May 26, 2009


Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Heiskell, TN

Last Thursday night, just before we left Smokemont Campground in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, in the middle of the night, Dar heard a scratching sound coming from the kitchen area of the bus-house. She got up to investigate and confirmed that the noise was real and not some mechanical anomaly or a product of her imagination. Her next step was to wake me and I happily confirmed that I heard the noise too. "Somewhere along the line it sounds like we've picked up a stowaway."

I checked in the cabinet where I thought the noise was coming from... nothing. No sign of anything out of place. Hmmm. Since there really wasn't much we could do in the middle off the night, we agreed we'd deal with it the next day, after our drive to the Knoxville area.

After arriving at the Escapees Racoon Valley Park near Heiskell, TN, and setting up housekeeping, we got back on the trail... "the case of the unknown stowaway."

RVs are full of nooks and crannies and little spaces that could harbor a furry fugitive... and most of these spaces are not only inaccessible, it's almost impossible to even see into them. With a good flashlight and a small mirror to see around corners and behind things, we searched and looked in every space we could. Under counters, behind cabinets, into spaces where pipes and wires run... we looked everywhere. We found some, shall we say, physical evidence of a stowaway. But no stowaway.

We took everything out of the basement storage bays, searched in spaces I've never looked before, and all we found was a little evidence, here and there, but no big mess or nest or anything else. Hmmm. But there are so many places that we can't see or check.

The next step was off to the store where I bought a pack of the old reliable Victor spring-type mouse traps. (For the record, these simple but effective devices are still made in the USA -- I was shocked! The Woodstream Company of Lititz, PA should be given an award as far as I'm concerned.) Anyway, I got the traps home and proceeded to set them up in spots were we saw evidence... two upstairs in our living quarters, and two down in the basement storage bays.

The next morning, after coffee, I checked and am happy to report we had some success. Not just one, but two little field mice. But it was a good news/bad news thing... the good news is we got two, the bad news was we got two, and where there's two there are probably more. Hmmm.

I also plugged up a likely area of access adjacent to the point the sewer hose exits from the camper. And I re-loaded the traps for the next night. But nothing. Not another mouse. We've had two mouse-free nights now and hope is building that, just maybe, we only had two and we got 'em before they were able to reproduce. Maybe.

We'll keep a watchful eye, and ear, for a while. We've also decided on some ongoing things we'll do to deter the little buggers from entering in the first place... to prevent the problem instead of having to fix the problem. It's amazing how many home-remedies we've heard from people in the Park... steel wool, dryer sheets, aluminum foil, get a cat, moth balls, and many more. We picked one or two and we'll see how it goes.

Hopefully, this problem is solved.

As an aside: And if you really want to help the US economy, buy a bag of Victor mouse traps. A pack of 4 are less than $2 and ALL the dollars will stay right here in the good old USA. You never know when you'll need one.


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