Home Projects : A Mini Move : And A Mouse!
I should warn you up front that today’s post will have nothing to do with our workamping job at Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking, the beauty and scenery of Acadia National Park, or the great time we are having in Maine this summer. Nope, today’s post is about a couple of mundane chores and projects I spent my day off of work completing while Betsy was at work.
So, as I said, Betsy had to work today and I did not. That along with the fact that it was one of those perfect Coastal Maine summer days, all led me to get out my “to do” list. The first task was something I will take a minute to explain. Most campgrounds have either back-in sites or pull-thru sites, or a mix of these two types of sites. Well, Narrows Too Campground has some “pull-in” sites. A “pull-in” site has all of the expected hookups (electric, water, cable, sewer, etc.) on the left side of the site as you stand on the road facing towards the back of the site. This layout works quite well for a motorhome (Class A, B or C), but can be a little unusual for a towable trailer (Fifth wheel, travel trailer). As I had mentioned in an earlier post (see that post here), when we arrived at Narrows Too and pulled Charlie into our site the Big Tow’er had a fight with the soggy back of our site and got himself stuck. Having resolved that issue in May, and as the summer went on, I began thinking about getting the Big Tow’er back into the back of the site so he could back Charlie out when it was time to leave. I was a little concerned about the possibility of a wet fall and the back of our site getting soft again. To reduce the chances of that happening, I decided the best course of action was to turn Charlie around by backing him into the site with his nose pointing out so that the Big Tow’er could just back in, hitch up and go. This would require us to have about a month of the utility hook ups on the wrong side of the trailer with water hoses, power and cable cords, and the sewer hose running underneath the trailer and across our outdoor mat. Seemed like a small price to pay in order to guarantee we could get Charlie out of the site when it was time to go.
I was hoping to get this little chore completed before Annette and Mike left at the end of September, since his truck would be much easier to navigate to the back of our site and still be able to back Charlie out and then return him to the site in the other direction. Mike was more than willing to help out. Before Betsy left for work we prepared Charlie for travel just like it was a moving day. (Well, we didn’t put everything away. We did leave the Nespresso machine on the kitchen counter. I mean we weren’t moving it that far!) Betsy and I both commented to each other how we were a little out of practice with our moving day routine. But we double checked each others work and we were ready to go. With all of the slides in and the jacks up, Mike was easily able to maneuver his truck to the front of Charlie, hitch him up, and back him out. We took a quick ride out the campground entrance, turned around across the street in a parking lot, and then backed Charlie right back in. Less than 30 minutes later everything was back in place, slides open, jacks down, and utilities hooked back up. Just like nothing had happened. We even had room on the site now to bring the Big Tow’er from the overflow lot and park him back in front of Charlie.
Oh yes, the dreaded overflow parking lot. Occasionally, because of the size of the Big Tow’er, he doesn’t fit on our site and gets relegated to overflow or auxiliary parking. That was the case for most of the summer at Narrows Too. Not that he was that far away (It was a short walk or bike ride behind the office), but we missed having him on our site. Well, with Charlie back on the site I thought it was a good time to clean out some of the storage boxes and the sleeper of the truck.
As I cleaned out the two “jockey boxes”, directly behind the driver and passenger doors, I noticed some small pieces of paper towel inside. Yes, a sure sign that a mouse had been at work. We had heard of other campers at the campground finding a mouse or two inside their trailers, and sitting alone on the edge of a field was too much for this little guy to resist. I finally found his little nest inside the passenger side “jockey box”. More specifically, inside one of Betsy’s swim flippers inside said box. That box houses most of our snorkel and kayaking gear. Inside the right flipper was a nice bed of chewed up paper towel, mixed with some actual rubber chewed from the flipper. There was even a small LED light bulb he had drug from the other side of the truck to his home. I can’t prove that was how he planned on lighting his home, but he was well on his way.
We don’t condone stow away passengers in any of our vehicles, so everything got cleaned out and wiped down. In addition, we liberally sprayed the truck and boxes with peppermint essential oil spray. This was done to discourage Mickey, or whatever his name happened to be, from returning to that neighborhood. I wish him well in finding another location to call home for the winter.
Raising the jacks and moving Charlie gave us an opportunity to put to use something we had been looking forward to utilizing. Before we all arrived in Maine, we had asked Mike to make us some blocks to put under our six jacks that make up six point leveling system. We had always admired the blocks Mike had made for his own trailer, so we were looking for something similar. He had given them to us in May, and in the mean time I stained them gray to somewhat match Charlie’s paint scheme. These blocks would allow us to get rid of the many random blocks of wood we carried in the truck to put under the jacks in the past, and these would be a consistent size with easy carry handles to make life easier. They worked like a charm and we may even make a second set to utilize when the site is really out of level. As you can see some sort of animal liked them too and chewed the corner.
The last chore for the day was some maintenance on the water system in Charlie. Our Landmark 365 has an internal water filter located behind a wall in our basement storage. When I realized I had not changed this filter since the middle of February (see that post here), I knew it was time. It is recommended these be changed every three months and ours was going on seven. When I opened the case and saw the filter it was as I had expected. The color of the old filter showed that it had been in there over twice as long as it should have been. Easy to switch, throw out the old one, install the new one, problem solved.
The last thing to do was replace the anode rod in the hot water heater. As I described in February (see that post here), the last time this was changed also, the anode rod is a sacrificial rod inside the hot water heater tank to save the aluminum tank from deterioration. The rod was about three quarters eroded, and had a little life left in it. But since it was already removed, I chose to replace it and not have to worry about it for another six to nine months. Here are the links to the tank cleaning wand and anode rod we used (*affiliate link*).
So today was definitely not the exciting and luxurious life you hear other full time rv’ers talk about, but just like a regular house, chores still need to be done. The funny thing was how disoriented Betsy and I were after turning Charlie around. The view out of every window was different, and even with all of the shades down, we still felt like we were facing the wrong way. Don’t worry, we’ll be ok. We love change, it just takes a little while to adjust!
While on the subject of Mr. Fix-It projects, let me tell you about something that gave me more confidence and has saved me money! If you are looking to learn a bit more about how your RV systems work and how to do preventative maintenance and repairs, I highly recommend looking into the RV Maintenance Tech Course. I completed the course in July 2016 and would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. If you decide you would like to take the course, we would love if you would include that you were referred by: Russ Gibbons AMB103.
For more info on the course visit, www.rvtechcourse.com. You an read more about my personal experience taking the courses by reading my previous blog posts: