Phone call from the campground

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July 2014
With a nice weekend being forcast, I informed my manager and co-workers that I was going to be late the next day to allow time to drive the motor home to Guntersville state park and get Norma to follow me there and bring me back so I could rush to work.

In a rush to get setup I did everything possible to get the electricity connected and the slide outs pushed out. The last thing I did was hurry up and get the water connected and turned on and jumped in the car to get back home and get in my car to drive to work.

Well, hind site is 20 20 they say. I will never turn on the water without going in to check plumbing. If you are following, then you are already ahead of me and know where this is going.

At about 2:00 that afternoon our friends came to set their camper up in a neighbouring site. Thankfully, they were observant enough to notice that Niagra Falls was pouring out of every door and all of the undercarriage compartments. They immediately cut off the water supply and called me at work. Imagine the shock and cold chills I felt when they gave me the news.

I left work immediately and drove a little over an hour to get to the campsite to find water still flowing out of the undercarriage doors. I immediately went in to find several inches of water in the floor, and water would splash with every step through the motor home.

I quickly found that my normal habbits of making sure the sewer hose is clean before disconnecting from the previous trip. I had left all the faucets on including the shower from the previous trip.  In my practise, this allows all black water to be washed out with clean water.  I was in such a hurry to get to work that I didn’t open the drain valves. :-(

This led to about 6 hours of running water to fill up the gray water holding tank and all the sinks and tub filled up to the point that they were overflowing.

I immediately opened the drain valves. I then grabbed all the towels, washcloths, clothes and anything else I could find that would absorb water and started soaking things up. I called my son Steven and asked him to bring more towels.  He was coming down anyway for us to cook him a birthday meal and to celebrate his birthday.  What a celebration !!!! When he got off from work he came down and spent his birthday helping us wring out the towels and throw them back in for me to re-use.

We had to soak up and dry things all night throughout the night. Our friends that were coming to enjoy their weekend were gracious enough to bring a wet-dry vacuum and my wife rented a steam cleaning machine for the carpet.

If I remember correctly we vacuumed up 15 or 16 tanks full of water with the wet-dry vacuum and multiple containers with the steam cleaner. The wet-dry hose was used to swipe back and forth across the carpet and we all took turns since this effort was like painting a house with a pencil. It wore all of us out and my arms became like noodles after doing this for hours and hours.   Thankful I have great friends who helped a lot.

Afterwards, we ran a de-humidifier in the motor home with all windows and doors closed and the heater turned on in the summer heat. This allowed the motor home to dry out completely and we have never smelled any mildew or sour smell, and there is no noticeable visual damage to the wood, flooring, carpet, or upholstery on the furniture. ( yes the water was that deep ).

Lessons learned:
(1) NEVER, EVER, turn on water, power, or gas without opening the drains, and immediately go check to make sure that something didn’t break or get left on from the previous adventure.
(2) I have the best friends in the world to stay up late rubbing carpet with the end of a hose until after mid-night. It would have been much worse if they had not noticed and turned the water off in the first place.
(3) Steam cleaner is much easier to work with than a wet-dry vacuum, but in our case two tools working at the same time allowed a quicker dry time.

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