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Old 11-22-2011, 10:06 PM   #1
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Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

Hi all,

I just did a forum search and was surprised I didn't find more on winter camping (maybe I just didn't look long enough?)

It looks like we might actually get delivery on our 17B in February, which is earlier than we expected. We usually take a "get out of the dark and depressing rural Michigan winter" trip in Jan/Feb, and were planning to do that via frequent flier miles in 2012, but the news that we might actually have "Oliver" the 17B to Escape in by Valentine's Day has suddenly caused us to wonder whether we should pick up in Ste St Marie and just head south instead.

We are camper neophytes, so this would be our first experience with ANY RV -- and thus I don't know if the winter is a good time to experiment. I also have no idea how many campgrounds are open in the dead of winter, particularly in the northern Midwest. Not that we'd linger long, the idea would be to head to Big Bend in Texas if we had enough time ... but it's a long way down there.

What do y'all think? Are there good online resources for winter camping? What are your experiences? Will the furnace keep you warm even when it's well below freezing?

This is also why I'm asking about the extra insulation on another thread

Thanks in advance,

~e
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:40 AM   #2
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

hi,
I would suggest you buy the insulation package it will make a difference doing winter and summer camping. Yes the furnace works very well keeping the unit warm inside. We run the max fan on low all the time to help remove moisture. Bodies make moisture. We camped at the Oregon Coast last February. Used our water tank during the night and disconnected the campground water hose in case of freezing.


Chuck
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:03 AM   #3
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

E,

One major consideration to me is towing in winter weather here in the upper Midwest.
(Preface all the rest here with my firm admission that I am as total wimp about towing on icy roads. I'm sure lots of heartier folk tow on slippery road with no problems)
For my part, I would recommend that you be prepared have enough time to wait out snow/ice storms. But even then as you well know, the road will still often have lot of icy patches that can be treacherous even in a car, let alone towing. One early spring -in our car, not camping- we were caught in Iowa during an ice/snow storm that closed I35. When it finally reopened we headed north, but found most of the road was still ice covered and it was very windy. I watched a relatively small trailer fishtailing on the ice with the wind blowing it sideways so badly that I was amazed the driver was able to keep it out of the ditch. Along with that is the nasty thought of how much salt the bottom of Blue would be covered with when winter driving up here.

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Old 11-23-2011, 01:06 PM   #4
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

Eric, yikes, I hadn't even thought about that.

And the road salt -- yuck -- would that prove damaging to the trailer and/or insulation?
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:50 PM   #5
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

Quote:
Originally Posted by medora
Eric, yikes, I hadn't even thought about that.

And the road salt -- yuck -- would that prove damaging to the trailer and/or insulation?
I don't think the salt would damage the foam insulation, but it can sure cause havoc on any rustable metal parts. Auto companies spend millions trying to get their vehicles to not rust out (at least too quickly) due to salt. If I were going to take Blue out in the winter when the roads were salted, I would want to get to a car wash to get all the salt cleaned off very frequently, especially the frame and axle parts. When Mary and I talk about winter trips it usually involves a plan to go straight south quickly to get to warm areas ASAP.

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Old 11-23-2011, 02:33 PM   #6
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

Neophyte question -- what sorts of rustable goodies are under an Escape trailer?

Car wash sounds like a good idea. Some drive on salted roads seems inevitable with a mid-winter pickup timeframe ...

(And speaking of salt, shouldn't you be preparing a fine turkey brine, Eric?
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:39 PM   #7
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

Me? Cook? No, Mary likes to eat good tasting food, so I just do whatever I am directed to do in the kitchen,like "cut these" I think she has the turkey in some sort of salt rub (got the recipe from NPR!)

Frame pieces, axle, brake drum, etc are all potential rust spots.

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

My wife and I went out for a few days of winter camping last week. Here are my observations:
1. If you are retired like we are you can pick a time with a good weather forecast. We saw a one day window of sunshine, and that was all we needed to get going
2. No problem in finding places to stay in Washington State. We went to Bay View State Park which we have visited before and were able to get our favourite spot
3. Check out the campsites ahead of time. We discovered that Deception Pass State Park campgrounds were closed. Quarry Pond State Park was open and some people were staying there, but it is heavily forested -- not ideal for winter camping.
4. Don't bother de-winterizing. We had a few jugs of water for washing plus a container of good drinking water, and that was all we needed. There was running water at the campsite but I didn't think it was worth hooking up and then having to drain all the lines again for a few nights.
5. Have a mission. I was looking for signs of spring and my wife was looking for nice fabric for quilting -- we both found what we wanted
6. Take a movie. We took along some favourite DVDs and played one of them on my MacBook Pro. The evenings are long in winter!
7. Eat out. We had a nice meal at a nearby Olive Garden restaurant. Make winter camping a special event!

More pictures of our adventure here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brian_v...228269/detail/

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Old 01-29-2012, 09:47 PM   #9
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

Elizabeth,
I have read only good advice so far, probably the best is to call ahead for openings. We took delivery in Sault Ste Marie in early May and it was cold, they are quite a bit further north than the two of us. Also, if delivery is coming across Canada allow your self extra days. That poor driver may be forced to sit out snow on his route and be late arriving. If Tammy is using Let It Ride Carriers you can call the driver or dispatch to see how they are doing.

If I were to go camping out of the Soo I would head south and probably take a motel room the first night rather than messing with the cold. Kentucky and Land Between the Lakes maybe passable at that time of the year. Probably better to get to Tennessee or even further south. Corp of Engineer campgrounds in Alabama?

Dry camping is probably the best you can hope for, I would not want to mess with a frozen black water tank unless I had a heated garage, even then it would be a mess getting it drained. Electricity is all you need and ask Tammy to be sure the propane tanks are purged and filled.

So much will depend on that window of weather. You may just be happy to get back to S. Michigan or if you are lucky a sunny day or two can make a difference.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:20 AM   #10
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Re: Winter Camping -- curious about your experiences/campground availability

We camp all year round,
Winter time or below freezing, we use portable water, portable toliet.
We have a 1000 gen. for power when needed.
Seldom in RV camp grounds, usually in forestry or some lake spot off the grid.
As for driving , take common sense precautions.
Enjoy Geo
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