Rodent encroachment in RVs is a one of the harsh realities of life on the road. As you know, we had our version of that battle.
And while my beloved had his fun going down “rabbit holes” about Playboy Bunnies and the Doublemint Twins, the reality is that the mouse infestation was supremely stressful. I’m glad he found some humor in it, though. That’s the only thing that kept us going through days entirely consumed by managing the mouse problem.
Rodent infestations are a serious situation, though. They are a huge health hazard. As well as an electrical fire hazard given their proclivities toward chewing on wires. They destroy your food supply and carry fleas. We lived in 200 square feet and the rodents were in complete control of that tiny space.
Using all means necessary
Sitting up at night attempting to get some work done, I heard them scurry about behind the cabinets. Then they would pop their heads out of our stove in the gap between the burner and the grate to see if the coast was clear to explore further. I was completely and utterly prepared to bash their skulls in with an empty whiskey bottle even if it meant destroying most of the trailer to do it. I would have happily rolled into the nearest RV repair shop and told them to commence any repairs necessary. And when they asked what happened, I’d tell them Val happened. No more questions.
When I relayed our troubles to my youngest child, he called it real life whack-a-mole. That’s certainly ironically funny. I did laugh. It was pain-tinged but it was laughter.
I was on edge every minute of the day—jumpy, not knowing what opening a cabinet door would bring. We were exhausted from the constant cleanup of their leavings. I could barely sleep at all because I couldn’t relax hearing them scurrying about in the walls and cabinets, in some cases, inches from my head.
That carried over into life outside the trailer too. When a small bird flew by or a lizard sprinted out of a bush, I would nearly jump out of my skin. To top it off, we’d seen a few rats in close proximity of the trailer.
I told J, “If we level up to rats, I’m done. Just done. I’ll burn this POS to the ground and walk away with a smile on my face.”
Obviously we realized we’d have to secure our food better for the long haul but at the time we were camping far from a town with decent supplies. We need a short-term solution until we could get our hands on improved storage equipment and mouse-murdering apparatus.
We needed to remove the food attraction and leave only the traps as the incentive. So we moved the food to the truck, secured everything to the best of our ability with the resources we had on hand, and hoped for the best. It was not ideal but necessary. Even so, they nibbled on the clean, but clearly still tasty-smelling, silicon food containers and pot holders that remained in the trailer.
The next day we assessed the damage before making the trek to the nearest town to figure out how we could put an end to the problem. We secured sturdy bins, more traps, and peppermint rodent repellents.
That night we turned the tables. We started hearing traps go off. There was less mess to clean up each morning. It took a few days but we had the upper hand. But we also knew this would be our daily lives as long as we stayed at Great Basin. We needed to leave. But at least now we had enough bandwidth and sleep to consider transiting again.
And when we finally left Great Basin, the mice decided not to come along.
We retreated to Elko, Nevada to have our trusty mobile repair person there seal up some of the trailer underbelly and fix up some other issues, like the chipmunk-ravaged screens and yet another roof failure.
It took months for the uneasiness to dissipate. Opening cabinets and other storage areas remained fraught but with time we were able to relax and accept that we’d won. And we took solace in knowing we were prepared if—or rather, when—it happened again.