Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Departing Quartzsite

One of two engine-powered hang gliders lazily makes for home at sunset.

One of two engine-powered hang gliders lazily makes for home at sunset.

I hadn’t planned on leaving Quartzsite for Yuma, AZ until mid-December, but upcoming cool weather is urging me to get rolling no later than Wednesday of this week (three days from now). After that point, overnight lows are predicted to be in the low 30s all the way down to 28.

The ’94 Gulf Stream Innsbruck is a “temperate weather only” trailer, which means that insulation is functionally cosmetic, and that some of the plumbing is exposed directly to outside temps. The Tankmin freshwater tank in the Ford can fend for itself simply by sheer mass, but the trailer fill hose and related fittings are prone to freezing and plugging up. Inaccessible, freeze-damaged plumbing does not appeal to me, so while most other RVers in travel trailers can easily brave whatever comes, I find it prudent to run for cover when temps approach freezing. I can stay quite comfortable, but it’s a damage risk I choose not to take.

Why so touchy about temps merely approaching freezing? My mercury and electronic thermometers always match readings, and the digital one records highs and lows reached for 24 hours. The overnight lows are consistently a few degrees lower here than what the weather services say they are, as well as what they were predicted to be. That means I can look on the Internet and see that it’s 35 degrees in Quartzsite – just as predicted – and then step out to find my water hoses frozen. I’ve done that several times last winter. So, I have to reinterpret weather predictions a bit. A predicted 28 or 30 degrees coming up means, at best, an inability to refill the camper’s freshwater tank until late in the afternoon of a given day. At worst, a trailer with serious problems.

At any given time, Yuma is usually about 7 degrees warmer than Quartzsite, despite being only about 80 miles farther south and about 700 feet lower in elevation. That’s apparently enough. Yuma is quite sizable, it’s an interesting area, and the terrain is reputed to be much more varied than Quartzsite. I plan to stay planted as long as possible in the Imperial Dam LTVA some 20 miles away, but occasional trips to town for supplies will still occur. My eventual return to Quartzsite will be based on temperatures – this time high – but I’d guess it’ll be sometime in mid-February before I return. Those overnight freezes need to be over!

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10 thoughts on “Departing Quartzsite

  1. 3 times last winter our water hose was frozen while we were in Quartzsite, with-in an hour after the sun came up we were back in business.

    I liked Yuma but I really liked all the RV related coming & goings in Quartzsite just before & during the RV show.

    • Wow, that’s pretty quick thawing! My hoses were still crunching half a day later. I guess white hoses in the shade is not the way to go.
      😉
      I think having stayed here in Quartzsite for the entire 6 months last year made me ambivalent about it, Rob. I’ll probably look forward to it a year from now.

  2. Sorry to see you go, but I don’t blame you at all. Tempted to head for warmer weather myself since I have no heat and no insulation other than some Reflectix on the windows. But I’ve made plans to spend some time near Lake Havasu, which doesn’t promise much warmth, before returning for RTR. At least I don’t have to worry about frozen hoses, since I don’t have any — just frozen me! Glad I got a chance to meet you and hope to see you again when you come back.

    • Thank you LaVonne, and as I read your blog regularly, I felt like I was meeting a celeb of sorts! The van’s simplicity is its potential advantage: the only thing that can be damaged in cold weather is you, not the equipment. I’ve been mulling over fume-free heat sources, but have not yet gotten happy with what I’ve found so far. The two directions I’m researching are direct-vent propane heaters (which are far too eager to melt/ignite something nearby), and a cobbled-up combination of a small RV propane water heater and an automotive heater core to act as a radiator. That gets pretty bulky, though. A smaller unit intended to heat and pump water for hot showers, like the Mr. Heater or Camp Chef units, could be left outside the van and quick-connected to a radiator and control switches inside. I don’t know what the service life expectancy of a Mr. Heater shower unit is, but I suspect that if you bring up the idea at camp of using it and a small radiator for temporary heat, someone more mechanically inclined may be able to work out actual feasibility and implementation. I had toxin-sensitive person try a Mr. Heater Buddy – which was a disaster in seconds – so I’ve been mulling over “safe” sources of heat since.

  3. I’m RV shopping. I’m looking for a motor home. Any of you have any tips for determining how the plumbing will hold up in the cold. I’d rather buy something that can stand some below freezing temps.

    • I barely know travel trailers, but motorhomes, especially not, JR. Sometimes they state basic temp limitations in the owners manuals. I think I’d determine what temps I’d like to have one survive, then try to locate an RV forum or two and ask about who’s done what there as far as low temps go. If there’s a particular brand you have in mind, that would help. And if the manufacturer is still around, I’d find a brand they make and call in for tech help to bring up the topic. I doubt that too many MH folks have to be as paranoid as I do.

    • I’d go to a forum like http://www.irv2.com/forums/ and see if you can if can a thread on that or a forum to ask the question on.
      As I recall most of the newer motor homes have the tanks & plumbing in the basement (so to speak) and they run a heat duct to them.

  4. Pilot Knob LTVA is further south than Imperial Dam if you need even more warmth. You have to pay to dump and fill at the Shell station there, though.

    • “Pay” is a four-letter word around here! Looking at the weather forecasts, the Imperial Dam LTVA should be plenty good enough for plumbing purposes Linda, but thanks for mentioning this alternative.

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