Posted on January 6th, 2017 by David.B
So we did blog posts on RV Tank Use and hoses that included a CAM Lock Hose System and then we did one on Electronic Dump Valves. We mentioned that we put in the electronic dump valves so we did not need to go outside each time to dump our gray tank as we leave ours closed. So that blog post and video opened up quite the conversions here and elsewhere dealing with keeping the gray tank open or closed when you are parked.
We treat the gray tank like the black as it does have solids that get into it from washing dishes. You also have grease from cooking, not that you dump that down the drain, but it does get in again from cleaning. Don’t forget the washing detergent, shampoo, soap, etc and so on. Remember it is not just water going down the drain, these items can and do collect on the bottom of the tank and on the sides.
In fact, in the video of the of the RV Tank use and the new hose system, I showed you what the build up can be like as it was clearly shown on the side of the clear down tube I installed, all showing on the side the gray tank is on. This was collected “gunk” that stuck to the side of the tube that even after a flush. As such, you can only grossly imagine what the inside of the gray tank looks like if it is left open and only closed to fill some before dumping your black tank.
So like the black tank, we leave our gray closed and open it when it is close to full to thus allow for a best chance to PULL “gunk” out of the tank based on the force of the rushing water. Also the items scum that floats on the tops that kind of makes a thin film will also then be pulled away. That same scum that would otherwise be stuck to the bottom or sides and build up over time with the heavy items.
So, knowing that we leave ours closed and thus to us having the best chance of a clean tank each time we empty it, we wanted to have a professional cleaning done. This is in hopes to show you what is still in the tank when you think it is clean! So if we have gunk that comes out after we flushed it, and we leave it closed, imagine what a tank that is left open, with the build up I showed happens, would look like!
Of course we all also flush out our black tanks right? But of course you do. But after you emptied it, then flushed it, and even if you then filled it again with the flush water and then drained it again, you would think you are all cleaned out. Nope, not by a long shot. Things still stick and build up over time. So, of course we had to have the black tank also cleaned.
So enter the professional tank cleaner Todd. With a 4,000PSI pressure gas power washer with a special tip that shoots out 4 powerful jets backwards at an angle, thus washing will get your tanks as clean as it can be. The best want to show this is via video, so if you care to see what comes out of a tank you think is clean, feel free to watch this 7.5 minute video. Once you see what comes out of our gray tank that we keep closed, thus the best chance of keeping it clean, I think you might just get the point on the build up that can and will happen when you keep it open.
Look, we all have our own ways we do things. That’s great. If you care to leave your gray tank open, that’s fine by us. We just wanted to show why we keep it closed and empty it as needed. And yes, you would be more than likely going out to empty it every 2 or 4 days as we were. So now you can see why we installed the electric dump valves. :)
This was the first power tank cleaning we have done with our 2014 coach. After seeing this we will likely have the tanks professionally cleaned every other year.
Posted on January 3rd, 2017 by Brenda.B
First Sedona, Arizona. Well….we were not expecting what we found. With all the hype that everyone talks about Sedona, we were anxious to get there and explore. We’ve been trying for a couple years now to get to this town but things just never lined up quite right. This time, we left Cottonwood early (Sedona’s only a half hour drive) so we would have the whole day to explore.
The drive in to Sedona was beautiful. The red rocks and high peaks, gorgeous. When you get into town, not so much. While we were there on a weekday and it was not crowded, we did find it more difficult to get around than we had thought. We were hoping to just park and stroll around the streets but the way Sedona is laid out, you really do need a car or you’ll be walking quite a bit.
The thing that disappointed us most about Sedona was how touristy it was/felt. There was this one area of shopping that you could get out and walk around easily, but the shops were filled with cheap t-shirts, magnets and trinkets galore. There were booths set up on the sidewalk to take Jeep tours and helicopter tours and all sorts of tours. And let’s face it, if you have been to Sedona, you know how expensive everything is/can be. We looked around for a place to have lunch and it was crazy the prices they were charging out there. Too touristy for us. We ended up leaving Sedona and having lunch back in Cottonwood. As far as Sedona, we feel we were disappointed with what we thought we were getting into. The surrounding area, yes, a definite great place, great hiking. The town itself, we don’t see a need to go back.
UPDATED ADDED: Based on comments posted below from what seems to be from people that work or live in Sodona who do not know us vs readers of our blog, we wanted to add this…
Thanks for your comments. Some of you more than likely came here based on someone mentioning this post somewhere as you surely do not seem to be readers of an RV travel blog. If you were, you would clearly know that we go everywhere and post about everything and we call it like WE see it. We all have our opinions and that is what makes traveling great as well as being about to write about the experience. We have been doing this from 2008 and are one of the top RV travel blogs.
Yes, our experience was less than wonderful with the town that we had built up in our heads as something more. This build up more than likely is from the marking your town does.(So kudos to them.) But it is that same town that let a Del-Sol, a worldwide, only found in tourist areas, t-shirt place setup shop so that says something about direction. When you are then flooded with people trying to get you to take tours and come to a time share, again, tourist area comes to mind. You want a better experience to be posted, ask your town tourist association to clean up on that type of experience and ask the tour companies to better reflect the town and area with colors that fit the area. There are rules for the buildings and how they must look, the same should be true for the businesses. We do applaud not having major chain restaurants as we always seek out mom and pop places to eat as that we find is the best experience. And yes, some good food can surely be had!
You know also what we kind of found interesting in the comments made, it seems that the only ones disagreeing with us, for the most part, is the local business owners or workers that somehow found this post. This blog gets picked up all over the Internet in may areas that deal with RV and traveling and looking at comments in other places, well, we seems to have hit it mostly on the head so it is not just us. When people tend to agree with liking a small ghost town like Jerome better than a major stop with all it’s marking that draws people in. That says something.
Yes, Sedona has some great views, great trails, great art and that is what we came for. However that was quickly ruined, for us, by what is allowed to take place by the town.
Thanks again for taking the time to comment on behalf of Sedona. You do have some nice points.
Jerome, Arizona on the other hand was wonderful. We read that this was an old Copper mining town and now they tout it as an old ghost town. Well…it is an interesting old town that is nestled inside a mountainside. Ghost town, I’m not so sure of as it still is a working town that people still live in.
The drive up to Jerome is incredible. The views are a plenty and when you get closer, their is a great pull off scenic overlook area that you really can see the whole town and the Copper mines below. At the scenic overlook it also has some signs telling you the story behind Jerome.
Jerome was actually cut out of the mountain. So the streets run literally up and down the mountainside. It’s an easy town to get out and walk around but remember that when walking, you are at a higher elevation than you were in Cottonwood where you started. Plus, the hillsides and the steep inclines of the streets make for quite a little hike. Due to the 30-degree incline of the mountainside, gravity has pulled a number of buildings down the slope. A lot of great information can be found here about Jerome and it’s history.
We very much enjoyed walking around this town. So much so, we went back a couple days later. The views alone are totally worth it. The quaint little shops were good and we did not get that touristy feeling, even though this is a “tourist” town.
One of the really interesting things in Jerome is all the old historical buildings. They are everywhere up there. One neat one we found interesting was the old Liberty Theater. It was the original theater that opened in 1918 and featured silent movies and vaudeville acts. It was passed around to different owners and eventually sat empty for years until the current owners bought it and are in the process of restoring it to its original glory.
There are quite a few restaurants in Jerome and the two that we went to were both good. The first day we went to Grapes, a restaurant that was the original Pony Express Station back in the early 1900’s. They have good food and they help you pair local wines to your order.
However the next time we went up to Jerome we found Haunted Hamburger. It got great reviews online and it certainly did not disappoint.
Their burgers were wonderful and they make a super yummy shake that was plenty to share.
They have a wonderful outdoor patio with a great view of the Verde Valley and the San Fransisco Peaks that are 50 miles away!
It was a bummer that the outdoor patio was full when we went there. We ended up sitting at the bar for lunch. Which is not bad because everywhere you sit in the restaurant, you can still get a great outdoor view with their giant floor to ceiling windows.
So would we go back Jerome? Yes, for sure. We very much enjoyed Jerome and all that it had to offer. In the two days that we spent exploring Jerome, we never did get to the many museums and historical parks that they have.
We had to save something for next time after all.
Posted on December 29th, 2016 by Brenda.B
First of all, it was pretty easy to get to with our 45 foot motor home and tow. The sites themselves are very large and well spaced apart and the loop that we stayed in had water and 50 amp electric at every site. A dump station was located towards the entrance to the park.
As you can see, we were pretty alone at this park this time of year. The weekend had a few more people but no where near at capacity. Sites are reserved online and the nice thing is if you hover over the site number on the map, it will pop up a window showing you what the site looks like, what accommodations are at the site and what length vehicle it can support. So this really takes the guessing out of booking. Google Maps is also a great tool to get a nice overhead shot of the park and figure out which way you want to face or if there are any trees or such in your way for your satellite dish.
Our site was perfect for us. We were right on an end so only had neighbors on one side of us. And really, that was only for a couple of days as the rest of the time it was empty. We were facing so the sun was behind us, therefore not baking on our windshield and we had the beautiful mountains and city lights view to enjoy our evenings. Speaking of evenings, we were there the first week in December and while not cold during the day (upper 60’s, low 70’s), it did get down right chilly at night, sometimes into the soft freezing temps of the low 30’s. While not as high in elevation as Flagstaff to the north, Cottonwood, AZ does sit at a higher elevation than Phoenix to the south.
Cottonwood itself is bigger than I was imagining. I was thinking it would be a quaint little town with cute shops and such because of their deep history of mining in the area. Not so. Cottonwood, dare I say, is a bustling town with a Super Walmart, couple other grocery stores, Home Depot, lots of shopping and restaurants. That’s not a bad thing, just not what we expected.
We did go into Cottonwood, just a quick 5 minute drive from the park, to go shopping and we found this lovely family owned and run Mexican restaurant, Concho’s, that was great! After talking with the guy at the register paying our bill, we had asked if this was his place. He smiled and said, “No, it’s my mother’s”. Come to find out she was in the kitchen with his Aunt cooking and his cousins and sisters were also there helping out. We love finding true family restaurants and hope that they thrive. If you ever find yourself in the area, we highly recommend you check out Concho’s.
Cottonwood, did however make a great jumping off location to visit Jerome and Sedona, which were on our list of must see places. Located between the two towns, Jerome was an easy 20 minute drive one way and Sedona was half an hour in the opposite direction.
Trying not to make this post too long, I’m going to stop there and talk about Sedona and Jerome, Arizona in the next post.
But if you ever find yourself wanting to explore this entire area, We highly recommend Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. It’s a great park that’s very quiet, very big rig friendly and centrally located to lots of attractions. We will definitely be back when in this area.
Posted on December 21st, 2016 by David.B
Yes, that time is almost upon us that we will pack up and head out into the desert to have a little get together that has been dubbed “OOBerfest!”
Ok, first, it is no longer considered “little”. At the time of this email, we have 90 signed up to attend! Yes, 90! We will do the best we can when it comes to parking but this is a large group and as such, we will take a lot of space. Because of this, we will not be able to have a circle, but more of a weird shape of some kind with others scattered around. You will be parked close to each other so we can get as many in a main area as we can. So please understand that. It worked out last year and this year should be no different, just larger. Parking is our biggest worry and our most stress.
This is an outdoor gathering for talks etc, as such, weather can play a roll. As such, things that we hope to be able to do can be affected.
Brenda and I will be arriving into the area on Monday the 16th to try to save off space. Anyone coming in early, you can greatly help with this.
Welcome gathering on Thursday will be at 5:00 PM by our motor coach. Please attend.
We made an OOBerfest 2017 INFORMATION VIDEO :)
A few quick notes…
1) Please bring fire wood! This is you price to come. :) We will need to have at least 3 large fires a night running with so many people, so this means we will need a lot of wood.
2) We will need some help in some areas. Mainly parking rigs, the building of large fire rings, and table setup.
3) Upon arrival, please look for the little paper signs with our OutsideOurBubble logo that will lead you back to our area. You will to know need the email address you used to sign up as you will be asked so we can check you in.
4) Directions etc can be found on the main OOBerfest page —> HERE
5) If you have friends that are coming with you, they need to please sign up with us so we have a count.
6) Be sure you have fuel in your tanks for the generator and heat! (Propane/Diesel/Gas)
– Propane heaters and tanks. For the music we will need to have some heat for the band members as it is hard to play with blankets on. Looking for propane heaters to help with that. Please be so kind to email us and let is know if you can help. (If not, I will need to buy some.)
– Tables for the pot luck dinner…If you have a table, please be so kind to bring it and use it for the group.
T-Shirts can still be ordered and we are still donating to Segs4Vets for each order —-> ORDER HERE
Please remember to mingle and get to know others as good friends can be made at events like this. All in all, we hope you will have a good time!
For your convenience you can download the events times in a PDF file… CLICK HERE
Posted on December 19th, 2016 by David.B
Ok, yes, you read that right. Electric Gray and Black Dump valves. No I am not kidding. No I have not lost my mind. (Well, then again, that depends on whom you may ask.) We installed electric dump valves and wished we had done it sooner.
I know you are thinking all kinds of things from “This guy has too much time on his hands” or “Who the heck would do that!” to “Ok, now he has really lost it.” Some of you might even have thought it all the way through and said…”I would never! What if the dump tube was knocked out of place?!?!?”
Yup, I was also in that same boat. Or should I say coach? I had thought the same things for sure, even the last one for sure! But then I thought back and asked myself, have I ever found the hose disconnected when I went out to dump? Thinking back, I can think of maybe one time…ok…maybe two. But that was only after we had work done on the coach like it was being washed. Also, we can look out the window when it comes time to dump to see if anything is amiss.
So why did we do it? Simple. We keep our gray tank closed all the time so we can get the big “FLUSH” when we open the value and all the suction pulls things out. Because of this, we would be going outside every other day or so to dump the gray tank. We figured, heck, we can see the levels, we can see the hose, why not just dump from the inside and not have to go out in the rain or the cold? Seeing we also have a seasonal site, where no one is ever over by the hose area, we are pretty sure it will always be in place. Even more so as we are using a positive seal of a rubber donut.
So in any case, we installed the Drain Master Pro-Series System with two keypads. You may remember the name as we installed the BEST waste hose system we have ever found, the Waster Master Cam Lock Drain Hose that we did a full post on with a video. Like the hose system, it is more expensive than other valve products that you may find. (I found two others in research.) However these have a 5 year warranty which means they are really built well.
The system could not have been easier to put in. You remove your current valves and insert the new ones. It is just like putting in replacement manual valves. So it is easy, but of course it smells. In our case, for power we tapped into the water hose power reel power supply. It was right there and even had twist caps for the connection, so it was as easy as untwisting the cap, add the wire, and twist the cap back on. Same for the ground wire. So the outside install was really no issue and took me about one hour. The hardest part was cutting the metal to put in the switches. Thank goodness for the Dremel tool.
Then we needed to run the wires to the inside, after all, that was the entire point. The good news in our part was that the wires for the thermostats, etc that are in the wall, went right down into the wet bay area. So it was just a matter of putting a fish tape down the hole, grabbing it and attaching the wires to it and pulling it back. The switch control wires then just plug into the switch plate and the valves. (Each valve can accept two switches.) We put the inside switches up higher so you could not bump them and they are also right above where we see our tank reading, thus making it very convenient.
I also took the time to install a power switch. I did this, for I found the switches to be very sensitive to the press and I wanted to be sure that when we travel, I could turn off the power to the system. So when I put away the hose, or put it out, I just turn on or off the switch.
Also, if/when we sell the coach, we can take the system with us by just swapping out the valves with standard valves again. Sure there will be two holes from the switches, but that is not our issue at that point and we could just cover it with duct tape. This really is one of those things that we wish we had done sooner, as funny as that may sound. And remember, I DID consider the hose being knocked out issue, I concluded it had not been an issue in the past and seeing we look out the window to verify, we feel fine about it. The only real issue is if the parks sewer tube gets blocked, but that is where the positive seal of the rubber donut can help. Also, I do go out and do a tank rinse from time to time as I do not have a controller for that. ;)
And you know, seeing we have CoachProxy the dumping is now automated! Yup! You read that right. I no longer need to dump the tanks! You see, CoachProxy sends out a text alert when say the gray tank is at 75%. Well seeing that Brenda gets the text also, she then walks over to the switch and dumps the tank. See, fully automated. After all, I said “I” no longer need to…not that someone did not need to. :) (Love you Babe.)
Click Images for Larger View.
Posted on December 3rd, 2016 by Brenda.B
Valley Of Fire State Park is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, just an hour north of Las Vegas and close to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. A great get away if you find yourself in the area. While we had been to Valley Of Fire State Park before back in 2011, and you can read our previous posts here, here and here, we had to go back. As a matter of fact, it was high on our list of places to visit again. And we are so glad we did.
First of all, Valley Of Fire State Park does have a great campground for big rigs. The downside is that it is a no reservation, first come, first serve campground. So while you may find yourself in need/want of a campsite, you may be disappointed. We luckily were not and found a great site.
We arrived on a Wednesday, which I firmly believe helped in the matter of finding an open site, we also arrived before 10am. There is a separate RV only area in the campground that has large sites with water and electric (50amp). So they are not full hook-up, they will do for a while before you have to go to the dump station, which is right at the beginning of the campground road. While all the sites, whether they are in the rv only section or the dry campground area, are well spaced apart, I’d have to say most are not level. The first site that we pulled into, our front tires were up on blocks and we still had a hard time leveling. Spotting a big rig leaving another site that looked nice, and much more level, we decided to move to that site. And boy…are we ever glad we did. It was a great view and more importantly, LEVEL! All sites come with a campfire ring (wood available in the visitor’s center) and shaded tables and a grill.
So why do we like Valley of Fire State Park so much? Well….look at it! (Remember you can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them)
Red rocks that glow even brighter with the sunset surround you. The campground is a good distance from the main road through the park that you don’t hear anything while out there. At nighttime everyone is generally quiet so it’s very peaceful. And the stars are a plenty. What’s not to like. It would be perfect if it was a full hook-up campground but oh well, you can’t win them all.
The colors out here are awe-inspiring. From the reds to the white sandstone to everything in between. Every time we went out for a hike we kept saying how amazing the colors were out there. How interesting the rocks were with their stripes and variations and the many, many layers. You really did feel like you were walking on a Martian surface.
We had great weather while we were out there. Perfect for hiking during the day and relaxing outside in the evening.
We just can’t get enough of this park. It’s one of our favorites. It’s a very popular park and campground alike. So if you find yourself in the area and want to spend a few days out amongst the red rocks, while no reservations are taken and you can just show up on a whim, I suggest you arrive early.
When we find ourselves in the area again, we are definitely stopping at this park for a few more days of exploring.
Until then, we’ll have to relive this awesome park through David’s quadcopter video footage.