This weekend marked five years since we first began camping at Loyd Park, a little piece of paradise about a half-hour from our “sticks and bricks” home in Oak Cliff. It would be challenging to count the many weekends we’ve spent at our favorite backyard campground, and the many times we’ve extended our stay from weekend to the next, as we did this time. Despite our best efforts, we’ve found it nearly impossible to spend 10 days without sewer access. (you’d be amazed at how quickly a couple adults can fill a 39-gallon waste tank). So we invested in a 28-gallon portable waste tank. You may not be able to tell it from the photo, but this thing is enormous. A friend saw the photo Cliff posted on Facebook and asked what it was for. After a brief explanation, she said, “oh, so it’s like a porta-potty.”
Disposing of bodily waste is one of those things all campers have to do but rarely discuss. Even the most luxurious rigs require dumping, cleaning and maintenance of the waste tank. And no one staying at a site without a sewer connection wants to move their entire house to flush the toilet. Pooping in the woods may be an option for some, but not for us. Besides, human waste can take up to a year to biodegrade and is potentially harmful to wildlife. The park’s restrooms are an option, but we’re reluctant to wait in line for a potentially COVID-contaminated stall.
Enter the Rhino Portable Holding Tank, described as having everything “to make a dirty job as simple and straighforward as possible,” including no-flat wheels with bearings for smooth transport to the dump station, and an integrated tank rinser that functions as a sort of bidet.
In describing its features, the manufacturer highlights the removable tow adapter that “allows you to roll the tote tank just like you would roll luggage.”
So, instead of “porta-potty,” maybe we should think of it as a “sh*t suitcase”?
Regardless of what metaphor you use, the portable holding tank enables campers to enjoy all the comforts of home, albeit with a little extra effort. During the course of our 10-day stay, we had to fill and dump twice, thanks to Jon’s insistence on doing laundry (our washer/dryer drains into the black tank, and each load fills it about half-way).
Back when Jon was a priest, he co-owned a country retreat with three other priests, and the group displayed a popular children’s book in the bathroom. Titled “Everyone Poops,” the book described how various species produce various sizes and shapes of poop. “An elephant makes a big poop, and a mouse makes a tiny poop.” About halfway through the book, a nameless boy is introduced, seen running into a bathroom. The book then goes on to explain how people of all ages poop. Infants are depicted using diapers. The boy is seen using toilet paper and flushing the toilet. The book then concludes by explaining that because everyone eats, everyone poops.
The point is that we all have to deal with waste. And if we want to prevent it from harming ourselves or others, we have know how to properly dispose of it.
There’s a lot of toxic waste in our environment these days, particularly on social media. And we owe it to ourselves and each other to occasionally flush our systems and make a clean start.