After two years of “caravanning” in Europe you’d think we’d have made every mistake, suffered every disaster and be RV experts when taking it up in the U.S. For instance I’d sat on the keys on the sofa and turned all the electrics off in the caravan. Who knew a little button on the key fob could do that? And who left the keys there anyway? Fuses blew regularly with the injudicious use of a hair dryer. Always my fault. The trailer got away from us once and impaled a neighbor. I was an observer for that one. The smoke alarm was a frequent accompaniment to cooking in the tiny galley. Usually my fault. But there were still more learning experiences to come.
The day of departure for the Oregon coast in our new toy, a travel trailer:
“What’s that noise?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it coming from our trailer?” The screeching, on a similar pitch to my tinnitus, was difficult to track down, but upon opening the trailer door a din escaped that was so loud that it knocked us both back.
“It’s the gas alarm,” Jimmy said and leapt to check the gas bottles, “but they’re turned off!” Meanwhile the racket filled the confined space in the trailer so fully that all senses were baffled. The noise was exploding out of the door.
There are three alarms on the trailer: gas, smoke and carbon monoxide. The gas alarm is near the floor – gas heavier than air – you knew that. Not convinced the gas alarm could be at fault I hopped into the trailer, got on hands and knees and put my ear next to an innocuous looking plastic box. Now, not only was my head reverberating as though it had been caught between two symbols, I was stuck in the fetal position with my hands over my ears and Jimmy had to come in to haul me up.
As our heads came up level with the battery gauge, some spark of inspiration prompted Jimmy to check the charge and discovered the heavy duty trailer batteries had died. Explain to me how, when the batteries had been draining for the six weeks since we’d abandoned the trailer in storage, the alarm chose that moment to squeal so heartily*. It wasn’t caused by human gas as one post-er claimed!
Jimmy disconnected the dead batteries, which silenced the alarm – again that made no sense* – took the batteries to the battery shop only to be told that they were kaput. Another lesson learned. Disconnect the (two $100) batteries when not using the trailer. Jimmy’s now got tinnitus to remind him. We’ve also learned that if gas leaks in the trailer, we won’t sleep through the alarm!
I blame the RV dealer – bunch of cowboys – for giving us cheap batteries that weren’t fully charged to start with. After all, why take the blame for something when you can blame someone else.
Favorite saying: “I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.”
*So go on. Tell me.