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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

A Broken Key and a Decision

~Monday, March 6, 2023~

Day 996

I guess it comes with the territory of free camping…… the name of power, sometimes, not always, is there a fellow RV’er who must run their generator from sun up to sun down. If it weren’t for the few trees between us that help buffer the sound (just a little), we’d have a few friendly words. We’ll just assume they’re needing it for medical purposes which we’ve encountered before. We certainly don’t want to be jerks about it.

Just like it took seeing our drinking water that looked like pee to force us to finally buy a better water filtration system, it took a broken key

to ultimately purchase improved RV exterior locks for Billie Jean. One of the first rules of RV ownership is to change out the entire lock system on the exterior storage compartments. The reason……most RV manufacturers install the same locks/keys known as CH-751, on nearly every RV available in the U.S. And just like our RV dealer, few of them ever inform their customers of this. We learned about it through our RV network, as we have so many things. From a manufacturing standpoint, using a standardized lock and key makes sense, right? Aside from all of us being able to easily access each other's storage, the CH-751 lock is also not designed very well. The metal tab called a cam which is the part that turns inside the compartment to lock it, has been known to jam on us and easily rusts, making it harder to turn; thus, the broken key. This would be the second of 2 keys that has broken on us and we decided not to order a replacement because we knew we would eventually be changing out the locks. So here we are, making our list and ordering 13 new locksets from

Industrial Lock & Hardware, Inc. and $200 well spent. There are about 10,000 variations of this lock, so think it’s safe to say that we won’t run into anyone with the same exact key. I suppose if somebody really wanted to break in, they could. But we feel better knowing that we’re not making a would be thief’s job any easier. Thankfully our entry door came with an excellent keypad system. So no changing locks there.

Just like Long Pine Key, it looks like this campground won’t allow us any daytime adventures, either because Sadie can’t join us on trails or because we’re unable to leave her at the trailer without a running A/C and electrical hookups. Sweetly enough, our campground hosts from Ohio stopped by to check on whether we needed anything. Luckily, they were chill enough to not be bothered by Sadie off-leash (whew!). It was nice chatting with them about their work camping where they spend from September to April at Dupuis and the remaining months back home with family in Ohio. We also learned about the many hiking and equestrian trails and the one paved driveable road that gets you deep into the park. Sadie would be able to join us on that one. However, they cautioned us on bringing Sadie on any of the others, not so much because of alligators, but because of rattlesnakes. They’ve had to kill 2 recently. And evidently, there is a 9-foot resident alligator that frequently comes up to the fenceline of our campground. You won’t be seeing me close to one of those again to which my mom is praising the Lord right about now. It’s quite a jungle out there, isn’t it?

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