Filed under: Traveling Tips
That Could Never Happen to Me
We keep our grey water valve shut. It is important that you know this in order for the rest of the story to make sense.
We were in Salem, Oregon and the weather forecasted a high of 95 degrees. Since we had just spent time on the coast, we knew it would be cooler there, so we filled a cooler and decided to take a trip for the day. As predicted, the coast was only 68 degrees. Upon arriving back to the motor home, the first thing I noticed was some water dripping from underneath. A quick look let me know that it was not coming out of any drain, so I immediately turned off the water at our Y connection. A quick look inside let me know what had happened—water was left running in a sink and the grey water tank over-flowed. As we used to say on submarines, “we got water in the people tank.”
So, we now have several gallons of water that we need to remove from the inside of the motor home. Not to mention, we need to dry off everything that was on the floor and everything in the basement. The RV park is right next door to a grocery store, so I ran over there to rent one of those carpet-cleaning machines that will pull the water out of the carpet. I was in luck, they had one left! Then I was told that they were not allowed to rent a machine to anyone without a local driver’s license. As full-timers, we rarely have a local driver’s license, and today was not one of those days.
Now I’m imagining running all over town trying to find a place that would rent me a machine, and it was already 6:30 pm, so the options would be limited. Instead, I took a deep breath and asked for the manager. When the situation was explained to the manager (and a credit card number provided as security), she decided to live dangerously and allow me to rent the machine.
Now the fun part—getting the water out and drying everything off. When we started dealing with the issue, we began to gather more information. A neighbor had noticed the water and contacted the office, and the person in the office shut off the water at our valve (upstream from the Y I had shut off). Thanks to their efforts, the water stopped overflowing a few hours before we returned (so we had less water to clean up than we would have). We started hearing many stories of this (or something similar) happening to others.
As I’m emptying the basement (it is amazing how much stuff you can carry under there when you are full-timing!!), I’m thinking about how to keep this from happening again. My first thought is to leave the grey water valve open (but then how would I rinse the sewer hose after dumping the black water?). One of the stories we were told was about the toilet valve failing and it filling up and overflowing. Well, opening the grey valve would not help in that situation. That is when another neighbor mentioned that they always turn off the water when they leave for any length of time. I had always done this when we left overnight or longer, but never thought about doing it for a day trip. So, now we have a new rule when we leave for any trips longer than a few minutes.
I guess it just goes to show that something that “could never happen to me,” might just happen, so it does not hurt to take precautions. It took a few days to dry everything out, but all is back to normal.