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Camper (mis)Adventures – Part IV: Frozen or Flame Broiled?

2010 September 3

neon hot dog

Remember a couple of posts ago when I said that reminders of our mortality were a good thing? That they can energize us and make us feel alive? Well, shortly after the experience that prompted that post, I experienced the other kind of reminder of mortality. The kind that leaves you speechless and nearly immobilized. The kind that makes you realize how lucky you are to be alive in a much more “real” sort of way.

I had not been using the gas in my camper for several weeks since I had left Montana. I had realized that the funky smell was not from my refrigerator as I had originally thought. I had realized that it was in fact a gas leak, and that it was not coming from my fridge but somewhere yet to be identified. My sniffer doesn’t always work well. I get congested and have a few allergies that flare up from time to time so by the time I did smell it, it was probably pretty strong.

I had been using my propane for the fridge, the stove, and would eventually need it for the heater. All of that had to come to an immediate stop once I realized that I had a serious gas leak. And although it took me longer than it should have (as in immediately) I am glad I figured it out… well, I am just glad I figured it out.

[We interrupt this post for a quick camper tally: On the “broken and/or rendered unusable” side we have the sink, shower, hot water heater, shower door, air conditioner, refrigerator, stove, heater, and the lack of a dry shelter. (My camper and I cry together.) On the “working as it should be” side we have a table, a bench/couch, a floor, and a toilet… with a hitch receiver and tires recently joining the working side.]

Although I was toughing it out and figuring out how to get by without water or propane in my camper, it only took a few chilly (ok freezing) nights for me to break down and call and get an estimate on having the gas leak looked at. Luckily I happened upon a good shop run by a good guy who was able to get it in the next day. (I will be elaborating more on this in a later post)

The first really cold night though, I toughed it out. The next really cold night, the person at the front desk of the RV park gave me a space heater to use. That worked great, I could set it at just enough to take the chill off, but it wasn’t a permanent solution since I would still not be able to use it when I was parked somewhere without electric to plug into.

So, I took it in to find out how much work it was going to be to fix it. Well, by the time I came back he had already replaced the damaged copper tubing. He showed the piece to me, and the hole that was in it. I just looked at it, and then looked at him…. and could hardly say a word other than… “that is a really big hole.” In my mind, I was flashing through all the times that I had the gas on for who knows how long for the fridge and then lit the stove…

My only saving grace is that these little campers are far from airtight. There are vents behind the fridge and stove, and I usually had the windows and overhead vent opened at least a little. But… it was still startling. It was still frightening to know how close I could have been to a big “KA-BOOM!”

But, now thanks to a good guy at a good shop who insisted I bring it in because “a gas leak is pretty serious” (which I knew, which is why I had been gas free for weeks) I now can safely use my propane again. Which then shifts the stove, fridge, and heater back over to the working side. The poor hot water heater will have to remain on the broken and/or rendered unusable side however until the grey water tank is replaced. The good news is that we are shifting back in the right direction!

Thanks to the good people of Alaska!

(I know I am way behind an haven’t even made it into Canada in my posts on here yet, let alone Alaska, but I assure you I am working on getting caught up! Waterton National Park post coming soon!)

Previous entries:

Camper (mis)Adventures –  Part I

Camper (mis)Adventures –  Part II

Camper (mis)Adventures –  Part III (Soggy Dreams)

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Jonas Esten-Thomas permalink
    September 5, 2010

    Someone is smiling upon you. You and Koji could have also gone to The Road Taken Project cul de sac in the sky just going to bed as the camper filled with gas.

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