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Friday, May 31, 2013

First Trailer Trip Wrap Up

From last week... I forgot to publish it!

Wait, I'm sure you're wondering--- weren't you supposed to be home tomorrow?  Because I know you all keep my social calendar at the top of your mind...

Yes, yes we were.  We almost came back yesterday.

Everything was going so well.  I wrote my heartfelt blog.  We left exactly on time.  We got a perfect spot.  We got a perfect spot next to a very lovely family whose sister I happened to know. Right on the reservoir.  We got set up in less than an hour.

The only downside, our extra water- to wash hands, dishes (we were trying to minimize using the trailer water), had spilled.  Other than that, no biggie.


We had hot dogs.  Sat by the fire.


Well, there weren't any fish....  but there were crawdads, so my son became obsessed with catching them.

Then at 3 am, an alarm went off. 

Normal people probably would have read the manual.  Since we bought our trailer used, it didn't have one.  I also turn over all responsibility to my husband in the area of all things trailer related.

After a good 5 minutes which felt like 30  he figured out what it was.  It was the propane warning alarm.  Not that we had a propane leak, but that the battery was dying so the propane warning system wouldn't work.

My husband started his truck to charge the battery.

Which of course, made the alarm go off as soon as he stopped the truck.

It wasn't terribly loud, but it was loud to us.

So my husband did the most reasonable thing-- he pulled the breaker for the alarm.  Because when you can't take out the batteries, let's face it, at 3 am, that's what you do.  Or bludgeon it with a hammer, which we thankfully did not bring.

So now we had no power.

And we did not bring much ice.  Because we had a trailer.  With a refrigerator.  We didn't need it. We also couldn't use the trailer water because we couldn't use the pump.  Our other water had spilled, remember... so no washing hands, dishes, faces-- no brushing teeth.  Yuck.  It is why I insist when we tent camp that we are near a bathroom and running water-- even a port-a-potty is okay-- but I insist on water.  I'll walk to it, pump it, carry it in a bucket, but it must be there.  It was not here because we did not think we would need it.

My husband who is usually good in these situations was not doing well.  He was very stressed.

He was not stressed about us camping.  We usually tent camp.  This was not a big deal.  He was stressed that we just spent a bucket of money on a piece of crap. The downside of buying something used-- no warranty.  He, of course, did not express this verbally.  He expressed it in that non-verbal marital communication-- the one where you stare off into space and notice how loudly everyone is breathing and could they please stop?!?!?

I, however, was a little worried (aloud) because without a refrigerator, our food would spoil.  Without water, we would be vile.  We were about an hour from ice & water, too.  (This is also the part in the story where I would like to add that I said "It has to be the refrigerator because it's the only thing that was running" and was totally shushed because a refrigerator runs off the propane, not the battery... silly girl... put this in the back of your head for now... it's important later.)

So as my husband was doing his best Archie Bunker I not so politely said:

"HEY!  We have 2 options:  Go home or go get ice and water.  PICK ONE.  I am not staying here with spoiled food and no water."  I was not going to do dishes with bottled water that we brought to drink.  And quite honestly, the kids get a little rank without a quick wipe.  It's impolite to grimace when your children hug you.

He was upset that we would have to drive an hour to get ice. An hour.  An hour to find a resolution.  I, of course, knew this was the best option and said "We could get lunch and get all those little things we forgot-- no biggie.  We'll be back my lunch."

And because I am a skilled peacemaker that is what we did. 

And here is where it gets good-- my brother-in-law had left a voicemail. He thought we were leaving Saturday and he offered us his generator.  My husband called him and said we were already there, it would have come in handy.  He hangs up and said "They are going to St. George today."

I say "Pick up the phone and ask if we can meet him there and get the generator."  We were 20 miles from St. George.

And amazingly, that is what we did.  So with ice, a generator and a battery tester we happily stayed another night.

Now the next part is a little boring.. the generator did not charge the batteries fully.  At this point we were convinced it was either a wiring issue (which I argued it couldn't have been because everything worked, then it didn't-- nothing "blew") or a battery issue (which I have to say, I was leaning towards).

We easily could stay the extra night-- we had a campfire, ate s'mores.  I even let the kids have an extra one since we were leaving.  My husband warned me.  "They'll be fine," I said.  Keep that in mind for later.

After we decided we were going to leave a day early so we could figure out what happened (even though we were fine with the ice-- my husband was no longer in his happy place.  I think I had talked him off the cliff and made him realize that everything else worked and if the worst case was that we got new batteries, well then, we still saved $10,000 by buying used), my daughter announced that she had puked last night.  In her bunk.

The extra s'more was not a good decision.

It was the icing on the cake.  A stinky icing.  We did not have extra bedding (note for next trip!).

So we headed back to town-- a little more happily because we had survived, now only slightly concerned that we bought a lemon, convinced it must simply be the batteries. 

We cleaned the "dump"-- aka the crapper out-- with minimally issues-- I did not realize the hose was quite so strong, so another learning for me. The hose is very powerful and sprays with a lot of force. 

We got home to learn our poor dog, the goofy young one, crapped all over.  Our poor dog sitter got the worst of it.  We just had to clean up a few stains.  I got the pukey sheets all cleaned up in our new washer.

Nothing unusual, to be honest.  Just a typical mom day- puke and poo.

But then the best part-- my husband went online and figured out what the issue was and why our battery drained so quickly.

You guessed it-- the refrigerator.

There is some autodefrost feature that you can't turn off.  You can, however, clip a wire to turn it off.  It invalidates the warranty which we don't have, since it's used.

My husband was able to clip the wire, fix the issue and we are good to go on our next adventure.

And I get to say "I told you so."

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