Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

RV Dumping: The Unfortunate Learning Curve

By Dalin Brinkman

Even as an RV newbie, I was well aware of the fact that dumping was one of those things you don’t get wrong. The unfortunate consequences of such failure could (and did end up being…well lets just say we can’t use that term).

This task was delegated to me by my wife. She has handled most of the RV maintenance, but somehow, this task was mine to do. I thought about complaining about getting all the dirty jobs, but I figured it might be smart of me just to keep my mouth shut (and probably my nose).

I noticed that there was all sorts of different types of dump hoses around the campground. Some people had hoses with stilts that looked like caterpillars snaking across the ground. Others had glass openings in them. Why anyone would WANT to see that stuff was beyond me. Then there was that rock. An RV friend told me in passing that it was extremely important to have a rock. I had no idea why. All I knew was that every dump station I had seen had a nice big rock next to it.

RV Dumping Education

So my naïveté and the clear and present danger of getting the wrong result prompted me to do what most people do…research online. To make sure I got this right, I broke down and went to TrailerLife.TV and watched a video on the subject. Here I got to watch several jovial middle-aged men talk about the process with far more enjoyment than the subject demanded. I did learn the basics, like what that clear part is for. The rest of my questions, including what the rock was for, remained unanswered.

My First RV Dump

So I pulled up to the dump station and pulled out my gloves and 20-year-old drain tube. My kids were so excited that they gathered around Daddy to watch this encounter from a safe distance. Following the directions I’d watched, I hooked everything up and checked it twice out of paranoia. Satisfied, I opened the grey and black water tanks and started to watch it drain. I was met with “ewwws!” from my little ones as they watched what flowed through the clear part of the tube.

There were only minor leaks and so I stepped back in successful glory. That’s when I figured out that rock. As I turned to check the hole, I notice my hose was sliding OUT of the hole. To prevent disaster, I grabbed the biggest thing around I could close to me to hold that hose down. Now I knew what the rock was for.

So now I stood and waited. No one described to me what I was supposed to do during this time of solitary patience. I’d expected a toilet flush, not at a time to ponder with just me and the sound of draining unmentionables.

Finally, the drain looked clear. I closed the tanks and unhooked the pipe. That is when disaster struck. I somehow missed the part that said there would still be stuff in the tube. Yes, I wish I had known that. Because I let the pipe drop in the opposite direction from the drain, which was most conveniently where I was standing. The resulting splash left me feeling wet, humbled and disgusted all at the same time. I didn’t have time to—um—soak it all in before I was met by a chorus of “ewww!” from my onlooking children. Clearly, this wasn’t a moment that my children looked upon their father with admiration.

As I delicately tried to figure out how to handle the situation, I realized that having external bays provided the unexpected benefit of hiding and storing the evidence of my mistake. I also quickly discovered why most dump stations have the fresh water hose fill-up AFTER the dump station.

As I drove away, I felt a sense of humility and isolation. My wife and kids were still keeping their distance from me. My RV had taught me another lesson. When you have a crappy day, sometimes it’s best to just to drive to a happier place.

Dalin Brinkman, Camarillo, California