Update From The Road: Burst Pipes and Sweet Flutes

Virginia / Jan. 20, 2012 / by Gelb
Update From The Road: Burst Pipes and Sweet Flutes

We've been on the road for more than 10 days, and already have had such amazing experiences that it's hard to find the time to write them all down. This post will be a bit longer than most, I need to do a bit of catch-up!

Our first week was an eventful one. Our time at the very beginning was spent in a campground outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia. We were expecting to take a few days, get acclimatized, and start editing the pieces we were getting ready to put out. Fate, as it were, had other plans.

As we took a nice walk through the woods, Stanley's water system decided to work diligently on a nice surprise for our return. While the rest of us went to explore the campground shop and meet the owner, Steven decided to head back into the bus for some R&R (or, knowing Steven, to get back to editing some video or another).

After speaking with Monica (from the KOA in Harrisonburg), and learning about the area, the Amys, Chris, and I walked back to the bus, without so much as a care in the world aside from how wet our feet were from the rainy walk. They were about to get wetter.

"Do any of you believe in having your phone on with you??" We were confused. Soon, after watching him point and jump, we realized - the carpet was soaking, and water was rushing out of a pipe. A little voice in my mind chirped (or maybe it was Chris), "How many days have we been on the road?"

Monica from the campground was absolutely amazing. She gave us a Shopvac and plumber's wrench, and we went about trying to sort the thing out. We managed to get it down to a trickle, a drip, but a continuous one. We would then use the water only when we needed it, then turn it off from the outside, and place towels around the drip. A temporary fix, but as we were still all exhausted, it suited us in the moment.

The next day, I relayed our failed attempt at getting it fixed to Monica. It was suggested we call someone local, so I borrowed a directory and took it back to Stanley. I called an RV service station a little ways down the road and explained the problem. Surprisingly, they were less than pleased. I had to ask them several times if they would even be able to take a look at the problem, which finally ended with, "Alright, though if you couldn't fix it, sure as hell don't know what I'm going to be able to do."

This irked me. My other bus mates knew it irked me. Finally, around 7pm, they had had enough of my irked demeanor and I with my irksome phone call. We were going to try again.

Filled with determination, Steven and I crouched into the hole where our pipe was and started tightening. I managed to tighten it as far as it could possibly go. Steven then tried to tighten it even more. We were both convinced that no machine, monster, or man could get it tighter. We were satisfied. Now for the test. Someone went out and turned the water on - we were sure that this was going to work. As the water started to flow through the system, we were smiling. It was flowing, no drip. Perhaps we had finally conquered the petty nut fitting. Our smiles were literally swept away as water gushed out and sprayed our faces. Bother.

I had given up. I needed to rant. I called up CoachNet - they are a service that we have that helps you when your rig is broken down. They also have a wide directory of service people they know about and (a feature I was both interested in and a bit worried about) RV mechanics and service technicians that you could get a phone consultation with. They connected me with Mike, and we had a chat.

Mike from CoachNet was great. We had a very good chat and he seemed to absolutely understand what was going on. I asked if CoachNet could recommend an RV service person in the area, and within 10 minutes (this was after 7pm, remember), I was speaking with Jerry from Jerry's Quality RV Service. Jerry very politely listened to my over-worded description of the problem and said he would be there by 9am the next morning.

Jerry was efficient, fast, very professional and charged less than he had quoted. He showed me the error of the previous fitting and told me how I could fix another similar problems. It seems as though the problem lay with the nut and screw fitting that had been placed in our bus. Jerry far preferred the Shark or Gator-grip connectors. 

After Jerry left, we felt golden. Pipes were fixed, water worked, now: on the road - let the adventure begin!

We drove into Harrisonburg and rewarded ourselves with an authentic Diner breakfast at the L&S Diner. Food was great, people were friendly, we were feeling golden. Next, onto the grocery store for our first shop, then off to Staunton, VA for our interview with Lou Boden, from Three Guys with Notes. His house was gorgeous, and his interview exceedingly interesting, even for a non-musical person such as me.

After Lou's house, we went to our next campground, at Waynesboro North 340. Pulled in, plugged in, got situated. Then that terrible sound - water trickling. It was coming from underneath the bus near the back, in a completely different place than before. Upon inspection, it was water coming from inside the utility compartment under Chris's bed. Steven and Chris opened the compartment and sure enough, another pipe had burst. Same nut fitting, right next to the water heater. Now we couldn't have water at all. Perfect.

I went to sleep feeling very defeated. It seemed as though every water pipe connecter was faulty or not installed correctly. We were going to sort this thing out though, one way or another, but that night, I had really felt the failure. I was worried that the others weren't having fun and that in turn meant that I appeared worried.

We awoke the next day and drove back to Staunton to shoot Three Guys With Notes at the Staunton Senior Center. After very intelligently getting lost in Gypsy Park, we found the center and set up. It was a fantastic morning - great playing and obvious enjoyment by the members and the young 2nd grade class that attended. Lou and his group really do make the day of so many people with their outreach.

We got back to Stanley and planned our afternoon. Chris and the Amys (sounds like a band name) were going to go off and explore Staunton while Steven and I were going to head over to Lowes to try and fix the pipes. We dropped the band off at a coffee shop and journeyed to Lowes. The Lowes staff were very helpful and accommodating as I must have come back into the store five times requesting a different sized fitting or forgetting another piece. I called Jerry for some guidance and he walked me through the process. These Gator clips literally bite into the pipe, and you fasten them by simply pushing them together. 

After some turmoil with a particularly tight-fitting connection, we succeeded! After re-fitting the broken connectors in the back, I also replaced the connectors under the sink - just to pre-empt any additional failures. We also got a water flow regulator for our hose to make sure the water coming into the bus was at a constant pressure.

We picked up the others and headed off to our next campsite - the KOA at Staunton. After connecting the water, we reveled in our work - not a leak in sight. That night, we had hot, flowing water. Nothing else mattered. It was glorious.