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A tale of RV park floods and leaks

Flooded RV Parks, Leaky RVs, and Other Tales of RV Living

The last month has been pretty eventful. It seems like we can’t quite catch a break without something coming up.

In mid-January we moved our camper over to Point Mallard in Decatur AL, so we could be closer to Brandon’s house and start prepping it to sell. When we arrived the spot we wanted to take had a power issue, so we set up in a different site while they fixed it.

There was just one slight issue. It was going to freeze that night and the spot we’d parked in temporarily was not a good fit for Big Ole Bessie, so our heated hose was too short. Still, no big deal, we put enough water in our fresh tank to get through the night and unhooked, figuring we’d move the next morning and all would be golden.

The electrical problem was fixed first thing in the morning and the park was good for us to move, but we couldn’t – the living room slide wouldn’t come in.

We called the local RV repair place and they couldn’t come out and take a look till the next day. A slight inconvenience was now a problem, as the weather was still below freezing and would be until sometime the next afternoon. We’d already used the water in our fresh tank and the water spigot was frozen so we couldn’t add more to the tank.

Off to the store to buy a few gallons of water to get us through another day/night. By the time Andy’s RV Repair arrived the next afternoon the water source had finally thawed and we were at least able to hook back up to water.

But, why wasn’t the RV slide coming in?

We had been having problems with our batteries not staying charged pretty much since we picked the rig up, but we didn’t really put two and two together until someone on suggested it on our Instagram post. Even so, we had no idea what was causing the battery issue.

Even the technician was a bit flummoxed when he at first could not find the cause. But, he did finally trace it to an almost hidden breaker in the battery compartment. That little breaker was keeping our batteries from being able to charge when we were connected to shore power.

This explained why every time we hooked up to move after sitting still for a while we had issues with the batteries dying before we could even get the jacks up, but no issues getting the jacks down after we’d made that move.

Evidently, our move over to Decatur was not a long enough drive to re-charge the batteries. And, since this was the first time the issue had affected the slides (and really just one slide – which made it all the more strange to us) we didn’t connect the dots (or we would have just connected the truck and been just fine).

Finally, we were able to move to our intended site at Point Mallard. A nice corner lot with plenty of room for Bessie’s bit butt.

What do you do when your RV park floods?

Another Instagrammer had let us know that certain areas of Point Mallard are more prone to flooding than others, but we had no idea what that meant. We’ve had a lot of rain this year and we’ve been in some muddy sites. But, we weren’t prepared for the lake that would develop in our front yard every time it rained hard.

We were even less prepared for the whole park to flood.

About two weeks ago we left the camper on Friday night, planning to spend the weekend at the house getting it ready to sell. When we drove out we noticed the drainage culvert several sites behind us was overflowing and water was covering the road. However, the usual lake in front of our camper was actually drying up, so we didn’t see cause to worry.

Then Saturday about 10am Julie got a call from the campground office letting us know that we needed to come move the camper because of flooding. “Surely it couldn’t be that bad?! Right?!”

When we arrived we found that we were one of the last campers in our section of the park. Two large sections had been fully evacuated and our site was covered in 2-5 inches of water (the area behind our camper was well above the ankle – thank goodness for rubber boots).

We made the quick decision to move over to Northgate RV Park, where we’ve stayed a couple of times before. It would be expensive but it would give us a place to put the camper while we figured out a better option. With more rain on the way, we weren’t sure how long we’d be out of Point Mallard, and Northgate really does not like people staying more than 5-7 days.

While the nice folks at Northgate offered to let us stay until the end of the month, those nightly fees were adding up, so after a week we decided to move over to Quail Creek in Hartselle. We’d stayed there for a week or so back in the fall and it wasn’t bad. And, while it feels much further away it actually took exactly the same amount of time to get to the house.

At this point we were working pretty hard to clear out the house and get rooms painted. So, Brandon was staying at the house full-time and Julie was going back and forth to the camper so she could work. Between that and the hurry we’d been in to get moved, we had never hooked up our sewer connections.

With the move planned, we both spent the night at the camper. And, after taking showers, the gray tank was full. It was late and cold, we’d hook up sewer and dump everything in the morning before we moved.

The next morning as Julie was making breakfast the neighbor knocked and told us something was leaking. Well, that’s not good.

Why is there a leak in my RV underbelly?

When we went to hook up to flush the tanks we saw it. A steady stream leaking from under our RV. The underbelly looked pregnant. Well, crap!

We had no idea what was causing the leak, but we went ahead and drained all the tanks, including the water remaining in the fresh water tank, and the leak went away. It was Sunday so the chances of getting a tech out were next to nil, so we packed up and headed to Hartselle.

Once we got moved we saw no further sign of the leak. We thought perhaps it was related to the fresh water tank (since it was now empty) and we waited to hear back from Andy’s RV.

When Andy’s finally made it out on Friday, they couldn’t find any sign of a leak. However, it did seem that there was likely some water frozen in the lines from our fresh water tank. After a thorough exam, Andy asked if our gray tank had been full when the leak happened, “well, yes it was.”

At this point Andy suggested that was mostly likely the culprit. Little did we know, the gray water tank has an overflow valve when it gets too full, it will spill over. And, so it did. This explains why despite the tank being obviously full the night before (water backing up in the sink) it was not so obvious the next morning.

But, wouldn’t gray water look soapy? Evidently not. The concentration of soap to water in the tank is not high enough and the water comes out looking pretty much the same as fresh.

Lesson learned. Let’s hope we don’t have any more lessons any time soon.


Julie grew up making cross-country road trips, and has always loved to travel. She dreamed of one day retiring and living in an RV while traveling. Finally, she realized that you can't wait to live the life you want, and there was no reason to wait. As a freelance writer and marketer she realized as long as she had internet she could live anywhere! So, she did.

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