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…