Wednesday, November 21, 2018

11/21 Brrrrrrrr! Liviing in an RV in Cold Weather

OK, I know what is cold to one person is not cold to another, but if you notice, nearly all RVers who live full time in their rigs head for warmer places in the winter.  So, why can't you stay in colder places?  People do it all the time in house trailers or "mobile homes."  

There are several big reasons why you cannot spend the winter living in an RV in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, or even Kentucky or Kansas. 
  • First, RVs are not insulated anywhere near as well as mobile homes.  The walls are only 2" thick and you can't add any more insulation since the walls are made of pressed foam with no extra spaces.  Your "sticks 'n 'bricks" home has at least 4-6" of insulation in walls. 
  • Second, very few RVs have double-pane windows, so there is a lot of air leakage around windows.  And the ratio of windows to solid walls is more than in a home or mobile home. 
  • Third, slides leak air.  All of them.  There is only a thin piece of rubber that surrounds most slides, and it is not unusual to have gaps in that rubber weatherstripping.  I have one space that is 1" by 1" where I keep a rag stuffed in mine.  If you want to test air leakage around slides, park sideways next to a 65 MPH wind as I once did.  Even when I put my slides in, rain and wind came in under, over, and to the sides of the slide facing the storm.  It took a lot of towels to sop it up.   
  • Fourth, even with skirting, which most people do not put around RVs, fresh water and sewage tanks are exposed from underneath.  You can last a few hours at maybe 28 degrees, but any colder or longer, and you are likely to have frozen pipes and frozen hoses, and frozen sewage! 
  • Fifth, it takes a lot of propane and electricity to keep your RV warm, no matter what kind it is.   
So, I am staying in mid-Oregon for a couple of months to get some medical things taken care of.  This is a relatively mild climate for some place so far north because of the closeness of the ocean and other weather factors.  It gets below freezing here, but only during the nights and then warms up during the days. It is only November, and I can already see that this is going to be a chilly winter.  Highs during the day have been about 50-60 and during the nights has dropped down to close to freezing or a little before.  

I have a 10-gallon built-in propane tank that fuels my hot water tank, stove and oven, and two furnaces--one in the front living area and one in the rear bedroom.  I am also supplementing the furnaces with two small electric heaters. (Bigger heaters would not be safe and might blow fuses.)  My first tank of propane lasted 15 days.  My second lasted only 12 days.  Getting a refill means driving my motorhome out and getting someone who can fill it.  (There are external supplemental tanks you can get, but these require a special fitting, which I don't have.)   And I have been barely keeping the temps at 68 degrees during the day and much lower at night.  

Luckily, I have a really warm down comforter that keeps me warm at night, but getting out of bed in the middle of the night is still pretty chilly.  I am hooked up to sewer, but I have to go outside to pull the handles on my tanks every three or so days.  

So, as soon as I can, hopefully in late January, I am headed for warmer places around Las Vegas and Arizona!   In the meantime, brrrrrrr!  

And by the way, the good news is that it is now raining in Oregon!!  Even better, it is raining in Northern California, so the fires will be going out and the air will be getting a lot better in the next few days.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

11/17 Still Here, Hanging Around Oregon

I know I have not posted in a long time, but I have been hanging around Oregon, getting some medical issues taken care of.  So, I am doing a lot of working, resting, and catching up with other things, but putting my travels on hold for a couple of months.  

One question I am often asked is how I handle medical things.  Well, it is complicated at times and very simple at other times.  First, I have regular Medicare with a traditional supplement and a prescription Part D.  My plan enables me to see any doctor I want anywhere.  

I have a personal physician in Ohio who I see once a year for a checkup and to get prescription refills.  (I need to get some tests scheduled when I visit her in the spring.)  But I also have visited a lot of urgent care facilities as I travel and end up with minor things like colds or infected mosquito bites.  However, I have routinely been seeing a hand surgeon in California who has given me cortisone shots for trigger fingers.  He also did surgery on me for carpal tunnel syndrome and for one trigger finger that kept bothering me. 

I have seen other specialists here and there, as I have needed them.  It was easy because my particular Medicare plan does not require referrals, so I just find someone and make a call for an appointment.  A Medicare Advantage plan might give me those "extra" benefits, but would limit me to a specific set of doctors, which does not match my lifestyle.  

The other thing is that I keep copies of all my test results, so if I have to see a new doctor, they won't have to repeat a bunch of tests unnecessarily. 

Anyway, I do plan to rent a car and head up to Portland to do some exploring one of these weekends, assuming the weather is decent. (It has been really chilly and damp lately.) Thinking that maybe some indoor museums would be worthwhile, but I want to wait until after Thanksgiving so I don't get caught in the shopping mess.