Road gators ?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you hit one of those discarded tire treads (sometimes called road gators) from those tractor trailers going down the highway with your RV?

Well wonder no more!

Sit back, relax and keep reading because life is full of suprises.

Here is what my experience says will happen.

About 1 millisecond after you hit the road gator (tire tread), it will reach up and rip your black tank value from under your RV. In the next millisecond there will be a vapor cloud in your rear view mirror, to which you’ll likely say, “Hmm, what is that?”

The more you think about that cloud, the more your mind races trying to assertain what the heck could cause that.

Suddenly your mind races to “What do the tank levels look like?” If you have a fantastic wife like mine, she will go take a look at the tank levels. She said the fresh water is 2/3 full, propane is full, gray tank is empty and black tank is 1/3. Oh CRAP, when you left this morning black tank was 2/3 full.

Looking in the rear view again reveals the black tank drain is not visible.

Let’s find a safe place to pull off and see what’s going on.

The remainder of this blog post gets really crappy. If you get squeamish stop reading now. And there will be no photos. You’re welcome!

We found a county road and pulled off to take a look. Actually a look wasn’t necessary, just take a whiff. Sure enough the black tank drain is missing and the black tank is dripping stuff you really DON’T want to envision let alone smell.

On our RV, the gray tank is behind the rear axle and has a hose and pump to move the gray tank contents up and over the axle to exit through the same drain the black tank uses. This setup makes it kind of nice to rinse the “stinky slinky.”

On this adventure however the gray tank hose is doubling as a black tank drain lifeline. The black tank drain was dragging along under the RV as we went down the road. In this case that’s a good thing as I don’t have to try and find a black tank drain and valve. Woo Hoo!!!

But wait there is more fun to be had. Turns out the contents of the black tank seems to cling to the bottom and back of the RV as well as the bikes on the bike rack AND the tow car.

We called a mobile RV tech to come and assist. That was enlightening. 50 dollar trip charge plus $2.50 per mile and $150 an hour plus parts and tax. Just doing the quick math that comes out to … A LOT!

Plan B. Do it yourself. YUCK! Here we go. Install rubber gloves on my appendages. Thank goodness we have rubber gloves. I’m contemplating picking up a fully pressurized hazmat suit. 😉

I used several zip ties (zip strips) to hold the gray tank hose back up under the nasty underside of the RV where it belongs. I also zip stripped the black tank drain back in place, however the coupler from the black tank to the valve is no longer in a water tight condition, so the grossness just keeps dripping.

With everything zip tied back up under the fragrant RV we can get back on the road and see if we can find some parts to get this repaired.

HEY! THERE’S A TALL CAR WASH! Let’s get some of this cleaned up.

In theory a car wash should clean up the RV and the tow car, in reality, you can spray soap and water until you are blue in the face, the stench remains. 🙁

We found a “Big R”. Never seen one of those before. They seem like a Tractor Supply type place. Fortunately they had a 3 inch rubber coupler. More rubber gloves and a quick install and FINALLY the dripping of stuff you REALLY DON’T WANT DRIPPING is fixed.

I suspect the gray tank hose is damaged but we’ll deal with that when the gray tank is full so we can see if and where the hose leaks.

So we’re back on the road and looked up a “Blue Beacon.” Blue Beacon is a tractor trailer washing service. They are usually next to truck stops and they offer RV washing services. Well after a trip to Blue Beacon for an RV bath and tow car bath, I can honestly say they both still STINK.

So my advice would be AVOID those road gators sunning themselves on the highway and if you happen to be camping in the same campground as us, you may want a campsite upwind from us.

Fortunately, our next stopover was a Bison Ranch so the stench was concealed by the bison fragrance.

In time the stench went away but the memory has not faded and I will avoid the road gators to the best of my ability from now on.