Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Drain Master, A word about Sewage and Hoses

I rarely if ever endorse products. However, I've found one product and in particular the company for which I can speak highly, Drain Master. This company is American owned and operated out of Holister, Calif. In fact the owner was a former full time RV'er who traveled the country for 10 years.
Regular readers of this blog may recall that my original sewer hose that came with our Carriage Cameo developed leaks from mice chewing holes into it. 
Old sewer hose chewed by mice
We had been at a National Wildlife Refuge volunteering when I discovered the holes. I'm sure it was mice due to the random pattern and the fact that the area was crawling with the little critters and there was mice feces under the outdoor carpet that I had covering the hose to protect it from the brutal sun.
Knowing that we would eventually be in a similar workamping situation, I wanted to purchase a sewer hose that would withstand any future attacks from Mother Nature.  Also my Carriage came with a "cam-loc" system in place of the more common "bayonet" system. So, I contacted Drain Master, a company that had a new proprietary sewer hose with the nozzle that I really liked.
New and old Nozzles
Fits in the sewer hose compartment
You see, not only did the nozzle fit the storage compartment of our RV, it was also very useful in preventing sewage spills/ leakage it allowed me to shut-off the hose or seal it to prevent leaks when I finished draining it. The nozzle shut-off is also very helpful with rinsing the hose as it can be shut so as to rinse the hose and fill it with water then open it again to flush. Very handy before stowing it away for travel.  Now the hose itself from Drain Master is crush proof and puncture resistant and more importantly guaranteed. It also stretches to 16 ft. So I ordered the upgraded hose system at a cost of around $135. Expensive but designed to last.
New and old hose
Unfortunately the hose I purchased was defective. Four or five months after receiving the hose system while in Texas I noticed a series of 7 holes all in a row on top of the hose in a straight line.
My immediate thought was that it was from a bird, even though I hadn't seen any birds bothering it. I contacted Drain Master and spoke to Doug whom I later learned was the owner.  Doug, was extremely pleasant and helpful.  He confirmed that it may be a defective hose and immediately shipped a new one minus the nozzle to replace it. Upon receiving the hose, I simply followed their instructions to attach the nozzle from the defective hose. I cut up the defective hose and mailed the defective portion back to them for examination.
Well, as bad luck would have it, I received another defective hose and it developed blisters that were soon to become leaks and to top it off the Nozzle broke inside at a valve pivot point. 
New defective hose 
Broken pivot inside nozzle
Because it was a weekend and we were traveling, I sent an e-mail via the Drain Master website explaining the problem. The following Monday, Doug contacted me directly by phone. After discussing the issues, he immediately offered to replace the hose and nozzle explaining that a batch of defective hoses from the factory had been discovered and they were taking measures to replace them. These measures now include a pressurization test before shipping. Within a few days I received a new hose and nozzle.
While talking with Doug he made me aware of some of the issues related to sewage spillage at RV sites and attempts by some law makers to curtail the industry or perhaps regulate it more. He explained how their systems help prevent spillage when used properly. It is up to us as RV'ers to prevent spillage by dumping our tanks properly and by using the proper equipment and thus take the potential threat of legislation off the table. There are a number of educational videos and information related to the proper operation of RV sewer systems and tank dumping procedures on the Drain Master website. I would encourage any RV'er to take a moment and review their website and the valuable information. Likewise if you need a new sewer hose system, check them out. I felt it necessary to share my experience, because even though I had problems with their product initially, they made it right and I was assured they were making corrections at their end as well. Certainly their guarantee and customer service is in my opinion second to none.

Update: I received this e-mail from Doug at Drain Master that he wanted to share:

Hi Darren,
I tried to respond to you by posting this on your site under comments Darren,

I want to thank you for hanging in there with us while Murphy was in our shop messing with us. We did get rid of him through a more rigorous testing procedure and learned a valuable lesson regarding incoming QC. The hose manufacturer stands behind this product 100% even though it was designed by us. The defect has been identified and corrected so we do not expect issues in the future. It has been a pleasure doing business with you and if you and Joyce find yourself in our area we would love to have you come by, we have a great RV space for you on our ranch.
With appreciation,
Drain Master

My email address as well as our web site address was rejected.
Please let me know what to do to post this comment if you think it appropriate.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trip from Durango to Silverton on Hwy. 550.

June 28, 2011 Durango RV Park. 
WARNING!  Lots of pictures!
Today we took a trip from Durango to Silverton with our friends Paul and Paula in the Jeep. 
Engineer Mountain
This was an amazingly beautiful drive of about 130 miles round trip.
We passed the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad as we traveled on Hwy. 550. Collectively we had decided that the train ride was too expensive for our tastes. And driving was much faster although not as nostalgic.
The first of two major passes.

Molass Pass 10, 899ft.

Just two of the many lakes we passed.

Molass Lake
We took a Forest Service road to Molass Lake where we got out and enjoyed the cool breezy temps.
Paul and Paula
We made several photo stops as we traveled up the mountains. 
Silverton City
Joyce and I had visited Silverton last year but drove down via the "Million Dollar Hwy from Ouray.
Silverton City Hall
Silverton is a former silver mining camp, most or all of which is now included in a federally designatedNational Historic Landmark District, the Silverton Historic District. The town population was 531 at U.S. Census 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km²), all of it land. Silverton is one of the highest towns in the United States, at 9,305 feet (2,836 m) above sea level.
Greene St./ Co. Rd. 2
Greene St./ Co. Rd. 2
Greene St./ Co. Rd. 2
Greene St./ Co. Rd. 2
Greene St./ Co. Rd. 2
Greene St./ Co. Rd. 2
Greene St./ Co. Rd. 2
Side Street and view of Kendall Mtn.
American Legion Hall
Blair Street 
Notorious Blair Street was home to 32 saloons, gambling halls and houses of ill-repute in a three-block stretch. Often the first building in a mining camp was a saloon. If not, it was certainly the second! Among their colorful names were the Mikado, the North Pole and the Laundry, where they "cleaned you out." Gamblers, such as Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp, played faro within their walls. 
From its earliest days, the street was infamous for its loud music and dance halls. In fact, the people on the south end of Blair Street were so mortified by its reputation, that they petitioned the Silverton town council to have their end of the street renamed Empire Street. Although illegal, gambling and prostitution were tolerated in the early days in Silverton, as long as the "ladies" stayed behind an invisible line in the middle of Greene Street, separating them from the more respectable part of town. 
Blair Street  
We ate lunch at Handlebars Restaurant and Saloon for lunch. Three of us had burgers (Elk, Bison and Portabello) that were just average and overcooked.  
Jeep road up Kendall Mtn.
Before leaving the Silverton valley we decided to take a ride up a dirt road to Kendall Mtn. 
Kendall Mountain is a mountain summit in San Juan County in the state of Colorado (CO). Kendall Mountain climbs to 13,274 feet (4,045.92 meters) above sea level.
I drove up the road until the clamor from the the back seat drivers got so loud that it was in my best interest to turn around. The road was becoming increasingly narrow, rocky and sketchy. So, Paul spotted as I did a 3-point turn to get turned around. The road was so steep that I put the Jeep in 4-low to keep from riding the brakes on the way down.
We came across this dirt road with water running down it (above) like a small stream. We guessed that it had to be snow melt.

We had planned to do some more Jeeping on the Alpine Loop trails around Silverton but we ran out of time and the backseat drivers probably didn't have the stomach for it! We all had to get back to our dogs. We had been away for almost 8 hours by the time we got home. 
We had a great time and took way to many pictures as the area is just breathtakingly beautiful...even the second time around!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Travel Day to Durango, Co., Durango RV Park

June 23, 2011, Santa Fe, NM
We were up early to walk Maggie and Rico and make our final preparations to move on to Durango, Colorado. After hitching up and loading up we were on the road by 8:00 with about 220 miles to travel ahead of us.
Originally I had planned to travel north via Chama, NM but, when we called to make a reservation at Durango RV Park, the owner/ operator suggested going via Bernalillo, NM and Hwy. 550. Garmin agreed so that's the route we took.

View Larger Map
It was a beautiful smooth ride over some desolate yet beautiful landscape.

I was impressed with the smooth 4 laned highway 550.

I never grow tired or looking at the beautiful snow capped mountains across the border in Colorado.

Durango RV Park Office, Laundry and Owner's Residence
Around noon we pulled into the south entrance of Durango RV Park right off Hwy 550. We were immediately marshaled into the smallest site we've ever had and right near the entrance. It was fortunate the owner was there to quickly guide us as the park is very tight with little room for moving a big rig.
Our 36 ft. Carriage Cameo barely fits in the site. However, all of the sites appear to be small. I'm not wild about the utility hook-ups. The 50 amp outlet is so low to the ground that I can't use my Surge Guard and the sewer outlet is too close and uphill. However, we will make do for a couple of weeks!
Our friends, Paul and Paula have already been here for a couple of weeks and are parked across the street from us in the picture above. They also have a Carriage Cameo.
Our site was too small to park either the truck or the Jeep so they are actually parked on the site next to us along with a horse buggy. Actually I didn't realize that there was a site next to us! The owners are very nice and said that parking in the adjacent site wasn't a problem. If an RV was in that site it would really be tight!
Overall, we are happy with our site even though it's close to the highway and a bit noisy. At least we have friends here and good views, which is to say we aren't looking at another RV out the windows. Also the price isn't bad for Colorado at $150 a week. We plan to stay for two weeks to take us over the 4th of July when it's often hard to find a place. The altitude is close to 7K feet yet it still got to 90 in the later afternoon. Apparently there's a heat wave following us! Nights are expected to be in the 40's and 50's. 
We spent the afternoon catching up with Paul and Paula and then grilled out with them for dinner. We enjoy their company and look forward to exploring the area with them in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Santa Fe...doing the tourist thing!

June 21, 2011 Santa Fe, New Mexico Trailer Ranch Rv Park.
Entrance to Trailer Ranch RV Park
We woke to cool temps this morning in the lower 50's. It was in the low 60's in the bedroom which meant it was chilly and thus required a little 'sleeping in'. Later I walked Maggie and Rico and came across a Red Fox that was hanging out by one of the buildings. Other passer-bys told me it has kits (pups) under a nearby shed. I was amazed that it didn't seem concerned with us even though we were perhaps only 15 yds. away. 
By 10:00 we were ready to get out and catch the city bus right outside of the RV Park. We took the bus for about a 20 minute ride into the "Plaza" where it dropped us off below.
City Bus
We were totally into doing the 'tourist thing' and just strolling along window shopping and taking pictures.
We both really love the Santa Fe style architecture.

Cafe Pasqual's
We had lunch at a local tourist hot spot: Cafe Pasqual's. It was recommended by the RV park and circled on our map. I gotta tell ya, we weren't impressed. We found it cramped, expensive and the food wasn't exceptional. Just our opinion!

Santa Fe Pre 1938 Rt. 66 Alignment

When Route 66 was first laid out in 1926everybody knew it would go through the capital of New Mexico and indeed it did. Route 66 followed the Old Pecos Trail from Santa Rosa through Dilia, Romeroville and Pecos to Santa Fe. From Santa Fe it went over La Bajada Hill and down into Albuquerque. That was the way it was aligned and constructed and that was the way it was supposed to stay - forever. But it didn't. But why was it moved? In 1937 the then governor of New Mexico, Governor Hannett lost the re-election. Hannett blamed this on the politicians in Santa Fe. In one great last act of defiance before the new governor was sworn in he vowed to get even with this Santa Fe ring. He had until January to institute his revenge. And he did! He decided the best way to get even was to re-route Highway 66 to Albuquerque and bypass Santa Fe altogether. This new alignment would bypass the Santa Fe businesses and Santa Fe politicians. It was a race against time. With no time off for the workers, including Christmas, he had to build a road through the virgin landscape fighting the elements, the vegetation and anybody and anything that got in his way. There was no time to buy the right a way so the road cut across both public and private land with no regard for the ownership. Though the road was not quite finished by the time the new governor took office in January, bad weather conditions prevented him from contacting the work crews to stop the project. By the time the new governor met with the work crews it was too late. The new road had been finished and cars were already driving the new route that cut off more than 90 miles of driving distance between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque. Santa Fe had been bypassed! The new alignment was really a better route from an engineer's standpoint. It was a more direct route that cut out some treacherous road conditions. It was also quite a bit shorter. This is the route that would be followed by the new Interstate years later. Now you know the whole story!
La Fonda on the Plaza
The current La Fonda, built in 1922, sits on the same site as previous inns, literally at the terminus of the Santa Fe Trail and the Plaza – a haven for travelers for more than 400 years!
In 1925, the new building was acquired by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway and then leased to Fred Harvey who was renowned for his hospitality. He turned La Fonda into one of the famous Harvey Houses and it remained a Harvey House until 1968 when it was acquired by local businessman, Sam Ballen
Palace of the Governors
Originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain's seat of government for what is today the American Southwest, the Palace of the Governors chronicles the history of Santa Fe, as well as New Mexico and the region. This adobe structure, now the state's history museum, was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1960 and an American Treasure in 1999.
The Lensic Theater in Santa Fe
Built in 1931, The Lensic is more than a theater to the people of Santa Fe. For most of the 20th century, the venue was a place for a first kiss in the balcony, a grand silver screen in the midst of the Depression, a vaudeville venue where the community could see the singers, actors, dancers and comedians of the day. It was a place where magic happened.
The theater was in danger of becoming an empty house of over 800 seats when in 1999 a vision for a world-class performing arts center was birthed. It was time for a new chapter in the venerated theater’s life.
Thanks to a group of dedicated individuals who saw the potential for the venue and the future benefit for Santa Fe, the renovation and refurbishing of the old theater began in 2000 with gifts from individuals, local businesses, the city and foundations.
In April 2001, the Lensic Theater once again opened its doors to the people of Santa Fe as a nonprofit: The Lensic Performing Arts Center, a place where magic still happens, over 250 nights a year.

Georgia O'Keefe Museum Research Center
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center, a component of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, sponsors research in American Modernism (late nineteenth century to present) by awarding stipends to historians in the fields of art, architecture and design, literature, music and photography and to museum professionals who wish to organize an exhibition at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center opened in July 2001 as the only museum-related research facility in the world dedicated to the study of American Modernism (late nineteenth century – present)
One of many Churches around the Plaza
We spent several hours walking around the Old Plaza District of Santa Fe before taking the bus back to the rv park. It was a fun day. However, I learned that my sciatic nerve issue with my right hip from my fall a few weeks ago isn't completely healed. Several times during our walk it would flair up and then mysteriously go away again. I sure hope this doesn't become a chronic issue.
Later in the evening I took the truck out to fill it up with diesel in preparation for leaving Thursday morning. Searching for the cheapest diesel, I used the Gas Buddy website to locate a fuel station. So I drove off in search of the station which lead me to a rather poor section of town and up a dirt road under construction. I made it to the station only to discover that it didn't sell diesel in contradiction to my research! So I tried another station that was hard to get into because of construction on the road only to learn that they would only take cash because they just opened and didn't have credit card machines. So I gave up, I went to the station on the main drag and paid $4.059 per gallon, the most I've paid to date. 
Tomorrow we will just do some domestic shopping and make preparations to move on to Colorado.