Connecting a Portable Dishwasher to a Pull-Down Faucet Hose

•August 25, 2014 • 4 Comments

This seems to be a common problem without a common solution, so here’s how I did it. The list of adapters I needed is at the bottom of this post. Props to this guy for providing an almost solution that was the basis of what worked for me.

I recently moved between apartments, and had to give up the built-in dishwasher I loved. Unable to quit dishwashers cold turkey, I opted to buy a Danby portable dishwasher.

Portable dishwashers work by hooking up to your sink faucet. They generally come with a replacement aerator that lets the dishwasher hose snap on. They look something like this:

The problem arises when you want to use a portable dishwasher with a pull-down faucet, like this:

Above is not the exact model I have, but it’s close. Unlike a normal faucet, pull-downs generally use an aerator that is built into the handle, and is not easily removed. If your aerator comes out of the handle easily, you can simply swap that for the adapter and be done. In my case I could not do that.

On my model, as above, the entire handle unscrews from the pull-down hose. However, the hose connection is NOT the same size as a standard sink aerator. Hence you need to find a way to adapt from one size to the other.

Before I explain how to do this, a few caveats. First off, some say connecting a dishwasher to a pull-down faucet hose is a bad idea; the hose was not built to withstand the pressure the dishwasher puts on it, and eventually could burst. I’ve never heard of this actually happening to someone, and I’ve used my portable dishwasher this way for 2 years without any problems, but you’ve been warned, and you are responsible for any and all damage.

Second, all thread sizes below are NPT (National Pipe Thread). There are some other thread size standards, like SAE, so make sure the adapters you get are NPT.

Okay, let’s get this dishwasher hooked up!

A standard sink aerator is 55/64″ thread. That is the “target size” we need to reach with various adapters.

The first step is to measure your pull-down hose thread size. Unscrew the pull-down handle, and measure the hose. I used this guide to figure out what NPT size corresponded to the size of my hose. Note that the table there uses the thread diameter; I found it easier to wrap a string around the threads and measure the circumference and then convert that to diameter, but whatever works for you.

My hose used 3/8″ NPT thread. My research indicates this is a fairly standard size, but it is definitely not used by all pull-downs.  That’s why you need to measure your particular hose before ordering adapters that might not fit.

If you also have 3/8″, you can buy the exact adapters I used. If not, you need to find your own combination of adapters that will get you something that starts with 55/64″ male on one end (where the aerator will screw on) to whatever male hose size on the other end. In most cases you’ll start out with an aerator-to-garden-hose adapter, and go from there.

For 3/8″, I accomplished this with the following products (Amazon links included):

Your particular case may require more or fewer adapters. Be sure you’re matching up male/female ends correctly; if you need to, you can include male/male or female/female adapters as well.

You will also need to buy some thread sealant tape. When I first tried connecting my franken-adapter, it sprayed water all over the place. Any of the adapters that don’t have built-in o-rings (and even sometimes when they do) should be taped so they don’t leak. The tape is not sticky and is easy to remove, it simply fills the gaps between threads so you don’t have water going everywhere.

That’s it! Once you’ve cobbled together your particular series of adapters, your portable dishwasher should hook up without problems.


Machu Motherfucking Picchu

•February 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Once we were done taking too many pictures at the Sun Gate, we completed the final 45 minutes of our hike to Machu Picchu. This would only a short visit to celebrate our triumph over the Inca Trail, as we were returning the next day to explore the city in full.

As we walked along the side of the mountain, the city gradually expanded in front of us. This was not just another ruin; in fact, every ruin we had seen until now could have easily fit inside Machu Picchu several times over. Whereas the largest ruin we had seen previously could probably have supported a few dozen people, Machu Picchu could easily have been home to over a thousand. What makes this all the more incredible was where it was located. You could not have picked a more remote location to build a city, at the top of a mountain, with the city walls going right up to the edges of the surrounding cliffs. And yet the Incas had managed to tame the mountain, using long terraces and intricately carved stone aquaducts to allow the inhabitants to grow crops where none should have been.

I spent a total of around 6 hours exploring the city, and even so did not see all of it. I could talk about the beautiful stone work, the detailed civil planning, the theories behind why the city existed in the first place, but there are much better resources for all of that (in particular the book “Turn Right At Machu Picchu” by Adams is a great travelogue that tells the stories of the Incas, Hiram Bingham, and the author). My own trip was as much about the journey as the destination, and Machu Picchu would not have been as special for me had I not hiked the trail to get there. It was also very much enriched by the great group of travel partners I went with, none of whom I knew beforehand, but who were all great companions for sharing copious amounts of sweat with. Anyway, that’s more than enough hyperbole for now; here’s more pictures!

Inca Trail – Day 3

•February 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The previous day’s clear skies were not to last, and when we awoke the surrounding panorama was totally obscured by a thick wet mist. After breakfast we performed an interesting ritual where we stood face to face with our porters, on one side a semicircle of rich city-dwelling westerners outfitted in the finest gear modern materials science can provide, on the other side Peruvian country folk mostly in sandals and simple garb. One by one they introduced themselves (with Jose translating), generally giving us their names, ages, home town, and number of children / girlfriends. Afterwards we introduced ourselves to them. It was interesting to see each of our hard working porters, who until now mostly toiled behind the scenes while we simply enjoyed the results.

When that was done we headed out into the rain. Most of the morning’s path was a steep downhill along uneven stone steps bordering precipitous cliffs, and the wet conditions only made it more treacherous. It was obvious why the locals call that part of the trail the Gringo Killer.

As had previously been true, by late morning the rain and mists cleared and gave way to sunny humidity. By noon we had reached a series of large terraces overlooking a valley, and we paused for pictures with the local llama population.

After that the trail became blessedly more horizontal, and we continued to our lunch site at a relaxed place. This was originally where we would have spent the 3rd night, if not for the threat of mud slides. After lunch we tipped our porters and said goodbye to them, shaking hands with each and saying “Tu Panichi Comma”, Quechuan for “See you in the next life”. Having been warned of the dangers of the final leg of the trail, this was hardly reassuring.

You see, the last bit of our journey would take us to the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu. But the path there was a vertigo-inducing narrow uphill ledge, where an errant step could send you plummeting to a very scenic death. An American girl had done just that last year, and I had no interest in joining her. The rain picked up again as we ventured forth, but by now we were all pros at firmly planting our walking sticks to keep us balanced. There was a brief section that was nearly straight up, requiring both hands and feet, the only time those trusty walking sticks got in the way. I would like to think that my minor rock climbing experience helped me out, but probably not. We all survived, and after passing through a final checkpoint, we arrived at the Sun Gate.

Of course, the Sun Gate was anything but, as the sky was uniformly clouded and provided a steady rain. During the Winter Solstice, the sun would shine directly through the gate and provide a spotlight directly onto the ruined city of Machu Picchu. We had no such signal, but the city was obvious enough on its own, a stone labyrinth in the distance, nestled between the twin peaks of mounts Machu Picchu and Wayñu Picchu.

I would like to say that our first glimpse of the lost city we had spent so long hiking towards was spectacular and awe-inspiring. But we were still quite far away, and from that distance it simply looked like any of the other dozen Inca ruins we had come across on our hike. It would not be until we got closer that the true scale of what we were seeing would be revealed.

Inca Trail – Day 2

•February 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Our second day on the trail started much the same as the first day ended. We were up by 5:30, had a light breakfast, and headed out into the driving rain on a path nearly straight uphill along a rocky mountain ridge. But this time it was only for an hour, until we reached the Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point on our trek. After stopping for a snack we continued down the other side of the mountain. Thankfully the rain soon stopped, and as the sun came out it turned into a beautiful day. We were now descending quickly, and as we did the temperature rose and the vegetation thickened, until we were hiking through a warm green jungle with beautiful views of the surrounding peaks. After 2 hours we stopped for brunch and finished drying off.

After brunch we continued onward, now back up into the mountains. As always the scenery was stunning, and whenever I realized I had only been watching the incline in front of me, I would stop to look around in awe at the massive peaks surrounding me on all sides. We paused at a small Inca ruin, which would have been fascinating on its own had we not been en route to the mother of all ruins. The Incas had built way stations all along the trail. At each one a messenger was posted. When information needed to be sent hundreds of miles across the empire, messengers would run from one station to the next, passing off the news to the next messenger like a giant relay race, shifting forward one station with each message sent. Not quite as good as e-mail, but it got the job done.

We had a late lunch around 3pm, but just before we got there we came across another Inca ruin, this one as large as two city blocks, and containing what were homes for a few dozen families. Most of our group was tired from the uphill trek and skipped this ruin to get to lunch faster, but 3 of us climbed the extra distance to explore it. At each of the larger ruins, it is obvious that lots of careful thought and planning went into these stone-walled villages, from terraces and aquaducts to allow farming on steep mountain sides, to central common areas for rituals and recreation. I lingered for  bit to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the ruin.

After lunch we had our final hike of the day, further up into the mountains along yet another beautiful trail with amazing views of mountains, valleys, rivers, and jungle. But if the trail was scenic, it was nothing next to the place we would camp for the night. Situated at the top of a cliff, we had 360 degree views of all of the surrounding mountains. In the distance we could see Machu Picchu Mountain, which hid the namesake city on the other side. Breathtaking does not begin to describe the views. Unlike the previous evening, it was warm and clear skied heading into nightfall, and we were able to sit out and enjoy our surroundings.

After dinner I stayed up for a bit to look at the stars. One of New York’s major shortcomings is its complete lack of a star field, due to the inescapable light pollution. Out in the middle of the Andes, the stars were innumerable, forming beautiful constellations I had never seen before. Orion’s Belt and Orion’s Sword were clearly visible, as was the bright light of Jupiter. The occasional slow passing of a satellite was the only reminder of the world outside.

Eventually it was too cold to continue star gazing, and I crawled into my tent to rest before another early start.

Inca Trail – Day 1

•February 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

On the first day of our hike, we got up at 6 to have a quick breakfast and hop on our bus to the start of the Inca Trail. On the bus we met our second guide, Jesus, who along with our main guide Jose would be leading us and giving us the info we needed.

The ride was a bumpy hour’s trip to get to our starting point at KM 82. Once there we gave our duffel bags to the porters and grabbed our walking sticks.

A quick note about the porters: these guys are machines. The 20 of them carried our belongings (except day packs), tents, food, cooking propane, and everything else we would need. They do not use mules; each of them carries a full 25kg on their backs. They would then run ahead of us (some in just sandals), setting up our lunch and camp sites before we got there.

As for us, we started up the trail at a leisurely pace. It was uphill, but not too steep, and we enjoyed the beautiful weather as we passed through tiny villages.

The hike might have stayed leisurely, except we had a lot of hiking to do. Normally we would have camped for 3 nights, arriving in Machu Picchu the morning of the 4th day. However, it had recently rained for 3 weeks straight, and the resulting mud slides had made the 3rd night’s camp site unsafe. So instead we had to squeeze a 4 day hike into 3 days, and the 3rd night would be spent in a hotel in Aguas Calientes.

This was fine with me, we still got the full hike, and I would soon learn that 2 nights of squat toilets and no showers was quite enough.

Anyway, the first day was not bad for the first few hours. Then it got steep. Really steep. The trail took on the main characteristic of the hike, steep uneven stone stairs going up, then down a bit, then back up, down…

We also got to see just how cold and rainy it can get. The last 2 hours of the day’s hike were very challenging, but if I stopped for more than 30 seconds the cold and wet would make me start up again. Our group of 14 gradually spread out as each person found their own pace.

The trail itself was amazing, when I had time to catch my breath and look at it. The best I can describe it is like an ancient stairway meandering through a mountainous jungle, with every step either completely surrounded by lush vegetation, or a foot away from a sheer drop into oblivion. Maybe my pictures will do it some justice.

I got to camp around 5:30 with the rest of the fast hikers. Although I felt good for being at the front of the pack (surely a testament to my running hobby), it meant we got there before the porters who had our dry clothes, and I quickly became very cold. Luckily, an hour earlier I had purchased a large bottle of Cusqueña (the local beer) from a woman on the side of the trail, and it helped to stave off the cold until my duffel arrived.

After an hour everyone had arrived, Talal (my hotel/tent buddy) and I picked our tent, and we warmed up with some hot tea (made with boiled water from the local stream) before having our dinner of soup and chicken. Once dark set in, we all went to sleep to rest for another long day.

Touring through Inca villages, ruins, and the Sacred Valley

•January 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday I met up with my G Adventures tour group. The 16 of us are a fun friendly bunch, composed of Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Irish, and a Fin. I’m the lone Yank of the bunch, which is fine by me, I’m enough of a rude ignorant imperialist asshole for everyone!

After we met and did a walking tour of Cusco, most of the day was spent preparing for our journey. We were given a duffel that the porters will carry for us to each night’s camp site. We’re limited to 6 kg, although half of that is taken by sleeping bag and pad. Anything past that goes in your day pack, so we all had some tough decisions to make. I’m generally good at packing light (everything for this trip went in my carry on), but I also tend to over think what I might need.

This morning I was up at 6am, a rather ungodly hour, to get going on our tour. Luckily today is a fairly relaxed day, pretty much bus touring, and we get one more night in a hotel before we start the hike tomorrow.

Our first stop was a small Quechua village where we got to feed alpacas and watch the local women craft wares from the alpaca wool. I bought a rather nice alpaca scarf; as a New Yorker, I can never have too many scarves.

Next we got our first taste of Incan ruins, as we walked around a small site overlooking the Sacred Valley and a bunch of beautiful mountains. The scenery everywhere around here is very intense.

Our next stop was a bar, where we got to see how they make the Incan corn beer, and sample some of it. It’s not bad, more sour than what we’re used to. They also make a variety which includes strawberries to make it sweeter.

Finally we checked into our hotel in Ollantaytambo, a small town famous for being the site of the Incas’ only major victory over the Spanish. It was a fairly short-lived one though, and soon they had to retreat into the jungle to Vilcabamba.

After we checked in we went for a short trek around the ruins of the Incan city. It was built on a series of massive terraces, forcing the Spanish to fight an uphill battle. The Incan architecture is unbelievable. Instead of using mortar, they shaped the massive stones to fit perfectly together like puzzle pieces.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow the real journey begins!

Swedish massages, Irish pubs, and Australia Day

•January 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I think it’s interesting that no matter where in the world you are, you can pretty much always get a Swedish massage. And generally, the price and the quality of the massage are totally unrelated. Case in point, here in Cusco I was able to get an hour long full body massage for the equivalent of $20, and it was better than some very expensive massages I’ve had.

So that was how I spent my early evening. When I got out, I was nice and relaxed, and I was tempted to call it an early evening. However, I hadn’t eaten yet, and I was still desperate to meet some people who weren’t trying to sell me anything.

So that’s how I ended up at Paddy’s Pub, the self-described highest Irish pub in the world, at 1156 feet. Apparently the secret to meeting people when traveling alone is to find the nearest Irish pub and drink up! I immediately started chatting with Patrick, the bar tender, Ernesto, a local tour guide, and a pair of British gals on holiday. I filled my belly with cheeseburger and local beer, as we traded stories.



However, Paddy’s was not to be our final destination. Apparently it was Australia Day, and a nearby Aussie hostel with a bar was having a party. I’m still not really sure what Australia Day is, except that it definitely involves drinking, face paint, funny costumes, and dancing on the bar to dance remixes of Queen and Nirvana songs.


So that was my night. I definitely paid for it with my hangover this morning, but it was worth it. Today I finally meet the rest of my tour group, and tomorrow I leave Cusco for the Sacred Valley. Not sure what the wifi situation will be like for the rest of the week, so posts may not be as forthcoming. Adios!