Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter Prep (Part One) Picking the Site

Living Fulltime in an RV – During an Iowa Winter
 I’m not an expert – just experienced
When I'm talking about living in an RV in winter this is what I'm preparing for.
Since the last post was about snow, I thought I’d show y’all (practicin’ my southern accent for NEXT winter) some of the things that we NON snowbirds have to do to survive these northern winters.  Just to be clear, I am NOT talking about winter camping.  I am talking about living in an RV during a northern winter.
I will breaking the preparation into categories and will cover one category a day.  Some information will be repeated in separate posts because some preparation covers more than one area.  (I just don’t want you to think you are having déjà vu when you see the repeated information.) 

Part One – Picking Your Site
The number one thing that needs to be done to prepare an RV for LIVING through the winter is find a place to park so that you don’t have move the darn thing.  Trust me on this, once the cold weather sets in, you do not want to have to move it.  Roads are slick, cross winds are brutal and water lines WILL freeze without heat.  Making your ‘home on wheels’ stationary for months at a time takes some fore thought.
In the middle of a northern winter, no one even considers ‘boondocking’.  At a minimum you want a spot with electricity and sewer.  It is POSSIBLE to do without a freeze proof water source – but not recommended.  You can always carry in or buy five gallon water bottles to drink, wash dishes and bodies, as well as flush the stool.  However, the thought of carrying sewage away from your camp site just seems like an insurmountable obstacle, for me.  Okay if push came to shove, you could use one of those blue totes and drag it through the snow to a dump site.  But – yuck!
If you are staying in a park or resort, find out who maintains, roads, parking, sidewalks, etc. and how often.  What amenities are available to you at the park; are there laundry facilities, showers, pools, exercise equipment, and so on?  What other forms of recreation are available in the local area?  Are there other people staying through the winter and do they get together to socialize?
100# and 30# LP tanks
You will also need to know if you pay for electricity and if you do, is it metered or is it estimated.  Since you will most likely be using a LOT of LP, is it available in the park?  Is LP delivered to your site?  Do they have larger tanks (100 pound) available for rent or exchange?
And how about trash?  Is it picked up at your site?  Do you need to carry it to a dumpster and where is it located?  Are recycle bins available?  What, if any, restrictions are there on what can be placed in dumpster/recycle bins?  Is it permissible to burn paper and cardboard trash in the campfire at your site?
Now, about emergencies; who ya gonna call?  (No! not Ghost Busters)  Is there on-site help for mechanical and electrical problems and how do you contact them?  What days and hours are they available?  Is 911 service available (if you are fulltiming, you most likely are using only a cellphone – cellphones may NOT work with the 911 service since they do not give you LOCATION)?  Where are the closest Doctors, Dentists, Veterinarians, Pharmacies and Hospitals?
(Next topic;  Water Out – Waste Water)

No comments:

Post a Comment