|Water, solid and otherwise
||[Dec. 12th, 2013|10:09 am]
You never think about water, nor ice, all that much in a regular house. RV’s are a little different…
We dodged having to drive in the ice storm well enough, getting into Pecos, TX on a clear dry day. We’d called the campground (an Escapees RV park) on the drive down and made our reservation. That call turned out to be a very good thing; when we walked into the office they were just turning someone away, as we’d taken the last available site.
The next day brought freezing rain, and we disconnected the water hoses and settled in to wait it out. I thought the water level would be fine since we had a third of a tank of fresh water, but the last load of dishes on Friday ran the tank dry. That’s one thing I definitely want improved when we get a new rig; the basic tank gauges show E, 1/3, 2/3, F. They’re inexact at best and easy to foul. I don’t know anyone who can keep that type of gauge (which relies on conductive screws run through the tank walls) working right on the waste tanks. There are better gauge systems which measure the tank levels via strips attached to the outside of the tank; those can read in percentages and are unlikely to fail. Unfortunately they’re expensive to retrofit, and we only very rarely need the increased precision. Next rig, though, for sure.
Anyway, we resorted to paper plates for dinner and a jug of water drawn from the bathhouse sinks to flush the toilet and wash our hands, and showers in the bathhouse, which was actually very nice. Good thing we got our showers early on Saturday, because later that day they shut off the water to the whole town due to the cold. You don’t realize how casually and constantly you use water until you have to pour it from a jug every time!
There was way more ice than we expected, that far south. It was so cold we couldn’t start the truck at all on Saturday. With the help of our neighbor (who was sure we had one) we found the plug to the Ford’s block heater and plugged it in. Mirabile dictu it worked! After about 2 hours the truck turned over with no trouble at all.
Sunday morning was supposed to be our drive day. We plugged the truck in again first thing in the morning, and after a few hours ran out to the Flying J to get breakfast and fuel; that took a while and we were a little worried about getting into the next campground before dark. I was packing up inside while J took care of the outside, including checking the slides for ice. There was much crashing and bashing and then he came in holding a chunk of ice about a half-inch thick.
“We’re not moving today,” he said. Well, that cleared up the concern about arriving after dark. The ice on the shaded side of the rig was three-fourths of an inch thick in places. J had broken away as much as he could without damaging the top of the slide, but moving the slides with that much ice on them would surely do a number on the seals, if not damage the rig itself. I stopped packing and got another jug of water ready to go.
Later that afternoon, J was able to break up the thawing ice on the slides and I found a thawed water spigot two sites down in the sun (ours, still shaded, was still frozen.) We carry extra water hoses for just such situations; several hoses strung together bridged the distance and I was able to refill the fresh water tank for Sunday night.
Monday the sun was shining and the ice was gone, and we made a fairly easy drive to Las Cruces, NM. We’re settled in at Hacienda RV, close to old town Mesilla. The RV park is lovely, landscaped with pines and desert plants, and the gravel sites are each bordered with privacy fences. We’re still relying on the fresh water tank at night but it’s warm enough during the day to get more water as needed.