We’d planned an overnight stop in Yuma, Arizona to have Island Girl washed and waxed for a very cheap rate that we found out about on the Wheeling It blog.
And we were very satisfied with the service provided by Robert’s RV Wash, Wax & Carpet Cleaning. Not quite like a wax job we’d do ourselves (we are persnickety) but certainly very well worth the price they charge. There are multiple companies doing the mobile wash and wax that you can find either online or in the “White Sheet”, a little pamphlet listing all manner of local services.The going rate seems to be $1 a foot for a wash and another $2 a foot for a hand wax. This is less than a third of what we’ve seen in other parts of the country. All 39′ of Island Girl got scrubbed and waxed for a mere $125! She looks wonderful.
But right before we left Quartzsite, we had an unwelcome surprise. As mentioned in the last post, our most expensive purchase by far was a SeeLevel Gauge, an external tank sensor and monitor to measure our fresh water supply and gray and black water volume in the holding tanks more precisely, specifically when we are boondocking as here in the desert.
Ok for the “newbies”, boondocking essentially means you are self-reliant, with no electric, water nor sewer connections and likely in a remote location. So if you plan to boondock for more than a few days, it’s important to manage your electric and water usage. RVs have tank level monitors that provide information on current tank volume of the fresh water, grey water (sink and shower), and black (toilet) holding tanks.
Unfortunately the original sensors, which live inside the tank, often stop working due to gunk buildup. This is a VERY common problem, even in newer RVs. Island Girl is a 2004 model we bought in 2011 and her tank level monitors have never worked properly. Even after multiple cleanings with commercial cleaner and various other products and combinations of products including Borax, Calgon, Dawn, and even a trip with ice cubes in the black tank we were unable to get them to work.
Thus the expensive purchase. But we apparently didn’t do enough research, a caution to all. The SeeLevel Gauges claim on their website that “with nothing inside the tank all the usual problems of corrosion and clogging are eliminated”. And the day they were installed, it seemed that they were. Not so much.
A couple of days later, after we dumped, the readings remained at full. Ugh! When we called the installer, he said that on older coaches there is sometimes enough buildup inside the tank walls to prevent their externally mounted sensors from reading properly. Surprise! So now we were stuck with these non working sensors. With the advice that we should clean the inside of the tanks. Nice.
Okay, now that I’ve totally bored those who are not interested in RV holding tanks, here comes the somewhat happy, though expensive ending.
We contacted a company that pressure cleans the insides of RV tanks, Royal Flush in Yuma with a one day advance notice to see if they were available to clean our tanks. Hector got a good vibe from the lady on the phone who said they were available and that “her boys would stay until the job was done”.
And they did. As it turns out, the three guys who came out are grandfather, father and son. They had to get creative due to some challenges caused by the design of the plumbing in our coach, but they stayed until those monitors worked. And they were friendly and nice and courteous. And funny too.
And we thought that calling them “my boys” was just an expression, but the lady answering the phones was grandma. It’s wonderful to see a family working so well together.
$200 more dollars later, we finally have working sensors.
A learning for owners of older motorhomes considering external sensors. They don’t always work and you may wind up having to pay for a professional cleaning if you get them. And we didn’t appreciate that there was no mention of this possibility at time of purchase.
The good news is Island Girl is sparkly and clean, and we can tell by 5% increments how full each of our tanks is. And thanks to this being Yuma, the winter home of a zillion RVers and lots of companies to service them, our total expense to wash, wax the outside and clean her tanks was still less than the exorbitant prices some folks wind up paying for just washing and waxing their RV’s elsewhere.