We're thinking we can rig up some kind of canvas curtain to block the door while we're in it, which should help keep the heat and cold loss to a minimum. We can make it something that we can Velcro in place, so it's easy to remove and put back up.
There are likely all sorts of spaces like that all over the camper. We'll have to suss them out and find ways to mitigate the loss of cool or warm air. I'm pretty sure it's going to be tough to keep the whole thing cooled down when Summer hits. The AC seems to be a good one—but it's the only piece of equipment we didn't get a chance to test out on this trip.
While we were sleeping, I heard it start to rain. It wasn't a downpour, but I could hear the drops sort of tinkling on the plastic dome that is the window above our bed.
I was a little concerned that we might have leaks at various points in the roof, especially through the the fan vent. We had that wide open and blowing outward to suck the smell of "new furnace" out of the place, and to help with airflow and circulation. But even with it wide open, not a drop of water go in.
It might be different if there's a downpour, but for a light rain, at least, we were fine. I was happy with it.
We've discovered that we'll definitely need some kind of rugs for the front entrance and for the area in front of the shower. Kara has ideas about that. I'm also thinking of getting one of those wrap-around rugs for the front step, which will help keep us from tracking dirt and mud inside.
Drains, leaks, and dumping (oh my)—I bought a water tank that we can use for gray water, but we never actually got to use it. I had hooked up a short water hose to an adapter that the RV dealer gave us, and ran the hose to our new gray water tank. But the whole system is gravity fed. So two things worked against us on that: We were slightly off level (I'm buying a T-level to help with that), and the hose put extra pressure on the line, preventing it from draining easily.
Basically, it was easier for the water to stay in the system than to drain into the tank.
As soon as I unscrewed the hose, though, the gray water made a run for it. I wasn't able to get the tank under it in time, so we basically sent water filled with dish soap and scrambled egg remnants straight onto the concrete pad we were using. It wasn't bad, really, but I wouldn't want to just turn that out with reckless abandon.
Plus, the reason we weren't quite level was because the pad wasn't quite level, so all the water that came out of the drain ended up going under the camper and pooling right at our front step. Which meant we were tracking it in and out of the camper.
That wasn't the only fun water-related story, though.
When we were preparing the camper so we could leave, I wanted to make sure all water was drained from it. This was sort of my dry run for weatherizing it. And though I didn't have antifreeze to run through the lines, I at least had the ability to drain all the known water retaining pipes and tubes.
I opened the plug for the water heater, and let that spew all over me before draining to the ground—kind of a flaw in the design here, Aliner ... FYI.
I didn't see any harm in letting that one just drain to the ground—it was just pure water, after all. And after a few minutes, it was empty and I put the plug back on.
I drained the grey water tank, as described above. I'll do that differently in the future, collecting the water in a container and dumping it somewhere appropriate.
And so we come to the most fun a camper can provide.
I avoided this task to the very last minute. For starters, on the tour that the guys at the dealership gave me, this was one of the most complicated things I was shown. It was deceptive. They use terms like "cartridge," and "easy fill valve" and "disposal valve." But when you look at this thing, and think about how it actually works, and what it actually contains ...
There's nothing simple about it.
And there was no way around it.
I was going to have to carry a tank filled with pee and toilet paper and blue goo, and dump it without getting it all over me.
In my head, there was no way I was getting out of this without getting blue pee water in my mouth. *Shiver.*
But this was the ride I signed up for. This was part of the package. It was this, or we just rent hotel rooms from now on. It had to be done.
So I took a deep breath, opened the door to the toilet cartridge, and started figuring things out.
I pulled the cartridge free, as shown by the overly simplified directions, and was dismayed to see "moisture" around the brim of the tank. I really figured that *everything* should be contained, with no room for leaking. But that didn't seem to be possible.
I ignored that, and pushed the little plastic door down over the flap of the tank hole. Then I pulled the handle free, so that I could roll the cartridge to the septic drain.
So far, so good.
I was able to turn the top from the septic drain by hand, and get that open. Which meant that I was soon staring down into a white and blue-smeared abyss of the PVC pipe of Disgusting Doom.
And ... It wasn't that bad.
No smell, no remnants, and no existential horror. Yet.
I adjusted the cartridge so it was standing, and per the instructions I twisted off the cap for the drain pipe. Then, in a move I learned from Indiana Jones as he swapped a bag of sand for an ancient idol—I acted.
I tilted the drain pipe into the septic pipe, and let the contents splash merrily into the darkness below. I gave the whole thing a good shake, just to get rid of any toilet paper remnants. And I managed to fight the gag reflex as I thought about what it would look, feel, smell, and sound like if there were ... *gag* solid bits in the tank.
Ok, all melodrama and OCD convulsions aside, if I'm going to honest about the whole thing—it wasn't that bad. In fact, it was as easy as the RV guys led me to believe.
To that point.
I went back to the camper, and (after wiping the cartridge down with a Clorox wipe) inserted the whole mechanism back into the slot where it belonged.
At this point I noticed a small, clear plastic gauge with water in it. This is the toilet reserve tank level, showing how much water is in the toilet tank, on standby for flushing. It is apparently independent of the rest of the camper's water supply, because it was down to about 2/3 of maximum even though we were still hooked up to the campgrounds water line.
I wanted to drain all water from the system, mostly as a matter of practice and routine, so I told Kara to start flushing the toilet.
This worked, thankfully. I watched the water level go down immediately.
And then I watched water start pooling under the tank, and draining into the crevices and cracks under the camper's floorboards.
Apparently, when I reinserted the cartridge, I didn't get it lined up or pushed in correctly. Something was amiss. Which meant that instead of the water going into the toilet tank, it was going all over the under flooring of the camper.
I quickly grabbed paper towels to dry up some of the mess, and pulled the cartridge so I could give it another shot.
This time, I had Kara check from her side, and we verified that the drain hole was aligned with the toilets drain hole. When she did a dry flush, it opened and closed the tank with no trouble.
So we used the rest of the water up, letting it flow into the drain tank, and I then took that back to the septic drain and had a much less nauseating time sending it off.