The morning was clear and bright and we really appreciated the extra ‘fall back’ hour of sleep as a reward for crossing into the Mountain time zone. Due to the altitude we decided against the workout, no sense in killing ourselves before acclimating to the environment.
We had a short 60 mile drive (60 miles is short around here) scheduled to our destination of Bernalillo, New Mexico, which is just north of Albuquerque. Not wanting to arrive at our campsite too early, we didn’t want to get on the road before 10:30 AM and looked forward to a lazy morning.
After Jeanne finished using the water, it was time to empty the holding tanks. Emptying the gray and waste (black) water tanks is a prepare-for-travel ritual since you don’t want to carry around waste water when diesel costs $2.07 per gallon. The process is straight-forward but there are several steps, which I outline below for curious readers of this triplog.
The process involves flushing any ‘solids’ from the black water tank. For this purpose, the black water tank was designed with an interior nozzle that sprays the inside of the tank with fresh water. To avoid contaminating the fresh water hose with ‘peepee water’ I use a special hose for the flushing process. So, the first step involves stowing the fresh water hose, filter and regulator and connecting the special flushing hose. Next, a flexible, large diameter hose connects the coach septic system to the local sewer. With the hoses in place, the black water valve is opened and the tank is drained then flushed. When all those nasty ‘solids’ are gone, the black tank valve is closed and the gray water tank is drained. Draining the gray water tank after the black tank flushes any remaining ‘solids’ from the sewer hose. With the process complete, the sewer and special flushing hoses are stowed, the latex gloves are discarded and I wash my hands with anti-bacterial soap.
All this is usually done in the cool of the morning when the hoses are stiff and the water is cold. To complicate matters, sometimes the ground is uneven and/or muddy from leaking water valves. You work crouched in a confined area filled with protruding pipes, electrical boxes, hoses, open compartment doors, open slides, extension cords and coiled coaxial cable. Obviously, this is an industrial accident waiting to happen.
So, why am I telling you all this?
On this particular morning, I needed more room to coil a stiff water hose. In one quick motion, I rose up while moving to the left — and brained myself on the slide. Bad words echoed through the campground as I dropped to my knees. I started gasping for breath. When my vision cleared, I saw my blood-stained hat laying on the ground. This was not good. Still stunned, I crawled out from under the slide and sat at the picnic table for a few minutes before entering the coach to view the damage. Pushing aside Jeanne, who had the hair-dryer going and was unaware of the whole incident, the reflection in the mirror confirmed the coach drew blood. I stopped the bleeding, applied antiseptic and went back outside to finish with the tanks. Damn, my head hurt!
With our equipment stowed and wounds dressed, we hit the road. The drive to Albuquerque was through some rugged high-desert country that was a welcome change from the open prairie of Northern Texas. Our only stop was a Flying J for fuel and lunch.
After setting up, we got our mail that was sent as general delivery to the Bernalillo post office. It was the usual blend of statements, magazines and junk. We spent the rest of the afternoon quietly at the coach.
Not wanting to cook, we headed out for dinner and got caught in going-home traffic. The cars and congestion was numbing and totally out of character for the area. It was sort of like Las Vegas — after miles and miles of desert wasteland, you find yourself in the middle of a traffic jam. We finally made it to McDonalds and ordered a salad and Chicken McNuggets for dinner. Taking an alternate route, we returned to the coach and watched TV, read and worked with the computer before going to bed early.
From now on, I promised myself to be more careful when working around the coach.