I'm writing this almost a year late, but at least that way I can include all the modifications we've made to the truck and how it's performed over the last year. Anyway, we got a new truck. It’s 2 years newer and has 28,000 less miles. Okay, Okay. It’s not new, just new to us. It’s a 2003 F350 with 442,000 miles on it. BUT, it has a Ford remanufactured engine with only 58,000 miles (as o...
Blake’s family says that everyone has a shit story. Somebody forgot to put the cap back on, maybe the lines froze with shit inside, maybe the guy next to you in the dump station didn’t know what he was doing and aimed the wrong way, etc. Ours was when we learned that the shower in our original camper (1996 Elkhorn) was routed to the black water instead of the grey, and we discovered this because the shower started overflowing with….black water… That was the longest drive to the dump of our lives.
So we’ve learned a lot since our first months on the road. And we also never pass up a free dump. There are so many free dump stations throughout the US that we don’t know why anyone would ever pay to dump. We’ve probably spent less than $80 on dump stations in our two years on the road. Two of the times were desperate times in Los Angeles when we had to fly and didn’t want to leave the tanks full for two weeks in the heat. And we also had to pay in Baja a couple times. There are two resources we use for finding free dump stations and water stations:
1. sanidumps.com lists out all free and paid dump stations, with addresses and phone numbers, and information on if non-potable and potable water is available or not. Use the map feature by state to zoom in and see nearby stations. There’s rarely a time I see a dump station that wasn’t listed on Sanidumps. I normally call ahead to make sure the dump station is actually open and nothing has changed.
1. iOverlander: Like we mentioned for finding stealth camp spots in urban areas, iOverlander is also helpful in finding dumps. Most of the dump stations on iOverlander are already on sanidumps, but sometimes check-ins on iOverlander will tell you updated information that Sanidumps doesn’t have, such as if the fee has changed or if the station is locked for the season.
We often need water more frequently than we need a dump station. We can last over 2 weeks without a dump station. If a dump station doesn’t have potable water, and there’s no water stations listed on iOverlander nearby, we have to get pretty creative on where to get water. We’ve filled up from sides of buildings before, including from the side of a gas station after we asked if it was okay. We’ve also found drinking fountains in a park that have a nozzle we can hook our hose up to, if its close enough to the road to park next to it. If we got really desperate, we could fill up our 5 gallon jugs at a sink in a gas station and then pour them into the camper. We have 12V pump for this reason so we don’t have to hold a 5 gallon jug up to the fill hole.
We use Odorlos Tank treatment, but it’s been sold out on Amazon for months ever since everyone got into RVing during the pandemic. We’ve had to use some Walmart knock off brand for a few months and have definitely noticed the bathroom smelling worse than we we had our good Odorlos brand, so definitely buy Odorlos! We recently started buying the grey water treatment as well as a preventative measure to make sure we weren’t getting any food particles into the grey tank.
If we are on a long drive where we know there are multiple dump stations. We do a bleach cycle. At the first dump station, we empty the tanks, then fill both tanks back up 3/4 of the way with water, and add a cup of bleach to both the grey and black. The bleach sloshes around the entire drive to the second dump station, where we dump like normal. It takes some extra time, but it really helps to clean the tanks and make sure the sensors are working to read the levels.
Okay, thats enough about dumping!