel if taking a pet.  We always take 3 days clothes for one or 2 nights.  Depending on where and how far we are going, firewood for the nights campfire.  Some places won't let you bring your own, check first.  Couple folding chairs to sit in whilst fishing, don't forget the bait. 

We're quite a way from the park's restrooms, so at least part of the time we'll use ours.  That's the point of having one!  No firewood - BIG no-no in these parts - there's been some bad bugs.  Hubby with nix the hot dogs - I'm thinking steaks. :)  Our RV dealer gave us a bottle of wine, so we'll definitely be using that. :D 

37 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

Thanks NDBirdman, I thought of those suggestions after I posted.  

OP:  Since you'll have water at the campsite, run the faucets and press the pedal on the toilet to fill the tanks before you make that drive home.  Then you can safely empty the black tank.  Don't try emptying it if you only have a little liquid in it.  That's how 'things' build up.

We also used the dishwater method.

We best put quite a few bowls down it.  I'm sure it's bone dry at the moment.  Dishwater is a solid idea.  I'll have to remember a pan.

25 minutes ago, sandsys said:

My mother always told new campers in Colorado to bring a winter coat and a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. You'll want that coat in the Arizona desert, too; temps drop quickly once the sun goes down.

Linda

We're in Missouri.  I guarantee, we don't need jackets.  I'm excited about the air conditioning! ;)

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Whenever you have a site with a dump do not leave the dump valves open. Keep them closed until you need to dump. I put 1/2c Dawn Blue into each tank. I don't bother with the gray too much after that. You can buy giant Dawn Blue and Sams and Costco.

Each of you take a little notebook(and pen) to write down things you forgot. Start making checklists and hang them up, use them!!!!

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31 minutes ago, SWharton said:

Whenever you have a site with a dump do not leave the dump valves open. Keep them closed until you need to dump. I put 1/2c Dawn Blue into each tank. I don't bother with the gray too much after that. You can buy giant Dawn Blue and Sams and Costco.

Each of you take a little notebook(and pen) to write down things you forgot. Start making checklists and hang them up, use them!!!!

Good ideas!  I had forgot, I read somewhere, probably here, use the blue dawn.  We use it to wash our dishes then dump it down the toilet so the water/dawn does double duty.  Definitely do not leave the black tank valve open, you *want* the waste to build up some.  This is to prevent the solids from building up right under the porcelain bowl.  I've read that once it builds up and gets real hard, it's almost impossible to get out.  That comes from no water in there to float the solids.  Or so I've heard.  For a couple day outing, we also don't leave the gray water open either but keep it to flush out the hoses. After flushing the toilet each time, we put a couple cups or so of water in the bowl to keep the rubber seal wet. 

 

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For your steaks, cooking inside or out?  We always carry an old coleman propane 2-burner for outside cookin.  We also carry a small bag of charcoal for the places that provide outside grills.  For those old/dirty grills, we picked up a couple grill mats.  They go right on top those grills, the meat cooks just like it's on the grill.  The mats clean right up after cooling them, right in the pan of dawn.  🙂   Keep them clean and you can use them for years!  Or you can carry a small, portable charcoal grill.  We find this way, especially if the AC is running, keeps the temps down a little in the camper.  We rarely cook more than breakfast inside and sometimes, that is also outside on the grill.  We also have a 110 volt electric/magnetic heat plates (?) that we use outside.  IMHO, all food taste better if fixed/cooked outside.

A good outside/sportsman knife.  I also carry a hatchet, it has come in handy more times than I expected.  A hammer, electric drill and bit set, standard and Philips screwdrivers, adjustable pliers, adjustable wrench,  4-2x4s cut 12" long and 4-1X4X12s pieces of wood for leveling, 12" long 2X10 boards for under each jack (to prevent jacks sinking into the ground) (I would suggest treated wood, it will last longer).  If you don't have bubble levels already stuck to the outside of the RV for level, a 12" torpedo level to lay on the camper floor next to the entryway door to check level (you can get pretty close with a can of soda from the you-tube video I once saw).  A 4X6 outdoors carpet for in-front of the entryway (WallyWorld sells them inexpensively).  Several cans of deep-woods off (or your favorite brands).

Maybe not your first trip, but eventually you will want:

A circuit tester to check pole voltage (I really would suggest getting this before your first time connecting and using every time), an inline tester/surge protector, a multi-meter (if you know how to use one).  We picked up/carry a dog-bone to drop a 50 electric connection to 30 amp (our RV is older and 30 amp), a 15 amp plug adapter, an extra 25 foot 30 amp extension cable.  We have 2 10 foot slinkys, one as a spare, 2-25ft potable water hoses.  A cheap water hose pressure reducer (50psi) to protect your RV water lines, a camco blue water filter to filter all water before it enters your RV.  I also use an inline sediment filter.  A spray bottle of very light bleach water to spray the water faucet before connecting hose to it.

Oh, don't forget the pillows.. LOL, we did our maiden voyage.

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2 hours ago, NDBirdman said:

This is to prevent the solids from building up right under the porcelain bowl.  I've read that once it builds up and gets real hard, it's almost impossible to get out. 

Based on a friend's experience it's actually easy to get the buildup out but it takes time. You fill the tank with water and let it set. The water level will go down as the mountain soaks it up. Keep adding water until the level stops going down then dump. You may have to repeat to get it all but there's no work involved other than adding water to the tank.

Linda

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Carry a few Command hooks you might want to add one here and there as you figure out how you live in the space.

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13 hours ago, SWharton said:

Each of you take a little notebook(and pen) to write down things you forgot. Start making checklists and hang them up, use them!!!!

This is a really good idea.  We usually keep notes on my phone.  Going to have to find a good "set-up/tear down" checklist.

11 hours ago, NDBirdman said:

For your steaks, cooking inside or out?  We always carry an old coleman propane 2-burner for outside cookin.  We also carry a small bag of charcoal for the places that provide outside grills

Our trailer came with an outside propane grill and table that hangs on the side.  Looks like the only piece of equipment the prior owner ever used besides the soap dish in the bathroom.  But it's been all cleaned up and tested...so I think we'll use that and not have to worry about the charcoal.  Our home grill is propane, so we're used to it.

11 hours ago, NDBirdman said:

A good outside/sportsman knife.  I also carry a hatchet, it has come in handy more times than I expected.  A hammer, electric drill and bit set, standard and Philips screwdrivers, adjustable pliers, adjustable wrench,  4-2x4s cut 12" long and 4-1X4X12s pieces of wood for leveling, 12" long 2X10 boards for under each jack (to prevent jacks sinking into the ground) (I would suggest treated wood, it will last longer).  If you don't have bubble levels already stuck to the outside of the RV for level, a 12" torpedo level to lay on the camper floor next to the entryway door to check level (you can get pretty close with a can of soda from the you-tube video I once saw).  A 4X6 outdoors carpet for in-front of the entryway (WallyWorld sells them inexpensively).  Several cans of deep-woods off (or your favorite brands).

We have most of that already, including a 9x12 rug we actually bought for the floor of our medieval wall tent.  Long story.  But now it can be used for it's intended purpose. :)  I have a small tool kit on the list already.  We have so many tools laying around, I'm sure we can find spares. LOL

11 hours ago, NDBirdman said:

A circuit tester to check pole voltage (I really would suggest getting this before your first time connecting and using every time), an inline tester/surge protector, a multi-meter (if you know how to use one).  We picked up/carry a dog-bone to drop a 50 electric connection to 30 amp (our RV is older and 30 amp), a 15 amp plug adapter, an extra 25 foot 30 amp extension cable.  We have 2 10 foot slinkys, one as a spare, 2-25ft potable water hoses.  A cheap water hose pressure reducer (50psi) to protect your RV water lines, a camco blue water filter to filter all water before it enters your RV.  I also use an inline sediment filter.  A spray bottle of very light bleach water to spray the water faucet before connecting hose to it

Nice List!  We have most of those, the dog-bone, 15 amp plug adapter, 25 foot extension, the slinky, the pressure reducer, water filter and there's also a filter in the RV.  I only have 1 water hose, but the camp host said that will be enough on this site.

We still need to get a regular hose for the black tank flush and I think we have a circuit tester, I'll have to ask the husband. 

 

With all the talk of blue dawn...is that in addition to the tank chemical for the black tank?  Or do you just do that instead?  I'm confused on that point.

 

Gosh you guys are handy!  I'm excited!  Time to shop!  :D 

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This trip, consider rain jackets or cheap ponchos if it stays rainy for a time.  A pop up awning is a nice to have, but the wind can come up when you aren't looking so never go away and leave it.  Same goes for the roll out type awning.

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27 minutes ago, Alice said:

With all the talk of blue dawn...is that in addition to the tank chemical for the black tank?  Or do you just do that instead?  I'm confused on that point.

We used the tank chems in the little pouches for a while but no longer use it.  There has been many a long discussion about using these and I think the consensus was, it's only good for the sellers pocket.  Natural bacteria in human feces will break down the solids I believe.

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3 minutes ago, Sculptor said:

 Same goes for the roll out type awning.

We found this out the hard way.  Left the awning out for the night.  Late night, a wind storm came out of no-where.  It whipped it around hard, made enough noise to bring everyone in camp out of bed.  We got lucky, ran outside and already had help at hand to get that thing rolled up.  We learned that night, DO NOT leave awnings out!  We got very lucky it did no damage but another minute or so..... it was wicked!!

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If there's one thing my husband is adamant about it's that the awning comes in at night or if we're not there using it.  After all, what purpose is there to leaving it out when it takes minutes to run in?  That's one I'm not worried about.  He won't let that happen.

That and locks.  We're ordering combination locks for the storage doors.  Working for Dept. of Corrections for 27 years has made him super security minded.  He's been known to lock the car and take the keys with me sitting in it! 

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19 minutes ago, Alice said:

 He's been known to lock the car and take the keys with me sitting in it! 

That's funny.  I do the same.... hehehehe

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With the weekend get away an often forgotten item is bed pillows. Buy what you like and keep them & some pillow cases in the RV.

     Spot

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Very happy for you! I hope you have only good impressions. What I would advise to take is definitely some kind of games: twister, checkers, cards. If only it were not boring

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On 8/9/2019 at 10:09 AM, Alice said:

With all the talk of blue dawn...is that in addition to the tank chemical for the black tank?  Or do you just do that instead?  I'm confused on that point.

There are a lot of theories about what is best used in the waste tanks and most of them have at least a little bit of truth to them. With the black tank you should always start by adding enough water to cover the bottome of the tank before you start using it and you should always use toilet paper that is labeled as "septic safe." That paper will break down more easily than the fancy, perfumed stuff that also costs more. As to what should be added to the tank by way of chemicals, I have used many different brands and home brews but experience has taught me that the most important thing is to be benerous with the use of water in flushing as water is the universal solvent and the promoter of the natrual breakdown of human waste. The process is the same as happens in a septic system if there is time enough. Most modern chemicals today are also septic friendly and I don't recommend the use of any that isn't so labeled. Those additives speed up the early part of the septic process and help to liquify the solids you flush. When we were fulltime we eventually stopped adding anything to the black tank but water because we only dumpped 1 time per week with only the two of us and that does allow time of the nartural process to take place. If you use your black tank flush well each time that you dump that should be plenty, but if it makes you feel better to add something, that won't harm anything as long as you are generous with flush water each time you flush paper or solids.

On 8/9/2019 at 12:25 PM, Alice said:

If there's one thing my husband is adamant about it's that the awning comes in at night or if we're not there using it.  After all, what purpose is there to leaving it out when it takes minutes to run in?  That's one I'm not worried about.  He won't let that happen.

He is a very wise man, and especially so if do not have a power awning with a wind sensor & auto retract. Also if you have the awning out when it is raining, lower one end a foot or so below the other to cause it to drain off that end. If you do not do that the fabric will sag in the center and slowly collect water and if bad enough damage the rolltube. Even if it doesn't do that and have a manual awning, when you lower one end to put it up the 50 gallons or so of water that has collected will rush off of the now lower end soak the person lowering it. (Guess how I know that? 😨)

 

 

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You never know when a win gust will come up. We were in a campground and several people had awnings out. No storm, no winds. A gust came up and 3 people lost their awnings. All you can do is never leave the awning out if you are not home but even when you are home things happen.

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17 hours ago, Kirk W said:

There are a lot of theories about what is best used in the waste tanks and most of them have at least a little bit of truth to them. With the black tank you should always start by adding enough water to cover the bottome of the tank before you start using it and you should always use toilet paper that is labeled as "septic safe." That paper will break down more easily than the …..

 

Many of things you will learn the good old fashion way, experience.  I have never used regular "septic safe" toilet paper.  Heck, about 80% of toilet paper sold now claims to be septic tank safe.  Keep in mind that your RV does not have a residential septic tank, it has a simple black holding tank.  

We have always used Scott's RV paper.  It is reasonably priced at Walmart and works very well.  

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