Thursday, October 17, 2013

Roughing it, motorhome style

Hampton, Ga.--You've probably used the phrase "out in the boondocks." To RVers, the boondocks can be a very real thing.

We are in Hampton, Ga., camped out with thousands of other RVers at the Camping World/Good Sam National Rally. (We went to the same rally last year, but it was put on in Daytona Beach, Fla.) Because we are lifetime Good Sam members and because we must have purchased a requisite dollar amount from Camping World, our camping and attendance at this show is free. (All we had to pay was for two nights early-bird camping, for $35.)

We are boondocking--that is, dry camping.

We've done this before, usually for only one night staying at a Walmart or rest stop, while enroute to a destination. We tried boondocking for a longer period of time when we went to Quartzite, Az., two years ago. We lasted, I think, three or four days.

Dry camping is just that: no hookups for water, electricity, or sewer. Everything is self-contained. It is roughing it, albeit with all the comforts of home (hot water, toilet, television, computer, gas stove, etc.). Those comforts come with a cost, however. The cost is the use of coveted resources of water, electricity, and waste-water tank capacity.

Our solar panels have been a big help. (You remember those solar panels...the ones Jim was installing when we fell off the roof and broke eight ribs, his clavicle, scapula, left hand, and left foot?) The solar panels help keep our house batteries charged, so we can use electricity. However, the more you use, the more you drain the batteries. If the sun isn't shining (or we need more power), we have to run the generator. That burns fuel, of course, but it gives us electricity to do anything we want, just as if we were plugged into a receptacle.

The generator is another issue. Because of the close proximity of the parked RVs, we are required to put an extension on the generator exhaust pipe, to pull the carbon monoxide fumes away from the RVs. Ever resourceful, Jim did not want to pay $150 for a kit that was comprised of a bent pipe, a couple of clamps, and some PVC. So he's making his own extension kit for a fraction of the cost. He'll have it done later this afternoon. However, because we aren't "legal" we've limited using our generator, out of consideration of others around us.

Water is another issue. So far, so good. To conserve water, we take "Navy" showers: wet down, lather up, rinse off. We use disposable plates as much as possible. We try not to run water except when absolutely necessary.

What happens if our grey and black water tanks fill up or we run out of water? Not to fear; the Rally has provided a "honey" wagon (which pumps sewage) and a water truck. All for a fee, of course. So far, however, we are doing well. We'll see if we can last the week.

Until next time,

Your Reluctant RoVer,


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