Sunday, March 15, 2009

04-09 The Experiment, a Bonus Report

I was able to acquire one more story from the Desert Trails Writers Club. Mary Scholz has written a great story for all you Rv'ers or want to be Rv'ers. The story will bring you into the whole new world of living in an Rv. Enjoy.

The Experiment March 14, 09

In 2004 we took the plunge and leapt into the world of RVing, and a strange new world it was too. For years we had talked about our long range plans for retirement. We knew we wanted to RV! We considered (as I’m sure all of you did) things like ‘a motor home and a tow vehicle’, ‘a travel trailer’ or ‘a 5th wheel and truck’. And so, after years of discussing the pros and cons we decided on a 5th wheel. But then came the ‘gas’ or ‘diesel’ decision. This was before the price of diesel suddenly appeared to equal that of gold bullion. But diesel it was.
You all know there are dozens of other choices that had to be made, length, type of walls, interior lay out, the choices go on and on.

After picking our 5th wheel we were then invited by the sales person to look in their RV store. Their what? An RV store?

As soon as you put the letters ‘RV’ in front of any system in your rig, everything changes. You are now into ‘specialty’ products. Take the plumbing system (sometimes you’d like someone to do just that). Not only do you have to put chemicals in the toilet for ‘that stuff’; you also need to add a chemical to help dissolve paper. On top of that, no ordinary paper will do, we have to purchase ‘special’ toilet paper at $1 a roll or more! What is a person to do?

Well, like many questioning individuals, we found it hard to just take the word of the suppliers and retailers. One of our conversations went a bit like this.

Us “What do you mean we can’t use regular toilet paper?”

Them “It is too thick and can clog your system.”

Us “Why do we have to add this chemical for the paper?”

Them “It helps to break the paper down more and decreases the risk of clogging your system.”

Us “Let me see if I’ve got this right. We have to buy special paper so that the system won’t clog and we have to buy paper dissolving chemical so that the system does not clog.”

Them “That’s right!”

Not wanting to “clog our system” but finding it hard to believe all this sales talk (especially for my husband, a plumber) we reluctantly bought the recommended products but just knew this was not the end of the discussion.

And so, on our first trip with our brand new Rockwood 5th wheel we decided to experiment.
Picture this scene. Taking 4 matching wine glasses we measured equal amounts of water into each of them and then we separated them into 2 pairs. Into the 2 glasses on our left we measured ½ teaspoon full of paper dissolving chemical. The other 2 glasses on our right had none.

Using good scientific methods, we then took 2 sheets of the cheapest Dollar Store toilet paper and added them to one of the glasses on the left and another 2 sheets into one of the glasses on the right. We repeated this with the ‘special’ paper, 2 sheets in the chemically changed and 2 in the non-chemically changed water.

We all know that results don’t just happen while you watch so we left the experiments to ‘work’ for a day like they would in the real situation. Every now and then we would hold a glass up to the light to see if we could see a difference but we refrained from sniffing for bouquet!

Fortunately no one came to visit us during this time so we did not have to explain toilet paper in wineglasses sitting on the tiny kitchen counter.

Not having read any scientific method on how to interpret the results of such an experiment, we had to guess. After waiting for about 12 hours we took out 4 clean dinner knives and gently stirred the contents of each glass 3 times then raised the knife straight up. We discussed and recorded the clarity/cloudiness of the water with dissolved paper and the amount clinging to the knife, for each glass. Then we waited another 12 hours and repeated the process. How many molecules NOW stick to each knife?

By now someone out there must be thinking “Don’t those guys have anything better to do than stir toilet paper in wine glasses with dinner knives? Heck, if you are going to stir something in a glass it better be drinkable and done with a swizzle stick!”

After 24 hours of science, the results were in.

In our opinion cheap paper is not only fine, it’s better. But you don’t have to take our word for it, you can check for yourselves. Firstly, take 4 matching wineglasses . . .

Mary Scholz (

No comments: