We’ve spent the last seven weeks living in our RV, adjusting to our new life in Arkansas. Seven weeks. It has flown by so quickly that it is hard to believe. Yet it feels like a lifetime ago that we pulled out of our driveway in our traveling caravan, saying goodbye to our sweet little farm life.
The first few weeks in the RV were a learning curve, just like the last time we did this. In some ways it has been worse this time because we do not have sewer hookups. It’s sort of unbelievable. We’ve stayed at five different campsites so far and NONE of them have had sewer.
We bought our trailer as newbies and bought one that is really just way too big. Hooking it up, dumping the tanks, and resetting camp is still a painful, hour long process. So initially, we thought we would just use the campground bathrooms to save ourselves some moving. Easy, right?
Oh. my. word.
It is one thing to make use of campground bathrooms on a weekend camping trip. But living like that? With two kids who have to go approximately 743 times a day, and of course never realize it until it is URGENT? When your trailer is parked HALF A MILE from the bathhouse?
We made it seven days before the boys had filled up the black tank.
Worse than that, we only made it three days before filling up the grey tank. Washing dishes is a serious issue when you can’t dump tanks! We bought paper plates and bowls and started eating an insane number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’m talking more PB&Js than I had eaten in my entire life. We found out two weeks later that the park actually allows us to hook up a water hose and drain our grey tank for just that reason. Oops.
Seven weeks in, we have given up on trying to use the campground bathrooms. We officially gave that up the day that I had to pack the boys up in the car and drive them to a library ten miles away to use the bathroom. That morning, the men’s bathhouse had feces smeared all over the toilet and the lady’s bathhouse had a lake of urine and menstrual blood surrounding the toilet so that you couldn’t even get to it. We decided the headache and frustration of dumping tanks is worth both our sanity and sanitation!
Our other big learning curve involved our propane/CO2 alarm. The propane alarm kept going off multiple times per day. I turned off all the propane tanks and limited my cooking to our Insta-Pot, but it kept happening.
The alarm is brutally loud. Every time it went off, our German Shepherd would have a panic attack. Try to imagine being crammed into a tiny little space with a 120 pound dog having a panic attack. Let me tell you, it is not fun! Every time the alarm went off, I had to quickly silence it. That would give me approximately two minutes before it went off again. During that two minutes, I had to evacuate three dogs and two kids from the trailer (remember that the GSD would be having a panic attack and be completely uncooperative during all of this!), open all the trailer windows, and sit outside with everyone until the trailer aired out enough for the alarm to stop sounding. Depending on how early it started, I may or may not have actually been fully dressed during these evacuations. Which probably would not have been noticed by other RVers, except that my 120 pound dog was having a loud, crazy panic attack, drawing all eyes toward us!
Fun times, y’all.
Anyway, we would wait outside until the alarm gave us a the green light. Then we would load back into the trailer until the next time it happened (sometimes just 10 or 15 minutes later).
And because this kept happening, I couldn’t leave the dogs alone in the RV at all. So for the first two weeks of RV living, this was my life. Rinse and repeat.
After reading through internet forums searching for answers, I finally found it.
As it turns out, our particular propane alarm is so ridiculously sensitive that it alerts for other things as well.
Dry shampoo (check)
Bleach wipes (check)
and. . .
Y’all, I am living in an RV with three dogs. THREE. DOGS.
I read about one woman whose dog apparently kept setting hers off at night, so she built a removable chimney to place beside her dog’s butt at night to vent his gas out the ceiling.
I am not kidding.
I decided multiple chimneys was not an option, so we ripped the whole alarm out and bought a cheap CO2 alarm from the supermarket. Problem solved. 😉
Seven weeks later, we have hit our groove. We’re getting better at moving this thing. We can leave the dogs now and enjoy some time out of the RV. We’ve gotten really good at reserving premium spots with big yards and lots of shade. I’ve finally mastered the whole one-pot RV cooking thing and we are eating delicious meals again (I’ll be happy going the next seven years without another PB&J!).
Even so, we are incredibly excited to be past the halfway mark of our full time RV living. In just a few more weeks we will be moving into our new little farmhouse, just in time for the holidays! I can’t wait!