A Little Night Nightmare

A scenic drive through Maryland and West Virginia escorts us to our next resting place in Morgantown, WV, Chestnut Ridge Campground. We are headed back to Alum Creek in Ohio to get the grey tank repaired and then spending a few nights in nearby Delaware State Park before heading out West to Colorado and California. And then it happens, AGAIN. WE ARE LOCKED INSIDE THE RV! It is pouring rain outside and it is around 9 PM on Sunday evening. Emergency Roadside Assistance receives our phone call. While we wait for a locksmith to call us back Jeff and I scope out the internet and read other folks’ horror stories with locks especially the TriMark brand which looks like the one installed on our RV!

lock outside

lock inside

Jeff shimmies out the window and tries, to no avail, to unlock the *!#!#* door from the outside. Finally he scoots the picnic table over to the open window and hoists himself back inside. And then the dogs need to go out! Just picture me handing the dogs through the window to Jeff and then Jeff handing them back in to me. Murph is no problem but Casey requires some crazy maneuvers on my part that are not too graceful or smooth! Meanwhile we find out that a locksmith, charging $150 plus tax, could possibly help us out within 2 hours. We’re tired, upset, and disappointed with our brand new RV that keeps letting us down. But we are not frantic like before. We have learned a few things along the way now to becoming full-time RVers; nothing is perfect or simple or easy or worth fretting about for too long. We opt to wait till morning, secretly hoping that the locks will fix themselves overnight. Wrong again! For $106 a locksmith disassembles the faulty door mechanism and shows Jeff how to use a screw driver to get in and out of the RV. At least we can leave the RV and get back in.

First Night… Next Morning

In the morning we troubleshoot our water pump problems and decide to fill the fresh water tank fuller. Maybe we didn’t have enough of a water level for the pump to operate properly. Since our campsite is electricity-only we have to take the RV to the dump station to fill up with potable water. We secure the inside contents. Actually most of them are in containers sitting on the sofa, bed, and table benches. We haven’t even moved in yet.



The slides pull in. The stabilizer jacks rise and we pull away to fill the fresh water tank. As we arrive at the waste station, another vehicle pulling away suddenly stops. The driver runs over to my window and informs us that we are dragging our electrical plug-in cord! Sure enough, we can see it sticking out like a tail from the rear camera! Jeff and I thank him sheepishly and once he leaves we have a good chuckle as we imagine ourselves in the movie, National Lampoon Vacation!! But wait, there’s more. As Jeff collects the cord and wraps it up into its storage compartment, he takes out his frustration on locking the storage unit. Did you guess the result yet? You’re right, the key breaks off in the lock! Luckily we have a spare set but with our luck we decide to lock up only when necessary and to be very careful when using the key.

Needless to say, the filled water tank does not take care of the water pump problem so once again we are on the phone with Roadside Assistance. They know us by name now! Secretly they probably call us the Griswolds! We stand by waiting for a call from an RV technician who will try to walk us through the fix. Meanwhile we call Reserve America to find out which site we have reserved. Luckily it is just around the bend. Not so lucky is that we have to move two more times during our eight night stay.

Back to the water pump… Tech support calls and Jeff runs in and out and out and in again doing this and that. It still doesn’t work. Finally the technician diagnoses the problem as an improperly installed water pump and advises us to call our RV dealer. Instead of the Service Department we call the sales person who sold us our RV back in Cincinnati. Luckily there is a Colerain RV dealership near Alum Creek and we get taken care of ASAP.

Colerain RV alum creek rvdealercolumbusohio.com

Thank you, Dave, for your clout and concern! It turns out the problem with the water pump was a missing drain plug to the fresh water tank. Apparently Jeff had inadvertently closed off something to stop the fresh water from pouring out and this disabled the pump. But for now the problem is solved and we have running water and a flushable commode. We opt to take showers at the bath house, however, to minimize our need to keep filling up the fresh water tank and emptying the black and grey tanks.

This is how I coped:



We spend the rest of the day finally settling in to our RV and finding a place for everything so that we can keep everything in its place.

We’re Off… Sort Of

At 4:00 we close on the house and take off to load the remaining items we own into the RV and head out for Alum Creek north of Columbus to get used to the RV lifestyle and spend some time with my son, his wife, my 5 month old grandson, and my other son before heading up to Acadia National Park in Maine.

Then the misadventures begin, one right after another! Somehow, we get locked into the RV. Yes, you heard correctly. As Jeff and I remain calm, we both try unsuccessfully to open the door from the inside so that we can exit. We laugh and try again and again. Eventually we stop laughing and Jeff jimmies himself out of the passenger’s side window. He tries to open the door from the outside. He tries to open the door with the key. Nothing works! I am trapped inside with two dogs and Jeff is trapped outside! The RV dealership’s service department, of course, is closed for the day by now. What are we to do? We frantically search for our Roadside Assistance Emergency phone number and talk to a dispatcher who attempts to find us a locksmith ASAP which translates into within the next hour. We have no home except for the RV and we are stuck on the storage lot in Miamitown. While we wait and hope for help, Jeff successfully hitches the tow and car. This was his main concern, not getting locked out from both inside and outside the RV!

We are off Casey

Meanwhile my son from Columbus texts me asking if we are on the road yet. I text him our situation and he calls me. We laugh and make jokes about the useful situations for having a supply of Depends Diapers on hand.

Roadside Assistance updates us that there is a problem locating a locksmith but an RV tech has been contacted who will try and walk us through troubleshooting our problem with the door. We wait. My BFF has already offered us a place to stay overnight. Then a miracle happens! Jeff attempts to open the door from the outside with the key once again, and it works!!!!!!! Jeff and I practice opening and closing the door several times with success and we pull away towards Alum Creek as I try to contact Roadside Assistance. Eventually the RV tech calls and we discuss some mumbo jumbo about oiled latches which Jeff and I translate as crappy door locks.

We end up driving in the dark which Jeff NEVER EVER wanted to do and then it starts raining, of course! I text high fives to my son and his wife and receive a call from my third son in California and relate to him our hilarious and harrowing experience. All is well. Hold that thought!

Shortly after we leave Cincinnati I learn that my husband does not have directions to Alum Creek campground, does not quite remember our campsite number, and cannot pull up the confirmation number on his phone’s email. I google map directions to Alum Creek State Park and we arrive in the middle of nowhere at 11:00 PM. I re-google and we find the campground but it is too dark to see the campsite numbers clearly AND the numbers we can see don’t seem to be in a logical order. So, we pull into an empty site, unhitch the car and tow dolly and move the RV once again around to the dump station to fill up the fresh water tank in the dark, may I add. As Jeff starts filling the tank we hear water gushing out from somewhere. Jeff discovers that the tank needs to be plugged but he has to lay underneath the flowing water to do this. Jeff gets soaked as he fills the water tank. Then, when he starts the water pump NOTHING HAPPENS! We have no water! It is 12:30 AM and we are exhausted, frazzled, and barely talking to each other! We return to our empty site and Jeff pees in the brush and I pee in a cup. The nearby bath-house takes care of our other needs.