Tag Archives: snow

Preparing for Snow?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

locate us here
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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
locate us here
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Holiday Surprises and Delights

This is the season for surprises and delights. Hopefully, the holiday is filled with delight and joy for all of us. We’re glad to be in North Carolina amongst our family during this season.

Monday we spent the day running errands in Charlotte. We had our semi-annual teeth cleaning and check-up, visited our financial advisor, picked up some needed items from a few local stores, and had a great lunch visit to Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream and Drive-In. We didn’t get the ice cream — we always have a Mr. K burger with chili, slaw, and mustard, with some fries. Yum!

Tuesday we made a couple of holiday visits and spent a half-hour at our little storage unit. We dropped off a few things, like our backpacking gear and goose-down sleeping bags we won’t need in south Florida. We exchanged a few clothes (to freshen up our wardrobe), and picked up some things we’d been missing awhile like a few of our music CDs.

Our biggest surprise was to find things in our storage unit we didn’t remember storing. How did these things end up here? We spent a little longer than we expected as we peered into a couple of the boxes. Sometime in the next year or two we’re going to need an entire day to go through everything and thin it out.

Christmas visit with Chas

Christmas visit with Chas

Wednesday we had a short day trip to Asheville, NC, to visit Charles, Jim’s son. Asheville is 140 miles west of Kannapolis. Each mile westward we saw a little more snow and a little cooler temperatures so, by the time we arrived in Asheville, we found snow everywhere. Charles had a little time before going to work so we had a nice brunch and opened presents with him. It was great to see him again.

Snowy Western NC

Snowy Western NC

Western North Carolina received 12 – 18 inches of snow last Friday and we saw plenty of evidence of it during our drive. We thought you who may be in non-snowing climates might enjoy a couple of pictures. The pictures are probably a lot easier to manage than the roads, driveways, trees, gutters and other things subject to damage from snow and ice. Enjoy!

Christmas iHouse

Christmas iHouse

How can this keep happening? First we saw an iHouse in Everett, Washington. A few months later we were surprised and delighted to find an open model on display in Mesa, Arizona. We saw the iHouse on display in Austin, Texas, on our way across the states last week. And today we stumbled upon our fourth iHouse by Clayton Homes, on I-40 in Statesville, on our way home from Asheville to Kannapolis. This model unit hasn’t been announced or officially opened, but the nice folks at Clayton Homes in Statesville, NC, allowed us a long visit.

This visit we noticed one big difference — the North Carolina version of the iHouse has twelve inch, instead of no, roof overhangs on the long sides. Each time we visit one we figure out another thing about the house, and we find ourselves liking it even more. We could live in one of these. But we still know neither where we would want to put it, nor when.

The weather outside is frightful

The weather outside is frightful

The weather in Kannapolis is still cold. We are so ready to be in warm weather again. We miss playing tennis. We miss being warm (whoops, did we already say that?). But there’s a time and place for everything. There are things we need to do in this home territory, like our dental visit, a little truck service, banking, and the storage unit. And we’re glad we’re with family for Christmas.

We’ll see lots more family Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, between Debbie’s family in Kannapolis and Jim’s family in Charlotte. We’re excited to see them all, it’s been many months since our last visit with many of them. The biggest surprises and delights are yet to come for us and for you. Be careful, be good, and be joyous. We’ll write again after Christmas, perhaps from sunny (and warm) south Florida.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you from both of us.

Jim and Debbie
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©2009 Dreamstreamr