Sunday, March 2, 2014

Warm & Toasty in Winter While Camping

I just realized it is Sunday and my blog was due out on Friday. I've been busy surviving a deadly cold winter weather lifestyle. It is very empowering. It also takes life down to the simplest and most important issues.

I chose to go to a campground with RV hookups for the first month while I get the trailer in order. I also have electric and free wifi here available.

It has been very cold and snowy, and getting the trailer set up for the first time under these conditions hasn't been all that easy. The weather promptly dipped into serious weather advisories and it was a dangerous thing for a few days. Ducky (short for Duck Dynasty Glam) is still a mess as I sort and organize things in it. This is our maiden voyage into adventure.

Just getting the trailer backed in required that they plow me a spot first, and then I had the sense to utilise a former truck driver and ask him to back it in since the spot and road were tight with high snow banks. He slightly scratched the trailer on the van during a jack-knife, but I have no problem with that. I asked him to do me a favor and it would be terrible to repay the favor by complaining about a bit of scratched paint.

I would recommend carrying weatherstripping for anyone in a trailer or van. I put a layer of weatherstripping all around the door, it had none, and it also had at least 1/4 inch gap that i could see daylight through. It made a difference of 20 degrees in the trailer in less than two hours.
I'm not using the propane on the trailer until a warmer day. I need to be able to air out the trailer if there is a propane leak. So I have the portable propane grill set up on the stove top. It is better to check out all systems prior to leaving with the trailer, but I didn't have that option since my living situation was deteriorating as I went.
I'm finally warm after installing some weather stripping for around the door and buying an extra electric heater. It takes two heaters to keep the trailer comfortable. A word of warning to those who don't know travel trailers, it takes a full day for them to heat up after getting this cold.  Running two heaters, I ran another cord to the hookup box and put one heater on the second cord. I have already found out how to flip breakers and turn the power back on. Not only do you have to flip the one on the pole, but there is one in the outside compartment of the trailer,
I would recommend layers of clothes, a warm hat, boot socks, and some sleeveless vests for anyone winter camping.
It was so bitterly cold, that by leaving lights on in my van, the battery was quickly dead. They call this battery killing weather. I went to the local hardware store to get a one amp battery charger. The one amp charger is about the size of two thick paperback books, so it is small, portable, and easily carried in the trailer. I also had to purchase another extension cord, giving me a total of three of them now. At $26 for a battery charger, it was a good deal, much less than calling a tow truck to jump me would have been.

I carry a 400 watt inverter in the van, a small compressor that hooks up to my battery for pumping up low tires, and now the one amp battery charger. I will be getting the crank weather radio. I also have a pair of battery operated walkie talkies for any parking or other times needed. i have used them when following someone down the highway.

My trailer runs on 110 plug so I didn't have to go buy a fancy RV cord, just a heavy duty 50' extension cord. It is fun figuring out why the wall lights don"t work but the small Christmas lights do. There are two lights with the small RV bulbs in it.
So far, it looks like I have one plug unit with four plugs available.

I covered the windows with all the heavy blankets I had on hand to avoid heat loss. I had a solar windshield protector for the van that fit over one of the windows.

The dogs have quickly adapted to living in an 18 foot trailer and they love it. They also like frolicking in the snow and running around. There are no people here so i am able to run them off leash. The come to the call "who wants cookies". They wrap up in a fleece blanket on the bed and they are taking lots of naps.
I've had a really bad abscessed tooth and the nearest hospital is over 20 miles away. So I packed it in table salt, and take ordinary aspirin. The swelling is going down, it is still painful, but not near as bad as it was. Rinsing with warm salt water also helps. You need to be able to handle small emergencies and medical things when traveling. I carry a good stock of aspirin, anti-diarrhea tablets, benadryl, peroxide, and rubbing alcohol on hand.
I also carry cat litter and road salt in the van at all times. The locals up here use wood ash from a wood stove to get them out of stuck situation. The best method is not to drive when not absolutely necessary under bad road conditions.
The other person complained about being bored. I wish I had time to be bored. Two small dogs require time and attention. Cooking meals while trying to still find everything takes some effort. Short walks with the dogs marveling at how beautiful the snow and trees are is another thing I do to pass the time.Since I have free wifi available here, I can also watch Netflix or Hulu Plus at anytime, or chat with friends online.
Well, it's off to take the photos for this blog as soon as camera charges up. I should have next weeks blog up on Friday as scheduled.
Thanks for stopping by. Coffee is always on.