|Our 10-month, 10,000 trip taken in 2012 and 2013|
When we took our 10-month, 10,000 mile US tour in 2012 and 2013 we almost always stayed at full hook-up campgrounds.
They are expensive, crowded and noisy. We have had sites where we could not extend our awning because the next RV was too close. The convenience of full hook-ups is great but sometimes the trade off is just not worth it.
This trip we knew we wanted to do things differently. Our goals were to save on campground costs, stay in more rural areas with larger sites, take more back roads, and see places we have never seen and to do all of that slowly. Our experience has been those places seem to have mostly electric only or primitive sties with absolutely no hook-ups. The main reason we need electricity is because of the heat. There is just no point in being miserable if you don't have to.
When we arrived here on Saturday we dumped the gray tanks and took on about 80 gallons of fresh water. We planned on staying four days.
We use this handy little gadget so we know how much water we pump into our fresh tank each time. It counts the gallons as they run through the meter. It is called a RainWave flow meter.
We have decided to stay put here in the COE Downstream Campground for a few more days. But we knew we would have to take the RV up to the dump station and dump the holding tanks and get more fresh water. What we didn't know was we would have to do that last night at 7 pm when we realized our fresh water tank was completely empty.
Going to the dump station is basically the same as moving to a whole new campground. Everything has to be put away, slides brought in, electric disconnected, appliances shut off, etc. I think it was close to 9 pm when we finished at the dump station and returned to our site and got set-up again.
This morning I am so glad it happened that way because I woke up to a fierce thunder storm and that would have made the whole process much more difficult.
You may be asking yourself, what is the point of this story. My theory is we are learning as we go. If you are someone who is reading along and considering full-time RV travel, maybe you can learn along with us.
We have a 100 gallon fresh water tank. I mentioned earlier that we took on 80 gallons of fresh water when we arrived. We ran out of water 4 and 1/4 days later. That tells me we used about 20 gallons of water each day. That water use includes 2 navy showers a day, washing dishes, flushing and brushing teeth. We use gallon jugs of water for cooking and drinking. We were cautious but not miserly. Before yesterday, I had no clue how much water we used daily.
Our two gray tanks each hold 45 gallons. One holds the water from the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The other holds the water from the shower and the washing machine, this one always fills up first. I don't use the washing machine when we don't have a sewer hook-up. *Gasp* I have been to a laundromat twice in the past two weeks. I can use our dryer when we have 50 amp electric service so it's a quick trip when you just wash two or three loads and bring them home to dry.
While chatting with another full time RV couple yesterday at the local laundromat they mentioned they are at the campground for two weeks and use a large water bladder to refill the fresh water tank and they use a portable holding tank to empty their black and gray tanks.
This is an example of the water bladder. This one holds 45 gallons and uses gravity to move the water from the bladder into the holding tank. They fold and take very little storage space.
The portable waste tank looks like this.
This one holds 42 gallons and you can fill it and loop the handle over your trailer hitch and tow it to the dump station without moving your RV. This takes quite a lot of space for storage but I sure wish we had one yesterday.
We knew about both of these items but never had a need for them, until now. I know if we purchase these they will see a lot of use this winter when we are in the Southwest because we plan to do a lot of dry camping and boondocking.