Thursday, June 9, 2005

Today we had the carpets cleaned, and they actually look pretty good for the first time in at least three months. It's amazing how quickly carpet soils in a motor coach.

Based on comments and recommendations on a variety of RV forums, we chose to have the carpets cleaned via a "dry," "chemical" process. I put both of those in quotes because the process is neither completely dry, nor a chemical reaction, as an engineer or chemist would understand that term.

As it turns out, cleaning fluid of some sort (the actual formula being proprietary) is sprayed on the carpets. The technician uses one of those strap-it-to-your-back pump spray tanks, identical to the type used by exterminators, or, for that matter, the folks who water the plants in some office buildings. After the carpet is completely coated, he goes over the carpet with a rotary floor scrubber, to which has been affixed a cotton pad that resembles a very short-napped mop.

For smaller, hard to reach areas, the technician uses a piece of equipment that looked to me to be identical to a rotary polisher that you might buy at Auto Zone to wax your car. He then uses terry rags by hand to reach the corners.

We will definitely not use this type of service again for a whole bunch of reasons:
  • The process certainly picked up some of the soil. But it did not get as much as the traditional steam-cleaning apparatus gets, at least to my eye.
  • The floor scrubber was a huge and clunky machine moving in a very small and delicate space. Not surprisingly, it bashed into cabinets, walls, and heater vents, and it did some (minor) damage to at least one cabinet corner. We will touch this up, but I can forsee repeated cleanings taking a heavy toll.
  • The nature of a motor coach, with many irregularly shaped spaces (nooks and crannies, if you will) meant that the scrubber just did not reach everyplace. The hand process for the irregular corners was not as effective.
  • The rotary nature of the scrubber imparted a "twist" to the fibers of the carpet. I imagine that this will relax out over time, and perhaps vacuuming a couple times will also help. But, again, I can forsee that repeated applications would irreparably damage the carpet.
Overall, I have the subjective impression that the process did more to move the soil around and make it even than it did to actually remove it. Objectively, the "used" scrubber pads going out of the coach were not as soiled as was the waste water from even the store-rental machine that we used when we were in New Jersey in November. I know from past experience that professional steam cleaners get even more than the rental machines.

On the plus side, they gave us the "two-room promotion" rate, and threw in the stain protectant for free, so we paid less than $30, which is less than it cost us to rent the stupid machine and buy the cleaning fluid.

Next time, we will just go with the steam-cleaning pros.

The cleaners finished just in time for us to make the 2pm checkout deadline, although we did stop at the dump station on our way out. We had previously availed ourselves of the provided water and electric hookups to top off our fresh tank and batteries.

We wanted to catch MotoSat before they closed, so we then proceeded directly here (map). After checking in with Arthur in tech support, and finding out where to park for the night, we headed out to do laundry, arriving back here just in time to meet up with some of our stalkers --oops, I mean: loyal blog readers.

Actually, fellow bus nuts Ron and Judi Walker had previously exchanged emails with us, and we had invited them to drop us a line if our paths ever crossed. It turns out they are attending a seminar in nearby Orem, and when they saw we were in Salt Lake, asked if we could get together. They were very kind to drive all the way here from Orem (about forty miles or so), in their coach no less, just to chat. On top of that, they were in class until 5 today, and have to be back at it by 8:30 tomorrow, with homework no less!

I had hoped to meet them a bit earlier, before their class started, but the situation with the dog and the carpet supervened, and we simply ran out of time.

It turns out we have a lot in common with the Walkers. We both prefer boondocking to RV parks, and they are also motorcyclists looking to put some kind of bike in one of their bays (which has a scooter in the interim). They are fairly early in their conversion of a Prevost H3-45, but are already living in their coach full-time. We spent a good deal of time discussing the boondocking-specific features of Odyssey and their plans for their own coach.

We are glad to have met them and are looking forward to seeing them again, perhaps at one of the rallies.

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