John Golden, from St. Augustine, Fla., has been RVing in his motorhome since 1993. But, nothing prepared him for this trip to the Oregon Trail:
On our trip to do the Oregon Trail, we left our home in Marianna, Fla., Aug. 10, 2003, in our 2002 24-foot Born Free. On Aug. 20, we rolled into Massacre Rocks State Park in Idaho. After checking into the office and getting our assigned site, we drove through the campground finding out we had one of the better sites, (No. 46).
As I was hooking up the fresh water hose, I noticed we had what appeared to be a dump pipe next to our electrical post. I was not told at the office this was a full hook-up site. I excitedly told my wife they must have converted some of the sites to full hook-up since our last trip. So, I attached my sewer hose to the pipe. We stayed the night enjoying the wonderful view of the Snake River Canyon and the river that flowed through it.
The next morning, I disconnected my electrical cord. Then I opened up my black water valve and proceeded to dump my black tank. I walked away to do some additional work waiting for the tank to empty so I could then empty my gray water to flush the hose. When I came back around the motorhome I saw there was a large puddle of water around the dump pipe my hose was attached to.
I closed my black water valve and tried to pick up the hose. It was full. I did not know what to do so I waited for about 15 minutes and checked it again. It was empty. So I opened up my black water valve again and within just a few minutes water started to come up from around the pipe again. I spent a good hour trying to empty my tanks which I eventually completed. All this time I couldn’t figure out why I was having this problem.
We stopped by the office so I could tell them their dump wasn’t working at our site so they could get it fixed, but no one was around. The campground had a directory of the sites on a table so I looked at it while I waited for a ranger to show up. It clearly showed that site No. 46 was a water and electric hook-up only. I then realized that what I thought was a sewer pipe was really a pipe they had a water shut off valve in. I just couldn’t see it from the opening. I told my wife we needed to go right then and not wait for a ranger as I got quite upset as to what they might do to me for emptying black water into this pipe.
We left the campground and I decided I could give them a call from our cell phone as we were driving down the road and try to explain what I had just done and it was a big mistake on my part. I really felt stupid but I knew I had to tell them as they would find out soon enough.
We pulled over at a rest area and I called the campground to talk to a ranger. After explaining what I did to the ranger in charge, he started to laugh and wouldn’t quit. He then told me not to worry and thanked me for being responsible enough to call to tell them what I did.
I told my wife we were not going to get fined and would still be welcomed back to the park even after what I did.
We continued on to Baker City, Ore., and I have to tell you I felt much better for letting them know what I had so stupidly done. I know to check much closer now when I come across what appears to be a sewer dump pipe.
LESSON LEARNED: I know to check much closer now when I come across what appears to be a sewer dump pipe. I also learned that honesty in telling someone about a mistake can keep you out of BIG trouble.