Help is Never Far Away

help-is-never-far-awayWhen I arrived back in South Carolina a bit over a month ago, the highs were in the 70’s and it felt like old man winter had decided not to visit the Southeast this year.

The past two weeks have felt much more seasonable. Days where it rains more than it doesn’t, and there have even been a few nights where it got below freezing. Luckily it hasn’t been the same degree of below freezing as Kansas, I left my fresh water faucet on a bit and the gray tank open and had no issues.

But it’s still cold enough to where I need my hot water heater to be functioning in order to take a shower, and it isn’t. Well, it might be, it’s complicated. Up until now I’ve never needed to use it because I’ve always stayed at campgrounds with bath houses. When warm water was needed for washing dishes, it could be heated up on the stove.

My older Casita is equipped with one of those water heaters that is strictly propane only. Using propane exclusively isn’t a problem in my eyes, in fact when I finally get out for some boondocking it’ll conserve my battery power. But since it doesn’t even have an electric starter that means going outside and manually lighting the pilot when I want hot water. After getting all of the air out of the line it’s lighting easily enough, but being able to physically see the flame, I’m thinking it doesn’t quite look right.

Let me stop right here and say that after having spent nearly nine months living in a RV, I can now safely say what my least favorite thing about it is. It’s not all that extra length when towing. Nor is it hooking up, unhooking and setting up, or backing up. It’s not the limited amount of space, the lack of insulation, storage, or the higher rate of pest problems. It’s having to do all the fixes. I’m not a fixer-upper kind of person at all. I’m learning how to do this stuff out of necessity because I enjoy the other aspects of being a RVer, but I don’t like to do it and I’m not very gifted at it.

So to overcome my lack of knowledge on the subject and get boost of confidence, I’ve enlisted the online help of the good people at one of the Casita groups I’m a part of with pictures and descriptions of the burner flame and I have a few simple things to try on my own before I ‘pull in the big guns’ and take Cas back to a shop to get it looked at professionally.

I gotta say that having a community of people who have the same kind of RV to ask questions of is an extremely valuable asset, and for all you future RVers out there I can’t recommend joining a group for the type of RV you end up buying enough. I mean really, RVing is complicated enough as it is and it’s impossible to learn everything before you start.

On occasion it might seem like I have it all figured out, but that’s only because I tend not to post the “how do I” questions here on IO. You all get the ‘how to’ articles after the fact. It’s the Casita communities I went to when I needed to change the anode rod, when I had the leaky rivet that needed replacing, and how I decided which type of weight distribution hitch was going to work best.

Even as a solo RVer, you don’t have to learn the ins and outs of the lifestyle alone these days when you can hop online. You’ll find plenty of RVers happy to lend their experience and expertise to an issue. Or if getting online isn’t an option (due to poor campground WiFi reception perhaps, ahem), I’ve found that RVers in general are a friendly and helpful lot, and I’ve gotten plenty of help along the way from my neighbors in the various parks I’ve stayed at. Help is never far away, as long as you can gather up the courage to ask.

And as always, I welcome questions or comments on RVing if you have any. It may take me some time to respond to longer e-mail questions, but I do get to them all eventually!

* * *

Oh, and for any who are wondering after my last post, yes my eye is fine. I got a bit of something in it while I was at work on Sunday and had to go to the emergency room when I was unable to get it all out myself. It wasn’t really an emergency, more of an urgent care thing but those aren’t open on Sundays as it turns out.

After it being stuck in my eye for hours, just as the doctor was coming in to see me it came out of course, but there was still an abrasion on my cornea to deal with. I got to wear an eye patch and play pirate for the rest of Sunday and was prescribed some antibiotic eye drops. With no pain, discomfort, or signs of infection I can only guess that it is healing up fine. Never a dull moment around here.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Lynn on February 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    That is the part that has me most concerned. I am not handy either and have been reading blogs for ages, especially single women RVer’s and it does seem that they spend an inordinate amount of time and energy fixing stuff. I don’t know if things would improve with having a new unit or not. If one goes into it knowing this to start with and being prepared for it, hopefully it won’t take away from the rving experience.

    • Becky on February 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Yeah Lynn. RVs are complicated, and they break down more easily because everything is in motion all the time. I think I described it in the past as equivalent to having your house undergo earthquake like forces on a regular basis.

      So you go into it knowing that while you won’t need to spend as much time cleaning, but some of that time will be spent on fixes instead. Everyone needs to decide for themselves if it’s worth it or not.

  2. Tracy on February 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    check into a “hotrod” that way you will have electric and gas. It usually wires to a switch, they sell on line and at camping world.
    Tracy recently posted..Is This A Test?My Profile

    • Becky on February 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Like I said I’m fairly satisfied with the fact that it’s propane only, if it’d had an electric start I might not have noticed that the flame was off at all to begin with. That being said I’ll certainly keep this in mind. Thanks Tracy and happy to have you following along. 🙂

  3. Jack on February 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Ive had to replace my propane regulator (sits on top of propane tank) twice. A bad regulator will cause low pressure hence a yellow flame. Most Rv repair issues can be (surprise) on utube. Good luck! Jack

    • Becky on February 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks for the tip Jack. My flame wasn’t exactly yellow but wasn’t as blue as it could have been either. On the advice of my Casita people I cleaned out the burner tube for possible spiderwebs which interferes with the gas/air mixture and now the flame looks better. Still have some debris in the back of the burn chamber to remove before I start using it.

  4. MARVIN on February 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm


    Becky ,

    I keep a binder with the data / specifications of the various components . I also collect any stray manuals that can help share
    the burden of maintenance .

    I read the RV.NET , Escapees , IRV2 forums , and I have a list of people that I consider as knowledgeable to ask for help .

    RV Tech Library is also a good read .

    I do 95% of the preventive and scheduled maintenance .

    The neat thing about the RV community , is that there is always
    someone that will help .

    An RV Dealer is the last choice !

    Be Safe – Glad the eye was minor !


    • Becky on February 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Yep Marvin I too keep all the manuals for my RV in a binder. That’s what I looked at first when I saw what the flame looked like but the drawing of the proper and improper flame wasn’t very helpful so that’s when I turned to the online community. Like you I frequent Escapees and also, although the Casita Club and Casita Forums are great for questions specific to my type of RV.

      I’m glad the eye turned out to be a minor problem, hopefully the water heater also proves to be similarly simple. 🙂

  5. Kim on February 22, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I’m with ya on the DIY stuff. I hate it and I’m terrible at it. Like you, I’ve relied a great deal on my online buddies to help me with my new-to-me RV.

    Glad your eye is OK!
    Kim recently posted..Southwest Trip Wrap-UpMy Profile

    • Becky on February 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Good to hear I’m not the only one Kim. I really don’t know what I’d do without all the RVers on the internet. 🙂

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