Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Filth By Any Other Name

Originally posted 11/17/2012

Shortly before I resigned from my labors at what is one of the best-stocked hardware stores around, I went on several shopping sprees in order to modify and repair the travel trailer I planned to reside in. One of those sprees involved selecting a vacuum cleaner. I felt that it would come in handy periodically, whenever the trailer was hooked up to shore power. My past experiences with 12-volt and battery-powered vacs and sweepers have been disappointing, so I wanted a very compact 120-volt AC vac.

In my hurried visits to the Internet, I’d read many complaints about dust when RVing. Considering that I’d be packin’ a record turntable and an iMac with a pretty small cooling air inlet, and considering that the front half of the camper is carpeted (a counter-productive idea if ever there was one, along with velour-like seat fabric), I wanted to be able to at least periodically make a token effort at cleaning the place out. A friend and fellow employee at the store was and is a highly-experienced seasonal camper with a fifth-wheel. I told him about my intended quest against dust with a vac having a great filter. He advised, “Don’t worry about the dust. Worry about the sand.”

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Only after getting here to Quartzsite did I realize that each year, he goes to the same property in Florida. Well, I can tell ya, there’s very little sand here. There’s rocks, there’s gravel ranging from rough to sub-sub-pea gravel, and there’s dust. It’s kind of a sediment dust laid down by floods of water, and it can actually get to nearly a foot deep in spots. It plumes no matter how slowly you step on it. No need to describe here what my blue canvas-top slip-ons look like.

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It’s a gritty dust that wants to cover whatever gets near it or on it, and it coats everything. Closed windows aren’t much of a barrier to it, so you just live with it and, now and then, wipe off what really counts. Everything else will have to wait until the dry camping vigil is finally over in Spring and the tiny shop vac I have can be pressed into service. I guess you can be a camper, or you can be a clean-freak. You can’t be both – not out here. As it turns out, the advice I got was on the mark after all. Don’t worry about the dust, because not much can be done about it out here without a frequent electrical hookup and the gumption to rearrange and clear off surfaces and objects one at a time. I have neither, so it all works in perfect harmony.

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