LTRVD0397 Cold Weather RVing

Cold Weather RVing

Today’s show is all about Cold Weather RVing. More and more RVers want to extend their RV season to include some cold Weather RVing. Some are into skiing, some Ice Fishing, and others are into snowmobiling. Preventing fresh water lines and holding tanks from freezing, conservation of propane, and proper insulation are all important parts of the cold weather experience.

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Preparing the Fresh Water System for Cold Weather Use

You must prepare your RV for winter RVing. If you will be in a campground with a working(and hopefully heated) shower house, you might winterize the water system and not use it at all. I’m not sure I would like to get up and go to the shower house in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Assuming you will use all the facilities of your rig, we will start with the fresh water system.
A heated water hose to connect to the park water system is essential. You will plug in your heated hose to the regular hose bib. You can insulate the exposed part of the hose bib with bubble wrap wrapped over with duct tape. If you can’t afford a heated hose, you can purchase a length of electric heat tape. Lay the heat tape out along the length of the hose. Secure it at 1 foot intervals with electrical tape. Then cover the hose and heat tape with foam pipe insulation. Secure it with duct tape. It is a good practice to place a drop light with a 50 watt bulb in the wet bay where the water hose is connected. This will keep the bay with all its water plumbing warm and frost free.
If your rig has heating pads installed on the bottom of the fresh water tank and the gray and black water holding tanks, you are good to go! If not, you must run your propane furnace(s) occasionally to keep them from freezing. The other alternative is to buy after market heating pads made for RV holding tank use. They come in 120 volt AC and 13.5 volts DC. Check out the offerings from UltraHeat, Inc. at http://www.ultraheat.com/tank_heaters.html

Insulating Your RV For Winter Camping

Windows and doors are a constant source of air leakage. If your rig has dual pane windows, great! Just remember that the windshield on motorized units is not dual pane nor is the window in the entrance door on side door models. The windshield can be covered with pleated foil available under the Reflectix brand name and available in hardware stores and RV supply shops. Cut it to fit and tape it in place, then pull the curtain closed to add another barrier. An excellent way to insulate single pane windows is with plastic storm window kits also available at hardware stores. This lets you see out of the windows.
Wind is a big reason RV’s get cold in winter. They are up on wheels so the wind blows right under. This is the reason bridge roadways freeze up first. The cure for this is skirting for motorized and towable RV’s. Custom skirts can be purchased made of a vinyl material with snaps. They must be held to the ground with rocks or other weights. You can make your own skirting quite inexpensively with plywood held in place with stakes. Make sure to put skirting all the way around all four sides. Some folks will be tempted to use hay bales. This has several drawbacks. It is an extreme fire hazard around propane fired appliances. Secondly, it will attract mice and other rodents. There has been much material written on protection from mice and other critters. Some folks use moth balls, some essential oils, some commercial dryer sheets. Use whatever works for you, because mice want to be warm too.

Condensation

Now that you have your rig well buttoned up and as air tight as you can, you need to consider condensation. It will form especially on windows, but also on ceilings as well. It’s part of the price you pay for being warmer than the outside air. A wonderful product called Damp-Rid can help quite a bit as well as providing some small amount of outside ventilation. A dehumidifier can be helpful as well, but must be emptied constantly.

Snow is not Your Friend

You have probably heard that snow is a good insulator, and it is, for igloos. For winter RVing, the snow will melt and refreeze as ice next to the roof or walls of your RV. Show on the roof will quickly exceed the rated roof weight load and should be brushed off after the storm stops. It is especially important to remove it from slide tops and slide top awnings. It’s OK to have it lap up against the skirting, as it will help to insulate that.

LTRVD0396 Full-time RV Living

Full-time RV Living

Full-time RV Living is the main subject of this week’s show. We’ve spent time on the last several shows talking about exit plans and other serious issues and today we start on a new series all about full-time RV Living and what a rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle it can be.

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Do Your Homework

Doing your homework really means doing all the research and legwork to decide if Full-time RV Living is really for you and your spouse or partner. Living in a hallway 24/7 isn’t for everyone. This is also the time when you research all the types and brands of RVs that are available and start to narrow down the field to find your ideal RV. We certainly recommend our book “So, You Want to be an RVer?” as well as our website, http://www.livingthervdream.com as great places to start that homework and research.

Are You Out of Your Mind?

Unfortunately, this is what we sometimes hear from friends and family members after we announce our plans for Full-time RV Living. I don’t really know why some folks just have to try and deflate our plans and dreams, but it does happen frequently. Often, its just simple lack of knowledge. Perhaps a little jealousy creeps in as well. In any case, don’t be surprised when you get this kind of reaction.

It Isn’t a Full-time Vacation

What you are entering is really a special kind of lifestyle. It may seem like a full-time vacation, but you soon realize that this is going to become your new normal. If you continue to do “Express Touring” as so many new full-timers do, you will burn through money and fail to truly enjoy your new life on the road.

What About All Our Stuff

It can be quite intimidating to move from a fully furnished 3 or 4-bedroom home to a 350 square foot RV. Obviously, you can’t take it all with you. Once you have made the decision to live full-time in your RV, Yard Sales, Craig’s List, the Salvation Army, and many others will quickly take care of most of that “stuff”. Remember, its just “Stuff”, not gold. It is what’s holding you back from freedom touring our awesome country. If you have valuable antiques and family heirlooms, a storage unit may be in your future. I’ve never met anyone who couldn’t go full-timing because of too much stuff.

Moving on

Next week, we’ll continue on with this series on Full-time RVing with some discussion on Domicile State and RV Mail Service. We intend to spend several weeks exploring all aspects of Full-time RV Living.

LTRVD0395 RVing Exit Strategy

RVing Exit Strategy

RV Exit Strategy is our main topic for this show. We have talked about the exit plan before when discussing goal setting for your RV adventures. It is the part of goal setting we spend the least time on because we want to get out and enjoy our country.

Certainly, that has been the case with Kathy and me. We knew we would come off the road at some point, but our focus was in the “Now”. We thought we would be RVing full-time for at least another 5 years. How wrong we were.

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Life Happens

We were on our spring trip out of the south and headed up the Great River Road along the Mississippi river. We had been planning the trip for a whole year. Kathy’s sudden illness changed all that in an instant.

We were still living in our RV full-time, but going nowhere. We tried one trip and it was successful, but only because we had family along the way to receive her medications that are delivered weekly and must be refrigerated.

The decision to stop RVing full-time and get into a house was a very hard one, and we will not give up RVing entirely, but instead get a smaller rig and make shorter trips.

Planning for the inevitable

We discuss the practical issues around RVing Exit Strategy planning, especially the financial impact. Your planning needs to start as soon as you make the decision to become a full-time RVer. You simply must have a nest egg to fall back on. We talk about some ways to make that happen.

While this subject isn’t the most enjoyable part of our lifestyle, it can be the most important.

LTRVD0394 First Radio Show

First Radio Show

We replay our First Radio Show as we are swamped with details of our changing lifestyle from full-time RVer to home-owner and part-time RVer.

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End of a 13 Year Run

This is a tough time for us as we still love the full-time RV lifestyle, but we must change due to Kathy’s health needs and the need to maintain a steady supply chain for her meds. We have been out here for 13 years and we had planned on many more. We will be selling our 2004v Fleetwood Expedition diesel motorhome. It has served us very well during over 60,000 miles traveling our beautiful country. We will put it in the shop for some needed repairs and then we will put it up for sale.

First Radio Show

The Radio Show

In this first of 18 weekly 1 hour radio broadcasts, we discuss how we got started RVing back in 2005. We hope you enjoy it, warts and all.

Moving Forward

We will continue to do the podcast on a weekly basis with all the same features we have had in the past. We will also keep up our website, http:www.livingthervdream.com. We will especially continue to administer our Facebook groups and interact with all our RV friends. I will also try to get the monthly newsletter back on track. So really, the only change will be our not traveling full-time. We will be looking for a smaller rig such as a class C in the near future so we can still travel as much as Kathy’s supply chain will allow.

LTRVD0393 Is Full-time RVing Right for You

Is Full-time RVing Right for You

We answer the question; Is Full-time RVing Right for You The discussion starts by discussing living in a hallway 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many couples cannot do this without some alone time and solitude.

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Health

We lay out the pitfalls that await folks who are either under insured and who have no health care insurance. That can be a real disaster if you have a serious illness out away from your usual support system and no insurance to pay the bills. Can you both do the physical things you must do while RVing? Are your required meds available when you need them?

Full-time RVing Mindset

You both, or all if there are more than 2 of you, must have a mindset that puts you all on the same page as far as communication, willingness to commit, and having a well thought out plan for full-timing and a plan for exiting the lifestyle

Finances

Will you be selling everything to buy a rig and still have enough to enjoy the lifestyle? Do you have a fallback plan if full-time RVing doesn’t work out? We discuss adequate down payment on RVs as well as having a well thought out budget to ensure you can afford this new adventure.

Goals

Have you set goals for travel, both short term (one year) and long term (5 years and up)?

Floorplan

Have you found a workable floorplan that has enough space to have some Private time, as well as room for some hobbies, and room to cook if that is important?

Rig Capability

We lay out what is needed in the way of rig capability when climbing mountain passes; and is it small enough to park in State Parks

Itinerary

Have you planned the type of itinerary you will use in your travels? We discuss traveling less and stopping more often as well as the “go go go” style also called “Express Touring”.