Cold Weather in Our Grand Design

What’s it Like Camping in the Snow

Cold Outside
Boring, ruf

It’s only been four full days since starting the current tank of propane, and the heater is starting to burp, oh there it goes. Out of propane once again. At least it’s 8:00 am, and the Sun is beginning to come up over the trees. I shut off the heater and go out to switch over the tanks. I then come back inside the Coach and fire the heater up. The outside temp this morning is 17 degrees, bur. It was 20 degrees when I woke. The thermometer is going the wrong direction!

It Looks Like Montana – Snow covered mountains

The Cold Experiment

While my decision to come to the higher elevations in Arizona this time of year was necessary to have my roof replaced, I also was experimenting with staying in colder weather with my fifth wheel.

I enjoyed the snow for the first few days, but I have to get out in the snow several times daily, you know Jagger needs his exercise. So do I, but I wouldn’t choose to get out in the snow if I didn’t have to.

Staying Warm

The Coach has done well in the cold weather. (See my earlier article on steps to keep warm.) She came equipped with the four-season package. Only one issue when the temps get down below 25 degrees the Island kitchen water line tends to freeze. The only thing I have done differently so far is keeping the heater set at 60 degrees.

The heater keeps the basement warm, including the water pipes, freshwater tank, and waste tanks. I chose not to deal with the outside water hoses and filled the onboard water supply. I’m using the water pump when I need to, just like dry camping. Several of the full-time campers around me use skirts on their exposed RV sides. I would do the same if I stayed more than a month in this climate.

Did I come South for this?

Ready for the Day

I finish getting ready but before I do, beep, beep. What? The refrigerator is displaying no AC oh there goes several other items. I guess the power is now down. It’s hard to notice as the furnace and all the lights continue. They run off of the Coach’s batteries.

I shut off a few of the lights to conserve batteries for the furnace, although my they are full. I start wondering if I’ll need to start the generator and how hard will it be considering it’s only 17 degrees outside. The clock is ticking, and the hum of the furnace continues. The Sun is starting to stream light through the windows anyway. What now? Fifteen minutes pass and nothing changes.

Finally, I decide to go outside and confirm the electricity is off, and it’s not a blown fifty amp fuse in the electrical box. Stepping down the last step, I meet my neighbor, Pam who is also checking on her power. Well, that confirms it. I’m off-grid whether I like it or not. We stand outside in the cold and visit. She is going to work shortly. A camp host drives by checking where the electric is out. He stops and assures us he is on the problem and hopes to fix it soon. Pam heads to work and within fifteen minutes or so the electric comes back to life.

The Day Rolls On, I’m still snowbound in our camp, maybe tomorrow. (Snowbound)

Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger












2 replies

  1. One thing I learned in my 09 Jayco 5th wheel—-those furnaces just LOVE propane!!! Seems like I could go thru a 30 pound tank in 3 days when the weather got really cold, and I had straw bales stacked all around it to block the wind! Poor Jagger, so bored there….2 more weeks and he will be happy!!


    • Jagger has been moping around for the last week. Even with the walks. I’ll be so glad to get down to lower elevations! High in the ’40s and ’50s just doesn’t cut it. We’re going down the hill today to visit my son, Jagger will be visiting his friend Pheobe so he’ll get some exercise. I’ve heard of putting the hay bales around the trailer, staying here any length of time I’d be looking for some skirting of some kind. I just changed over another tank after writing this, it last nine days. The weather was a little warmer I guess.


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