Friday, December 31, 2010

The Weather Outside is Frightful…

...but the camper’s toasty warm!

When planning our six-week stay in Connecticut, we definitely wondered how the camper would fair in wintry weather. It is an “extended season” model but this just means the underbelly is enclosed and radiantly heated. It has a more than adequate propane furnace which works great as long as we don’t push it too long and run out of gas! The windows are single-pane which caused some chilliness in the bedroom so we insulated the window with clear shrink wrap plastic. We use pillows designed for the purpose of stuffing in the roof vent openings to prevent drafts. And of course we added one-inch insulation around and under our mattress because that part of the camper seems to be less insulated and it gets wind on all five exterior sides.

So far, it had seen driving rains and forceful wind in NJ and all we noticed was a bit of movement from the wind and perhaps a teeny bit of water coming in our roof vents when the rain blew just so. But winter was going to be a different story. 

Early December brought temperatures down to nine degrees in Old Lyme. There were two nights when I got up to use the loo and it wouldn’t flush, nor would the sinks run. Eventually the cold water got going but we had lost our hot water flow because of it’s longer run to the faucet through the heater. After hearing what sounded like dripping in the underbelly and seeing a large icicle formed from the spout of our fresh water tank drain, we decided to winterize the pipes. This entailed waiting for the pipes to defrost and running potable system antifreeze through from the fresh water tank.

We continue to use the grey water tank for washing hands, dishes and Lily. Our water now comes in a large orange cooler for the kitchen and a small blue one for the bathroom. We lose some counter space but maintain the luxury of “running” water. I heat water in a pot on the stove for Lily’s bath.

The day after Christmas the camper braved a snowstorm that some forecasters were calling a blizzard!  We were in the house all day. The first bits of snow were wet and so created some icicles under the windows which are now melting in the sunlight. Then the blustery winds started and the snow drifted every which way. Lily’s Popsie (my Dad) plowed us a path and we braved the wind on our way back to the cozy camper around 10:00pm. Dad plowed all around the truck and camper the next day so we’ll be able to get out when the time comes.

We took an excellent walk one day, Lily in the sling, down to Rogers Lake which is frozen. Lily enjoyed the sliding sensation as Chris and I played on the thick ice at the edge of the swimming area. On our way home we trudged through drifted banks and visited Nana (Lily’s great grandmother) who lives off Muzzie and Popsie’s driveway. We moved into their house this week and are now preparing for Chris’ trip to VT! All in all, winter has been possible but not perfect in a three-season camper.
pooped after a big day outside

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Grand Tour

Our CT parking spot
For those of you who will not get to see our new home in's the tour!

This is the floorplan of the Keystone Outback 23RS. We took out both the twin and queen mattresses in the front to make room for our dresser drawers, office drawers, laundry basket, etc and it also opened up some nice carpeted space in the "foyer" area.
The mudroom, closet, dressers, office...

This view is from the kitchen. The front door is to the right of the shoerack.
Lily's changing table and dresser
If you walk in the front door, just to the right is the rest of the "foyer" which includes our changing table and more clothing storage.
And here's the bathroom. It is directly in front of you as you walk in the front door.

This is the view from the bed which shows the dinette edge, kitchen, and "foyer"

The couch and the dinette oppose each other. Here you can also see some of our festive decor (stockings, ceramic tree, and a string of lights of course).

The bed is a slideout which means when we're driving it is slid in over the couch and dinette. It also means that it's less insulated causing the condensation we've been battling.

One day this week, I went to the library with Nana while Chris and Lily took a sling walk to Rogers Lake. They collected these pretty things and Chris put them together into this beautiful camper-sized wall hanging! All the best to all of you and a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Trip to CT

Lily & Popsie
We made it to Muzzie & Popsie's house!
Our first long trip with the rig: 220 miles and about 6 hours on the road. It was lightly raining most of the way.

The first leg was about 2 hours; we crossed into NY and stopped at a rest area to feed Lily and use the facilities. I went back into the camper with Lily after Chris had turned on the heat and it was nice and cozy. Since the bed is pushed in over the couch, I had to make a spot to nurse. I put pillows on the carpet to sit on and used the Boppy as usual; we enjoyed the warm air from the heating duct just below our spot. We stopped once more to feed and change Lily, this time at a gas station to fill up the truck also.  It is so nice not to have to use public changing tables whenever possible. She is such a good travel buddy and Chris is an excellent driver so the trip was virtually stress-free!

The rig does great on the road. Chris had new tires put on the camper and the truck along with a new hitch and weight distributing bars which all helps to reduce the sway caused by drafts from the big trucks. The truck tires are all-terrain beefy ones so the ride is a bit less smooth and a little louder but totally worth it for the stability and traction.

We parked behind the barn and my dad helped Chris hook up the specifics while I took Lily inside to see Nana (her great grandmother who lives down the driveway).

A couple days later Lily, Mom and I went about an hour west so I could ride Kermit for the first time in a year! He was amazing and it felt so good to be back in the saddle.

Lily and I went to Providence Place Mall to meet up with three of my high school friends Mercy, Beccah, and Alexis which was really special since our ten-year class of 2000 reunion was canceled.

This weekend Auntie Emily came down from MA to visit and get her tree from the yard. Jeremy couldn't join us because he was busy kicking butt (winning both Saturday and Sunday) in Portland, OR at the season closer for Cyclocross!

Chris, Mom, Dad, Me and Lily decorated the house tree last night to some Leon Redbone Christmas tunes and a few vinyls Mom had. Lily is mesmerized by the lights; if she's upset we just walk her into the hot tub room (where the tree is) and she quiets right down. She doesn't yet know what to think of the other baby in the house...Breezy the black lab puppy who is very entertaining and cuddly.

We had a bit of snow on the ground today and the temp got down to 25 last night. Chris is rethinking the insulation around our mattress in order to further mitigate the condensation happening there. I also installed a clear plastic shrink wrap over our bedroom window to stop the draft and that worked great.

This entry is a bit all over the place but a good update nonetheless. Lily is beginning to stir in the sling so I'll sign off here.