The Adventure of the Ultimate Poo Poo Experience – WHAAATTT - WOW!!! – I must be crazy to even consider writing about a subject like this. Having nightmarish visions of Robin Williams in the movie “RV’; opening the main dump handle for the first time, I proceeded with caution to subside my comic fears of a nasty experience. As the story unfolds; we pulled up to one of the more remote full hookup sites last summer (2014) to check out all the systems. We were close enough to town and neighbors that if we ran into trouble it would not be too inconvenient to get help. Both of us were happy – hot during the day – cool at night. We cooked a wonderful dinner in the oven. I took note that the oven temperature was too hot making a boiling witches brew of our casserole. I would calibrate temperature later in the season. The hot water heater, the refrigerator and furnace worked wonderfully. All was peaceful…… We woke up the next morning and did a walk around to check that the appliances were still working and noticed a puddle under the bathroom area. CRAP!! Well, I thought to myself that’s why we are here. There was a nice level concrete pad, pressurized city water, sewer hook up and plugged into 20 Amp electrical service. It’s a much nicer setup than at home. So why not take a look at what the heck is going on. I opened the main dump from the black water tank, flushed it out and sprayed the concrete pad thoroughly. Waited – took a deep breath and crawled under the rig to take a peak. There were hairline cracks in the flange that exits the tank to main dump valve. Someone tried to fix this area in the past with JB Weld and it had failed. The main dump valve was leaky as well. Rats!!!
We finished out our three day stay with out incidence; keeping the valve open (it would not close) and flushed the tank with clean pressurized fresh water before we left.
Let the adventure begin - the quest for the Ultimate Poo Poo Experience.
We had one more trip on our wish list to end the season - to stay at one of our state parks with just an electric hookup.
BUT NOOOOOO….. I had to figure out how to fix this mess. Replacing the black water tank was out of the question. It would have been cost prohibited - a custom tank. Could have tried to locate another tank in a bone yard but the time involved searching and removing all the sprayed insulation around the tank for removal seemed like a daunting task.
Disconnected the main dump valve – soaked it in a mild Clorox/water solution in a bucket. Checked into replacing this “Thetford” valve; nothing - it is unique in its configuration because there is no gray water tank (the sink drain and shower drain tee into the sides of the dump valve fitting). I am going to have to rebuild this valve myself. While dismantling this thing I discovered that the brass pull rod had a broken its tip off; that’s why the valve would not shut. Oh my Goodness - what else?
I cinched up my boot straps - put on my super hero cap – with my decoder ring in hand we whooped this evil nasty beast.
First - I made a new pull rod out of stainless steel. Brass is nice, however it is soft it would fail again in time. Second - made a gasket using the mating surfaces as a pattern. Then - replaced all the rusty screws with stainless steel ones. Installed the valve back onto the tank flange with all new hose clamps and flexible rubber couplers - a little bit of clear caulk - and we are done.
Next - I tackled the tank flange. Sanded all the old repair material off and realized that it was much worse than expected. I discovered this plastic repair stuff three years ago while fixing a leak on a fitting on our hot tub. This stuff is awesome. “Plast-aid” a chemical heat activated adhesive/putty specially formulated for hard plastics. This stuff really works. This is not my idea of fun!!! Spending hours on my back on a gravel driveway with a respirator smashed on my face under “Ms Queen”. I slowly rebuilt the entire flange with a 3/8” thick wall of the new material. You have to work with small batches because of the cure time. Then test it. I filled the tank looking for leaks – drained it – fixed that area. Filled it again – drain it, again and again. It took numerous tries but finally I got it. It took quite a bit of time and old man winter took his grip on us. Thank god - another minute under the belly of the beast would have driven me to insanity. This was one of the most unpleasant yet satisfying tasks I have had in awhile.
Below is a shot of the final fix. The white stuff to the left is the plastic putty fix on the black water tank flange. To the right is the rebuilt main “Thetford” dump valve.
It is still holding strong a year later. Soooooo nice…. as I ring my hands in demented delight.
I spent the following winter thinking about what we needed to make a more pleasant waste (Poo Poo) experience. We like to escape to the more remote camping areas. “Ms Queen will have to be able to do it all - Full hookup, Electric only and the ultimate Dry Glamping. Being a rooky I had no clue what you really needed to do at each level. It is all an adventure. With no gray water tank and the old “leaky bucket” technique is out of the equation; we decided to “blue tank” it - a small 6.5 gallon tank would do. It was small and light enough for us to lift and dump into out houses/latrines (some of the places we go have no dumping stations). The tank is large enough to take one luxurious navy shower - positively delightful. We hook it up directly to main dump valve with a garden hose adapter. The smaller tanks have no wheels like the larger tanks. We had a collapsible dolly begging to be used. Strapped that bad boy onto the dolly and away ya go. Wait a minute….. I am not going to skip down the road a ¼ mile to dump that thing dragging it behind me.
NOT GOING TO HAPPEN – so one thing leads to another. I took note on our early outings that a lot of people in the parks have bicycles; what a great idea - we both love to bike. I just needed an excuse to buy a new bike. The next acquisition was under the guise of a better experience. We purchased one; not just a bike but an E-bike. “Ms Queen” needed a pair of chariots. Then you have to a special rack to carry it – but…but we have a hitch already. It just needed an accessory hanging on it. Cobbled a mounting plate together; a hook up strap and a little bit of hardware -
THIS IS WHAT WE ENDED UP WITH……
Couldn’t be more fun - we positively love it. Attach it and detach it - depends what needs to be done. We get a lot of looks and comments about this one - there is always a smile and a bit of laughter with every encounter. We have a side basket for the bike – take the trash out, put towels/cloths to use at the pool or shower, dump the porti toilet – to the store we go. Up, up and awaaaay….we are cruising now. This combination gives us a lot of flexibility; we are supposed to relax on the weekends. Right?
I was bound and determined to make this a More Pleasant Experience.
Below is the “Blue Tank”, our gray tank hooked up with a garden hose to “Ms Queen”
We checked off all the boxes on that list. WRONG….It was time to do the dirty - to the dumping station we shall go. Tally hoooooo. Oh noooo…. those evil demons were lurking on my shoulder. I had visions of Robin William’s character in my mind. We both watched other people with their newer rigs use the dump station earlier. Mmmm… we can do this. No problem we convinced ourselves. Really….we pulled two separate lengths of hose from the rear compartment, screwed them together, threw a mat under the rig to get on my hands and knees, put my head under the belly to hook the fitting to the dump valve. I get up and look towards the back and a line is stacking up with other rigs needing to take care of their business. I am really starting to get nervous now. We both have never done this before. I felt a little more assured that an older gentleman was giving a how to lesson to the group ladies across from us. If they can do this; we can do this. I closed my eyes and pulled the release lever. Down the shoot it went, flushed the tank and the hose. Once again I had to get on my hands and knees to take the hose off. I felt like I was in a slippery alligator pen; the hose had become a menace wrapping itself around me making it really difficult to get up. Still grinning; I was soaked with who knows what – more water than the other – most likely from the rinsing and wrestling with the hose. My dignity slightly bruised; I disconnected the two hoses and shoved them in two plastic bags. I did not want dripping poo’s on all the stuff in the rear storage compartment. Driving back home I’m thinking - there has to be a less awkward, more elegant way to do a doo doo dump. The evil “3D’s”. I am not going to do this dance again.
We had to reduce the time at the station and be sanitary about it. Once again - the quest for the more pleasant experience continued.
I purchased a 48” long hose carrier tube and installed it towards the rear under the belly of the beast. This enables us to store both hoses and its fittings together and out of the rear compartment.
Below is the long hose carrier by the rear bumper. The shorter one is repositioned under the belly for the “Blue Tote Tank“ hose.
Instead of crawling on my hands and knees to hook up the drain hose I installed some clear swivel fittings off of the main dump valve to the outside edge the siding. You might have to install a special “Thetford to Valterra” adapter to transition from the old to the new. We did. Oh what a relief it was; I just bend over and attach the hose with ease. Rotate it down, pull the handle and let it rip. The fittings sit about 10” from the tire and extends approx 1 ½” from the side. We attached it with a couple of metal straps. The extension sits no lower than the exhaust pipe. We’ll use it and see how road worthy it will be. In the mean time we are smiling. It has been a long journey to get to Ultimate & Pleasurable Poo Poo Experience. Ahhhhhh. No more fuss or mess.
Here’s a close up of the adapter and new swivel fittings. It is positioned in the up position for traveling and the swiveled downward for waste dumping. Materials used were a “Thetford to Valterra” adapter, a swivel 90 degree clear fitting, 5” long straight clear fitting, a swivel 45 degree clear fitting and a clear end cap held up with some metal plumbers strapping.
The 2015 Dry Glamping experiences were relaxing, pleasurable and exciting. Always looking to improve our adventures; we finally (8 months later) were able to be un-tethered to go to places like this. It was quiet and shared the camp ground with a just a couple of neighbors for several days - without a care in the world.
On a closing note; we have a standing joke between us that makes us both giggle. You know how all the cool guys have the vehicles that are “Chick Magnets” well we have the “Old Man – Grey Hair Magnet”. Everywhere we go - it does not matter if it is to the gas station, repair shop, truck stop or campground. Inevitably it attracts the good old boys. They walk up and press their noses to the side windows or slow their meandering stroll to a halt; wide eyed asking “What year 70….” Smiling all the awhile - their boyish grins – it satisfies the kid in all of us. We hold on to those memories when times were simpler, uncomplicated; filled with a nostalgic fondness for shinny big chrome, real wood and classic muscle engines. “Ms Queen” is becoming quite the Magnet; an ice breaker for meeting a lot of really neat people. We look forward to more in the future. Stay tuned for the continuing adventures. P