The good, the bad and the stinky.

It’s been 3 weeks since we got Jenny Jamboree.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my fear of driving a 30ft long RV on the opposite side of the road that I’m used to before (maybe once or twice). I’m used to her now though; I will reverse and hop over into different lanes and will not throw a wobbly (well, not a big one) when Rob wants me to head into the busier, smaller city roads and carparks. Jenny is the same length as two cars, so I have to check in advance where I shall next meet Rob, so as I can actually park her big butt. This also causes a little panic attack when I need to be in the farthest right lane within about 50 yards and try to judge how close the car traveling up to her right is. The locals are not all the friendly drivers as the signs make them out to be when you’re trying to move over. I often have to carry on and try to loop back on myself, all without Sat Nav’s help because she’s clearly on her tea break at that exact point.

I haven’t listened to much music whilst driving along the highway, mainly because I’m listening to her ladyship: Sat Nav and because my journey is usually no longer than 10 minutes. If I do, there is quite often some religious stuff. Don’t hate on me but I’m an atheist so it all means nothing to me but it’s a big deal to a lot of people. It has most certainly been very interesting listening to a good ‘ol tune with the lyrics about Jesus and God. One could argue that it’s better than some other (no names mentioned) song writers.I do have a Roy Orbison CD (courtesy of the previous owners) which is fine by me and a scratched up 90’s mix CD. Needless to say, I have a long way to go surviving on those little treasures, so I shall be investing in some way of delivering my own, selected tunes. No Tay Tay!

We’re slowly getting used to the RV lifestyle. Having had Shirley (A 1983 Toyota Hiace Campervan) and having Ash (The very cheeky 1977, bay VW Campervan) we are fairly used to living outdoors in some form of comfort and style. Jenny, is a fish from a totally different kettle though. Let me let you in on some RV speak: The black water tank is where your ones and twos go. The grey water tank is old dishwater or shower water and the white water tank is your fresh water. There’s a set of golden rules to follow when emptying these tanks (which Rob wouldn’t know because he hasn’t done it yet. Still!) Firstly, you must open your black water tank valve to allow the weeks build up of your stinkies to leave, forever (bye stinkies) via the pipe you attach to a sewer. Then you close that valve and open the grey water tank valve and use the slightly less stinky water to’flush’ the pipe. It doesn’t sound particularly clean but it seems to work. You also need to ‘prep’ the black tank with some sort of odour eating liquid by pouring it down the toilet once the tank is empty.With the generator, you must remember to turn off the air conditioning, prior to turning off the generator, to avoid damaging the thermostat and you must turn the air conditioning off if you want to use the microwave, as to not overwork the generator and activate its power breaker (leading you to believing it’s broken, when it’s not). You also need to turn on the water pump if you want to flush the toilet and have running taps but you mustn’t leave it on for too long when not in use. Then there’s the fridge freezer that runs off the auxiliary battery but if that’s running low,it can automatically switch to using the LPG but you must keep an eye on a ‘check’ light that can come on if there’s a problem. Then, with the LPG, you must have plenty of ventilation when using it or it will set off the gas warning alarm (my Dad could use one of them). Phew! That’s a lot to take in and remember and that’s not all of it. We’re picking it up reasonably quickly and getting used to the RV lifestyle. Thanks to RV Geek on the Youtube. I could certainly see myself bombing around Europe in a good few years time.

She’s a fairly greedy old girl and refuelling her is quite different to filling up the little Polo and Peugeot back home. 40 gallons later and I wished I’d had a book with me! I think she has a problem as she guzzles it down and gets through it pretty quickly (she needs to attend a petroholics anonymous group or something).
We’ve become very savvy with our water use too which has been interesting, given Rob’s level of sweating and our desire to have regular showers. The average shower will use about 17 gallons, If you times that by 2 then that’s pretty much half the tank gone in one day.So, it’s very quick shower (important bits only) or use the showers at the truck stops and campsites. We have several water containers that we fill each time for drinking water (someone seems to be drinking a lot of it!) and I buy a bag of ice now and again and keep it stored in a cool box, to help with those refreshing drinks on all these hot and sticky days.

She tries to have a laugh with us too. Turning up to a campsite in the dark is never the best idea. Add to that, the fact you need to fill your fresh water tank by torch light under mozzie attack before settling for the evening .We were bumbling around attaching the fresh water hose to the tap and trying to locate the fresh water tank connection.  We discovered it was perfectly located underneath the awning mechanism. Oh Brilliant! We got showed once how to unravel the very technical awning and unfortunately, a little frog jumping out held far too much of our attention than what Gary was explaining to us, so we had pretty much forgotten how. We were stood, scratching our heads and gnat bites, getting very frustrated at how on earth someone thought it a good idea to put the water supply port behind a metal pole. There was so much profanity and tutting, and I’m sure I heard some from Jenny. Eventually we managed it and filled up but then we had to put the awning back…you have a brief moment where you’re deciding if you actually need the awning and could you just rip it off?

She also farts (all women fart boys, it’s perfectly natural) and produces some interesting noises at times. Her flatulence though, is rather more an error on our part I believe and means we need to get her tanks flushed and cleaned sooner rather than later (bring on the bleach).

I’m at the stage where she’s my little home now and it bugs me when things aren’t where they should be (ROB!) or if she’s starting to get a little dirty (ROB) or if Rob’s there (introverted moments only). I have a little dustpan and brush; I have a little blanket for the sofa, to protect it from sweat; I have boxes and places for things to be and go. I have to be on top of the washing and as soon as I pass a ‘Washateria’ I get it on and done (people still use the dryers in 32’c!) I have formed my little OCD habits which means I’m feeling settled. She’s our protection from the sun; provider of cold drinks; comfort for our weary legs and she’s cute as a button. I feel responsible for her and I know now that I’ll miss her if and when we hand her over to someone new (maybe we just keep her?)

It’s a strange existence, espescially how we are doing it and I do find myself, alone and gazing upon rubbish and rusted metal strewn across some wasteland, wondering, what the hell am I doing? What on earth are we actually doing? We just run and drive along a road from 7am to 7pm, not knowing what we will see. Maybe just more road, maybe some interesting folk, maybe a grand lake or some breath taking scenery or maybe a discarded vibrator (thankfully, Rob left well alone…or so he says)? We stop for the night, at an RV park or a Truck stop, hoping either isn’t too close to the train line. I’ll whack the Microwave on (not before turning off the air con though) and pop a 3 minute culinary delight inside whilst rustling up some kind of salad. Or if I’m feeling adventurous, I may turn the stove on and play around with making a spaghetti bolognaise. After which I’ll get the washing up done (with minimal water use of course). Then we sit at the dining table and eat our dinner with a beer and chat or watch a bit of telly. We both end up very tired by 10 and ready to head for bed in our tiny bedroom (with en-suite if you open the toilet door out). We set the alarm for 6:30 am for the following morning,  to do it all again.
It is a very strange but curiously wonderful thing we’re doing and if you can, you should come and join us for a bit of it. Don’t mind Jenny’s flatulence and just don’t be too messy 😉

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A girl, following a boy across America.

2 thoughts on “The good, the bad and the stinky.”

  1. Well things have certainly changed from when the camp site manager handed you a shovel and pointed to the bushes. Sounds like a complicated water system , but you have it sorted. Really in awe of your adventure, that is sure a fair sized monster. I hope Rob is doing ok, it’s like running a daily marathon, must admit l don’t know how he does it. Love the blog, in a way helps us share the experience. Continue to take care please , and look out for each other.


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