Old Diary

Floating on Clouds

2014032009342721The drive to the Visitors Center was gorgeous this morning.  The trees in the valley seemed to float on top of the clouds.

The rest of Thursday morning might have been better if we’d stayed on top of the hill instead of continuing into the office.

That water pump I mentioned the other day wasn’t the problem with the water system.  The problem is the well itself and it appears a ‘repair’ is going to be a major investment.  We aren’t sure the campground will open this season.  While the maintenance department is working their end of the equation nothing here happens in isolation.

The failure of a well means the hosts are without water — and they need to move. But the failure of a well doesn’t happen in isolation.  We wanted to move the hosts to another location.  It happens that we have an empty campground to which they could move.  Peg and I headed North to Tahkenitch to have a conversation about whether they would be willing to host at a different campground.  That would put me in a bind because I had another couple driving up from S. Texas to host there during the summer, but our first priority had to be those hosts who were already on the ground and in place.  What I was going to tell the other couple I hadn’t figured out — first I had to settle this problem.

Well, this host family arrived about a month ago. I think I mentioned them at the time.   On their way here from UT they had a severe battle with snow and wind.  Driving into a headwind, the wind got under the fiberglass at the front end of their 5th wheel, shearing the bond between underlayment and fiberglass and pulling 12 sq ft of fiberglass from the trailer. They drove a couple hundred miles into the driving rain without a patch on that damage and by the time they arrived here the underlayment was looking pretty ragged.  I checked with them a number of times about a repair, but all they chose to do was to apply a sheet of plastic over the damage, and silicone seal it so that the elements would not get underneath the heavyweight plastic patch.

Evidently the patch wasn’t as good a patch as it might have been.  They developed mold inside the RV.  They also parked their pickup and haven’t disconnected from their 5th wheel at all.  Using their drive behind auto the pickup truck has been unlocked and unheated since arriving, and opened and closed numerous times to get things from inside the pickup.  End result:  humidity inside the pickup resulting in more mold.

One thing about Oregon in the winter — you can’t ignore the water.  Not in terms of what you attempt to do outdoors; but also in terms of how your care for your belongings!

End of story:  given the mold situation the family decided they had to move to drier climes — so they are headed back to Bend where they have family and drier air.  They’ll figure out what to do and I don’t have to move them, or worry about what to say to another couple who are still planning on arriving.

I’m really thinking that one of the things that deserves attention in our new Volunteer Handbook is some discussion about dealing with mold and mildew in Oregon in an RV.

Those of you who full-time should realize that any of the RV manufacturers whose literature I have read, none of them describe their products as full time long term residences.  There is a reason they are designated Recreational Vehicles.  You use them for recreating.  And yet many of us do use our RV as a primary residence.   We all need to take specific precautions against the unintended consequences of RV life.  Just because aren’t using some things doesn’t mean we can let them sit, and the very fact that we are  using other things means that we have to adjust for the duty cycle.  

  • We need to run our engines from time to time.  This is especially important if the engine is gas powered to insure that the fuel will not gum up the fuel system making it impossible to start.
  • We need to run our generators — in most cases — monthly.  Most of the RV gensets are manufactured by Onan, and Onan recommends running your generator once a month for a minimum of 2 hours.  Bearings and moving surfaces need to be lubed from time to time.
  • Periodic inspection of any place where moisture can gather, inside, outside, or in the basement.
  • Running fans or dehumidifiers to counteract the accumulation of humidity from <eeeeewwwwww> perspiration and expiration.
  • Flushing holding tanks to clean them out thoroughly.
  • Sanitizing freshwater tanks periodically.

There are more. I didn’t touch on cosmetics — how things look — like combatting oxidation on finished exterior surfaces; destreaking (you know, those black streaks that run down the side of RV’s) There are plenty of good resources on RV maintenance, and we all owe it to our investment in our ‘homes’ to care for them.

I did settle a few questions.  The boss was in and I got to ask questions for about 7 minutes.  But in seven minutes I resolved that our requirements for hosts were that they have a “self-contained RV” and not a “Hard Sided RV” — a difference that affects whether I could hire one particular volunteer who seemed a good fit for us, but lives in a Vanagon.

You've seen these pop top Vanagons, I'm sure.

You’ve seen these pop top Vanagons, I’m sure.

Being new to the coordinator position I didn’t want to say yes to a volunteer and then have someone else overrule me after the volunteer arrived. So, getting the answer I was hoping for allowed me to make a quick phone call to an eager volunteer.

Other good things happened too, (it wasn’t a complete bummer of a day) but that’s enough for today.   Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.


4 thoughts on “Floating on Clouds

  1. Mrs. P says:

    Excellent post about RV maintenance…your driver experience is shining through. So many people create huge problems for themselves because they refuse/neglect to do regular maintenance on things. This is definitely not isolated to RV living. I think it is one of the reasons we as a society have steered toward a disposable lifestyle. Most things only come with a few years warranty…long ones may have five. I remember when things had twenty, thirty and lifetime warranties. Heck…even newer car models such as KIA and Hundai are disposable, not like the older Honda and Toyota which are intended to have a long shelf life.

    I can understand why you wouldn’t accept someone in a Vanagan. We used my dad’s when my first husband and I went honeymooning. We did a circuitous route from Cali to Yellowstone, (via Utah to meet my new in-laws) and then up to Calgary and BC, Washington and Oregon. Funny side story is that I realized I hadn’t been anywhere, a day trip in Nevada and one in Mexico but that was it. So my honeymoon included visiting several of the western states. 🙂

    Anyway, while in Yellowstone we came in late and were met by the rangers the next morning. It was one of those self check in deals, he was checking us in formally and told us we couldn’t stay because the bears would rip right through the top of the Vanagan. We had no problem leaving and actually felt quite fortunate to have had no incident over the night because we brought with us a piece of wedding cake which sat on the counter overnight. Good thing the bears had other sources of food that night. 😉


    • Mrs P,
      There is a lot about the U.S. that lends itself towards the disposable lifestyle. We don’t care for our landmarks, our old buildings — as a society we still think new is better and we haven’t awakened to the idea that when we create something there is going to be ongoing costs to MAINTAIN it. For example: the parks and natural places that were developed during the days of the CCC and Works Progress which today are falling to bits because of neglect. (This forest included — our water systems are really old and having problems) as are the campgrounds and sites.

      It’s a national malaise.

      As for warranties… mfg’ers don’t want to give products a long life — they depend on those products failing to sell even more fancier and expensive versions of the one that just failed to keep the industrial complex humming along. Never mind the cost to the public, or resources…. they have to make money. (Yeah — I’m getting more cynical as I get older — but my FIL had a fridge that lasted nearly 50 years (when we sold his property and it was still going strong) Of course it LOOKED like it was 50 years old… and I’m sure the new buyer bought a new one.

      We are going to give the Vanagon lady a chance — she’s young and able and she knows the area (lives in WA near Seattle) — so she’s informed. But in other cases I might not do so.

      Hey — why not take a honeymoon where you haven’t been before — to me that’s a perfect idea!

      We do have both bears and cougars here. IN fact the Cty. Deputy told me he saw one down on the flats about a week ago in the middle of the day! And we have a lot of campers who camp in tents. Most of our campgrounds are more suitable for Tents than RV’s — except perhaps the OHV campground which are basically open parking lots with fire rings and picnic tables around the perimeter. Why people want to camp THERE is beside me — but they have fun, and I camp MY way, and I have fun too. It’s a big world!!!! Room for all sorts.

      We have more issues with raccoons than bears. The coons are very creative about getting into things, including lidded dumpsters (when the lid is a liteweight plastic. in one campground we have been trying to get the hauling company to replace the liteweight lid with a heavier one because the coons get down in the dumpster, rummage around all morning and wait for the camp host to come along about 8 a.m. when he does his license plate talley and puts in a tree limb long enough for the coon to use as a ladder. The coon clambers up as soon as the stick comes into the dumpster, and the host jumps out of the way before the coon gets there!)

      My concern here is less about critters ripping through the canvas, and more about whether the host might have mold problems. 🙂




  2. Linda Sand says:

    A Vanagon is not self-contained. There is no bathroom. She might have a port-a-pot but no shower and will need a place to empty that pot. I know this because we used to have a Vanagon. I hope this lady works our for you but self-contained is not what her vehicle is.


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