Bonnie and I had missed the memo, “Thou shalt not leave the black tank valve open while living in an RV park.”
All was good for months until one day the toilet would not flush.
Search for “how to unclog an RV toilet.” led to quite a few explanations and remedies. Some were quite amusing and enlightening.
It turns out that leaving the black tank valve open causes all the liquid to run out, leaving the solid materials behind.
Cameras like colonoscopy cameras for RVs revealed that a Great Pyramid of Poo could build up and block the toilet.
Remedies ran from running near-boiling water down the toilet to using tank cleaning chemicals not available in Canada.
I reasoned that hooking up a water hose to the ‘enema’ connector may erode the pyramid enough to get things to flow again.
So Bonnie was inside on the phone watching as I turned on the water.
“Stop! Stop! She cried.” as the sludge overflowed into the grey tank and started coming up the sink.
We were in a stinky mess. Couldn’t use water for anything. Possibly may need to take the unit into a shop to get the tanks cleared and possibly replaced. The costs could be in the thousands of dollars.
At least there were toilets and showers at the RV Park.
The Great Wall
It was evident that what we had was more like a Great Wall at the tank outlet than a Great Pyramid.
Various remedies came to mind. One was to move the RV next to the sewage dump at the RV park and poke something in from the outside.
I had visions of creating a YouTube-worthy Fountain of Poo in front of the office and lounge, like Robin Williams in the movie RV (no, they did not get their deposit back on the rented RV).
A friend offered to loan us some plumbing snakes and we went to Canadian Tire to see if they had something that would at least direct the geyser downward towards the drain.
They had the perfect attachment, the Rhino Blaster.
The device is intended to go between the tank outlet and the sewer hose, with a connector to attach a hose and flush water into the tank from the outside.
It turns out that the snake with a 1/4 “ flat metal ribbon and a scraper at one end would fit perfectly through the water valve.
There is a rubber seal to help avoid backwash that I kept open with a straw to allow me the feed the snake ribbon back through the valve.
I then connected the Rhino Blaster to the tank outlet and the sewer hose to the other end.
In the very least there would not be a fountain of poo and we could try the operation where we were sitting and not in front of the office and lounge.
You do not want to be witnessing a fountain of poo while sitting in the hot tub!
It took about 5 minutes of working the snake to get a tiny flow of fluid to come out.
There is Hope After All!
Bonnie was dumping boiling water down the toilet to help loosen up the sludge. Many of the online remedies recommended this.
It took close to an hour of working the snake to get enough of the sludge out to risk running more water down the toilet and sinks.
We then carefully filled up the tanks and flushed out repeatedly until we got good flow and nearly clear fluids.
We will repeat every day for a while, then go to the usual practice of draining and flushing the tanks every 5 days or so.
It is safe enough to leave the grey tank open all of the time, though an occasional flush would be good.
A few of the videos we watched described an alternative to dropping treatment pouches (bog candies) down the hole using variations of the Geo Method. One used Borax and Dawn dish soap with a chemical explanation why the Borax was able to break down sludge and oxegenate the layer where anaerobic bacteria generate the stinky gases.
Makes sense to me.
Here is a good video that adds the use of water softener to the Geo Method.
San Diego is a sparkling gem in Southern California. The video montage show many of the treasures in the the city and along the coast.
We caught a performance on the glorious Speckels Organ, the world’s largest outdoor organ.
Balboa Park has many things to see and do. We enjoyed the Botanical Building with its fabulous collection of California plants.
When we asked a park employee for dinner recommendations, she suggested a few restaurants on Coronado Island.
I had perhaps the best hamburger ever at the Tavern Bar & Grill.
RV parking in the San Diego area is expensive and Coronado Island is not build for RV parking.
However, we noticed parking along the beach with no obvious restrictions.
Since the beach faces South, we enjoyed a fabulous sunset and a fabulous sunrise. I took my camera and tripod down to the beach and caught many great shots featured in the video.
Old Town San Diego State Park
Old Town is a fun and festive collection of historical buildings and restaurants and shops celebrating the Mexican heritage of San Diego.
The Wells Fargo building had a great display of the history of the the Wells Fargo Bank. The company brought transportation, mail services, and banking services to the somewhat wild west. It is an amazing story of helping to build America.
The iconic Wells Fargo stagecoach on the display is a wonder of design and construction.
Mormon Battalion Historic Site
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site was a delightful surprise. We knew very little about the Mormon role in building San Diego. The excellent presentation that involved interaction between the audience, young women presenters, and multimedia displays took you along on the arduous and hazardous trek of the Mormon Battalion towards San Diego.
The people in San Diego were told a group crazed religious zealots were coming to fight them.
Instead there was music and dancing and the Mormons helped building San Diego.
After deserts, dangerous rocks, rivers, and rattlesnakes, there is a paradise of beaches and partying!
We paid for overnight parking at the splendid Oceanside Harbour.
See the beautiful waterfront images in the video.
Mission San Luis Rey de Franca
The Catholic Mission was established in 1798.
Next we stopped for breakfast at the Madison Square & Garden Cafe were I had the best breakfast pizza ever!
Crystal Cove State Park
Now this is what the California coast is all about!
We stopped to visit friends on their boat in Redondo Bay. That is California living at it finest!
In the last year Bonnie and Greg travelled over 18,000miles or 30,000 kilometers trying to stay between the Snow Line and the Alligator Line, crossing both at times. Here is Google’s map of our travels.
We have thousands of photos and perhaps a lifetime of stories to tell. See Google Map.
We drove across and down America in an 24′ Class C Motorhome we call Classy with stops in Idaho and Colorado related to a video project. With a fair amount of steady driving, we arrived at the event with two hours to spare after the 5,500+ kilometer trek.
The video project took us to the Miami area and Key Biscayne. From there we headed down the Florida Keys to Mile Zero in Key West, since we were in the area.
‘Hey! Wait a minute, Greg! Isn’t Florida across the Alligator LIne?’ you may be thinking.
Why, yes it is. You will find gators near the ocean in the South East and along the Gulf of Mexico.
For the record, we preferred to avoid places that alligators like because of the humidity. Bonnie once lived in the Mojave Desert in California and I grew up in Lynn Valley, where you had to move out of the valley to learn that the sun did not always set at 4 pm and that cool cloudy rainy days were not the norm in other places!
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