Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Trailer Day

When you live away from hookups and dump stations in a trailer, eventually you have to haul the thing in to dump yer poop tank. I had another nagging problem—my battery wouldn’t hold a charge. I was being forced to run my generator for longer and longer each day just to keep the basics working. It was becoming clear that the battery in her was dying. Used trailer, used battery.

The snow that hit us on Sunday afternoon made the road nasty. On Monday it was heinous. I drove out Monday morning on a mostly frozen road then drove back in Monday afternoon on pudding. The truck has adobe mud stuck all over it.

I knew that it would be a disaster to haul the trailer on that road before it firmed up some, so I took Tuesday mid-day to ride on the slightly mushy trails, then started preparing to haul the trailer in after 2:00 PM Tuesday. I needed go into Tucson a little ways to get my battery tested and possibly buy a new one, then dump poop, take on propane and fresh water, get some gas, etc.

I spent a bit more time securing items inside the trailer, since I had been hit pretty hard by things shifting around when I ran over rough road on the way in. I took everything out of the medicine cabinet. I laid the broom and wastebasket down onto the floor. I put food and utensils carefully into cabinets so they wouldn’t be able to shift. Then I locked up the POD, hooked her up to the truck, and drove on down the road as carefully as possible.

Everything took too long, so I found myself heading into Tucson at around 4:30, which of course means rush hour. I managed to get to the battery shop before it closed and my battery was judged to be a decrepit, old POS. This was actually not bad news. If I had been told that the battery was fine, I would have been either been fated to run a generator for 4 hours a day or start trying to figure out what was consuming all my juice. I happily paid 80 bucks for a new battery, and then headed back out north, rush hour now in full swing.

I got to the poop dump and unlocked the trailer to do some things inside. Oh my goodness (this is not what I actually said) things had happened in my little POD. The stovetop cover was on the floor, upside down. Also there was some kind of fluid all over the floor. Of course my first thought was sewage, since I knew the tank was pretty full. I carefully smelled the fluid. It smelled like root beer. And something else. I opened the fridge and said some bad words. The cap had come off jar of Newman’s Own Salsa and there was salsa all over everything. Several bottles of IBC root beer had sprayed all over. They had not broken, and the caps had not come off, but apparently the pressure in them had gotten high enough to breach the seals. Three of the six bottles were at least 2/3 empty. And everything in there had moved. I said some more bad words.

At least there wasn’t broken glass. That’s about the only good thing I can say. I did what needed to be done in there and then got on with the business of dumping. It was getting dark, so I figured I better just stay on task and do what needed to be done. Before I headed back out to the venue I threw out the root beer bottles that had been emptied, the empty salsa jar, and scooped up and dumped as much of the glop as I could quickly. I put the still full root beers up in the truck cab along with the stovetop cover. Then I hauled her back out that bumpy road as carefully as I possibly could, wincing hard when I rolled as slowly as possible over the badly washboarded parts.

Live and learn. Not only do I need to do even more to secure the POD when it’s time to run her over bad roads, but I need to consider the cost of running over bad roads with her at all. Certainly the shaking and jarring doesn’t do the whole thing any good, even if it doesn’t shake open a jar of salsa.

No comments: