RV 101

by Rachel Gertz

Day 17 (gonna start addressing this as I am developing date amnesia)

So we made it to Vancouver. Vancouver Washington. About 7 miles from Portland. It seemed like a great place to refuel. Walter doesn’t need it, but we sure do. After three days of boondocking (see sitting in an empty parking lot and relying on battery power and a generator to keep you warm, clean, and out of the dark), we stink. Combine that with the cotton mouth from a head cold and our greasy hair, and we looked like the People of Walmart. In fact, Trav, in all his mustached glory, is planning on marketing his brand of body butter. It’s called Boondock Butter. I won’t buy it.

I feel it is time to provide a little RV 101 for you rubes. Because after two weeks, we know everything there is to know about RVing (hah!). Once we got our slider out (see moving panel that expands to allow for yoga), we had to empty Walter’s bowels. Now, even I had a little trouble with this whole grey and black water thing. For those not well-versed in the nomenclature of the RV, your grey water is everything that goes down your sink and shower; so bits of phlegm, soap, toothpaste, lettuce, straight and curly hairs, spit, grease, macaroni, mustard, toenail clippings etc. This, by law, can be dumped anywhere down the gutters of public streets. Hello, cousin Eddy! We haven’t embraced the public dump yet. Partly because we just haven’t had the chance to, and partly because I feel guilty even throwing old yogurt in the garbage (and certainly not out on the road in front of my neighbor). I don’t know if we will, but if we do, we’ll film it for you.

Then there’s the black water. You CANNOT dump this in the street. Or at least you shouldn’t if you have any shred of a soul. The rule is: always dump your black water first, then your grey water. The reason is simple. Black water is everything that goes down your toilet. You want to flush the reasonably tolerable grey water afterward so it rinses out the pipes, so to speak. Otherwise —well, that darn tube is gonna wake you up in the middle of the night emanating a perfume you just can’t duplicate. Every time we dump it or check our levels inside (we have sensors, thank goodness), I can’t help but sing, “Oh black water, keep on rollin’…Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me.” Hah, I know it’ll be stuck in your head now.

Next, the boring parts: plug in the electric and screw on the water hose. Then throw a little orange bag of chemicals down the toilet so it can break down all the lovely brown presents you will drop below. Gather everything that has been stowed away for the duration of your highway trip and put it all back on the counters. It only took two four liter jugs of water plummeting off the counter after a right turn & spreading torrents of water up and down our carpet to learn THAT lesson. ALWAYS open cupboards/doors slowly as items may have shifted during flight. We nearly had a full cheese whiz jar casualty because of that. And then crack open a cold one, or a luke warm one because your fridge only has room for two beers.

Full hook ups tonight. Yesssss! Walmart or Kmart tomorrow. Or there’s this lovely little RV park in North East Portland where your neighbors sell meth and prostitute themselves at all hours of the night (we did research on the interwebs). Our options are limitless.


Travis NOT peeing.

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