We narrowly escape Buffalo

Disaster Averted!

First, a little background: The coach has three separate tanks for fresh, gray and waste (black) water.  Indicator lights on the inside of the coach give an estimate of tank levels.  Since fresh water is heavy and almost universally available at campgrounds, we keep about 1/3 of a tank when traveling.   The gray and black tanks are usually dumped before hitting the road.  Through experience (sad experience at times) we learned to use the tank indicator lights as gross approximations.  Trying to keep 1/3 of a tank of fresh water can be tricky as water use fluctuates with meal preparation,  dish washing, showers, etc.

The fresh water system on the coach generally works the same as a house.  When we arrive at a campsite, fresh water (city water) flows into the coach through a pressure regulator, water filter and hose.  If the city water pressure is too low we allow the water pump on the coach draw additional water from the tank to insure an even flow at constant pressure.  Again, the trick is maintaining the right amount of fresh water in the tank.

A manually operated valve diverts city water into the fresh water tank.  Hopefully, the manual valve operator (Marty) can remember to watch the indicator lights and shut off the water before the tank overflows.  The manufacturer anticipated the fresh water tank might be overfilled and designed the system to dump excess water under the coach.  To avoid dumping water, we have a cardboard sign we leave in the center of the floor as a reminder the tank is filling.   This is not a foolproof system since the operator (Marty) also has to remember to use the sign.

Now, back to the story. . .

When we arrived at the campground a few days ago, it had been raining, the ground was soggy and we were concerned about getting stuck in the mud.  With a gross vehicle weight of 31,000 lbs, we have to be careful about what we drive on.  During our stay here, the ground slowly dried out.  Yesterday evening while preparing to leave, the indicator light showed fresh water was low and I manually turned the valve to add water to the tank.  FOUR HOURS LATER, at 11:00 PM, a brief sound from the water pump was enough to jog my memory and instantly initiate activity.  My worst fears were realized when I went outside and found myself ankle deep in cold water.  The rig was sitting in the middle of a small lake!  Opening the door to the water system was like dumping a large fish tank.  After hastily shutting off the valve, water was still gushing from the bottom of the coach.  Even the compartment where the hoses are stored had three inches of standing water.  There was water everywhere!  The ground was a soggy mess and the full water tank probably weighed 900 pounds.  There was only one thing left to do: lay awake all night and wonder how I was going to get the coach free in the morning.

This morning, we awoke and mercifully it was not raining.  I quickly checked under the coach; the water was gone and the ground was marginally firm enough to drive on.  With rain in the forecast, it was time to quickly come up with a plan.  We decided to skip the workout (this was an easy decision) and get the coach onto pavement before the approaching rain made matters worse.  We sprang to action and by 8:30 I engaged the ATC (Automatic Traction Control) and slowly drove the coach onto the campground roadway.  Once on solid ground, we drove to the dump station to drain the black, gray and excess fresh water from the tanks.  Finally, things were back to normal and we hit the road.  It was a close call and we could have ended up calling a tow truck to pull us free.  This also confirms an old adage: Most problems in life are self inflicted.

Due to the rain, the drive to Erie, Pennsylvania was slow and deliberate.  We arrived at the KOA and squeezed into a tight spot, set up the coach and waited for Don, a former co-worker and his wife Josie to stop by for a visit.  They arrived around 5:30 PM and after a quick tour of the coach they hosted us at a local restaurant.  We talked over dinner and into the night after returning to the coach.  It was good to catch up on old times, hear what was currently happening in their life and their plans for the future.  It was truly a delight to visit with them and renew an old friendship.

Before going to bed, we watched the Weather Channel to see what tomorrow’s drive would be like.  Lo and behold, so much rain had fallen on Buffalo the Weather Channel featured the flooding there as one of their top stories.  Truly, we had narrowly averted disaster.  That night, we slept soundly and dreamed pleasant dreams.