A Wrench in our Texas Plans

Our Micro Lite travel trailer

Last night I prayed for our camper.

But I guess I better start at the beginning.

Dan and I decided we were going to extend our camping season by going to Texas for the first two weeks of November. Sounds reasonable, right? The only caveat was we needed the temperatures to stay above freezing until we left Missouri. We ordered the necessary weather and crossed our fingers.

Somehow our weather order got lost, and temperatures were predicted to dip below freezing for three nights. Not much below freezing, but just enough to throw a wrench into our plans. As you will see later, this was the first of many tools that would cross our paths.

Given the weather prediction, we had to winterize our travel trailer. The problem was once we winterized, we were done until next year. In years past, we took our travel trailer to the dealer to get winterized. This cost $125, plus $100 in gas ($50 each way), plus $80 to de-winterize thus making an annual total of $305.

We decided to call the RV place which is literally right across the street from our neighborhood. Even if it costs more, it may be worth the convenience, we thought. But then we learned, they wanted $270 just to winterize. Ouch!

Now, I had read about another method which seemed to solve all our problems and save money, to boot. This method, known as the “Blow Out” method, had several advantages.

It was simpler, so we could do it ourselves. It was more environmentally friendly since it uses far less antifreeze. And thirdly, since there is not antifreeze in your intake water lines, there is no need to de-winterize. When the Spring thaw arrives – whenever that may be – just go camping and have fun.

Also, with this method, we could winterize, go to Texas, and then winterize again. Like any good solution to a problem, it worked from all angles. There was just one caveat.

We had to learn how to do it.

As many have said, you can learn anything on YouTube these days. And you can. This is also a good time to say, “THIS IS NOT A HOW-TO POST.” At best, it’s a “here’s what we did, and here’s a few things to take away as part of our learning experience” type of post.

If you want to learn how to do the “Blow Out” method or more formally known as the “Compressed Air” Method, you can search YouTube on your own. You don’t want me ‘splaining it. Trust me.

Pancake Air Compressor

After watching several YouTube videos, we felt ready. We dedicated a whole day to getting this project done. Usually, it is supposed to take about an hour, but we knew, being our first time, it would take longer. Plus, we had to get the equipment and tools needed.

After breakfast, we headed to Harbor Freight to purchase an air compressor. We found a pancake version similar to the one in the YouTube video. So far, so good. It kind of felt like we were really cookin’ now. You know, pancake and all.

Next, we asked for the “blow out adapter .” We were proud of ourselves because we actually knew what a blow out adapter was and what it was used for. But …Harbor Freight didn’t have any.

No problem. Our next stop was Walmart for RV antifreeze, so we would look there. Walmart did have the adapter. Or at least it had a product in a package with the words “Blow Out Adapter” on it. But it didn’t look like the one in the video, and it was plastic. Like a bad date, it didn’t seem right, but since we had no other, we bought it anyway. It was $3.13.

We headed home to begin the procedure. We kind of felt like we were heading into surgery. Confident, but a little nervous.

The front of our hot water tank with the anode rod on the bottom, in the middle

Our first challenge was to drain the hot water tank. We actually knew where this was located, so that’s a really good start. However, the anode rod has to be taken out, and that little sucker was dead set on staying right where it was. It was stuck. The guy in the video had no trouble taking it out. I wanted to call that anode rod something else, but this is a family blog.

Fortunately, we have a friendly neighbor who has every kind of tool we can imagine as well as tools we didn’t even know existed. After three trips to Bill’s, Dan finally came back with a large socket and ratchet that fit and would work – at least in theory. While it fit, it still didn’t move.

Fortunately, we have another friendly neighbor who happened to ride by on his bike. Lou made the mistake of stopping and asking what we were doing. He helped as well, and finally, that anode rod gave up the ghost and moved. The water came cascading out, just like when a Vegas slot machine hits a jackpot. At this point, we had successfully completed step one. The hot water tank was drained. It had only taken half the day.

Step two was actually pretty easy. We had to turn some valves on the back of the hot water tank. We knew from YouTube, that the back of the tank was inside the camper, basically behind where that anode rod lives. It was located at the bottom of our bathroom closet, behind a wood panel. We removed the panel, turned the valves, and thought, we’re rollin’ now! I felt downright mechanical! Do you need me to fix anything?

After a few more tasks, which will remain unspecified since this is not a how-to video, we were ready to blow out the lines.

We unpacked our brand new air compressor and looked for the hose, so we could attach it to our camper. There is no hose. New air compressors do not come with a hose. This is a lesson for all you folk. At least is was for us.

So, we went back to Harbor Freight and sought their advice on which hose to buy. We selected an “Air Compressor Starter Kit” which contained a hose as well as a myriad of tiny metals parts to put on the ends of the hose. The package reminded me of something you’d get at Christmas time. A bunch of stuff, all related to a new hobby, and enclosed in that tough plastic packaging unable to be opened by mere mortals.

But it’s not Christmas, nor did it even feel like Christmas, so I’ll get back to Harbor Freight.

The worker there was very helpful, instructing us as to which tiny piece in the package goes where. Since he was so nice, I thought it would be a good idea to ask him about that plastic adapter we had bought at Walmart so very long ago. Well, actually it was only a couple hours ago. It just seemed like much longer.

Based on our conversation with this man, we didn’t think the plastic adapter, with no quick-connect, was going to work. We called several stores, including Camping World, and even Camping World did not have the correct Blow Out adapter. They were sold out.

Plastic blow out adapter
Cheap Date
Metal blow out adapter with quick connect
Our Golden Boy

We ended up trying Home Depot which did carry the coveted key to the process. We only had to go to two Home Depots to find what we needed. The take away here is to start earlier than we did. Plan ahead and order it from Amazon. We didn’t start sooner as October was busy for us. We had a wedding, two birthday parties, one Poker party, Euchre, Pickleball league and two Fall camping trips. It’s all about priorities, people.

Back home, with daylight nearly done, we continued the process. After reading instructions and watching more videos about how to operate an air compressor, we could not get the air compressor to automatically shut off when it reaches the right pressure. We learned it needs to be about 50 degrees Fahrenheit for air compressors to work properly. By this time, it was dark, and it was about 40 F degrees.

Even so, we blew out the lines with what pressure we had. We felt air coming through each of the faucets after expelling water. We completed the process by pouring RV antifreeze down the drains and the toilet. We had done each step in the YouTube videos. Now, we had only to hope it was done right.

At this point, it was 8:30 pm. And yes, it did take the whole day. I’m thinking it will take far less time the next time we do it; however, I don’t want to actually say that and jinx ourselves.

When Dan and I lay in bed at night, we take a moment, and we each say our “favorite part of the day.” This started in our early days, and it’s just a way of noticing and remembering something good that day. On this day, my favorite part of the day was when the anode rod came out. When that happened, I felt like we had the hardest part behind us. We could do this.

Dan’s favorite part of the day was when it was all over, and we were eating Jimmie Johns while sitting in our recliners with our feet up.

That was a pretty good part, too.

But, the best part, is we still get to go to Texas.


  1. Oh my gosh – that’s a full day!!! I live right around the corner (you may have seen our grand design travel trailer parked on the street a time or two 😬) – and I’m very happy to volunteer my husband, Ryan, to help out with all things camper related! We’ve had two terrible experiences at the “place across the street” and tell everyone to avoid at all costs! I’m glad you were able to get the job done and extend your camping season! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ali! Yes, I have seen your beautiful Grand Design, and I believe we even chatted a bit with Ryan a couple years ago when he happened to be outside. I can talk camping forever, so if I ever see you outside – watch out! We had a previous bad experience with the place across the street, too – but we thought it had been 3 or 4 years and perhaps it was just that manager, maybe he was gone, etc. But we won’t try them again. I hope you’ve had some great camping and travels this year. Please introduce yourself if you ever see us out. Thanks for your comment, and enjoy the weekend!


  2. You two make a great team. Plus, you’re friendly and approachable enough that friends, and even strangers, offer to help you.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the “real” Betty and Dan are just like the folks on this blog—Down to earth people who know what’s important in life.

    I always enjoy reading about your adventures, Betty. And your sense of humor is stand-up comedy worthy.

    Have fun on your trip to Texas. If you come through Southwest Oklahoma let me know, please. Nancy and I would love to meet you and Dan someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your very kind words, David. Dan and I do make a great team, and we are very appreciative when folks offer to help us. My son and DIL live in Dallas, and one reason I wanted to go to Texas so much was so we could spend time with them. We hope to visit many places in our beautiful country over the years, Oklahoma being one of them. We would love to meet you and Nancy. I am sure you and she both are of a kind and gentle spirit – as that comes through in every post you write. I appreciate your compliments on my writing. It is encouraging to me. And lastly, but of course, enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, that train chugged along all day – but at least we made it. I hope you get to go to Texas, too. A change of scenery is good for the soul. Even when we do love the scenery we have every day – as I know you do. Thanks for your good trip wishes, and I hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Suspenseful post…fortunately it ended well with Texas on your horizon. 😎

    We also winterized last week in Fulton and are now camping in our ’96 Roadtrek in Boonville and will spend tonight at Mark Twain Lake.

    Our MiniLite will stay winterized until spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ray. I didn’t realize you were located in Missouri or had a MiniLite. Once we get back from Texas, our MicroLite will stay winterized until April, too. This is a beautiful time of year to be camping, and I bet the leaves are gorgeous at Mark Twain Lake. Enjoy!


  4. Yes, trying something new can be quite frustrating. But now that you’ve done it the next time should be much easier. Eliminating the anti-freeze is so much better for the environment. Enjoy Texas. We stayed in Harlingen one winter and enjoyed it immensely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right. The next time should be way easier. At least, we have all the tools and equipment now. We are looking forward to our time in Texas. Thanks for your nice comment, and I hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a learning experience. The important thing is, you hung in there and got it done. Good for you. Just a heads up, the anode rod should always be changed about once a year. And the tank flushed to remove the calcium that usually builds up in the tank. There is a tool for doing that as well. One more thing, do not, I mean do not turn the electrical element on for the water heater until the tank is once again full of water. If you turn it on when the tank is empty the element will burn out in less than 5 seconds. Again, great going. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bill. But with a freeze warning issued, we had to hang in there! Fortunately, it all worked out. I appreciate the tech advice. We do need to change the anode rod and flush the tank. We will do that in the Spring. Baby steps! I will remember your advice about the hot water heater electrical element. I don’t know if all campers are like this, but with ours, two switches must be “on” before the hot water heater element is on. This was explained to us when we bought the travel trailer, and we are always careful. We do not want to take a cold shower! Hope you have a great weekend, too!


  6. Oh Betty and Dan, this sounds like us. We too decided to winterize our RV because mid Nov. we take it for service in Indiana. So my husband went out and bought a case of the antifreeze stuff and started. Needless to say we wasted 2 gallons and I had to go back to get more. We were afraid to use the air compressor method in fear of blowing out a line and not knowing until spring when we hook up somewhere and have a leak, but needless to say 5 hours later and two trips to the store and getting me involved it was done. RV life is interesting and not for the faint of heart. It is work sometimes. Enjoy Texas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment has me chuckling! You did better than us – with it only taking 5 hours! We were at it all day! I’m hoping we did it right; we were very careful with regards to the psi. It is good to always keep learning, and having an RV certainly keeps us doing that! Hope you are doing well and had some great travels! Enjoy your day and this beautiful Fall!


  7. Great lessons, Betty! We – um, Mike – winterizes our camper this way, but we don’t have the kind of cold weather as you do. Anyway, just think of all the money you’re going to save by doing it yourselves from now on. Your post made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad it made you smile! And yes, we will save money, but also it will be so much more convenient. At least, that is the hope. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you have a great day! Safe travels, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As soon as I read “Or at least it had a product in a package with the words “Blow Out Adapter” on it” I knew that was going to be an intrinsic part of this story. 😉 I’m not mechanically inclined at all, but even I can see the differences in Cheap Date and Golden Boy. Congrats on a job well done. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marty! I think when we bought Cheap Date we were getting desperate. In hindsight, I think the “.13” on the price was an omen. In any case, it all worked out. So far. 🙂 Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We have a plan along the same lines but we’re going to try storing our trailer in a warmer climate for the long winter. We had “ordered” no freezing until the first week of November but our order must’ve gotten lost too. We are going to run the heater for the few days of freeze before we leave… I hope it works!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And yes, we did have 3 nights where the low was just a bit below freezing. I was also glad we went through the process as now that we’ve gone through it, we should do better next time. Hopefully! Hope you have a nice Sunday!


  10. When we bought our 5th wheel last fall they winterized it at the dealer, and then Wayne was able to figure out how to un-winterize it after we got to the RV park in Arizona. He was able to winterize it again when we left Arizona at the end of March (because it was still too cold in Minnesota when we got home). We have not used it since then!!! We won’t be using it until we go back to Arizona!! So the question now is whether the winterization we did last March is still in effect, or do we need to do it again in preparation for this coming winter before we head to warmer weather?? I guess we need to google it. It was not that hard to winterize and un-winterize it ourselves (haha not me) but I will share your post with Wayne so he can read about the other method you tried.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did read that the “blow out” method may not be the best for really cold climates – and that might be you. But whichever method, it is way cheaper and more convenient to do ourselves. It is nice to escape the winter weather!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad to hear of others using the “blow out” method. It kind of confirms this was the right way to go for us. Thank you for your kind comment, and I hope you have a great week ahead!


  11. I feel for you Betty. The little pancake compressor should work even at low temps unless you are using an extension cord the wrong size. I think I have made every mistake there is on some of those tools. Who said education doesn’t have to be expensive???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gary! I am glad to hear your opinion about the compressor and low temps. It seemed to work as air came through each faucet after expelling water, but we are newbies at this. Our cost this time, including the compressor was about $156 – less the $3.13 for the plastic adapter which I am taking back to Walmart on our next trip. The $156 also doesn’t include the $20 we spent getting Jimmie Johns delivered. 🙂 We were definitely wiped out at the end of the day! You are right; it was definitely a hard fought for education, and I’m glad this experience is behind us. Hope you have a great week ahead!


    • I am glad to hear that this method worked for you in Ohio. Now that we’ve gone through the process and have all the equipment, it doesn’t seem too bad. And yes, we are happy that we can do it ourselves. Thanks for your comment! Hope you have a good week ahead!


  12. Well done on a tricky situation, Betty! We used to winterize and de-winterize our motorhome ourselves. We were lucky because hubs’ eldest bro had years of experience doing this with his MH. I had no idea of the expense involved to have it done at a service place. I’ll say a prayer for your camper too, and add one for safe, uneventful travels for you to and from Texas in November.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it will save us a lot of money to do it ourselves. Our travel trailer is 23 feet, so I think it’s easier than a MH. Thanks for your prayers and good travel wishes. I’m glad to hear from you again, and I trust you made it to Texas safe and sound. Enjoy your new home there!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Fun story that we can totally relate to, being Kansans. Winterizing always brings a tear to my eyes, because camping is over for a few months usually. Like you, though, we decided to head south a bit where it never freezes in November. Sadly, we didn’t go far enough south (Oklahoma) and a freakishly cold front attacked us. It was the end of a three week stay, though, so we endured the frozen water situation, winterized, and headed back home to Kansas. Now I’m praying our trip to South Texas in early February doesn’t include freakish cold fronts. I sure do love reading your camper stories!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • These days with the crazy weather, you just never know! I can totally relate to your Oklahoma issues. We brought our air compressor and winterized in Dallas before heading home. We had to endure a day and a half without water as we traveled back home. It worked out okay, but we already booked next year’s Dallas trip to be nearly 3 weeks earlier. I get a tear, too, when we winterize – almost 5 months of no camping for us. My guess is you will be just fine in South Texas in early February. Sounds really great actually!

      Liked by 1 person

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