Sundog, Lake Marie Oregon 2018

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mice, Tires, and other RV things

We have been very lucky in our RV travels, to not have been plagued by invasions of mice. But Tuesday we seemed to have picked up a hitch-hiker. I know the large drawer where I keep pots and pans was mouse-free on Monday when I put the dishes away, but when I opened it on Tuesday evening to get a pan, I saw lots of little mouse droppings.  UGG!

Except for the fact that I will have to wash and sanitize everything in there, plus two adjacent drawers, I was not really disturbed. It comes with RVing and parking on grassy fields. 

I found our VICTOR Electronic Rat zappers, armed them with new batteries and put one in the drawer and one on the floor. This morning, the little gray critter was a stiff in the drawer trap. The one on the floor was empty, but then there had been no droppings on the floor.

After emptying the zapper, I put it back in the drawer with the pans and left everything undisturbed for a second night. The amount of droppings suggested that there might be more than one mouse! We were planning on going out for dinner that night anyway. 

Over the years I have read about many mice remedies. Some claim peppermint oil, Irish Spring soap, or dryer sheets are wonderful repellents. Some mice ignore the oil, eat the soap, and use the dryer sheets as nesting material. Some try to plug every possible entry, but I have heard of gnawed or pushed-aside steel wool. If they want to get in, they will!

Putting out poison may work, but the mouse is likely to crawl into some hidden place and smell bad.

Some might ask if using a rat trap is overkill for just a little mouse. I have the rat traps because we have run into some wood rats, and heard of pack rats getting into RVs. I don't know if there is a smaller electronic trap for mice.  

While on the subject, TOM CAT snap traps are pretty good too. The only problem I have had with them is sometimes the mouse is only caught by a leg and is still alive in the trap when checked. Not good. 

I used them a lot when we lived in a house surrounded by forest and meadows. At $4-5 each, they were inexpensive enough to replace if they got yucky or the spring stopped working. No batteries needed!

If you are thinking about buying an RV, you should be sure you also think about the expense of maintenance and repair. Our Alfa is getting older, but we continue to try to keep her in tip-top shape. We replaced the front tires in 2012, and the back in 2014. We figured we were good for a few years yet, but when we had the windows worked on last month, the glass guy pointed out that the tires didn't look good.  Because we were on our way to Alaska, we decided to have them looked at, and ended up replacing the front tires. The tire guy said he thought we might get a rebate from the warranty, but it would take some time.  Not what we wanted to spend our money on  this month! We got a second opinion on the rear tires, and decided not to replace them at this time. 

Because we are FMCA members, we were able to buy Michelins at almost half price. The $50 membership fee is more than made up for by the Advantage discount. Read about it under Benefits on the FMCA page. But half price or not, it took a bite out of this months budget!

As we have traveled up the West Coast, we have been surprised 
by how full many of the RV parks are. It is still "off season", but on several occasions we have been told the park is full when calling a day or two ahead.  I admit, I usually start by calling the lower-priced places, but have also found at least one high end resort without a vacancy. 

When we look around, we see that there are many older rigs in the parks that have not moved for months at a time. More and more people are living in them, including younger working folks. As the cost of rent goes up in the cities, the RV life style is not just for vacationing or retired older folks traveling around the country for a few years. When we were at the library in La Pine, Oregon, I saw a notice addressed to "families living in cars or RV parks" about their children's eligibility to enroll in public school. 

Now that we live full-time in a motorhome, I find I have a different view than when I was among the housebound.

We are not poor, we are not rich, we are probably not middle class. Having sold the house, we have money enough to not be strapped by bills, and if we wanted we could afford a small home in most places other than California.  

But for now we will continue to travel and live among the:

In other words, I no longer judge anyone for where or how they live. 

After a month of travel plagued by rain and cold nights, it seems we are finally in the right place weather-wise.

Yup, Washington is sunny and temps are in the 70°s. We will be here for another week before crossing into Canada.

Life is Good!


  1. Good tires on an Rv is cheap insurance and should be taken care of asap. Glad that you keep and eye on yours and bite the bullet when need be.
    Rv parks can be full at various times of the year and can be a bit frustrating , but like you have come to live with it and change plans.

  2. For years we have been using Victor Mini Electronic Rodent Repellents and have actually witnessed mice heading towards our trailer, stop, listen and run the other way. The down side it takes 120 volt power to operate them so while we were in the desert we made certain to activate our main Inverter at least twice a day. So Far SO Good! They emit a low tone vibration that does not bother pets but the rodents don't like it.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your trip!

    It's about time.

    1. Yup... We use those too. Work GREAT!!! No poison, no dread bodies to dispose. Just go elsewhere. Ps I have also been warned using D con will also poison an owl or a cat or a fox who might catch that show moving mouse before the poison entirely kills it!

  3. We're seeing the same thing with RV parks being full. It really makes spontaneity difficult. There are some parks we literally book a year in advance.

  4. glad you caught the little devil - mice are a scourge. We keep a simple spring trap in the camper all winter, and occasionally in the summer. Carm does the disposal ;-)


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