Sisters of the Sun

Once in a while a song comes along that sounds more profound then perhaps it actually is. For me it's the way the lyrics have almost religious connotations. Or maybe it's the way the lyrics and melody flow together and stir up profound emotions. Bob Dylan songs do it for some people. I always thought Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" was so profound until years later I read the lyrics. Still a good song but the lyrics don't revel any greater truths.
The sun sets on another successful installation day.

Let's go back to July 1972 for the release of Jackson Browne's debut album, Saturate Before Using.  His single from that album, "Rock Me On The Water" has always seemed like an important, like important to mankind, type of song.

These lyrics have even more meaning given the many crises facing the world today:
Oh people, look around you
The signs are everywhere
You've left it for somebody other than you
To be the one to care
You're lost inside your houses
There's no time to find you now
Your walls are burning and your towers are turning
I'm going to leave you here and try to get down to the sea somehow
In "Rock Me On The Water", Browne sings about the healing properties of water.  Water is necessary to life that's why I installed a 21 gallon fresh water tank, a sink and toilet in my new camper.

In my previous post, What a Difference a Week Makes, I had installed a front and back wall and roughed in the toilet and bed. I learned the water tank wouldn't fit underneath as I had originally planned so it had to go under the bed.  During this phase, I got sidetracked from my plumbing work to deal with water in a different way, a diabolical rainwater leak!

Since getting the trailer in June there have been no water leaks. So, it was puzzling to come out one morning in November after a nighttime rain storm to find water on the floor, just inside the door.  I really hate water leaks in homes, cars, campers, or anywhere.  They are difficult to troubleshoot and difficult to repair. Water is hard to tame. Many times it's present where you don't want it and missing where you'd like it to be.

I dried it up. Luckily there was little damage to the floor. I suspected the leak was coming from a seam in the exterior aluminum skin where one section laps over the next.  I got the hose and squirted that seam. That was where the leak was coming from. To try and seal it I used silicone caulk, the same stuff I used for the windows, on the inside wall. After letting it dry overnight I hit it with the hose again. Damn. Still leaking.

Let this be a lesson to all you folks who think you can solve water leaks with half-measures. Yes, you've got to go all the way. I took all the screws out of the seam on the exterior and slipped a Popsicle stick between the two aluminum layers. That gave me just enough room to stick the nose of my caulk tube between the layers and like a madman I pumped that gap full like it was a jelly doughnut. I put the screws back in and coated the outside of the seam with silicone. Then I gooped the inside wall with that stuff from top to bottom. I let it dry for 24 hours. The repair is ugly as sin but it doesn't leak anymore. Form follows function, bitches.
As always, click any photo for an easier-to-see version

The back wall was nice and cozy but I missed the sunlight I got with the back door down.  It was isolating. I thought it would be best to have a small window that would let light in and allow a person to pass a beer or other needed item between the main cabin and the back porch. Even the cheapest home window was $100. I found a 14" wide by 21" high window designed for sheds or playhouses for $37.  It fits well, it's well built and was easy to install. Problem solved!

As I talked about in my post, Camper or Trailer, I'm a little uptight when it comes to cutting holes in the trailer that go all the way through from outside to inside because every hole is a potential water leak. I'm slowly learning to overcome my fears. I needed a way to get fresh water from the outside to the water tank inside. I punched a hole through the left side in the rear storage area; installed a new gravity fill water inlet and ran the pipe through the back wall and hooked it up to the water tank.

I ran clear 1/2 inch hose from the tank, through the floor, under the trailer and along the frame. Then I punched it back up through the floor near the sink area. That's where I mounted my water pump. After the pump I have a splitter that takes one water hose to the sink and another through the front wall to the toilet.

I'm going to borrow a term used in boat building and refer to my kitchen area as a galley, although it's not much more them a large cabinet that houses my sink, refrigerator, microwave with countertop space for a small, 2-burner propane stove. I framed in my galley which is 60" long by 22" wide. I used some plywood leftover from the bed area of the popup for the countertop. I covered that with leftover Formica from our kitchen remodel.  I'm using a 7 gallon water container to catch the grey water from the sink. It's held in by a bungee cord and can be removed and emptied by hand.  The office-sized refrigerator was also scavenged from the popup. The guy I bought the popup from said it was brand new and it looks it. There's space on the left for an under-counter microwave, perhaps mounted on a sliding shelf.

Getting electricity from the galley to the power center (one side of the camper to the other) looked to be a real challenge.  It's next to impossible to route the wires over the ceiling. I needed to get wires for my 12 volt water pump, two 110 leads and a fat, 30 amp shore power cable from on side to the other. The best, quickest, path was to go under the floor. I used a 1.5 inch electrical conduit and two 90 degree elbows.  My anxiety level cranked up to 11 again when I installed an exterior 30 amp shore power receptacle. 

My original plan was to house all my electrical system components under the couch. I'm calling that the power center.  The available space tuned out to be much smaller then I had hoped for. It's more the size of a loveseat rather then a couch.  The main loveseat/power center tuned out to be about 25 inches wide by 54 inches long. Still large enough to house all the components - 110 breaker box, 12 volt fuse panel, 2-100 amp hour deep cycle AGM batteries and a 12 volt to 110 volt inverter.

I've come a long way toward having fully functioning power and water systems.  In my next dispatch I'll install the critical electrical components and start testing the systems.  I mean, when you have fully functioning water and power it's not just a trailer.  After that you gotta call it a camper, right?

NEXT POST: Bringing It All Back Home

Enjoy Linda Ronstadt's version of Rock Me On The Water, of course.