Sorry start to my first Snowbird trip . . .

All ready to leave on a bright sunny Monday!!

I guess there's a reason I generally do a 'shakedown' weekend before I start camping in the summers. This time I would be de-winterizing and heading South at the same time. So, what could go wrong? The camper had only been sitting for a couple of months.

All packed, just a couple of quick tasks and we're off!

First task, make sure both propane tanks are topped off. I had used some propane running my furnace overnight in the driveway to test my 'Phase II' solar solution. Off to the propane dealer where I discover that one of the tanks won't fill. DRAT! $35 bucks to switch out the tank and get them filled.

Second task, flush the anti-freeze out of the water system, sanitize the system and refill with good water. All goes well until I try to replace the hot water heater drain plug. Every year that thing gets harder to replace. It's hard to thread even with plumbers tape and the anode rod makes it hard to hold at the correct angle (increasing arthritis in my hands doesn't help either). After much cursing, I get it fastened.

I'm packed, ready to go, cat in the car – only one more check and we're on the road! So, I test to be sure that I have a good electrical connection to the trailer (brake and signal lights) - alas, no right tail light. This has been a problem before. I dig through my tools and find the 7 plug tester for the tug side of the connection. Everything looks good. I clean the connections on both tug/tow sides, add grease, plug the 'self-cleaning' plug in/out about a million times – still nothing.

I put the cat back in the house – clearly this is going to take awhile!

Call my electrician friend as I think I'm probably going to have to replace the 7 pin plug. She comes over and teaches me (again) to fully troubleshoot before coming to conclusions. The tail light bulb connection is bad. We put in a new bulb and now I have lights – but it's really too late to get started until tomorrow.

Day 2 – still in the driveway

Ok, so the cat is back in the car and I'm all ready to pull out. Just need to check that I have lights on the trailer. And, guess what? No right tail light. In fact, no lights at all. This is easier to troubleshoot – a few years ago, the retaining cap on the tug side broke. Parts of it are still there but now instead of holding the tow plug in place it seems to be preventing it from getting a good connection. More tools, break that sucker off as much as I can.

Plug still doesn't want to stay in. Get out the duck tape – Now I have lights.

Off we go on our big adventure . . . finally!

There's a lot of ground fog for most of the day. One good thing is that with the headlights on, I can see one of the trailer running lights in my rear view window. This way I can see if I have lights to the trailer.
Within 2 hours of driving – no lights. I add more duck tape – got lights.
After another couple of hours – no lights. Hmmmmm . . . . swap the duck tape for stretchy, tight black electrical tape – got lights. Yay!
4 hours later as I'm parking for the night, a passerby notes – 'Hey, your trailer tail light is out'. Guess which one?? So, this time I take steel wool and scrub all the contact points until they are shiny. Then, I add some dielectric grease. Yes, now I have lights again.

I'm beginning to hate all things electrical. I have a large alcoholic beverage with dinner.

Kitty Corner: Fay Wray spent the day trying out various places to sleep in the car. When I got out for gas, she would hide. Then I would get to look stupid as I peered in through the windows trying to make sure of her location before I opened the car door. Once, she was under a kleenex box – completely hidden except for the slight jiggling of the box. Fortunately, she hasn't shown any desire to bolt out of the car or the trailer.


  1. Just found your blog via another blog....I think it might have been Travel Bug Susan. As a fellow Oregonian, of course your home state caught my eye. Then traveling with a cat caught my eye as well...and of course the kayak and the bike. Birds of a feather they say...Happy Travels

    1. Glad you found me Sue! I've met a number of Oregonians on this trip (guess we all had the need to see some sun!).

  2. 'They' say we should look at these bumps in life as learning experiences?? At least you're on the road!

    1. I try to look at them as opportunities to exercise my brain - figuring out what happened and how to fix it - even temporarily, can be a fun little puzzle. I like to see how far I can go before I have to call in an expert.

  3. Good story. But frustrating for you. We, too, travel cats - two of them. I know exactly what you mean when you say you have to look in the windows to make sure the cat isn't going to try to escape.

    One time at Camping World I had both cats in the car and I had to go to the bathroom. When I came back, I went to the back window of my Escape, tapped on the window. Both cats came back 'cuz "Mom" was there. I immediately bolted for the driver-side door before they could get there. It works, but I'm sure I looked a little tetched in the head.

    We are now former Oregonians as we became Texas residents in October 2013. In my heart I'm still an Oregonian.

    1. Hi Susan, good tip on tapping a window. I'll have to try that. So far, when I open a door she still runs and hides. I expect as she gets more used to traveling, I may have to be even more careful. Wow, 2 cats could really gang up on you!
      I used to be a Texan! So we've switched places!

  4. Electrical problems are the most frustrating to me. I am so sorry you are dealing with that one! We've also been through the no tail light/no lights nail biters. We are fortunate to have a mobile RV repair guy who will come out to our house. Instead of trying to troubleshoot electrical problems, I just call him now.

    Hope it doesn't ruin your trip.

    Glad kitty has not tried to escape.

    1. My temporary solution of taping the plugs together seems to be working well for now!
      If it gets bad again, I'll find a repair shop that can swap out the plug. Heck, I'll be in Quartzite in a few days - surrounded by one of the biggest RV gatherings around - I'll probably find all the help I need there.


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