Friday, February 14, 2014

Truly Winter Wonderland Country- I'll be full time camping in it.

In 13 days I will hit the road to live in my travel trailer full time. I am getting so excited.

I'll be in Michigan, but I will be snug as a bug in my travel trailer. I plan on spending one month at a Michigan RV park. They have winter rates and allow winter camping. For those who don't know, this means no running water. Water would freeze in the hose. Also, it means that i won't be putting any water or sewage down the trailers grey or black water tanks. There are outhouses available.

Taking a bath is like taking a step back in time. I'll heat up a pot of water on the propane stove. I'll then pour it into a basin with some cold water. A long hot soak in the tub is not exactly in the cards. After a nice wash up, I'll slip into my floor length heavy men's terry cloth robe, a pair of house slippers completes the afterbath ensemble.

Cooking isn't much different in my travel trailer than in a house. I'll be hooked up to electric, so I'll have the fridge, just like in a house only smaller. I have a 3 burner stove, a small oven, and a microwave. I plan on lots of soups and stews. In winter, I like food that sticks to my ribs. I enjoy baking, so some nice fresh cornbread, or some homemade yeast bread goes great with stews and soups.

I no longer own a television. With the advent of all the online content, I am sure I won't miss it at all. I do have Netflix and Hulu plus subscriptions. I have also got a large library of videos on my laptop that I haven't yet seen.

I enjoy photography. I'll be taking lots of winter shots. I also write. I have two children's books to edit, and four more in the series to write before I am ready to have them published. I do all the parts of the books myself, both the writing and the illustrations.

It's truly a beautiful Winter Wonderland and there are many beautiful sights that I'd like to share.
The pictures in this post came from my last Michigan winter camping trip.

I'll be enjoying some well deserved quiet and solitude. March in Michigan can be very pretty, almost like a fairy wonderland. I'd like to capture some of that in photos.  These photos are from the last winter camping I did in Michigan.

Feel free to use the donate button at the top of the blog to help with my travel expenses. A gallon of gas moves the van/trailer 10 miles down the road, $20 fills a tank of propane.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Keeping As Comfortable As Possible Driving And Winter Camping In A Michigan Winter.

Today I got a call to go jump a friend's car battery. We've had a lot of snow and cold weather.

So I went out to my van, fired it up, and went to back out of the driveway. Smack into a snow bank. Now I'm stuck for a minute, I carry salt and cat litter in the cargo van. I put a handful of salt in front and back of each of the rear drive wheels. In less than five minutes I was able to power out of the unplowed road in front of the house.

That got me to thinking, what precautions do i take to keep my vehicle running and me safe in cold weather.

Right now, the van heat isn't working. I have checked the level of antifreeze in the van. No problems there. I'm thinking it's probably a thermostat, but it's hard to get that fixed in this weather without waiting for hours.

I carry salt and cat litter routinely. Getting stuck (even when you have an 8 cylinder gas hog with lots of power) is no joke in the deadly weather conditions right now. A woman froze to death in her own driveway just last week.

I also carry extra fleece vests in the van, some candles, and some dehydrated food. I try to keep a jar of peanut butter and some crackers on hand. Chocolate is also good for helping keep warm.

I keep a couple of blankets in the van as well. One blanket is a fleece, the other is a small quilt. I also carry snow gloves, extra fleece gloves, and an extra hat. If i am stuck, I layer up with the extra warm items I keep in an old purse. I usually have a sleeping bag or two in the van. I have two small dogs, so I make sure i carry dog food, dog treats, and extra blankets for them. I've also stuck them down in a sleeping bag with me to keep them warm.

I make sure I keep my gas as full as possible. If the gas level is low, there is the potential for something to freeze and when the engine starts up, it can cause me to have to replace the motor.

It's also good to carry extra hoses and belts if possible. You'd be surprised how many times I've had to have a hose or belt replaced along side the road or in a parking lot.

Generally, i keep some wrenches, a Phillip's screwdriver, a straight screwdriver, adjustable pliers, and a pair of needle nose pliers. I also carry a tow strap. I can be pulled out of the snowy drifts or pull someone who is stuck.

I have a 1970 Amerigo travel trailer. It's a bit different wintering in a travel trailer. I don't do any running water nor do I put anything down the drains or black water tanks. There is a reason for this, I don't want to have to repair any tanks or plumbing lines. An RV is a vehicle as opposed to a house when it comes to winter care.

Most people tend to see it as a house with running water and such. But, leave a bottle of water in your vehicle and see how fast it can freeze. Now imagine frozen black water in the tank. When you go to move the RV, the frozen hunk will roll round in the tank and you are looking at  a tank brittle from the cold breaking all over. This is both expensive to repair and a environmental hazard.

This doesn't mean I don't stay warm or take baths. I use a timeless method for getting and staying clean. Heat water on top of the stove, put in a basin with some cold water. Grab a nice washcloth and my favorite body shampoo. Liquid soaps or body shampoo rinses much better. Hair can be washed over a large pot. We've all done that one as kids I think. Add a heavy men's floor length terrycloth robe and it's warm luxury.

Please take care during the snowy  times. It can and does kill people.