A Carolina wren who sits on the electric post each morning outside my window is displaced today. He visits to sing to us, but today his perch is full of snow. I can hear him in a nearby tree, reporting for duty, even if from a distance.
We woke up to a fresh coat of snow…about five inches. It is a powdery snow, light and fluffy. It has piled on top of the pine branches and the boughs are bending with the extra weight. After what seemed endless days of grey skies, the sun shone brightly this morning, chasing the last of the storm clouds from our view. The snow is covered in sparkling diamonds, reflecting the sun’s light.
Snow is at its best directly following a storm, as it lies untainted and untouched. Its purity and integrity unsoiled, unshoveled. We only have a few minutes of the perfect white, before the removal begins.
After a brief reverie this morning, we were faced with the bit of extra tasks that this snow brought to our day, and it seemed like a good time to let you know about the improvements we have made to the RV to weather the deep winter.
I posted previously on our winter preparations, but that was before we had hit the deep winter. Now, we have faced several weeks of temperatures with highs in the teens or even single digits a few times, and lows around 0 degrees. We went 10 days straight with the temperatures not getting above freezing. With deep winter upon us, we had to make several changes.
Winter Preparedness in a RV
- The Water Hose – We now have heat tape, and two separate layers of insulation on our hose. We removed the plastic that comes with the heat tape, because water was still penetrating to the insulation. Instead, Chris encased the two layers of insulation with durable tape, and then covered it with plastic trash bags which he taped at all seams. We also now have our hose on bricks to keep it from the ice or standing water as it collects on the ground.
- Frozen Pipes – We have yet to have the pipes under the RV freeze, which is good news. We have had the connection from the hose to the RV freeze several times, so we bought more heat tape, and now have heat tape running on that connection too.
- Our Tanks – We have had the valves freeze a few times (even after the insulation board was installed). We did not see that coming.
- Condensation– With the severely low temperatures, the air has been so dry that we have not had any condensation problems. On the warmer days, we do have condensation on the windows.
- Space Heaters – We went from one to two. We always had one space heater on Aunt Glady, so that we would not have to use our propane for heat while travelling. That one continuously runs in the living space. We purchased this second, smaller heater for the bedroom overnight.
- Propane – We purchased an additional propane tank, to lessen our trips for refills.
- Insulation – Before the first of the deep winter temperatures, Chris insulated the bottom of the RV. He used leftover materials from our home build to create a secure wall around the underside of Aunt Glady to keep the coldest air out. He used 2″ insulation board, 2×4 pressure treated boards and Zip tape (instructional diagram below). He has also stuffed insulation in to every hole he could find (concealed from rain), and placed some strategically inside the compartment doors.
Has it gone perfectly, you ask? No, no it hasn’t. Chris has been out at 4:00 am in the bitter cold unfreezing our hose on multiple occasions. Chris has re-wrapped our water hose with heat tape and insulation three times. I continuously blow a fuse, because I forget to turn the space heater in the bedroom off in the morning. In order for me to do laundry, Chris has to use a torch to thaw the metal locks on the compartment holding the power cord and vent. Last weekend, we got about two inches of ice, and we delicately skated across the parking lot in order to use the campground restrooms (which are kept in the 50s since no one is staying here other than us) while our hose was frozen. There is no paving at our site, so all the snow and mud on our shoes needs to be dealt with at our entrance. The shower time on Aunt Glady has lessened to about 5 minutes, and it is painful peeling off our clothes to change. A bare foot, or even socked foot, on the floor is a frozen foot. I am continually reminding myself to check the fridge – we have not had any problems yet, but I know that these kind of temperatures can wreak havoc on the internal temp of the fridge. Our normal tasks are lengthened, and we have spent hours upon hours working for the basic necessity of heat and shelter.
While overall the extra preparedness steps we have taken have made big improvements for us; those steps will only get us so far. With temperatures below zero or two inches of ice, even our best preparations have times of weakness.
Sometimes, I guess we are like that little wren. He can’t stop the snow, he can’t clear his post, he can’t build a roof over it. But, he can see that his post is blocked and then find the closest tree branch. He can sing his morning song anyway. He can persevere.
While God gave us brains to use, and to help us to be prepared; He also knew that perseverance is what builds character. And that is my hope for myself through this winter in the RV…perseverance that builds character.
I also wish I had a voice like that wren, but, sadly, singing is NOT my gift.
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