London Aftermath

I READ your article on London with interest ["London, Going Forward,"Aug. 7]. We had a long-planned visit and did not cancel, arriving in London a week after the July 7 attacks. We stayed at the Hilton Paddington, on top of the train station and Underground.

One of the first things we did was to get on a double-decker city bus. We also took the subway to Westminster Abbey, even though parts of lines were still closed. We did all this with our 12-year-old son, even though the second bomb attempt happened while we were in England.

Jan, Paul and Ian Rich


I ORDERED, and paid for, five London Passes for my family in April. After months of waiting for them, the customer service rep e-mailed me that since my trip was not until August, I had "low priority." I am leaving in two days and have yet to receive them.

As you alluded, we may be too frightened to use the Underground anyway, so I may not even bother to pick up the passes in London.

Joan Naidorf


Hurricane Watch

WHILE IT IS true that Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are basically hurricane-free [Coming and Going, Aug. 7], they are not free from the effects of hurricanes hitting other Caribbean islands.

In July, we traveled to Bonaire via Air Jamaica. We arrived on Bonaire July 9, aboard the only flight of the week going to Bonaire. We were due to leave the following Saturday, July 16, but Hurricane Emily brushed by Jamaica July 16, canceling all flights to and from Jamaica. Air Jamaica did not come to Bonaire again until the next scheduled flight, July 23. We had to stay on Bonaire for an additional week. This was a very expensive vacation.

Patricia Farmer


Wisconsin Summer

IN STEVE Hendrix's well-written article on the Wisconsin lakes of summertime ["Short and Sweet," Aug. 7], I was sorry to see that there was no mention of Midwest Airlines, which is Milwaukee-based. It has daily nonstops from D.C. and BWI to Milwaukee. This has been rated the best airline in the United States for its outstanding service and first-class-style seats. I have often seen fares of $178 or less.

S. Gregory Price

Takoma Park

STEVE HENDRIX'S article gives my wife and me the slightly painful experience of revealing to thousands of readers our hidden travel treasure.

My wife's family hailed from the Crivitz area, so when it came time for our wedding, we sought out a location in the region. Our wedding took place on Sept. 18, 2004, just to the right of the Strong Falls site in your photo.

Many of the inns and motels in the region are fairly rustic; one exception is the Peshtigo River Inn, just south of Crivitz along Route 141. It has enough amenities, including an indoor pool and whirlpool, to comfort the typical city slicker.

Finally, calling Green Bay "an NFL franchise with a small city attached" is a disservice to the fine town and its nearby Door County peninsula.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV


Home Prep, Cont'd

HERE'S A MESSAGE for Fairfax Water ["Prepping Your Home for Vacation," July 24, and Message Center, Aug. 7]: Your customers aren't as stupid as you seem to think they are.

In the winter, when my wife and I visit our vacation place, we always turn off the water heater and the main shutoff water valve. Departing, you turn off the circuit breaker first, then the water valve. Upon returning, you turn on the water valve first and then the circuit breaker.

Fairfax Water's suggestion that we should turn the water off at every toilet and sink is a poor, cumbersome and costly alternative.

Albert Diaz


IT DEPENDS how risk-tolerant you are. When Fairfax Water advises leaving the water turned on because the water heater can be damaged, it assumes the homeowner can't find (or won't remember) to flip the circuit breaker off to the water heater. I've gotten used to turning off the main house water valve and the water heater circuit breaker. Thus you can avoid in one fell swoop toilet problems (flush the toilets), sink problems, someone turning on the hose valve outside the house (neighborhood jokester) and -- not to be forgotten -- your laundry washer. So put me in the column of the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority.

Bernard Katz


FAIRFAX WATER'S comment is utterly asinine and probably self- serving. The probability of your hot water heater tank evaporating while you're gone is so minuscule as to be about zero. That would require the device to overheat, but even if you left the temp setting at max, it simply could not happen: As the temp rises, the thermostat cuts off the heater.

On the other hand, last year while I was on a two-week trip, my 39-year-old well water tank rusted through and began to leak into the basement. The well pump operated continuously in order to try to maintain pressure in the system. The basement sump pump kicked in to drain the water into the septic system. The waste water system was receiving water faster than could be emptied into the drain field, and the water began to back up in the waste water pipes and eventually filled the bathtub to overflowing. Water then began to flow all over the bathroom and into the basement. Backup continued until the kitchen sink overfilled and began to spill over into the kitchen and then to the basement.

At that point, my neighbor noticed the water flowing down the basement window and contacted the fire department, which turned the main power off. That stopped the well from pumping continuously, but also stopped the sump pump. I returned home to find six inches of water in my basement.

That scenario is not limited to people who are on well water. Hot water heaters are also prone to rust as they age, and city water pressure will continue to replenish the water leaking out of it.

Now if I am away for even a weekend, I turn off the well and close the water valves to the system.

M. J. Raczek

Darnestown, Md.

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