Where the Livin’ is Easy
Sometimes, in this carefree vagabond’s life on the road, circumstances intrude upon the idyllic core which is assumed to be the inherent gift of mobile freedom. These circumstances can range from minor inconveniences to the harbingers of doom. Sometimes, that mobile freedom make those circumstances more difficult to address than they would otherwise be. That isn’t the case here, since the Defiant’s location could be considered as a seasonal residence of sorts. Just sayin’.
As for me, I‘ve discovered an ongoing stack of inconveniences which are frustrating, but looked at in the proper perspective, are also a bit humorous. It’s the combination. My main priority on arriving at my trailer a few days ago was of course to make it livable again after its many lonely months in Yuma’s hot and dusty summer. The time-consuming work of completing modifications to the new Four Wheel Grandby camper last Spring, before Yuma’s heat began to set in by late March, required hasty compromises in cleaning and organizing my trailer before leaving it. In short, I discovered either just how little time was left to straighten things up before leaving, or what a slob I am. Papers and paperwork in numerous spreading piles, some useless and some important, and loose items which really needed to be stashed away somewhere, all together underneath the coating of dust which now lies over all. The Defiant now resembles one of those places where you enter and try not to set anything new down, or to touch anything. And keep your shoes on!
First priority for me on arriving was to get over the internal sense of shock. You know, the shock of discovering the mess, swinging straight into denial, and assigning the cause of the problem to a strict lack of time. “It’s not my fault – I can’t be that much of a slob!” The most frequent question is of course, “What is this, and why did I leave it here?” Arriving at mid-afternoon, I could get water and sewer going quickly (or so I assumed), but could not touch any surface with hand or posterior without redistributing dust to myself. I also had no groceries at all. I moteled it in town that night, for what is considered to be fairly cheap these days.
Returning to the trailer late the next morning, second priority was to launder bedding and at least some seating surface fabrics so I’d at least have a place to sit down. Despite a very nice laundromat being a quarter-mile away in the park’s clubhouse, that was still a bit of an ordeal, since my ticker was having one of its bad days. I couldn’t just sit and rot on the laundromat’s folding steel chairs, so I commuted to the trailer a couple more times. That let me work on not being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of effort it would take to sort through the piles and clear the filth off more small items than can be counted. Thankfully, my e-bike and trailer made that commute do-able.
Meanwhile, the water supply hose needed to be connected up to the spigot beside the trailer. Easy! One hose goes from the spigot to a triple filter unit mounted to the Defiant’s tongue hitch, while another goes from the filters to the trailer’s water inlet. Once done, turning on the water showed no leaks, but also reminded me that the water pressure here is reputed to approach 90 PSI, which is dangerously high compared to the 50 PSI limit that the trailer’s plumbing has. Oops! No harm, no foul. I have a small 50 PSI water pressure regulator in the Intrepid truck camper, the key word being “somewhere”. After all, with all my camping being forcibly suspended for so many months this year, I no longer knew where I officially kept it. I looked in several of the most logical places, digging around and opening storage cases and bags. That took awhile, but in the end, a little quiet reflection – which better resembled desperate reflection – prompted me to look in a dishpan on the Ford’s passenger seat, where I keep those few items that need to be most easily found and used. Duh.
Nirvana! We will have us some running water today! I added the pressure regulator at the spigot, turned on the main valve, and went inside to reap the rewards of indoor plumbing. But turning on the kitchen sink faucet produced only a meager trickle of water. Ahhh, okay…maybe a hose is kinked. Going back outside, it all looked good, so the diagnostic process began. Starting at the spigot, I undid the hose and assured myself that the supply pressure and volume were impressively abundant. Couldn’t blame it on the park. A pressure gauge I put on the output side of the filter unit showed only about five pounds of pressure, though. The hose end at the filter unit inlet flowed well when disconnected. Something was amiss with the filters. I removed the last canister in the row, turned on the water, and got a trickle. Removing the middle filter did the same. Removing the first filter produced a torrent of water. Clogged filter! That was surprising, since it was new a year ago and still looked pristine. Maybe the heat exposure under the direct summer sun got to it or something. Oh well, I really should change to new filters each time I arrive, anyway. You really don’t want bacteria growth in there. I found a new carbon filter in the trailer, plus a couple of replacement filters for the other canisters. Once buttoned back up, the gauge showed 50 pounds, and flow in the trailer was as good as can be expected for that pressure. It doesn’t make for great showers or dish rinsing, but it’s workable. Then back to the laundromat as sunset approached. I managed to place a cover sheet back over the couch, get a couple of pillows rolling, and retrieve a blanket from the truck camper. I slept on the couch that night, and ran an electric space heater I keep as an emergency backup.
The next day was going to be the start of cleanup day(s), but then I discovered that the kitchen sink drain was clogged almost solid, even though I use screens in each to keep solids from heading down into the pipes. It’s a dual sink and has always been problematic for drainage, but today marked a new low for functionality. Those drains are unfortunately well blocked at the drain openings, so they can’t be rodded out with normal springwire drain clearers. Smooth move, Gulfstream! I have a length of 10Ga wire I’ve used before to clear it, but it hit a stopping point without effect. I headed out mid-afternoon for a medical appointment, to the hardware store for drain cleaner, and for a ton of groceries. I got back to the trailer after sunset, and it took awhile to pack everything away, but I could at least stop eating out all the time and get back to my standard diet, which will help stabilize the meds dosage I need. I cranked up the Mr. Heater propane space heater after five minutes of failure to ignite, and it worked well after that. It kept flaming out the next morning, however, acting as though there wasn’t enough gas to keep both the pilot and the ceramic plates fired. Odd.
I spent yesterday limited by some kind of minor intestinal issue, and my Verizon Internet access crapped out early. My iPhone can act as a WiFi hotspot, but not if it can’t establish a data connection with a local cell tower. Since I had not yet called my local DSL Internet provider for resumption of service, the phone was my only option. I wound up in the clubhouse to get the DSL service scheduled and to read any new emails. I figured that the Verizon problem would only last for a few hours. I’d been letting drain cleaner soak in the pipes a couple of times for most of the day, and flushing with boiling water, but that only made the drain 100% plugged. Verizon never came back on board. The Mr. Heater ran well again that evening. Maybe the problem was over.
This morning, the Mr. Heater again acted starved after running well for a minute or so. Having been covered when not in use, and having blown it out with pressurized air, I guess it’s time to find/order a replacement. I found a high-pressure air can meant for clearing drains by force, but I hate to use it because of the risk of splitting old PVC piping. The result: the pipes are fine, since the can is now defective and won’t dispense whatever agent it contains. If you’ll excuse me, I need to head for the clubhouse to find any plumber’s business card on the rack, order or locate a new space heater, and try to see what the story is between me and Verizon. The DSL provider won’t show up until Monday, so I may well not be online again for a couple of days. The Ace Hardware store is closed or is 9-12 on weekends (as are most small businesses in the Great Southwest), so I may try to find another can of pressurized drain opener at a Big Box store. Other than that and not being able to transfer much of anything in from the camper, it may not be going that smoothly here, but it could always be a lot worse!
But perhaps a wave of good is on its way: just after I completed the previous paragraph and counted the post as finished, Verizon data came back from the dead and is now in operation. There’s one problem down, anyway!