Winter Wonderland

What a winter preview!

I’m trying to hold on to the fact that having 18 inches of snow and 20 degree temperatures in October is a great way to show us what still needs to be done with the camper to prepare for the “real” winter. While the storm itself was crazy, it did help us out by showing us not only is this doable in the colder months, it can actually be fun.

A few days before the storm hit, we spent time talking to other campers, and browsing through some websites, getting ideas for what we should do. We bought a new, shorter water hose, heat tape, insulating foam tubing, a “pillow” to block one of our skylights, plastic window wrap (although we may still try the bubble wrap) and a new bathroom vent cover. We figured since the bad weather would be relatively short lived, we could wait on doing the skirting and insulating under the camper until after the snow (and hubby is now starting to get it all installed).

We’ve discovered our biggest challenge is condensation. Camper walls are thin, and while we’re able to stay toasty warm with our forced hot air heating system, the air doesn’t dry out enough to counteract the moisture that builds up near the roof (in the cabinets especially). We’re planning to buy an infrared heater and place some fans at ceiling height to help clear things up. We’re also considering buying a couple of 40lb propane tanks – we seem to go through the pair of 30’s in about a week, and while we figure that will change once we switch to the heater, we still hoping to avoid changing tanks out so frequently. The campground does have the option of renting a tank that holds 100lbs, but the details of the arrangement doesn’t quite work for us, so we’re seeing if we can manage without.

The afternoon the storm started, our kidlets headed up through the huge snowflakes (so big they almost looked fake) to the arcade to hang out with their friends. After dinner, hubby and I headed up and met our friends for a card game, followed by a couple rounds of pool (the kidlets wisely decided to go hang out at our friend’s camper and play on the Xbox before we arrived). The walk home at close to midnight was wild – the snow was already close to a foot deep!

We realized we’d be in pretty good shape even if the power went out – our fridge automatically switches from electric to propane, we’d still be able to cook with our propane stove, the aforementioned forced hot air heater is propane fueled, and we have a marine battery backup for our lights. Granted, we’d be without television or computer, but we have plenty of card and board games, so I doubted we’d even miss it. However, we were in the lucky minority who didn’t lose power (there were some people who didn’t have power restored until late day on the 5th of November).

As I said, this unexpected blast from Mother Nature actually helped us realize that this little adventure of ours is still as enjoyable in the winter as it was during the summer months. We also discovered that while there are people here for many different reasons (vacation, money, transitioning to another area, traveling for work, adventure) one constant is we’re all in this together. There’s someone here who is in rather dire straits (I won’t share their story out of respect for their privacy), and I know of at least five people here who are doing everything from picking up groceries to using their own money to repair their heater. When I was talking to one of the “helpers” he said, “We’ve all been there [financial/health crisis], or we’ll be there some day. How could you not help?” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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