It’s always a thrill when Charlie tows our trailer out of storage for the first time each spring! Oh, the possibilities in that fiberglass box! The places it can take us! The sights we can see through those windows!
Our trailer is a 2005, 21.5 ft. Citation fifth wheel made by General Coach of Hensall, Ontario. We really like it a lot. It’s solid, very well built, and small enough to fit into two vacant end-to-end parking spaces with our truck. It has a good shower, plenty of storage, and an efficient kitchen. It’s too bad that the manufacturer doesn’t make them any more.
We were taking our trailer up to stay at the Hideaway for the first time. There are no services there, and we planned to stay three nights. We’ll see how this goes! The capacity of our trailer water tank is only 100 L (27 gal). Charlie had just purchased 2 new batteries, so we hoped they would get us through the three days without electricity. He got two 6-volt deep-cycle Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries from The Battery Pro in Walkerton.
I disinfected the water system, as I like to do at the beginning of each season. We’re still cautious about drinking water from our storage tank (We fill large bottles of filtered water for drinking from home.); but if we’re away for a long period of time, I’ll drink the city water from the faucet.
Packing the trailer for the first time each year is more work than packing for future trips, but it’s exciting to plan for that first outing! Before putting the trailer away in the fall, I have given it a thorough cleaning, the bed is made with clean sheets, and I have removed anything that might be damaged by freezing. Charlie takes care of winterizing the water system. I leave as much as I can in the trailer year round to make packing easier: dishes, pots and pans, cooking utensils, towels, toilet tissue, paper towels, laundry bag, toothbrushes, bathroom scales, extra hair dryer, hair straightening iron, cheap flip flops, a light jacket for bugs, etc.
Then, at the beginning of the season, I’m adding soap, toothpaste, tea, salt, pepper, etc. and whatever I need for the first trip. Our packing varies depending on the trip we’re going on. If we’re crossing the border into the United States, I can’t bring any meat or fresh fruit or vegetables. (Well, I could, but I’d have to declare them. The officials could confiscate them depending on the label and what’s allowed in at the time.)
We arrived at the Hideaway on Friday evening. There is a great, raised graveled area that’s perfect for parking on. Someone must have parked a trailer here before. It’s also situated exactly where we’re thinking of putting the house, so it will give us a feel for that spot. The kitchen window even faces the same way!
This will be our seventh season with our trailer. We’ve become so comfortable with the day-to-day operation of it, that I became a little careless about setting up this time. Disinfecting the water system involves draining the winter anti-freeze out of the faucets, filling the water storage tank with water and a cleaning solution, running it through the taps, rinsing it out, filling it up again with the disinfecting solution, and rinsing again! It’s a time consuming process! Then, when we fill our water tank after the sanitizing process, we need to use an external water filter to make sure that the water in the trailer is as clean as possible. Only white water hoses are to be used for drinking water. Well, it was too late to do anything about it when I realized that I had forgotten to use only white hoses for filling the tank. Then I had also forgotten about the water filter. We had purchased a new one in the fall to be ready for this season, but I didn’t use it. I guess we won’t be drinking this water! Then, if that wasn’t enough of a blunder, I didn’t realize that a drain from the hot water tank had been left open for the winter so it wouldn’t freeze. There was no water in the hot water tank. The first evening of camping when I turned on the propane water heater to wash dishes, I mentioned to Charlie that the water wasn’t hot. It usually heats up quite quickly. That startled him! He immediately knew what was wrong and flew into action! We quickly turned off the water heater and he closed the drain. It’s a good thing that we didn’t ruin our hot water tank!
Well, we were doing all right without electricity. I was already prepared to not be able to use my hair dryer. I have a hair straightener that plugs into the 12-volt power in the truck, so that would be available in case of a hair emergency! Charlie had bought the two new batteries for this weekend. Some friends had lent us their generator for the weekend in case we needed it. I only used it to make some whipped cream for Charlie!
Our “blackwater” tank (where the waste from the toilet goes) has good capacity, so I wasn’t worried about that. We put Camco RV Toilet Treatment Drop-INS into the toilet to keep it from smelling. My main concern was our water supply. We took the quickest showers ever. As I cooked and washed dishes, I rationed water very carefully. On Saturday afternoon, I checked the water level. Not trusting the gauge, I uncovered the tank which is under a dinette bench and actually looked at the water tank. I really wanted to have enough water left for a shower before church in the morning, so I stopped washing dishes. While we were in town running errands, we bought two large jugs of water and an extra case of bottles. Charlie came up with the ingenious idea of attaching the top of a small water bottle to the big jug for pouring it into our trailer’s water tank. I decided that the next time we come up, I’ll bring prepared food so I don’t have to cook, and I’ll bring disposable dishes. Oh well, less cooking, less dish washing, maybe more eating out! That sounds like a relaxing holiday for me!
Well, I was thrilled when on Saturday night, our kind neighbour came home and invited us to run a hose to his outdoor water faucet! No more water concerns! Our battery held up fine for the weekend. The weather was beautiful! We had a great time!