Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Uh-Oh-Big Problem and no RV Supplies Nearby


 Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 82, low 75)

Time is passing quickly. 

We picked the boat up from it’s storage lot on Big Pine Key.  Al is doing some annual maintenance on it, a little at a time. and he’s already managed to hurt hit shoulder in the process. 

It’s been pretty breezy and the seas are pretty choppy, which is pretty typical for March.  Our days are very warm with day time temps usually at 82.  Luckily, our site is close enough to the ocean that we almost always have a wonderful sea breeze.  By about mid afternoon, we’re needing a jacket when we sit outside.   The sea breezes are nice, except for boating. 

We’ve about decided not to put the boat into a high and dry marina.  We’re hoping some of our many neighbors on canal lots will offer us a place to dock the boat….but we’re still waiting.  :)

Fellow blogger friends Rick and Kathy recently arrived and are staying at a nearby KOA.  We met them at Mangrove Mama’s for happy hour,  and again at the Square Grouper for lunch. I neglected to get a picture both times, but I’m sure we’ll meet again, and I’ll remember to get a picture.

We got a rather unpleasant surprise last Friday, right before we were heading out to meet  Rick and Kathy for lunch. It made it a little difficult to enjoy our lunch date, as we had other things on our minds.

You may remember that we had our Thetford Aria Deluxe toilet replaced about a year ago.  It was the push button electric model and it gave us problems from day one.  It was brand new when we bought the motor home.  We found it’s little sister, the Aria Classic which has the regular foot pedal flush and nothing electronic.  The Aria models are the only ones we could find that have the porcelain base and bowl.

The new toilet, often had problems with the pedal flush mechanism sticking.   I intended to buy some replacement parts, but I never did.  Big mistake, because Friday afternoon, all the way down here in the Keys, with very few Rv parts options,  the darn flush pedal  broke!   The beautiful solid porcelain toilet has PLASTIC parts and one of those parts broke off.   There are a few things you can live with out, but a toilet is not one of them!

I have to tell you, we were both in a state of panic.  Yes, we have bath houses here, but none of them are real close.  I also have been dealing with a UTI, which means I’m needing to go more often.  :) 

There are not a lot of options here in the Keys for RV parts.  The nearest Camping World is 280 miles away! We are actually closer to Cuba than Camping World, or even Walmart.

We decided we needed to get something ordered that afternoon, since it was a Friday, we hoped at least it would get shipped before the week-end.

I checked with PPL Motorhomes in Texas. They have a great parts department and knowledgeable people.  We’ve ordered rv related items from them several other times. They didn’t have the parts in stock for our toilet, and as it turns out neither did other parts places we checked.  We decided to go with the recommendation from PPL and we ordered a Thetford Aqua Magic Style Plus toilet.   It has a porcelain bowl, but plastic base.  This is not exactly what I wanted, but at this point, I didn’t care if it had a plastic base or not.

Unfortunately, according to PPL’s website this is that we found: 

NOTE: Due to Fedex and UPS hazmat regulations, expedited shipping is not available for toilets. Standard ground transportation will be used for all toilets.

The Hazmat rules are due to the small amount of toilet chemicals packed inside all rv toilets.

It turns out that since porcelain toilets have to be specially trucked in because UPS and FED EX can’t ship them without breaking them.   The shipping cost was $120.  Yikes.  The price you pay for being in paradise, huh?   The new toilet is scheduled to arrive Friday (the 13th)   Uh oh……   They tell you that you have to open the box and confirm there is no damage before you can accept the package.  Once you accept it, it’s yours.   Yep…it’s arriving on Friday, the 13th.  :)

In the meantime, we have discovered a way to manually flush the toilet with a screwdriver.  It’s not ideal, but at least we can flush.

We love the Florida Keys, but it is one of the worst places to be if you have any problems.  We don’t even have a Walmart within 100 miles.

Still….we are very happy here in the Florida Keys.

Venture Out


  1. Good luck with your replacement toilet, hope all goes well in the meantime.

  2. Oh no... I hope the new toilet comes safe and sound and unbroken! We ordered a porcelain sink that was shipped and came in perfect condition. I am sure the supplier wants his items to arrive unbroken, so will pack it well!
    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  3. What a thing to happen after you'd spent all those months in Tampa waiting to go to the Keys. I hope Friday the 13th is a lucky day for you guys and that Al's shoulder is not hurt and your UTI goes away quickly.

  4. The offer still stands. Just give us a shout when it comes in so that Al doesn't injure his shoulder. Half hour to remove the old and get the new one in.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Thanks so much Rick. We think we'll be able to install it ourselves, but will call you if we need help. It's not the kind of thing friends should have to do, though! :)

  5. Glad you found a work around for your toilet and didn't let the problem "bowl" you over... :cD

    I wanted to rebuild my toilet as it's not working as smoothly as it should. Found the parts cost more than the toilet itself. What's wrong with that picture???

  6. Oh no! I hope your new toilet arrives in good shape and you can get it installed without any injuries to Al's shoulder. The guys always want to carry extra stuff to fix things. But, Hey it's not like you can carry an extra toilet around with you.... Hope the both of you get well soon.

  7. check ebay, they have the pedal assembly for about $65


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