We are on our way back to Vegas for Christmas. Leaving from Milwaukee, our route runs in a southerly direction to avoid the worst of the bad winter weather. We’re on a deadline, so we can’t afford to be delayed more than a couple of hours. (We normally try to leave more cushion than this to reduce stress and the risks of “get-there-itis”.) Despite our best efforts, we hit freezing rain as we rolled through Oklahoma. The motorhome was coated with ice before we parked for the night, west of Oklahoma City. As we headed out this morning, we saw two tractor trailers and three cars off the road. Yikes!
On a side note, yesterday, I drove the most I’ve driven so far in a day: four hours total. (I generally drive about two hours.) I also navigated my first toll plaza…at night…in the freezing rain!
Our strategy for handling these conditions is to slow down and avoid using cruise control. And one more thing…
- If you have to drive in freezing rain, heated mirrors are worth their weight in gold!
We’re just shy of five months into this motorhoming escapade, but we’ve already encountered plenty of cold weather. Where we go is dictated by where Mike is working, which means that we’ll be dealing with frigid temperatures fairly regularly.
Here are five things Mike has learned that are helping us stay warm and watered during the winter.
1. Not every park delivers propane to you. Packing up, unhooking, and driving across the street to refill is a hassle. Plus, propane can get pricey. Besides that, you surely don’t want run out when temps are below freezing. (Which we did.) Using as little propane as you can is crucial. Buy electric heaters to run off of the park’s electricity – that you’re already paying for – to save your propane. This is ours. It’s pet-safe, has other safety features, and comes with a remote so we can control it from anywhere in the rig. We also have a propane heater.
2. Stuff bubble pack insulation in the windows. Your rig might feel like a cave, but it makes a HUGE difference, even with double-paned windows. (This also works great in the summer when you’re cooling the motorhome. We know from firsthand experience. We started this lifestyle in Las Vegas… in July.)
3. When you’re hooked up to park water, keep your hose as short as possible. Coil the rest of it up and store it inside your wet bay. Insulate what’s left outside with foam pipe insulation.
4. If you’re in a Class A, run small electric heaters in the wet bay to keep the pipes and tank from freezing. Make sure they have tip-over and overheating protection. You may also want to buy thermostatic plugs that’ll turn the heaters on just above freezing and turn them off at warmer temperatures.
5. If you have an electric water heater, leave a trickle of hot water dripping into your sink. It keeps water circulating through the hose so it doesn’t freeze. Also, leave the gray tank open so the trickle of hot water runs down the hose. It keeps the gray tank from filling up, and the heated liquid prevents the sewer hose from freezing.