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Old 06-28-2009, 09:51 PM   #1
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Tex's First Trip - Lakeport State Park, MI a couple of newbie questions

Hello,
Just back from our maiden voyage in Tex. We joined 5 other families at Lakeport State Park on Lake Huron just north of Port Huron, Michigan. DH and I were excited and apprehensive about pulling and backing in the AS. Our only trailering experience had been with our pop-up.

Wednesday we had our Equil-i-zer hitch adjusted at the local RV dealer. We had a GREAT technician who drooled over our 'coach' and gave us a mini-walk through of the systems and went over common 'newbie' problems.

Friday morning we caravaned with three of our buddies (SOBs all of them ) and felt comfortable with safety in numbers. It was great when my hubby stated that Tex pulled 'like a dream'. Even with semis going by or passing he tracked right behind us!

We arrived at the park and went to the ...drum roll...sanitation station to take on potable water. Tex's clean water tank was reading red before the trip. My buddy showed us how to fill the tank and it was pretty quick that the water was peculating out of the little run over hole to the right and lower than the hole to stick the hose in. Hmm...got to the site and the tank was no where near full.

FIRST QUESTION: What did we do wrong while filling up our tank? Does the tank need to 'burp' and then we put more water in? Did I run the water in too quickly?? Any advise is appreciated.

We pulled into the park and it was beautiful.


We were on site #37 which was really close to the trail to the beach. We had a nicely wooded site and Tex stayed nice and cool with the windows open and the fan on. At night we were cozy with just closing up the windows.

Backing in was a bit of a white knuckle event but another buddy talked to the hubby so we could remain married in good standing....

We aren't all set up here but REALLY happy to be in a 'good' spot on our site!


This is the whole family (DH and I with our new LIG AS shirts). It may be the only trip with all four of us with college in August for our sons and work schedules.

Getting ready to find needed camping goodies (I think DH is digging for an extension cord, DS#1 is helping!) You can see how nice and grassy our site is. Notice our camping sign with the pop-up? We need to find a classy AS one!


DH first modification - a David Winick door gaurd:


Friday I had three families/couples stop and stare at Tex. I talked with them and gave tours. It was really fun to see people walk by and just stop! The weather was wonderful.

QUESTION TWO: Went to get hot water for dishes Friday night. It was warm but definitely NOT hot. Didn't matter how long it ran. The heater was getting propane and we felt the 'hot' air discharged out. We took a good look when we got home. When we looked at the manual it seemed that there was a valve that wasn't properly turned. In our front curb side storage compartment there is plumbing with hot water pipes on the top and cold on the bottom. The one that runs north and south between them had the valve open. The manual said this is open to winterize, closed for regular use. We closed this N/S valve. Do you think this was our problem with the warm water?

Made up the dinette and couch into beds for the boys. LOTS of room for them. Little area to walk by the couch pulled out for us. Do-able though and it didn't take very long. We stored the curved cushion under the dinette. (DH figured that out). When DH and I got up in the morning the boys went back to sleep on our twin beds and I set the living area back to normal. The shower is a good place to store sleeping bags.

Saturday we had another fine day. Spent the entire day at the beach. Nice sand, but Lake Huron is rocky. Remember your water shoes!


Returned to give two more twilight tours to passers by. The boys loved lounging in the twin beds reading or playing games. (OK, they're 18 and still camping with their folks....not going to sweat a bit of Nitendo DS time!)

About Lakeport State Park:
- nice big sites. Some full sun but most with good shade.
- a camp store with soft-serve ice cream and lots of goodies
- great park for biking
- one AS in the park this weekend - ours

What was GREAT this weekend?
* We were camping in an Airstream!
* We had our very own bathroom
* We didn't need a cooler as we had a big fridge!
* We survived our first trip to the Dump Station...has some apprehension about that too.
* We could make sandwiches for lunch after packing up the camper and our gear. You can't do THAT with a pop-up!

Lessons learned:
The fridge doesn't work so well on propane while traveling if you have the battery set for 'storage' WHOOPS.

The stove fan vents much better when you open the flaps outside under the awning...

As an adjunct to the above - the smoke alarm is really loud

CAREFUL getting your awning put away - ask me how I know. It looked so easy on youtube.

Keep the AS tidy - people love to take a peak!

Funniest comment of the weekend: DS#1 and I ran to town for gas and a paper. Driving back I asked him what he thought of Tex. "It's a great camper for an aging couple" he says! Then he tried to back-peddle saying 'I wasn't old but dad was...oops that didn't come out right either...better stop now'. No worries, I remember thinking my folks were old as dirt too when I was 18!

Next trip: A week at Burt Lake State Park about 30 minutes south of Mackinaw City in mid-July.

If any of you are still reading - here is a very contented aging AS owner!
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:04 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your first trip. Not only is it easy to forget to open stove vent door, it's even easier to forget to close it.

Filling the water tank: I'd believe it's full when water comes out of it rather than believing the monitor. The monitors can be wrong—it may need to be calibrated, the contacts may be dirty, the monitor may be faulty.
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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Sounds like a fun trip. We have two sons as well. 16 and 18. We had a Winnebago Aspect last summer and they didn't want to be seen in it. They love the CCD. Empty nest camping is fun but it is nice to be able to go as a whole family too.
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:24 PM   #4
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Very cool rig and I'm glad that you all had fun!
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:45 PM   #5
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Congrats on the new trailer. Looks like you guys had a blast.

As for the water - I have had that happen when I try fill the tank too quickly. When water first overflows, I reduce the flow a bit to make sure it is really full, not just splashing back.

As for the water temp - I suspect that something is amiss in the valves for the water heater by-pass that is used for winterizing. It sounds like you have hot and cold mixing. Was the cold water warm as well? I guess the thermostat for the water heater could be out of adjustment, but I haven't ever had that happen. Maybe some others can provide some better hints on that.

Enjoy it though - neither of these things sound like show stoppers.
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Congratulations on your first trip. Not only is it easy to forget to open stove vent door, it's even easier to forget to close it.

Filling the water tank: I'd believe it's full when water comes out of it rather than believing the monitor. The monitors can be wrong—it may need to be calibrated, the contacts may be dirty, the monitor may be faulty.
Unfortunately I think my monitor was correct. Seems my fill technique is lacking. I'll keep an eye on the monitor thing on our week trip. I appreciate the heads-up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird's Nest View Post
Sounds like a fun trip. We have two sons as well. 16 and 18. We had a Winnebago Aspect last summer and they didn't want to be seen in it. They love the CCD. Empty nest camping is fun but it is nice to be able to go as a whole family too.
Yes, the boys were proud of our 'awsome' Airstream. We have never camped without both boys....on the week trip only one is camping with us and the other working. Will seem strange. September we are on our own. Sigh...

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Originally Posted by 62-Lander View Post
Very cool rig and I'm glad that you all had fun!
Thanks, it was a blast! Still smiling thinking about our weekend.

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Originally Posted by wayner61 View Post
Congrats on the new trailer. Looks like you guys had a blast.

As for the water - I have had that happen when I try fill the tank too quickly. When water first overflows, I reduce the flow a bit to make sure it is really full, not just splashing back.

As for the water temp - I suspect that something is amiss in the valves for the water heater by-pass that is used for winterizing. It sounds like you have hot and cold mixing. Was the cold water warm as well? I guess the thermostat for the water heater could be out of adjustment, but I haven't ever had that happen. Maybe some others can provide some better hints on that.

Enjoy it though - neither of these things sound like show stoppers.
You're right! No show stopping. Gives us a little something to ponder and correct on the next trip. I do want to try out that shower
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:08 PM   #7
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Hello Teresa. Congrats on a fine outing! Great documentation & fun photos too.

Be careful about filling water with the bare end of a hose only. A 3/4" hose end is about the right size to block the water fill opening. Air has to be able to escape as you fill. That's probably why it sputtered out the overflow hole. You can probably pick up one of these with the shutoff valve in a local RV dealership (I don't particularly care for CW...). See http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...ank-33300.html

Here's the HW heater bypass valve positions -
Click image for larger version

Name:	Water heater bypass valves.jpg
Views:	192
Size:	13.2 KB
ID:	83123
Be sure your HW heater is filled before you turn it on; running water through the system and through a tap at the sink will accomplish this. From a cold start it might take 15-20 minutes or so of continuous firing to bring your HW heater up to temp. It's not a tankless -- you'll only have 6 (?) gallons of water heated. Can you hear the burner go off after a period like this?

[on edit: In the diagram the HW heater would be to the bottom.]
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CanoeStream View Post
Hello Teresa. Congrats on a fine outing! Great documentation & fun photos too.

Be careful about filling water with the bare end of a hose only. A 3/4" hose end is about the right size to block the water fill opening. Air has to be able to escape as you fill. That's probably why it sputtered out the overflow hole. You can probably pick up one of these with the shutoff valve in a local RV dealership (I don't particularly care for CW...). See http://www.airforums.com/forums/f443...ank-33300.html

Here's the HW heater bypass valve positions -
Attachment 83123
Be sure your HW heater is filled before you turn it on; running water through the system and through a tap at the sink will accomplish this. From a cold start it might take 15-20 minutes or so of continuous firing to bring your HW heater up to temp. It's not a tankless -- you'll only have 6 (?) gallons of water heated. Can you hear the burner go off after a period like this?

[on edit: In the diagram the HW heater would be to the bottom.]
Bob - YOU ROCK!

I'm printing both the little diagram and water tank filler for my shopping pleasure at the local RV store. My bad on the water filling as I did hold the hose pretty close when it wasn't spraying all over my leg. It was quite refreshing on a warm summer day.

I did make sure I flushed the toilet and ran the sink a bit before I turned on the water heater. I could hear the water heater burner go off after a period of time. The diagram is really helpful! That middle valve was definitely in the wrong position.

Teresa
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:34 AM   #9
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Hubby and I went and made sure our valves are in the correct position. Looking forward to a hot shower in a couple of weeks Thanks Bob!
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:04 AM   #10
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... Looking forward to a hot shower in a couple of weeks.
Then don't ask me why your gray water filled up so fast...

We bring flip flops and use showerhouses at campgrounds. Unless the night before we realize we're moving on and there's still plenty of gray tank capacity left. Ya still gotta do it navy shower style - get wet, turn water off, soap up, water on.

I store a number of things in our shower when underway. Moving the camper to the dump station will push stinky gray water up through the shower P trap if my gray water is full to the brim. I have heard trickling sounds in campgrounds after dark and don't know what that is ...

If we're dry camping I'll put on a bathing suit and clean up using the outside shower if I can. Dr Bronner's castille soap rinses off the easiest.

We bought a clean plastic 5 gallon jerry can and keep it in the truck if we're going dry camping. We'll run into the occasional forest or state park campground where the water spigot isn't reachable -- and I carry two 25' hoses. Two of these campgrounds are very high on my favorite list too! Eight trips with the jerry can and my water tank is full.

You probably want to have a water thief in your hose compartment (roadside on my FB twinbed ) - you'll eventually run into a forest or state park faucet that doesn't have hose threads.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:10 PM   #11
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Bob, thanks for that link. Something else to worry about.

When I fill our fresh water tank, I guess it takes 10 or more minutes—I never time it. When it's nearly full, I can hear the air gurgling out and then after another minute or so, water starts to gush out around the hose attachment and may also come out the overflow vent next to the fill hole. A hose won't stay in the hole without the attachment, and that's a good thing, though I suppose it could be forced in. Filling time depends on local water pressure—I think water companies usually have around 60 psi. I have set our pump controller to 65 high limit and 45 low limit. I never fully fill the tank at home because there's a grade where I have to park the trailer to get 50' of hose to the spigot and it will always leave an air space at the high end of the tank.

Like Bob we bring a 5 gallon plastic jug for extra water or if we have to transport it from an unthreaded campground spigot. You'll need a funnel with an extra long and flexible neck to dump water from a 5 gallon jug into the filler hole. Easier to do with 2 people; 5 gallons of water = 42 lbs. Federal campgrounds in the west usually have that kind of spigot because water is precious here and they want to discourage someone from filling the 150 gallon tank in their Prevost.

There should be a diagram in the owners manual on which way the valves on the water heater go. It's not that understandable unfortunately. Our bypass is forward of and alongside the water heater which is accessed through the utility compartment on the curbside. Valves parallel to the pipe are open. There's a fourth valve below them which drains something—water lines probably—and is not mentioned in our manual. The first year I winterized I didn't even see it. When opened, water drains out below the body for a while.

Flushing the toilet will not fill the water heater—the toilet only uses cold water.

I hadn't thought of taking an outdoor shower when the grey tank is full, or nearly so (would that be illegal if the soap isn't biodegradable?) Our grey tank monitor goes from 1/2 to full very fast and means it when it reads full. Water and air bubbles coming up through the shower drain confirm. Besides emptying the grey water on the ground (illegal in many places), there are totes for the water, or you can capture water in the kitchen sink in a dish tub and empty it in the toilet. You could catch shower water in a bucket while waiting for it to get hot and dump it outside since it's clean. No matter how quickly we take a shower, the grey tank fills fast and we get about 2 days with a shower or 3 without (why do people avoid us?) boondocking. I'm sure we can do better (paper plates help), but we haven't been that motivated.

You'll have lots more discoveries as you used your trailer. We're still finding out stuff.

Gene
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:18 PM   #12
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Hi Bob,
We are only planning to try out the shower as we are concerned about having adequate water to do dishes and flush the toilet during our week trip. Between the campers in our group we have two of the water theives and about 400 foot of water hose

I don't really want to be dragging one of their little blue toads to the dump station for grey water relief or having the sloshing scenario you described

Now for a weekend with just the hubby and I we might use the AS shower. I see there is a way to turn off the flow of water whilst you do the navy thing!

I bet it's not a surprise that our hose compartment is the same as yours

DH has to look at your microwave shelf thread...ours seems to be leaning backwards. I fear the construction was no better on our 2007....

Teresa
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:28 PM   #13
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There should be a diagram in the owners manual on which way the valves on the water heater go. It's not that understandable unfortunately. Our bypass is forward of and alongside the water heater which is accessed through the utility compartment on the curbside. Valves parallel to the pipe are open. There's a fourth valve below them which drains something—water lines probably—and is not mentioned in our manual. The first year I winterized I didn't even see it. When opened, water drains out below the body for a while.

Flushing the toilet will not fill the water heater—the toilet only uses cold water.

You'll have lots more discoveries as you used your trailer. We're still finding out stuff.

Gene
Thanks Gene - good information to know!

So I should run the 'hot' water at the sink for a bit to fill the water heater?
We wondered what the fourth valve below the pictured valves was for. Now we know.

I am sure there will be MANY discoveries. Hopefully none as costly as the practically exploding holding tank that Bob referenced YIKES.

Teresa
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:21 PM   #14
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DH has to look at your microwave shelf thread...ours seems to be leaning backwards. I fear the construction was no better on our 2007....
A quick check can be had by removing the drawers from the stack between the microwave & sink. There's more to explore if you see the horizontal cabinet shelf under the microwave resting on the wheelwell.
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