Saturday, December 18, 2021

Second sight......

7:34 am - Saturday - December 18th - Anza Borrego Desert, CA - 30° F, 43% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the northwest.....crystal clear, blue skies today with a forecast high of 66° F....that's a 36° differential!  On this date in 2017 we were working at the Grand Canyon for the winter, and I spent the afternoon polishing the Newell to make her pretty again......↴

Back in February of 2020 when we last boondocked here in the Anza Borrego Desert we went 28 days without dumping our black tank.  It's been 19 days since we last dumped, and we probably could have gone another week+, but we're going to be here until at least December 29th, and I'm pretty sure we will need to dump before then, so we decided to drive over to Palm Canyon Campground (a State park) in Borrego Springs to utilize their dump station ($10 charge) on Friday.  Additionally, I wanted to replace the black tank sight tube, and I  needed an EMPTY black tank to do so.  The drive from our boondock site to the dump station is a little over 9 miles, so, in preparation for rolling our wheels, I moved our rope lights, stowed our camp chairs, Honda generator, and a few other things in the trailer.  I also stowed the Winegard satellite dish, but left the solar panels tilted as we were not going that far, or that fast....we've done this before and have never had a problem.  While I was so engaged we had the big Kohler genset running to power the block heater in preparation for turning over the big Detroit Diesel 6v92.  By 10:30 am we were ready to roll, so TLE moved the VW while I pulled out of our site, then parked the VW in front of the trailer before heading into town.  The drive over was uneventful.....we paid or $10 fee to the nice lady Ranger in the kiosk......

.....and made our way over to their very nice dump station....the first thing you come to is the fresh water fill up station, and the second is the actual dump station about 30 yards further..... took us a less than an hour to dump the tank, and refill our fresh water tank, which was down to 80 gallons after 19 days.  We filled it to the 150 gallon mark, then stopped at the dumpster to donate 19 days of trash, and were on our way home around 11:30 am.

I needed some additional hardware store supplies to finish my black tank project, and TLE wanted to do a couple loads of wash, so we drove back into town around 1 pm to do just that.  I dropped TLE off at the laundromat, and headed for TruValue where I found everything I needed.  When I returned to the laundromat the wash cycle was about done, so after TLE put everything into the dryer we walked over to Big Horn Fudge Company to get some ice cream.....I chose a cup of their Burgandy Cherry....I haven't had ice cream for longer than I can remember..... the time we returned to the laundromat the drying cycle was done, so I helped TLE fold our clothes before we headed home.

Our black tank has a 'sight tube' mounted on the site of the tank so we can tell how full it is getting.  About 8 years ago the old sight tube clogged up, and stopped working.  At the time I tried to unclog it, but then the copper fittings began to leak, so I drained the tank, and filled the bottom copper elbow with silicone caulk.  It was not apparent to me at the time how I could fix that, so my solution was to scrape some of the black paint off the black tank portion of our segmented black/gray water tank to allow me to check the level of black water that way.  The tanks are made of a translucent plastic.  Anyway, that worked well for 8 years, but finally I figured out how to replace the site tube.  Below is the old site tube with rotted copper fittings....sewage water apparently takes a toll on copper over 40

Out with the old

.....sometimes it was difficult to see the level of efflfuent, but I got pretty good at it over time......

.....since then I've become aware of Sharkbite fittings with the installation of our tankless water heater.  Recently I reinspected the old sight tube and found that one side of each copper elbow was 1/2" copper pipe with male threads, so I began to look for Sharkbite elbow fittings that had 1/2" male threads on one side, and I found them at Home Depot......

......I already had the clear tubing on hand so once we got home from the laundromat I set to work taking out the old site tube, unscrewing the old copper elbows, and installing the new site tube using the Sharkbite threaded elbows.  Amazingly I had it all done within 45 minutes.  The great thing about the Sharkbite fittings is I can take everything apart in minutes to repair any portion which may go bad, or get clogged in the future.....the same with the new hose bib for flushing the black tank.  By the way, the new black tank hose bib worked great, and did not leak!

By the time I finished installing the new black tank sight tube it was almost 3:30 pm, and sunset was not far away.  We had planned on another sunset fire, but changed our minds at the last minute, deciding to stay inside and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie......I haven't had a good cry in a while, so why not, right?

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