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Old 06-17-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
randmfam
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Unhappy Want to Buy, Don't Understand Processes

Apologies in advance for the long posting ... We're considering an early 2009 2619 (apparently there are early and late 2009 models). We are not avid campers. I used to be many years ago ... we had canvas tents, backpack tents and a tent pop-up growing up. But my husband is a "city-slicker" and has joined in my tent camping activities in adulthood begrudgingly. He enjoys camping when we go, but can only take it for a max of 2 nights without a shower and MUST have access to a flushing toilet. Now with a young child, tent camping is out for my husband (too much stuff to lug). Thus I started our look for TTs as I want to give my child the great camping experiences I had growing up. We've decided TM is our best option for TT for a variety of reasons, which I won't go into.

With all that said as background, my husband's concern is "how much work is this going to be". I want him to feel comfortable with the process and not overwhelmed or we won't go anywhere. The sales person has been very helpful, but of course makes everything sound so easy. So want to be sure we have an accurate representation of what needs to happen when. Following, if I recall from past experiences with a pop-up and the dealership info, is what I "think" is involved:
1) Prior to leaving for a trip -- Plug in TM for 24 hours in driveway to get refridge cold, unfold to add the water and load up, put water/chemicals in toilet, fold back up, attach to car and go.
2) Setup -- Park, detatch car, unfold everything (I think I've got a handle on that part), connect electricity/water/sewer if in campground OR turn fridge to propane use, open awning, and have fun.
3) Take down -- Unconnect electricity/water/sewer or turn fridge back to battery, expell unused white water tank, fold down, connect back up to car, haul to dump station, dump gray water and toilet, go home.
4) Winterize -- Sales person said to just dump everything and put 1 cup of antifreeze in all drains including toilet. Is this right?

QUESTION: Does the water tank and toilet need to be expelled after EVERY trip? Meaning can the unused water and toilet (if under 60 flushes) stay as is between camp outings? I thought you just kept the toilet chemicals until the 60 flushes then dump, but sounds like even if we only use the toilet a few times a trip, it needs to be dumped. Any thoughts?

Anyway, any input on whether I'm even "close" on this would be helpful. Or point me to somewhere that details this info would be good.

Thanks so much for any thoughts in advance!

Happy camping!
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Old 06-17-2009, 03:29 PM   #2
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You netted the process out pretty well. Two things I would mention. First, if you are staying at a campground that has water hook ups you don't need to put water in the water tank. It will save you on weight and time. Second, always dump the toilet when you leave the campground, you don't want to leave it in the toilet for a lot of reasons.

Depending on what your husband likes to do you can customize the TM with a satellite dish for hundreds of channels of TV to loading it up with golf clubs for an afternoon on a new golf course. Who knows he may get into the more traditional camping activities like campfires and star gazing. I have spent a lot of time in hotels and on vacation I like the idea of not being in a strange bed with a thin wall away from my neighbor and having to walk through a lobby to go anywhere.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:52 PM   #3
Bill
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I agree with Viking - you've scoped out the process pretty well.

As far as early vs late models - they don't really exist, or certainly not formally. TM tends to make changes / improvements whenever it makes sense, rather than at the beginning of a model year. So don't be concerned about early / late. The changes are small.

Don't travel with the toilet loaded or charged. Toilet chemical is cheap. Go to Wal Mart, buy a 6-pack of Campa-Chem (I prefer the one with formaldehyde, but opinions vary). When you stop, use an entire bottle, don't try to skimp. And don't throw the empty bottle away! Rinse it out and save it! Next time, go to WalMart and buy the BIG bottle of the same stuff - I think the big bottle is two quarts. Use it to refill your small bottles - much cheaper!

As for step 3 - most campsites that have water and electricity also have a sewer connection, so you can dump right at your campsite, without having to haul to a dump station. But if there is no sewer connection at your site, and you need to drive to a dump station, just remember to pull the handle under the toilet before you fold down the TM. Then when you get to the dump station and attach your hose, pull the outside dump handle and you're done.

As for winterizing, it is about as easy as you described. The only missing step (as a lot of us have found) is to remove the sprayer head from the kitchen faucet, and pull the hose straight up so the water in it drains back. Then do the same for the outside shower. Turn on the water pump for a few seconds (no more). Take the smoke detector off the ceiling and remove the battery. Antifreeze in the drains is not really needed since the plastic plumbing doesn't break even when the water in the traps freezes. On the other hand, a bit of antifreeze can't hurt. I don't know why people put antifreeze in the toilet, since there is no water there, but again, it can't hurt. Non-toxic RV anti-freeze is about $3 a gallon at any hardware store.

Not too complicated, right? Thank the TM engineers for making it that easy.

Bill
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:17 PM   #4
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I will not repeat the excellent advise already posted by others. I will try to add to it.

I once stored the TM in the garage for a week in the summer before dumping the toilet the weekend after a trip. We had arrived home very late on a Sunday. Big mistake. do not do that. It did not smell-up the garage, but when I opened the TM the following weekend it was beyond bad.

The pre-trip packing can substantially be done the weekend ahead of time, or just a few days ahead of time. For me this is a clear advantage of having a trailer. I got it down to where between the time I arrived home from work and the time that we departed was less than an hour. And that was with the TM int he garage. I still had to pull it out and load last minute items like the generator, and perishable food. I have that posted around here somewhere I am sure. If you can not find it and are interested din it I will try to find it for you.

Returning home is somewhat the same. I leave things out of the TM that I need immediately, like the dirty laundry. When we get home the TM is ready to go in the garage.

Leaving and returning for camping is always a fair amount of work. You need groceries and that will need to be loaded. When returning home, dirty laundry needs to be dealt with. If you do not have a big enough car to preload all this stuff, then just leaving of Friady after work is a real pain. I did that for many years. A trailer, even just a utility trailer stored in the garage, will help spread that effort across several days.

We stock the TM with basic supplies at the beginning of the season and completely empty it at the end. Stuff that stays in the TM is stuff that I do not need to pack and unpack.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:56 PM   #5
SCBillandJane
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I admire you for wanting to continue the camping experience with a city slicker. To ease him into camping I have a few suggestions.
1 Go to full facility campgrounds that have electricity, water, and sewer hookups at first. Don't dump the sewer and gray water until full. Do dump when leaving.
2 Know what you will serve for meals. Brown meat at home and freeze ready to add to recipe.
3 The refrigerator is small but a surprising amout of meals are possible with planning.
4 Have a dedicated part of the garage/storage room for camper stuff like folding chairs or grill that you might not keep in the camper so you can grab them quickly and not leave them at home.
5 For a campfire experience without the work, pack charcoal lighter fluid and buy the wood at the campsite.
6 Practice backing the Trailmanor with your husband in advance. Know how to stay it sight of his mirrors and still be able to see that tree, the picnic table, and the water pipe.
Be willing to understand that the driver can only do so much and might need to start over.
7 The toilet and shower are the two biggest worries to the beginner camper. Many state parks have those a short walk from the camp site. I don't suggest dry camping until you are familiar with your camper even though that can be very rewarding.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:38 AM   #6
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Fabulous! Thanks so much for all your input and great space/time saving tips. I "think" my husband can handle it if we figure in about 1 hour on each end of the trip. We're going to go look at it again today with all this great input handy to consider. Then we'll think it through over the weekend. Generally though, this is our only option for camping given all our "requirements" So I'm hoping it works out. Thanks again!!
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:18 PM   #7
ng2951
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Quote:
...1) Prior to leaving for a trip -- Plug in TM for 24 hours in driveway to get refridge cold, unfold to add the water and load up, put water/chemicals in toilet, fold back up, attach to car and go.
On this site somewhere is a checklist for the TM. I found it a little unwieldly and the pardette and I built a graphical one that works well for us.

My recommendation is to inventory what you will put where. Depending on your trip, you will of course have items in this inventory that you will not want to bring, or new items that you will. However, once you figure out what and where everything will be stowed it makes life a lot easier and you won't forget anything significant.

I also agree with other posters here that it is a good idea to practice backing up; that will try your marriage vows! Agree on how you will give directions. I believe "left" and "right" do not work well and suggest "street" and "curb(side)" as better directional cues.

On water and stuff consider where you are going. If water is going to be available, you can fill everything when you get there. However, if you are going to be out in the wilds, it is sometimes not a bad idea to put at least some water in the holding tanks. If you need water while on the road, you can open one of the drain (winterizing) valves from the outside without opening the trailer up.

Another thing to do, is purge and fill the hot water tank and heat it up on shore power before you leave. It is surprising how hot the tanks stays. So if you are dry camping this will save you propane.

If you are at a campground with utilities, you can wait till you get there to heat up the tank on their nickle. If you want it to heat up really fast use both a/c and propane: real fast recovery.
Quote:
2) Setup -- Park, detatch car, unfold everything (I think I've got a handle on that part), connect electricity/water/sewer if in campground OR turn fridge to propane use, open awning, and have fun.
Like I said earlier, parking will try your marriage until you have done it a few times...er, that is parking of course. FRS walkie-talkies can help. Harbor Freight also has some magnetic tennis ball antennas that help you locate the hitch when connecting up. They are OK for $10.

One other tip that I learned last November. If you are in a park and expect freezing weather, fill the water tank. We didn't do that and we had to wait till evening to take our morning shower.
Quote:
3) Take down -- Unconnect electricity/water/sewer or turn fridge back to battery, expell unused white water tank, fold down, connect back up to car, haul to dump station, dump gray water and toilet, go home.
Dump the toilet FIRST, then the gray water. You use the gray water to flush the sewer line. I open the winterizing valves as I leave. Just remember it takes a while for it to drain. So while you are driving, do not get too concerned if you see a liquid spraying from the TM.
Quote:
4) Winterize -- Sales person said to just dump everything and put 1 cup of antifreeze in all drains including toilet. Is this right?
I haven't had any problems so far since it is that easy. Winter temps around here rarely drop much below 20 degF.
Quote:
QUESTION: Does the water tank and toilet need to be expelled after EVERY trip? Meaning can the unused water and toilet (if under 60 flushes) stay as is between camp outings? I thought you just kept the toilet chemicals until the 60 flushes then dump, but sounds like even if we only use the toilet a few times a trip, it needs to be dumped. Any thoughts?
I certainly dump mine every few days. If I am dry camping, I want that toilet just as fresh as can be.

I have found that after going 3 or 4 days, if you drop additional packet toilet chem (we have been using formaldehyde-free stuff) that will keep it going a few more days. Whether formaldehyde-free works better than formaldehyde chems I do not know. Just be aware these chems are extremely poisonous and keep it away from the kids.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:45 PM   #8
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Besides the toilet chemicals that are there to help break up solid waste, some of us use Potty-Toddy deodorizing tablets that we get from Camping world.

If it is really hot I use two tablets.
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:23 PM   #9
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The checklists on this site are wonderful aids. The one from Ed Felker was the grand-daddy, and still perhaps the most favored. The one from Mike and Kelley is more detailed, and even more useful for the newcomer.

But they are a bit intimidating at first view. I suggest you leave them alone (or at least not force them on your husband) until you have made your decision.

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Old 06-18-2009, 04:29 PM   #10
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If you don't have them lying around the house, visit you favorite kitchen store (or Dollar store) and buy a set of plates, silverware, cups, plastic glasses, and associated meal accessories and leave them in the TM, One less thing to pack. You can also get small inexpensive appliances (coffee pot toaster etc) you can leave in the TM. You might also do this with bedding and towels. The items you move in and out regularly, can be stored in large plastic bins when at home. Go for lightweight items. Makes transporting to TM easy and keeps all the stuff in one place.
Then just go and enjoy.
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