South Texas, here we come!

8 04 2019

Oasis RV Resort, Amarillo, TX

Good Evening from Amarillo

After a late Monday afternoon departure from home, we’re parked at the Oasis RV Resort, just west of Amarillo.  We’re in a race against the weather – wind gusts are forecast to 60 MPH across west Texas starting on Wednesday.  Our goal is to get to San Angelo – nearly 600 miles from home.  We’ve accomplished about 275 miles to Amarillo, so tomorrow will be a slightly longer day down to San Angelo.

The Oasis RV Resort is just that – an inviting oasis far enough from I-40 to avoid traffic noise, but still plenty convenient.  This park boasts nearly 200 double cement pad sites, paved internal roads, a beautiful swimming pool/hot tub area (not yet open for the season) and rates around $50/night with Good Sam discount.

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Happy Anniversary!

20 02 2019

Super Snow Moon over Silver Mountain

Last Sunday was our 1 YEAR anniversary of living mostly full time in the RV!  We headed out on the 2018 Spring Road Trip last February 17th and returned to Colorado on April 27th.

Less than 30 days later we’d finalized inspection items, packed up the house, moved everything to storage and signed the mountains of paper work for the sale! Wow, how time flies!

Since last May and the end of the Spring Road Trip, we’ve spent 97 nights at Circle the Wagons in La Veta, 29 nights in various RV parks around northern Colorado and Cheyenne, WY; 8 nights in Rio Rancho, NM and about 170 nights on the property here at Navajo Ranch.  Since the New Year we’ve had two major weather events.  The first was very cold temperatures on New Year’s Day with a record of -4 degrees.  The second has been the wind.  On Super Bowl Sunday the wind forecast was for 30-40 MPH winds with gusts to 60 MPH.  A local weather station at the base of La Veta Pass recorded a 73 MPH gust.  We’re not sure how much wind we had, but there were several sections of our “skirt” that needed a bit of repair and reinforcing!

And, speaking of skirting.  We’re not exactly sure how much it’s helping, but undoubtedly it keeps the underbelly & floors warmer.  Prior to skirting, we’d experienced freezing of the galley drain valve when temps dropped to single digits.  Now, even with temps dropping below zero, we’ve never had an issue with that valve.  Our propane consumption hasn’t noticeably dropped, but we’re trying to use more furnace than before – it’s cheaper and gives us the knowledge that we’re keeping the pipes and tanks warm in the underbelly.  We originally purchased ShurTape Foil tape at about $17/roll to construct our skirt.  After a few weeks, this tape appears to be less effective due to the warm/cold changes in temperature.  For best adhesion on the insulation board, I’m now using standard Gorilla Tape – which seems to stick very well.  On the fiberglass and plastic of the RV I’m using a 3M Foil tape that is specific to cold weather.  It’s a bit thinner, but overall seems to be holding up better.

And, an update on items that needed “fixed” or investigated:

  • Just after the cold snap in January, we purchased and installed 3M Window Insulation film on a couple windows.  This has made a major difference in drafts and cold air infiltrating the windows.  For $12, this may be the most economical and easy cold air reducer.
  • You’ll remember we said the refrigerator, or more specifically the freezer wasn’t freezing.  After some amount of research, we decided we needed to warm or at least prevent lots of cold air from entering the exterior refrigerator “box”.  With two sets of vents behind the refrigerator, we’ve blocked most of the lower vents.  This seems to help in our most typical 40 degree days and 20 degrees nights.  However, when temps drop further, the freezer still hovers around 25 degrees, not capable of freezing ice cubes overnight. With lots of these cold nights, some type of heat source would be necessary – so far we haven’t gone beyond covering the vent.  However there are plenty of blog articles about added heaters, drop lights and light bulbs stuck in the back of the refrigerator.
  • Water – as of the New Year, we still didn’t have water *to* the RV pad.  It was available at an outside tap, but that was 5 hoses away!  When temperatures dropped, the crawlspace under the unheated house was cold enough to freeze the pipes and water turned off everywhere.  About 50 feet of pipe heat tape, 10 sections of pipe insulation, one very long extension cord, and a couple of hours’ worth of work in the dark crawlspace yielded water to the RV pad!  I’d already purchased the shark bite connector, and with a quick snip of the PEX plumbing, tied in the line to the RV pad and left the rest of the frozen house lines to thaw and drain.  With about 6’ of heated tape on the outside faucet and the 25’ of heated water hose, we’ve not had a single problem with frozen pipes or hose.  I’m sorry it took so long to “fix” this problem!

That’s it. Other than removing the TV antenna due to wind noise, we have done nothing else to modify the RV for living through a Southern Colorado winter.  We’ll keep the snow shovel handy, and the boots nearby just in case.  And, we’re hopeful that we’ll be moving into the house within the next 30 days!

More as Spring approaches…

 





Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

31 12 2018

It’s now been about 5 weeks since we left Circle the Wagons and moved to the property at Navajo Ranch.  We have all the modern conveniences, electric, septic, internet (at a blazing 5MB) and satellite TV.  But, we still need to get water to the RV port.  For now we’re stringing 5 hoses together and filling the fresh water tank every few days from the tap outside the house.  A real pain!  But, the parts and tools necessary to turn on the RV spigot have been purchased…  more on that subject later.

The weather moderated during the second half of November, with highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the 20’s. Our warmest day was 61 and the coldest night was 13. Most of December followed the same pattern until late in the month when we had a couple days that failed to get above freezing, a couple nights in the single digits and on the 29th we dropped all the way to zero!  Before leaving for Christmas we had a 100 gallon propane tank delivered – no more refilling propane bottles every week.  We expect at least 50 days, possibly closer to 100 days on this new tank.  And, with 10 sheets of 2” insulation panel, we’re now completely skirted in.  We hope these upgrades will help our energy consumption and allow more comfort during the coldest nights.  The New Year will arrive with snow and very cold temperatures in southern Colorado.  We’re expecting about 5 inches of the white stuff and teens and single digits for the next 3 days.  But, by Friday the forecast is back near 50 – so a nice end to the first week of January.

100 gal propane tank and fully skirted for winter!

 

The house continues to move along at a snail’s pace – mostly because of weather complications.  If it’s not snowing, it’s cold, or too windy or something.  Over Christmas the half-walls were added to the RV Port, completing the framing necessary for electrical rough-in.  We hope to get the electricians back later this week once the weather warms a bit.  Happy New Year everyone and here’s to a good 2019!





Happy Thanksgiving!

10 12 2018

We’ve moved!  In anticipation of visiting friends in Montrose, CO – on November 21st we relocated the trailer to the “guest pad” on the new property at Navajo Ranch.  With electricity we’ll leave the trailer on it’s own during our long weekend trip to the western slope.  Thanks again to Becky and Blake, owners of Circle the Wagons.  We look forward to seeing you next year!

Sunrise on Mt Mestas and Mt Silver, Walsenburg, CO

After returning from Thanksgiving, we relocated again, this time to the Stagecoach RV Resort in Rio Rancho, NM – just north of Albuquerque.  Several months ago we were honored to be asked to the inaugural sailing of the new Celebrity Edge cruise ship in Ft. Lauderdale.  It seemed logical that we would have warmer weather in New Mexico, so we booked our flights out of Albuquerque.  Ha – we drove to the airport on December 2nd in a snowstorm!  So much for relocating to a warmer climate!  But, Ft. Lauderdale was a great escape, back to shorts and tee’s for their 80 degree days and evenings.  The new cruise ships is amazing and the inaugural ceremonies were memorable as Malala Yousafzai was named godmother.

Celebrity Edge

After Ft. Lauderdale and the inaugural cruise onboard the Celebrity Edge, we’re headed  back to Colorado.  More from there…





Winter Camping in Colorado

13 11 2018

Mid-November snow, Circle the Wagons

Yes – we’re still in Southern Colorado!  Following our return from Cabo in late October, we decided to see what happened to the weather before heading to a southern (and hopefully warmer) location to spend part of the winter.  Other than a relatively heavy snow storm that dumped around 15” on us the 1st of November, temperatures have been fairly mild.  In fact, just before the big snow, we had a 72 degree day!  Lows have been running in the mid to low-20’s – nothing unmanageable with the right preparations and gear.  The average temperature for the last week of October was 46.

However, after that November 1st snow storm, winter seems to be slightly more entrenched.  The first week of November our maximum high was 53, our lowest low as 21 and our average was 10 degrees off the previous week at 36 degrees.  Headed into the second week of November our max is hanging in around 50 degrees, but with several chilly nights, one at 9 degrees and last night at 5 degrees, our weekly average is down nearly 10 degrees to 28.  The upcoming week looks much more “average” with highs in the 50’s and lows in the 20’s.

Circle the Wagons

 

So, what have we done to prepare for this crazy winter camping?  #1 was to purchase a heated hose and some heat tape.  We bought the 25’ Camco heated hose on Amazon for $100.  We also purchased a short heat tape and some insulation wrap for our water spigot.    So far, with lows of single digits and a few days that never managed to struggle above freezing, we’ve enjoyed freely flowing water.

Other items to consider, and some that need a bit more investigation:

  • Check propane every day – before this cold snap we ran a minimum of 14 days on a bottle of propane.  During the big chill, we ran a minimum of 3 days.  Still not terrible – but important to keep an eye on.
  • There’s a lot of condensation with these relatively thin walls and windows when there’s a temperature difference of 60 degrees or more.  Many of our windows are fogged up, especially in the mornings, and have water running down them. Window weep holes are working – outside there are small icicles from the condensation.  We just picked up a 3M window insulator kit.  Over the next few days we’re going to insulate some windows and see what difference it makes.  More on that project in later posts…
  • With an electric fireplace and another small space heater, we can easily keep our work area warm during the day.  However, if daytime temps are below freezing, make sure you’re getting some furnace heat in the mix – only the furnace will warm the basement and underbelly and protect your water lines and other equipment from freezing.
  • Speaking of freezing, our freezer isn’t freezing.  After explore some blog posts, it seems that the large vents to keep the refrigerator cool in summer may be working against us in this cold weather.  The vents allow so much cold air in, the refrigerator never has to cool.  Thus, the freezer just hangs around 30 degrees, not enough to freeze ice overnight and barely enough to keep things frozen. This problem needs more exploration…
  • The clothes in the closet are damp.  With a slide closet in the bedroom, we have absolutely the poorest insulated walls packed with our clothes.  Overnight (and possibly even during the day) humid air condenses on these cold walls and causes dampness.  We’re trying to keep the doors open during the day to see if things will dry out – and, on our next warm sunny day may move all of our cloths outside for some quick drying.

 





Fall at Circle the Wagons

26 10 2018

Circle the Wagons, La Veta, CO

It’s been 6 weeks since we arrived back at Circle the Wagons in La Veta and this week was the official closing-for-winter.  Since returning we’ve watched the grove of cottonwood trees turn golden hues of fall before a early frost on October 14th brought all the brown leaves to the ground.  Today, with only 2 campers in the park, things are quiet and peaceful, and almost a bit lonely.  The crunch of leaves underfoot and the nearly constant visits by wandering deer tell us that summer is drawing to a close.  So far we’ve experienced mild temperatures – other than the bitter cold that moved through quickly last weekend, our highs are in the 60’s and lows are in the 40’s.  So far, so good for RVing in fall/winter.

During our time back to southern Colorado we took a short “sun/beach” break to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We moved the camper out to the Navajo Ranch property on Friday the 5th, just before the La Veta Oktoberfest celebration kicked off.  Then we spent the weekend in Denver before flying to Cabo on Wednesday.  Facilities at the ME Cabo resort were nice, the hotel had good beachfront access and beautiful pools.  We also visited the Grand Solmar Land’s End property – we’d like to stay here if we come back to Cabo.  Returning to pick up the trailer on Monday the 15th, we were relieved to find all systems in good shape after the plunge in temperatures to what was apparently around 15 degrees.

Cabo San Lucas, MX

We’re awaiting final water hookups and septic repair (they nicked the sewer pipe drilling one of the RV port piers) before moving back to Navajo Ranch.  More from there…





Northern New Mexico, Ojo Caliente

15 09 2018

Ojo Caliente, RV sites #6 & 7

Departing from Santa Fe on Friday, we arrive at Ojo Caliente, a unique spa resort located about 50 north of Santa Fe.  The Ojo Caliente Spa boasts a unique combination of four different sulfur-free mineral springs in one location: Lithia, Iron, Soda and Arsenic.  Add to that their full spa services, hotel accommodations, an on-site restaurant and a small RV park for a relaxing weekend in northern New Mexico.

We last visited the RV park in 2012: “We’re in Hot Water” .  A few of the original sites have been upgraded to 50A electric service and new shower house added.  They are also working on what appear to be several vintage trailers that are being set-up for rentals.  We’re parked in sites #6/7, two electric/water only, “pull-in” sites.  Originally expecting pull-through sites, these sites are probably best for motor coaches that can indeed pull-in toward the trees at the end of the site.  For trailers, these sites are probably best for back-in, with hookups then on the wrong side.  With trees to the east, these sites provide morning shade, but full sun during the afternoon and evening.  Afternoon shade can be found on the other side in sites #18 & #19.  Site #17 is also a uniquely private pull through site nearest the river.

On Saturday we purchased the $32 “Water Pass” which provides access to all of the facilities including the Public Mineral Pools, Mud Pool, Steam Room and Sauna.  The Mineral Pools include the Lithia spring, the Iron spring and the Soda spring.  We enjoyed relaxing by the big pool, covering ourselves with mud and then baking in the hot sun and taking dips in the Arsenic pool.  On Sunday we’re headed back to Circle the Wagons for another couple of weeks…more from there…

Ojo Caliente Spa, Mud Pool

Ojo Caliente Spa, Lithia Spring

Ojo Caliente Spa, Iron Spring

Ojo Caliente Spa, Accommodations