Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Wonderland??? This winter really stinks!

We've had enough snow to last us a lifetime. This is the most snow we have had at one time here in Tumwater/Olympia area since we moved here in 1994. In years past we've gotten...oh, maybe 3 to 4 inches at one time and then it usually melted away in a day or two. This time there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. We are expected to have snow most all day long tomorrow (Sunday). Due to this uncommon amount of snow, we were able to experience all sorts of new problems.

In my last posting I wrote about how we were beginning to have a serious shortage of propane. We had planned to drive the RV out and get our tank refilled last week when the snow melted a bit. Well, it hasn't melted at all and there is no way we can get the motorhome out of here until it does. Bruce looked through the phone book for places that provide large propane tanks and bring them to your site. Not much luck there. The best deal we could find was for a 120 gallon tank. Then they would charge $198.00 to bring it out, $2.89 per gallon for propane, and then another $90.00 when we wanted the tank picked up and removed. Plus...they only had a 1-yr. lease deal. If we wanted it picked up sooner than the 1-year they would charge another $55.00. But the real kicker was that they couldn't get to us for another 3 weeks. By that time the snow will be melted and we can drive out and get the propane. Time for PLAN B: We called around to RV parts suppliers in town to see about getting an adapter system to connect our fixed propane tank out to an auxiliary tank. Nobody here had anything to offer. Sooooo......we got into the car and drove 25 miles south to Chehalis on the snowy-icy roads to Uhlmann's RV dealership. They were very helpful. They didn't have exactly what we needed so they fixed us up with a custom fitting for our motorhome. Great! We drove back up to Tumwater and got our son-in-laws BBQ propane tank to use.

Bruce had to climb up under the large slideout section on the motorhome and attempt to connect the adaptor kit to the propane tank. That was not an easy task as it is a very tight space under there. While he worked on that job, I picked the icicles off of the motorhome exterior. There were lots of them. After a lengthy process (about 2 hours) he finally managed to get everything connected and in working order. He tested the new fittings out for leaks by using a Mr. Bubble Bath solution. No leaks! The auxiliary tank is only 5 gallons but it was "free" to use. We can just put it into the car and drive to the gas station down the road to refill it as needed. So, no more fear about running the gas heater to keep us warm. We are still being conservative with that and relying on the electric space heater as much as possible.

Last night before going to bed we closed up the valves on the grey water tanks to collect water in order to empty our black tank today. We like to flush the sewer hose with the grey water after emptying our black water tank each time. Well, during the night it just got colder and colder and when we woke up it was only 14 degrees outside. We had to babysit for a few hours this morning so we did that before emptying our holding tanks.

After lunch we went out to take care of our holding tanks. Fortunately, we got the black tank valve opened and all of that came out and emptied as usual. Great. Then Bruce tried to open the 2 grey tank valves and they wouldn't budge. At that time he noticied that the floor of that bin (where all holding tank controls are housed) was layered with a sheet of solid ice. Apparently during the night our fresh water hose connector leaked out by a drip..drip..drip. Most likely the extreme cold weather caused something to run amuck. The water accumulated and froze up like a little ice pond in there. That resulted in the 2 grey tank valves to freeze up tight.

I went into the RV and got him some warm water to pour over the valve handles to try and thaw them out a bit. No dice. Then he poured that water over our new ice pond and he began chipping that out bit by bit. All the while it is snowing like a blizzard on us out there. Finally we just gave up on that little task for today. Tomorrow is supposed to warm up to 29 degrees!!! Maybe we can get those valves opened freely then. In the meantime, we'll go over to our daughter's house in the morning to shower since our grey tank is almost full.

Our dog, Annie, enjoys the snow. Yippee. We have to take her out several times each day to do her business and she just loves to play in the snow. Then we bring her back in and we have to dry her off as best we can. She gets little clumps of snow stuck in the fur on her legs and they just have to melt out....all over the floors. Ahhhhh..the joys of loving a dog!

I know it has to get better eventually. Although, the coming week isn't looking too good and the cold temperatures are set to continue past Christmas day. At least our propane issues are under control. I'm also pleased to report that our new dehumidifier is working like a champ! It sounds a bit like a hurricane blowing through the motorhome when it is set on high but the results are better than we could have hoped for.

I admit I've been a bit stressed out over some of these issues (well, a lot stressed out actually), but things will work out. Like Bruce said, "nothing has happened that can't be or hasn't already been fixed." I'll try to keep that in mind this next week when we face the possibility of a lot more snow, ice and cold temperatures.

Stay tuned.........

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