Tag Archives: snow

Not All The Water Pipes Were Frozen

We’ve spent the past week volunteering at the Wally Byam Airstream Club’s headquarters in Jackson Center OH on several projects. The office staff are wonderful, there’s plenty of stuff to help with, and it’s something we like doing when we can get here. This visit, though, we encountered more than we bargained for. Well lower than the forecast low temperature, we saw 2 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit, unfortunately) overnight.

Chasing 75 Degrees is our well-known slogan amongst our readers. When we meet people they frequently say, “Oh Hi, you’re the couple who’re chasing 75 degrees?” Yep, that’s who we say we are. We wrote two years ago how poor we sometimes are at chasing 75 degrees. We’ve not improved – or we’ve become so calloused we don’t appear to care about the weather.

“Chasing 75 degrees” takes back seat when we’re in such a gorgeous place

We awoke to a beautiful snowfall in the National Park on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon while on a caravan.





Can we get away in time?

On our last day in Ketchum Idaho a snow shower started up. We started up too, and bugged out. Didn’t want to see how much or for how long it snowed.




We’d leave but it’s so pretty and not too cold – yet.

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina on the first of November a few years ago we had a pretty snowfall. The next day temperatures rose to over 55 degrees. No threat to our plumbing.






As these pics  show, we’re no strangers to cool weather. In fact we really like it. It’s the Airstream that has limits on getting really cold. We are big fans of having hot and cold running on demand in the Airstream, so haven’t experimented much with camping “winterized”. It’s really cold weather we’re not as familiar with.

Our Airstream is fabulous and has met our living needs wonderfully for more than twelve years. And it isn’t a four-season camper. When the weather’s really hot, the trailer can get pretty warm. When the weather’s really cold, the interior is a little cool sometimes. This, to us, goes with the lifestyle. We’re camping – sort of. Okay, really we’re glamping, right? With our gorgeous and comfortable Airstream, we’re solid for almost all weather we encounter. Especially if we chase 75 degrees, and happen to miss by not too wide margins either way.

Really cold weather sometimes complicates our plumbing system. The Airstream has a gas-fueled battery-powered furnace and a heater in the roof-mounted air conditioning unit. The trailer’s potable water runs from the fresh water storage tank below the floor through a water pump to the faucets on east and west side of the trailer. The furnace, in addition to heating the living area, blows a little heat into the piping area under the trailer. It also carries a little heat behind the cabinets where some of the piping lives above the floor. In freezing weather the furnace can keep the piping from freezing. But not always.

Two degrees overnight, even with our furnace serving overnight as the sole heat source, caused our hot water pipes on both east and west sides and the cold water pipes on the east side to freeze last night. We shouldn’t take such pride in having never winterized this trailer since taking delivery thirteen years ago. We had cold water into the kitchen sink, and no hot water anywhere. We needed to warm the trailer with the furnace all day, cabinet doors opened, hair dryer blowing warmth under the vanity because it’s on the east side.

Finally, at 2pm today our faucets all work. That only took a gallon of propane and seven hours! Last night might have been a great time to have drained the lines. We like sleeping cold. Maybe we’d have avoided this freezing if we’d run the furnace overnight at a higher setting than 46 degrees? We don’t know. We’ve dry camped a week on asphalt in Sun Valley Idaho with lows nightly down to 19. No problem. We’ve camped overnight with shore power in Eastern Oregon with a low of 11. We’ve frozen our west side plumbing in the daytime with 21 degrees but the wind was blowing the cold up into the wheel well.

We’ll probably have another go at it. We love chasing 75 degrees but won’t be limited by it. There are so many things to do, so many places to go, and the weather might not always cooperate. Besides, not all the water pipes were frozen.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2019 Dreamstreamr odyssey

Chasing 75 Degrees of What?

It’s 26 degrees an hour after sunset and going down to 22 degrees tonight. So we’re essentially at 1/3 the temperature of 75 degrees. We’ve camped in colder weather without freezing pipes (well, mostly true). We have 120v power, two full propane tanks, a full tank of fresh water, and full pantry and fridge. Our clothes and boots are easily a match for these conditions so if the Airstream can handle it so can we.

How about if we temporarily say we’re chasing 75 degrees from some compass bearing or another? Otherwise we’re either no good at chasing 75 degrees or we’re nuts for voluntarily moving our Airstream trailer up to the mountains. Rather just admit we’re here because we really like it and are grateful we can choose.

We love visiting our mountain camp in North Carolina’s Ashe County. Appointments and family plans in the city pulled us away last week during the first good snowfall this season. Despite the forecast for one more cold night we drove up today. The farther west and north we drove, the more snow we saw on the northern slopes.

We became concerned as we pulled the trailer up the snow-covered state-maintained gravel road leading to our driveway. What if we can’t get the trailer up the snowy 10% graded driveway? Fortunately we put new tires on the truck last week and had no problems getting onto our site. After arriving this afternoon at 2:30 we changed into warm clothes and our boots for a nice walk in the snow.

Two pictures are from the snowfall last week and the third is on today’s walk.

Fresh snow on our driveway

Beginning of snow fall

Overlooking the orchard this afternoon

Preparing for Snow?


This morning on the telly NC’s new governor, Roy Cooper, announced declaration of state of emergency for all 100 counties. They’re pretty sure this snow’s coming. We’re in the dark blue region on this map so things could become messy. We made a quick trip to the local store, beat the rush. We have enough scotch and bourbon for the weekend.

We were planning to leave NC today for sunny Arizona. We miss 75 degrees and look forward to a great Board of Trustees meeting of the Airstream Club. Our new plan is to enjoy the snow and tow our Airstream southbound starting Monday. We’re ready to go!

See you down the road,

Jim and Debbie
see us at dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
see what’s going on at WBCCI, The Wally Byam Airstream Club

If We’d Known It Would Be This Cold . . .

An oft touted benefit of full time RVing (or, full timing) is the freedom to go where you want, when you want, for as long as you want. We asked some friends in Minnesota why they stay there in the winter. “Winter sports!” Well, sure.

We haven’t carefully investigated how we fell into “Chasing 75 Degrees”. We could burn 7 gallons of propane daily and still stay in cold weather cheaper than paying $25/night or more for a sunny, warm, inviting, recreational campground. The sunny, warm, inviting venues in southern and southwestern USA are beckoning nonetheless.


We’ve been enjoying staying as often and as many days as we can on our small acreage in Ashe County. We’re at 3,500 feet. Views to the west and north open with leaf fall. This very quiet section has long been held within one family, and remains largely owned by that family’s members. The weather and atmosphere has been perfectly enjoyable for the past month.


Enjoyment turned to a little something else — perhaps chill — with the sudden onset of wintry weather two days ago. We received over 4″ snowfall, considerably less than the 24″ measured in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains. Startling how rapidly the air can cool and, without sunshine, stay cold. Last night the outside temperature dropped to 25 degrees. The furnace seemed to run constantly to keep the inside above 44 degrees.


Our hillside was pretty with snow on the sides of the driveway and the forest floor carpeted in white. Snow on the driveway melted away early, but with only slight sunshine peaking through it didn’t have as great an impact upon solar charging our batteries. And who knew you can’t fully charge batteries under 41 degrees Farenheit?

In four weeks we’ve loaded our portable 1kw generator more than in the previous seven years. It’s worked well with a two-three hour run on some cloudy days. I started the generator this morning and the batteries were registering only 1 to 2 amps of charge, instead of the normal 20 amps initial charging rate. Gradually the batteries warmed from the slow charging and started taking more. By noon the sun broke through, the temperature is up to 40, and the solar panels have taken over to a rate of over 11 amps charging.


The snowy and cold weather didn’t keep us inside. We walked to the bottom of the hill and up again several times throughout the day. Sneakers sufficed since the driveway’s snow had already melted. The cold air still braced us and, you can see, caused at least one of us to bundle up well.


If we’d known it would be this cold, we might have built a house instead of a road!

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey™
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©2007-2014 Dreamstreamr

A foot and one-half of snow in Arizona?

Snowbirds, is it really warmer here than back home? And who left the deep-freezer door open? Brrr. Arizona is in a short spate of cooler temperatures than we’re accustomed to. Flagstaff has between one and two feet of snow and even cooler temperatures than ours.

No one was warm at Debbie’s team tennis match this morning despite propane heaters over the spectator area, extra blankets for us to bundle under, and sometimes finding a place out of the persistent wind. Oh, and it was raining off and on throughout her match. The players continued pluckily, aided by the synthetic grass court service which seems a bit tractionless even in best of conditions.

Our weather forecast for tonight is 36 degrees and our high for tomorrow is low 60s and no precipitation. Just think, this would be balmy weather for Canada. We had to laugh whilst in Vancouver BC over the Christmas holiday — the weather announcer on CBC read off all the sub-zero temperatures throughout several provinces and then stated “and balmy Vancouver will be up to 8 degrees” (Centigrade). Yeah, that’s balmy compared to the rest of the nation.

We know we’re very spoiled — daily highs range between low 60s and high 70s throughout most of the winter in Mesa AZ. So when a day fails to get up to 60 we think it is a really cold day. Give us a day in the high 70s and we are forced to the outdoor swimming pool to catch some vitamin D and maybe a tiny bit of tan for our very white tennis feet. And if the weather reduces our ability to find 75 degrees anywhere, we’re outta here. Isn’t this why we’re full-timing?

We hope you are warm wherever you are, have not too much snow to shovel, and have a lovely Valentine’s Day.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

Home is a great place

We’re home.

Benign here, this snowfall messed up transportation state-wide

Weren’t sure we would make it on our first try, the forces seemed opposed.  Charlotte’s weather turned horrible Sunday night, covering everything in four inches of snow.  Monday we added another couple of inches plus half an inch of frozen rain.

Our Charlotte plans for Monday were modest.  We would have attended my stepfather’s graveside service at 1300 hours followed by his memorial service at Providence Methodist at 1400 hours.  The family would gather, reminisce, and eat later at The Cypress where mom and Dow have lived.

Monday morning we postponed the services.  The major roads were mostly good by late morning but the smaller streets were covered with snow.  Nearly no Charlotte drivers maintain studded tires or chains, the tires would rot before twice serving.  We knew we couldn’t have folks driving about for these services.

Family, not counting Debbie and Jim, were in from Portland, Seattle and Boone, and some had early return flights.  Some postponed their return, but we needed a memorial service while family and a few friends were still in Charlotte.  Monday afternoon we gathered at The Cypress for an informal memorial  service and a meal.

The service was sweet and not long.  Dow’s children, Nancy and Harry, recounted their dad’s life, telling stories about background and work and achievements.  Thao, Dow’s granddaughter, expressed her appreciation for mom’s and Dow’s loving marriage.  Chuck, Jim’s brother, told about his special relationship over the past five years with Dow.  He and Dow were buddies, hanging out frequently and cutting Chuck’s lawn on a John Deere lawn tractor.

Later Monday we watched the NCAA national championship game.  Tough break for the Ducks, lucky break for Auburn’s Tigers.  The game could have gone either way, Auburn seemed slightly ahead throughout on the statistics, but almost let the game go to overtime before they kicked their winning field goal.

You want to leave Charlotte WHEN? Ha Ha Ha

The snow and ice devastated Charlotte’s airport processes.  Tuesday we watched the airport news very very closely — hundreds of flights canceled out of Charlotte, what about ours?  Our evening flight to Phoenix showed “on time” all day.  But when we arrived at the airport we found cots and sleeping mats throughout the concourse.  Gate waiting areas seating looked like a hurricane had struck, with each person staking two seats so they could sleep overnight.

One look at the departures board showed us the story.  Very few flights were leaving Charlotte this evening.  A ground crew member told us our 6 p.m. flight would be the last flight to leave Charlotte this day.  Monday the airport, we heard, ran out of de-icer and innumerable flights stayed on the ground.

Same today?  Apparently so, or the destination airports aren’t available because of foul weather.  Our flight carried over a dozen stranded airlines crew members, all probably very grateful to fly anywhere out of Charlotte.  Our flight left the gate ten minutes late, full of passengers and hope we could leave the airport.

Ten minutes later we stop somewhere on the airport and the pilot shuts down the engines for plane de-icing.  This took a half-hour then we were on our way, we were going to fly!  A lot of folks on the plane were very relieved at this point, and perhaps none more than the stranded crew members.

We arrived back to our little silver home, turned on the lights and water, and found almost everything in fine order.  Indoor temperature was 57F, fridge was cold, Alice Aloe looks good if a little thirsty.  Two casualties — the truck’s battery is dead, totally dead.  And the little refrigerator temperature monitor seems to have worn out it’s battery.

The truck’s battery is now connected to the trailer’s two batteries, to restore a bit of charge so we can start it and replace the battery.  We’ll go to the grocery store to restock our refrigerator and freezer.  And we’ll take extra time relishing in the durability of our little home.

Not bad for almost a month’s absence.  We expected worse and are happy to have found everything in good order.  We are happy to have been able to spend so much time with our families, especially fortuitous during this family crisis.

We are happy to be home, sitting by the sunny windows sipping green tea and reading the morning paper.  It’s great to be home.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Our first full-timing white Christmas

This is the first White Christmas since 1947 for Kannapolis, NC.  Forecasters predicted the snowfall duration and start time much earlier in the day.  A few skeptics in our house held out until the last, denying this was likely to happen.

History supported them well — many times the weather guessers predict snow that doesn’t fall.  If a little is good, a lot is better.  We’re facing an all-day snow today.  And we wouldn’t mind if it piled on big time.  Can’t play tennis on wet courts anyway, much less on snow-covered ones.

We wouldn’t have expected, as a couple of full-timers, to find ourselves in an all-day snowfall.  But why not?  This past May 2010 we awoke to an inch of snow in the NPS campground at Grand Canyon’s North Rim.  This Christmas we flew out of Phoenix AZ direct to Charlotte NC.  It was 81 degrees in Phoenix when we left, and we arrived to the coldest night (13 degrees) for December 14 in Charlotte’s history.

Tennis racquets and warm fleeces all are in our luggage.  And all have been in very good use.  I guess we expected we would play tennis.  And didn’t expect snow so much as cold temperatures.  This has been a great treat for us and for our granddaughter, Eleanor.  The snow is beautiful.  Later today Eleanor and her dad will probably make a snow person.  Until then, we have these snow pictures.

Dogwood tree delicately frosted with fresh snow

Muscadine grape supports snowy burden

Next year's Christmas Card

Don't let it STOP!

It’s 09:30 Sunday morning, the day after Christmas.  Snow is still falling, adding to the more than 12 hours snowfall we’ve already had.  This isn’t creating a large accumulation.  A lot of excitement it is creating, though.

See you down the snow-covered road!

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr