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Old 05-23-2015, 06:14 PM   #1
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60+ day maiden voyage in a 21, newbie thoughts and tips

Cheating slightly, as some will remember I had a 5 day "quick run" in the cold springtime. This latest one of 60+ days is more of what I think a proper maiden voyage should be though. Writing this up to collect my thoughts, and also, just maybe, help some of my fellow RV newbies. I mean, I am jumping in with both feet!

This is written by a former "hotel vacationer" that has never towed in his life. Card carrying member of the get-more-tow-vehicle-than-you-need group, based solely on internet reading. Speaking of the internet, got some great pointers on youtube for backing in, and also the wonderful orientation vid that ETI has up for the trailer's systems. Oh, and I'm a solo traveler in a 21 towed by a half ton pickup with V8. YMMV greatly.


30 day mark...
  • First week or so, the fresh water tasted like plastic. Bought a self fill 2.5 gallon container at the supermarket and haven't looked back. Somewhere along the timeline, I tried the city water (ie, my white hose hook up) and it was OK. I should suck it up and try the trailer fresh water tank taste sometime too.
  • Condensation has not been a huge problem for me. Opening the bathroom vent has been enough in most weather down to about freezing. Depending on wind conditions, some times I didn't even open it all the way. When used, my electric heater was set to about 64F overnight. One trick I have was stuffing a towel between bed and outer wall to control moisture. Reading the many posts on this matter, I seem to be in the lucky minority. Or have more air drafts than most.
  • Microfiber towels are wonderful. Get them, use them.
  • Andersen hitch has overall been a decent purchase. Takes a bit to get comfortable setting it up, but now its no big deal. Have towed with the chains both properly tightened and also slack -- the difference in "steering wheel feel" is more slight than I thought it would be, but noticeable with the big rigs' wind turbulence. Overall, a more comfortable tow with the Andersen but a marginal purchase at $700 for someone who doesn't really need the weight distribution. Get a proper 1 1/4" box wrench for it.
  • Losing the newbie nerves has been incremental over each of the four weeks. Backing in confidence was (newbie) medium-high because of some excellent youtube vids that prepared me. Increased again when I chose to back up a country lane that dead ended on me. I could have taken the easy way and turned around in the surrounding field, but glad I didn't. Towing confidence has likewise been about just getting some easy miles under the belt.
  • Options, options everywhere. Well not on my factory demo trailer. My first plan was to purchase new, so I made three lists -- what options needed to be factory done at build, what I needed, and what I wanted. By the time the demo became available, I was pretty clear on those three lists. As it turned out, this trailer has a light options list, but also hit most of my needed at build list. Yay!! I got the AC (needed) and none of my wants (solar, custom fabric inverter etc etc). And you know what? 30 days in and this lightly loaded trailer is doing A-OK for me and my camping/RVing camping style. Its a big YMMV, but if you have read this far, all I mean is don't be afraid to prune your too large option list down.
  • If its a tiny part and important, it will likely get "lost". Have spares, triples even, of what ever will stop you from leaving the campsite by checkout time. Or needing to find a store with part 'x'.
  • 30 days in, and I'm still trying to figure out how to organize the storage. I re-found the under bed storage about week 2, which helped some with the bulky, not need often items.
  • Very glad I read the forums extensively, especially getting ideas from the modders on what has worked for them. Speaking of mods, some of the best ideas wont be in "your" trailer size, which makes for even more reading.
  • The more I hand crank the tongue jack, the more I wish I had an electric jack. Or ability to use my cordless drill for the job, which is heavenly for the stabilizers and the BAL levelers.
  • Always re-flush toilet and tighten shower drain before travel. Always.
  • Winning the shower wars. I have a love/hate relationship with the shower stall. Mostly have it ok, with what body part goes where when washing but I'm not confident I'll ever get it 100%. Soaked the tp roll three times, the latest just yesterday. The good news is that the roll will dry out by dinner time, even with the worst overspraying. Some upgrade the shower head to the oxygenics model --- I would upgrade the shower hose first. Stiff stiff stiff. I enjoyed doing my best Popeye impression while manhandling it to make it slightly more pliable. Some kind of grip tape on the shower head handle would help too.
  • Winning the bathroom wars. The little tiny bathroom sink isn't completely useless, but its a ways from useful too. A gooseneck faucet would help for sure. Wiping the walls down after showering isn't too bad, but I can definitely see why some have bamboo mats on the floor. Excessive water in the black tank is great for controlling the tp pyramid. I'll be getting the foot flush next build. PRO TIP: jamming open the toilet valve half way means about 40mins to fill it.
  • Towing with the black and gray tanks about 1/3 to 3/4 full each, with the fresh tank about 2/3 full seems like a sweet spot for my rig.

See y'all at the rally.
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:28 PM   #2
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BCnomad, thanks for a lot of good information. As for drinking and cooking, we plan to use bottled water. Here we get a great spring water from Piney Woods Spring, Woods County, Texas that costs $1.00 in gallon containers. I figure that we have so much extra room and weight capacity that we aren't going to sweat the extra weight. I wonder how many places you can end up getting bad potable water? Loren
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:28 PM   #3
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"Always re-flush toilet and tighten shower drain before travel. Always." ?
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:32 PM   #4
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Glad you are acclimating to your new Escape, Bruce. Each tripgets easier and becomes more enjoyable.
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Old 05-24-2015, 02:25 PM   #5
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Loren, yes about a buck a gallon is what I have seen too. Reading rv.net it seems like being prepared for at least a day or two of unsafe drinking water can happen in almost any place. Stuff happens.

Bob, yep. A very early morning hitch up, combined with full tanks from 4 days boondocking and a wide open shower drain and a milkshake ride across Seattle I5 left its mark on my shower floor. The unhelpful slope of the rest area was the icing on the cake. It sorted itself out at the next flat pull over spot.

Jim. thanks. Looking forward to comparing notes soon.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:15 PM   #6
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Flush again and put the shower pan plug in was SOP for my Scamp. Traveling would allow the gray water tank to slosh back into the shower pan (if it was close to full). And, I like traveling with clean(est) water in the toilet bowl...
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:52 PM   #7
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Absolutely Donna. Fun fact: standing normally by toilet, in shorts, while flushing you will feel the slightest mist of fresh water overspray on your thighs. I now close lid as much as possible.




Day 32, Osoyoos is the largest campground I've been at so far. More correctly, I have only been closer to the laundry, firewood, store etc in the past. I can see why some are driving their garbage to the bin across from me. I will no longer judge people who have packed along golf carts either.

Shower wars, forgot to mention that draining the shower hose by removing it from the faucet helps with the "drips" that make the bathroom floor wet after a wipe down.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:56 PM   #8
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Day 45 mark

- floor isn't insulated, and with the warm/hot weather is now radiating heat (or more correctly warm on bare feet). Not sure if insulation would help, as the trailer is on grassy sand.

- Keurig coffee cases - costco 54 starbucks cups to be precise -- fit great over sink area cupboards on 21. Slightly more tight fit on the bed side but still OK.

- Wall insulation plus ear plugs are generally enough for sleeping in purposes, unless you have a disco beside you. If I was really cranky in the mornings, I would ask Reace about deleting the bedside window all together (better noise reduction hopefully).

- Haven't soaked the TP roll for a long time now. Feel like a boss.

- If I was in perma-sun locations, I would consider retinting the windows with more solar reflecting film.

- I can honestly say I have used all my existing trailer options multiple times. Have had more than one and up to a handful of, occasions to use all the rest of the not-on-my-trailer options...... top wants at this day are the front box and the outside shower. U shape dinette a close third place. I'm surprised how little I miss the solar option/inverter, but I am addicted to the current bush and propane/12v solutions.

- so far still have only used the ETI supplied sewer hose, albeit with the sidewinder support. Replacements still in boxes. One camper suggested using perc pipe for additional support, our own Bob(?) uses suitable vinyl gutters, which fit amazingly well along the rear bumper. Must remember to get some length of that.

- had ETI put on the stooge tables and the counter extender -- use the extender way more. Currently thinking of getting the dinette table cut in half for a psuedo U shape dinette.

ymmv
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:33 PM   #9
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCnomad View Post
First week or so, the fresh water tasted like plastic. Bought a self fill 2.5 gallon container at the supermarket and haven't looked back. Somewhere along the timeline, I tried the city water (ie, my white hose hook up) and it was OK. I should suck it up and try the trailer fresh water tank taste sometime too.
I bought a sediment cartridge/carbon cartridge combination filter set from rvwaterfilterstore.com (good people). These are stored in a small plastic milk carton and hooked up whenever we park. These filters make for sediment free, tasty and safe drinking water. And it's convenient. The only challenge is transporting the setup. I have a standard-sized pickup with a shell, so for me it's not a problem, but that may not be the case for others.
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:24 PM   #11
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Great travelogue, thanks for sharing.

Re drinking water, I use the PUR 7 cup water filter for cooking and drinking: Amazon.com: PUR CR-6000 7-Cup Water Filtration Pitcher: Pitcher Water Filters: Kitchen & Dining

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Old 06-14-2015, 10:32 PM   #12
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We carry a 6 gallon & two 3 gallon jugs. One 3 gallon is for drinking water that we try to fill at the vending machines outside grocery stores or in Walmarts. The other two we fill using a filter for the house water. This helps us to travel with very little in the house tank for longer travel days & insuring that we will have some if we have to boondock somewhere.
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Old 06-14-2015, 10:48 PM   #13
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I wonder where the water in those vending machines and at Walmart comes from?
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Old 06-14-2015, 10:58 PM   #14
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Aren't they municipal water treated by the machine....RO & ultraviolet?
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:21 AM   #15
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Bottled water doesn't mean it's better. There's some pretty crummy tasting bottled water out there. And they're a huge waste of resources.

Isn't one of the options on the trailers a water filter? Or you can install your own like we did at home. Or bring a filtering container, like the Pur which has already been mentioned. We used one for years, until we installed a filter under the sink. Of course, if the water is pretty crappy to start with, it might not help that much.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:07 PM   #16
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What is wrong with the 30 gal on board water tank? After a couple of flushes and uses it brings your home water with you versus purchasing other local water.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:55 PM   #17
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Love the 30 gal on board fresh tank when we're going to be at a place for more than two nights- mainly to not worry about running to the camp spigot with a bottle and to use the outdoor shower.

In the manual it states to either travel with it full or empty(to avoid side to side sloshing). We prefer empty as it tows way lighter and improves mpg. I still would not drink out of it.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:00 PM   #18
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With the Escape it can help reduce your tongue weight, particularly if it exceeds the 500 lbs limit on some receivers. I always keep 1/3-1/2 in my fresh tank while traveling and my t/w was 500 lbs the last time it was checked.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:11 PM   #19
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In the manual it states to either travel with it full or empty(to avoid side to side sloshing). We prefer empty as it tows way lighter and improves mpg. I still would not drink out of it.
With your big tow vehicle, I doubt that it would make very little difference to fuel economy towing with a full tank. That said, I have towed with partial tanks lots, in fact most of the time. It would be nice if they were baffled though.

I would not even consider bringing water I could not drink. The water I put in my tanks for the most part, is the same stuff that is in my taps at home. Is it that your tap water is not that great, I have seen a couple locals where it curls my nose hairs.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:25 PM   #20
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I'm with Jim: why bring water in the tank, if it's not suitable for drinking? Like Jim's, ours comes from our tap water at home.

We don't particularly like it "warmed" when our Escape is parked in the sun but, we can always fill up a jug of cold water from the terrific campground water spigot where we frequently camp too.

If the water in the tank has been standing more than a week, I may add a small amount of bleach for sanitation once in a while.
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