KEYWORDS: trailer, gas, water, drain, air

Have Trailer--Will Travel--Part 19: Lights, Ventilation, Hookups, Camps

David Berg


—By Father David

1. YOU WILL WANT A GOOD LONG ELECTRICAL CORD if you have a socket for 110 or 220 volt electricity‚ usually on the outer side of your trailer or just underneath an outside edge, where you can plug in to the mains of the city, village or trailer park electricity to get full-strength current, usually 110 in the Americas & 220 in Europe‚

2. BECAUSE SOMETIMES THE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS AT SOME OF THE PARKS ARE NOT VERY CLOSE BY, particularly in Europe. In the States most trailer parks have an electrical outlet, water faucet & a sewer connection at each space & all the comforts of home, together with a nice concrete patio, luxury toilets, game rooms & all the rest.

3. BUT IN EUROPE YOU'LL FIND THEY'RE USED TO A LITTLE MORE PRIMITIVE TYPE OF CAMPING & not accustomed to having all the comforts of home while away from home. Therefore you may not have a water faucet right in your trailer space, it might be some distance away. You may not have an electrical connection right at your trailer space either, it might be quite a few yards or over 50 meters away!

4. SO I SUGGEST THE VERY PRACTICAL & CONVENIENT 50 TO 75-METER ELECTRIC CORD which winds onto a little reel that keeps it wound up neatly & out of the way, & also when you unwind it, it unwinds very nicely & doesn't get all tangled up. The hand & elbow method of winding up an electric cord is suitable sometimes if you tie it properly, but it doesn't always work well, especially when you're trying to unreel it, then it can really get into tangles.

5. SO THE WIND-UP TYPE WHICH COMES WITH READY-MADE CONNECTIONS ON A NICE LITTLE WIND-UP SPOOL, like the firemen have for fire hose, is very practical & not too expensive & has the connections already on it for both your trailer & the mains, ready to plug in. Because where you can get electricity it's wise to use it so you don't have to use up your trailer gas bottles, & the electricity usually proves a little bit cheaper than the gas for most types of heating‚ & also you'll need it to have better light.

6. IN FACT, IT MAY BE THE ONLY LIGHT YOU WILL HAVE if your car's disconnected & you don't have gas lights‚ unless you use candles &/or an oil lamp. Because you won't have any battery light, not being connected to the car, & most trailers are equipped only for car lights or electric lights from the mains. A few are equipped with a gas lantern as well‚ which is convenient & nice in cold weather, but damn hot in the Summer!

7. BUT THE LITTLE GAS LIGHT ON A PORTABLE LANTERN–SIZE BOTTLE IS VERY HANDY. You can carry it around with a handle like an old- fashioned oil lantern, if you know what I'm talking about. It has a frosted or clear globe, & inside is a gas mantle you just turn on & light with a match.—They're very convenient, most convenient.—The old gasoline ones you had to pump up, but these run on bottled butane or propane gas, & all you do is raise the lid or open the door or lift the globe, strike a match, turn on the gas & light the mantle.

8. REMEMBER WHENEVER YOU'RE LIGHTING ANY GAS, ALWAYS STRIKE THE MATCH FIRST & hold it next to the thing to be lit—the burner‚ mantle, pilot light or whatever—& then turn on the gas. Never turn on the gas first & then try to strike your match & maybe not get it lit right away & then stick it in the hold of your oven or your gas lamp or your stove & you'll suddenly have an explosion! You've already leaked so much gas & by the time you get your match lit, the gas blows up in you face like it did to me that time in the accident I had that nearly blinded me for life!

9. ALWAYS STRIKE YOUR MATCH FIRST, THEN TURN ON THE GAS! Hold the match close to where the gas is going to come out, & then turn on the gas. (See Grandpa Story‚ No. MCC-3 about how the gas water heater exploded in my face when I was a child!) But these little bottled gas lanterns are very handy—you can use then inside or outside & carry them around by the handle.

10. ON A HOT SUMMER NIGHT WHEN YOU WON'T WANT TO SIT INSIDE WITH A HOT GAS LANTERN, THEY'RE VERY CONVENIENT TO USE OUTSIDE IN THE YARD if you want a little light to eat by or do something after dark, like write or read when you don't have electricity. They're very bright brilliant lights & they'll light up the whole trailer park!—One little gas lantern! All you have to do is just light a match, hold it next to the mantle, a sort of little cloth sack on the end of the gas pipe, turn on the gas & it lights up right away. It sort of carburets at first a little bit & may sort of flame out‚ but then you adjust the gas to just the right pressure to make it glow the brightest after it's lit & warmed up, & you've got a very brilliant light that you can set outdoors on the table or hang on a hook under your awning (not too close!) or use for various outdoor activities outside at night in the Summertime.

11. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THEM FOR INDOORS IN THE SUMMER because they give off quite a bit of heat, but they are very practical for indoor lighting & heating in the Wintertime. So they serve a double purpose in the Wintertime when it's cold: It not only lights the inside of your trailer, but also helps to heat it. When we were travelling with our nearly 40 vehicles & 125 people on the road for a year, many of our vehicles were heated & lit just by these little gas or gasoline lanterns.

12. SOMETIMES THEY'RE EVEN GOOD FOR PEOPLE SLEEPING IN CARS for warmth & security when it's cold & freezing or snowing. Keep the little gas lantern going inside the car, put in a safe place where it can't fall or get anything too hot. Just always be sure all the windows are open a bit at the top to let the fumes out! Because remember, any burning gas, gasoline or oil does give off not only carbon dioxide & burn up the oxygen, but also gives off deadly carbon monoxide fumes which can put you to sleep forever! Before you even know it, you just get drowsy & fall off to sleep & that's it!—You wake up in the Spirit world forever!

13. ONE FRIEND OF OURS CAME HOME & FOUND HIS WHOLE FAMILY OF FIVE DEAD, his wife & four children had gone to sleep in the living room around the table sitting in chairs, because they had an open gas fire & no window open, no ventilation! They just went to sleep sitting right where they were! Apparently the odorless poison gas got to them before they even realised it. One boy was stretched out on the floor like he was trying to get to the gas stove, but he realised it too late!—And they were gone! They just got drowsy & went to sleep! They were a pretty wicked family, so they might have waked up in a worse world!

14. SO DON'T USE ANY FIRE, GAS FIRE OR ANY KIND, INSIDE YOUR TRAILER, EVEN YOUR COOK STOVE, REFRIGERATOR, HEATER, LANTERN OR ANY FIRE‚ UNLESS YOU HAVE PLENTY OF VENTILATION! Now even in cold Winter time you must keep at least one roof ventilator slightly open, maybe about an inch, & one side or end window open about the same—usually the kitchen or bathroom window—& you'll be OK. We usually kept a vent open up in the middle of the trailer roof, plus either the kitchen window slightly ajar or the bathroom window slightly ajar, so the fresh air could come in through the window & bad air exit through the vent. We chose kitchen or bathroom because usually no one was sitting near one of those, & the fresh air could come into the trailer & the bad air could go out the vent in the roof.—Also if it's raining, it doesn't hurt if sink or shower get wet a bit if it blows.

15. YOU MUST HAVE PROPER CIRCULATION OF AIR & VENTILATION IF YOU'RE USING ANY TYPE OF OPEN FIRES IN YOU TRAILER!—And when I say open fires I mean those that are not vented—even your gas heater may not be properly vented, your gas cook stove certainly may not be vented, & even your refrigerator may not be vented & may be giving off deadly carbon monoxide fumes underneath the kitchen sink & the cupboard & leaking out into the room if it's not properly vented!—And your gas lantern definitely gives off a stream of hot air & odorless poison carbon monoxide gas which must be exhausted through the vents & windows if you don't want to get drowsy & go to sleep forever!

16. IF YOU HAVE PLENTY OF VENTILATION & THE BAD AIR IS GOING UP & OUT THE VENTS, YOU'RE SAFE, it's alright, you're not breathing bad air & carbon monoxide, & you're getting good ventilation & plenty of fresh air, & you're OK. It's only if you shut yourself up without proper ventilation & circulation of plenty of fresh air that you run a danger of asphyxiating from having open fires in a confined space like a camper or trailer—or even a room at home!

17. YOU EVEN RUN A DANGER IF YOU SHUT YOUR ROOM UP TIGHT AT NIGHT WITH A POTTED PLANT OR FLOWERS IN YOUR ROOM!—They give off carbon dioxide gas! That's why hospitals always take all the potted plants & flowers & put them out in the hallway out of your room at night, because although plants give off oxygen & absorb carbon dioxide in the daytime, which is very good for you, at night they absorb oxygen & give off carbon dioxide!

18. CARBON DIOXIDE IS ALSO A POISONOUS GAS WHICH YOU GIVE OFF WHEN YOUR BREATHE! You breathe in oxygen & breathe out carbon dioxide, which is not as deadly poison as the odorless carbon monoxide gas from open flames, but it is suffocating & asphyxiating, which is why you can't be closed up in a tight box, like an icebox or an airtight closet without any ventilation without eventually smothering to death if there's no fresh air supply & no outlet for the carbon dioxide!

19. SO WHATEVER ROOM YOU'RE IN, PARTICULARLY WITH SEVERAL PEOPLE N THE SMALL SPACE OF A TRAILER, YOU NEED A LOT OF VENTILATION OR FRESH AIR. So always have some vent & window slightly open even in the coldest freezing weather! We always kept at least one window open, usually the bathroom or kitchen window, open at least about an inch‚ & at least one roof-vent open at least an inch. This way we had a steady flow of fresh air, because the hot bad air goes up out the roof-vent & the cold fresh air flows in through the window.

20. AS THE BAD AIR GOES OUT THE VENT IT PULLS THE COLD FRESH AIR IN THROUGH THE WINDOW FROM OUTSIDE & keeps a constant stream of fresh air flowing through your trailer in spite of all your poisonous fires & bad breath! This is extremely important to learn about the ventilation of trailers, because you're living in a small closed space with many fires & flames & gas & fumes & poisonous gases even from your own breath & all the rest, so you must have plenty of ventilation!

21. THAT'S WHY TRAILERS HAVE SO MANY WINDOWS & VENTS so you can open up for ventilation in Winter & to cool off in the heat of Summer with the breeze‚ because in a small space like that even your body–heat heats up the room! As I've said before‚ trailers are so easy to heat that often in cold or cool weather you'll find that if you nearly close up your trailer, a lot of times you don't even need a fire!

22. IF YOU HAVE A WHOLE FAMILY OF SIX PEOPLE, THERE'S ENOUGH BODY-HEAT TO HEAT THE WHOLE TRAILER‚ so often you don't even need to turn on a heater!—Especially if you're using a gas refrigerator‚ a gas light & you're cooking on a gas stove, you'll probably not even need to turn on your gas heater unless it's very bitterly cold, freezing or zero! That's often enough heat that you've already got.

23. TRAILERS ARE GREAT ENERGY SAVERS, GREAT HEAT SAVERS, GREAT FUEL SAVERS! You'll never have used so little fuel in your whole life in living in any other kind of home or accommodation as you will in a trailer! So they are cut out for the oil shortage! Even when there's no oil at all you will be able to survive in your little trailer when other people are freezing to death in their houses, apartments & hotel rooms! You in your little tiny trailer will be able to keep in warm even with only body-heat if necessary!

24. TRAILER LIVING IS THE MOST ECONOMICAL WAY IN THE WORLD TO LIVE!—Except for living in a tent or camping out without one! Trailer life for a family is ideal, economical, healthful & your total investment is so low that you can buy a trailer or camper for what you might spend on only one year's rent! It is actually that reasonable to buy the size of camp trailer which we have described to you already, with a body not more than 5-meters or 15–feet long, overall length not more than 7-meters or 21-feet long or so.

25.—AND YOU CAN GET'M USED MUCH CHEAPER THAN THAT!—Whereas a new trailer may cost you $5000 or more, you can get them used for much less. I've sometimes said I'd rather buy a used car or a used trailer, because then I know it works & it's been road tested & all the things that were wrong have been fixed because somebody's lived in it or driven it already, rather than a new one which hasn't been tested out, & who knows what may be wrong with it!

26. OF COURSE ON THE NEW ONES YOU USUALLY GET A YEAR'S GUARANTEE, but sometimes even six months on used ones. So if you do buy one, don't forget your guarantee‚ so that if anything goes wrong or is not functioning properly, you can take it back & get it fixed—which most reputable trailer firms will very cheerfully do.

27. TALKING ABOUT HOOK-UPS, in some cases if you have a very good trailer you might have a city water hook-up, or a place to which you can attach a water hose from the fresh water faucet to your trailer & have fresh running cold water in the trailer. However, most of the trailers which are the very mobile campsize travel trailer than I am describing, often do not have the water hook-up. You still have to fill your jerry cans, & you're thankful if you even have a water faucet nearby, much less water piped right into the trailer!

28. BUT SOME OF YOUR BETTER MORE EXPENSIVE EUROPEAN TRAILERS & PARTICULARLY YOUR AMERICAN TRAILERS SEEM TO NEARLY ALL BE EQUIPPED WITH A WATER HOOK-UP, to which you can hook up your water hose to a faucet & have running water in your trailer. These of course also usually have sewer connections too‚ because if you have running water you use a lot of water & you are going to have a lot of waste water, & no trailer park of any kind or hardly even a campground allows dirty stinking waste water to go right out on the ground!

29. YOU EITHER HAVE TO PROVIDE A BUCKET OR A SMALL DRAIN HOSE TO A SEWER CONNECTION‚ or a large sewer tube usually 2 or 3 inches in diameter which goes from your waste water drain pipe underneath the trailer to a sewer hole in the ground provided with your trailer space or nearby, & you usually have to provide this sewer pipe yourself.

30. IT'S USUALLY A FLEXIBLE PLASTIC OR RUBBER PIPE that you can coil up & stick in your trunk or your trailer or car after having rinsed it out thoroughly with clean water when you're packing up to move, & which you can take out & uncoil & attach to your drain pipe & put the other end in the sewer hole when parking or camping. Nearly all trailer parks in the United States provide both a water connection & a sewer connection, & you're expected to hook up your water & sewer pipe, & then you have running water & good waste-water drain disposal without problems.

31. HOWEVER IN EUROPE WE FOUND THAT MOST OF THE TRAVEL TRAILER PARKS DO NOT HAVE WATER CONNECTIONS, & some do not even have sewer connections. So you may be required to keep a bucket under your drain pipe underneath the trailer & keep an eye on it so that it doesn't overflow, & empty it frequently. Which means you have to take it somewhere away from the camp or to the toilets or to some nearby drain hold & pour it down the drain yourself, so that your waste water, toilet water, sink water, bathroom water, dirty dish water & sewage does not drain right out on the ground underneath your trailer! You're not going to want that yourself, because it's unsanitary & attracts bugs & flies & germs & stinks & looks horrible! Neither will your neighbours appreciate it!

32. SO BE SURE THAT YOUR DRAINAGE IS SUFFICIENTLY PROVIDED FOR, either with a drain hose fitted into sewer hole & attached to your drain pipe‚ or a bucket underneath your drain pipe to catch the waste water.—And if it is a bucket, you had better keep your eye on it & be frequently emptying it wherever they provide a place to empty it! Even if there's a stream or lake or sea nearby‚ they won't appreciate your dumping it in there either!

33. USUALLY YOU EITHER HAVE TO CARRY IT TO THE RESTROOM & DUMP IT DOWN A TOILET, OR THEY PROVIDE A NEARBY SEWER HOLE especially for that purpose to empty your buckets & potties. And if so‚ you may have a convenient place then to empty your potty or your trailer toilet, with usually a faucet nearby to rinse it out, & maybe you won't have to go all the way to the public toilets.

34. THE EUROPEAN-TYPE CAMP TRAILER under 15 feet is normally not fitted with a big sewer pipe. Usually there's just a little garden–hose-size drain pipe that goes from the bottom of the kitchen sink and/or shower right out the bottom of the trailer, a tiny short pipe that goes right out through a hole in the floor of the trailer, & the water goes right on the ground if you don't have a bucket or a drain pipe!

35. NOW SOME PLACES THIS MAY NOT MATTER, if you're parked alongside the road just overnight or way out in the woods alone somewhere, as you have no neighbours & it is not going to bother anybody & you may be moving on in the morning. But if you have neighbours & it's a place where they don't like it, you'd better be sure you have a bucket or a drain pipe connected to your drain & a sewer hole nearby. Sometimes it takes a couple little small hoses attached to your drain pipes which empty into a larger hose or a flexible drain pipe which empties further into a drainage hole somewhere.

36. NORMALLY SEWER PIPES DON'T HAVE TO BE MORE THAN 15 OR 20 FEET LONG, because if you do have city water, you've usually got a nearby drain hole for drainage. You can then afterward rinse'm out & coil it up & put it in your trailer trunk or car trunk when you're moving. Otherwise don't forget to empty your drainage bucket or buckets, as you'll probably have two.

37. INCIDENTALLY, YOU'D BETTER MAKE SURE YOUR BUCKETS ARE SHORT, FLAT & WIDE BUCKETS WHICH WILL FIT UNDERNEATH THE TRAILER & YOUR DRAIN PIPES! Otherwise you'll find out when the trailer's leveled off & jacked up‚ one side or end may be low & you're not even going to be able to get the bucket underneath it! So you need a short wide bucket which will hold at least three gallons of drainage water, & you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn't overflow, & empty it frequently. Be sure it has a carrying handle, & hopefully there will be a place nearby where you can empty it.

38. IN THE UNITED STATES NEARLY ALL TRAILER PARKS HAVE A CONCRETE PATIO & DRIVEWAY ALL NICE & LEVEL, so you don't have to level up your trailer! They usually have all three hook-ups—electric, fresh water & sewer.—In which case you will need an electrical cord, water hose & sewer hose. These hook-ups are of course more expensive than just average campsites without hook-ups.

39. IN THE STATES, THE SPECIAL CONVENIENT OVERNIGHT DRIVE-IN-DRIVE–OUT TRAILER SPOTS are usually pretty expensive. They usually have what they call "overnight spots" with all hook-ups where you can just drive in & hook up everything for the night, then drive right on out in the morning. They're usually even angled so you drive in one end & out the other to make it easy, so you don't have to detach your car or anything. These used to run $3 to $5 a night, but we hear they're now $10 a night, quite expensive!—And I hear they're almost that much in Europe now! But they have all hook-ups, electricity & everything.—But usually you have to pay extra for your electricity by a meter. But they are often very nice with trees & shade, & sometimes even covered patios, & all hook-ups & lots of room & beautiful, so sometimes it might be worth it.

40. BUT SOMETIMES IN SOME CHEAP CAMPSITES or out in the woods there'll only be a small daily fee, & in many state & national parks it's free, but only for a limited time, like one or two weeks or a month, if you just camp out in normal campsites without all hook-ups. Of course if you had to have a special trailer site with all hook-ups, they charge you more, usually by the day, week or month.

41. IN EUROPE THEY USUALLY ONLY HAVE DAILY RATES, seldom weekly or monthly rates. Usually only the permanent parks where people live permanently have the monthly rates. But the normal campsites & trailer parks used by most of the tourists have only nightly rates & charge you straight the same amount every night no matter how long you stay. And in Europe most trailer parks & camps will not allow you to stay more than three months, which is usually the length of your tourist visa. And these rates vary according to the quality of the camp, facilities offered & popularity.

42. EUROPEAN CAMPS RUN ANYWHERE FROM HALF-A-DOLLAR A NIGHT PER VEHICLE & PER PERSON, PLUS ELECTRICITY, which can run you close to $2 or $3 a night at even one of the cheaper camps. Or in one of the most expensive 4-star camps your space with only two people can begin at about $5 a night, plus a little more for each extra person, plus even for space to park your car, plus electricity, etc.

43. SO IN THE HEIGHT OF THE SEASON in the most popular camping spots in Europe you'll find it not at all unusual, if you have a family of six, that you may easily have to pay from $5 to $10 a night for your trailer parking! So it's not always cheap! Of course this usually means a very nice swanky 4–star camp with all facilities, hot showers, swimming pool, all kinds of hook–ups & everything‚ virtually all the comforts of home, the luxury camps!

44. THE MORE PRIMITIVE CAMPS ARE MUCH CHEAPER of course, & you don't have swimming pools, hot showers & all hook-ups, & you don't have any hot water, & you may have to walk half-a–mile to the toilet &/or the water faucet &/or drain hole & a few other inconveniences‚ but it'll be much cheaper.

45. AND THERE ARE ACTUALLY SOME PLACES FREE CAMPING IN THE WILDERNESS & more isolated spots where they don't have all the conveniences & they don't even have a full–time park-keeper or warden, & you are on your own. You fetch your own water from a well or lake or stream or spring, & sewage disposal may be only an outhouse or a hole in the woods!—Just lots of space‚ trees, peace & quiet, water & a hole in the ground! Everything's on your own! No electricity, no guards, no showers, no pool‚ no running water, no toilet! You're thankful for an outhouse!

46. THE PROBLEM WITH THESE FREE TRAILER PARKS & CAMPS, national forests or state parks, if they're free or charge very little, usually they're very isolated, lonely & far removed from big cities where you need to labour or litness or witness or work for the Lord, & therefore they're not too practical for His service. They're fine for vacations & a rest & to get away from it all for awhile, & you may need that once in awhile, if you have time & money for it, & in which case it won't cost you much more than your food—& you might hunt or fish even that!

47. YOU CAN GO OUT & PARK WHERE IT'S CLEAN & CLEAR IN THE WILDS & LIVE OFF THE WOODS &/OR THE LAKES, STREAMS OR SEA EVEN FOR YOUR FOOD! If you have a little gas or you can burn wood, & you have someplace to get your water & there's some kind of a toilet facility or somewhere to get rid of your wastes, you can survive that way & live carefree & free & very well & be very happy, especially if you have time off for a vacation & want to read, rest, write, pray, meditate or recuperate your strength & get away from it all for awhile.

48. IT PAYS TO REST ONCE IN AWHILE. You can't be at the battle-front all the time. Even in war, soldiers have to have rest & recuperation centers, repair centers, hospitalisation‚ etc., after being in the front lines & battle-weary & exhausted with the war. So that's another wonderful thing about your trailer! You can head for the open spaces when you're tired of it all, & you can get away from it all for almost nothing, very little cost, especially in the more isolated parks & free camps. And there's no cheaper way of living in this whole world than camping out—unless you're on relief or welfare!—Ha!