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RV Winter Blues - Highway Tales

Snowbirds

Mark Quasius
May 12, 2014
Photographers: Mark Quasius
A fair-sized portion of RV owners leave the northern areas where they live, and travel south before the start of winter -- referred to as snowbirds. After the winter has passed and spring arrives, large numbers crowd the highways as they migrate back north to escape the oncoming heat, spending the summer in cooler climates. I really feel sorry for them because they are missing out on so much.
By the time you read this, it’ll be April and spring is starting to arrive. However, magazine articles are written well in advance to accommodate the lengthy production schedule. Today, as I begin to write this column, it’s a cold January day. The outside temperature is a nippy minus 13 degrees with a wind chill of 39 below. Hey, at least there are no mosquitoes! Just yesterday I had to take a 30-minute drive up the interstate and saw about a dozen cars in the ditch due to the icy spots in the road and whiteout conditions caused by blowing snow. Up in Wisconsin, winter comes early and takes its sweet time leaving. Couple that with the damp air Lake Michigan so kindly provides, and the weather is that much more enjoyable. Last week, I had to climb on top of the motorhome and shove a ton of snow over the side in order to see where the air conditioners and other roof hardware actually were. It seems to snow a bit every day. The snow blower is getting its exercise, and of course, it doesn’t run itself. I get the honor of chauffeuring it up and down the driveway and maneuvering it around the RV, trying not to run over the power cord.
Photo 2/3   |   Highway Tales Winter Tales 01
Okay, by now you may have possibly come to the conclusion I’m not a big fan of winter. Actually, I enjoy winter, that is, as long as I’m not in Wisconsin. Fortunately, we have an upcoming trip in March to the Texas Hill Country where it’s much warmer than here. We’ll still have snow to deal with when we get back in April, but at least the worst of it will be over, and I won’t have to shove snow off the roof anymore. In addition to enjoying the warm climates of the Texas Hill Country, I’ll also be doing some articles for upcoming issues in RV Magazine. The days remaining until we leave are marked on our calendar, and it seems as though they just aren’t counting down fast enough.
One thing winter does do, it gives you a chance to plan future trips. With the leaps and bounds forward in technology, it’s easier than ever to gather facts and information pertinent to your travel plans. The Internet (check out rvmagonline.com) provides plenty of commentary from those who have been there and done that. Their reviews and tips can help provide the information you need to plan a successful and enjoyable trip. Campground review sites are another excellent resource. You can separate the good ones from the bad ones by relying on other RV traveler’s experiences and recommendations, so you won’t make those same mistakes.
In addition, winter is a great time to prepare your RV, so it’s ready to go when spring finally comes. You’ll need to dewinterize your RV’s plumbing system. Do you have an adequate supply of water filters, holding-tank chemicals, smoke-detector batteries, and other consumables on hand? Now is the perfect time to correct any issues your RV developed the previous season. Service your RV now, rather than waiting until spring when all of the RV dealership service departments are booked solid.
As I finished writing, the temperature has warmed up. It was 2 above this morning, the wind has died down, and the sun is shining. To me this feels like a heat wave. I think I’ll head down to the beach later today, grab some rays, and work on my tan. I’d better do it now because tomorrow is supposed to be another 1 to 2 inches of snow again. Time to check off another day on the calendar.
Photo 3/3   |   Highway Tales Man With Dog
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