Dave you made my day!! There are no words to describe this adventure, the scenery and the family enjoying every minute of that paradise!
Among the MANY superb photos, these were some of my favorites: 0077_zps0qakvxya.jpg, 0138_zpsxd6ddyqu.jpg, and 0130_zpsfoghtnvo.jpg
You've got quite a few that could be submitted to truck camper calendar contests !!
Sand & Dunes
....here it is folks, at 7:30 AM this morning: sunrise over Matthew.
After you evacuate if you are in the State evacuation zones (hopefully, yesterday):
If anyone has any property (including RVs) anywhere in the east half of Florida from Miami to Jacksonville, you better make sure your insurance is bullet-proof.
Apparently, Air B&B is offering free accommodation outside the evac zones to anyone in the Florida evac zones ...
About 17~~ hours to go before Matthew nails the 1st coastal areas along eastern Florida, in the black of night. Not very long from now.
....we pretty well shelved our camper flat screen TV; WAY, WAY too bulky in a truck camper. Its been collecting dust in the closet for years now.
We use exclusively tablet devices (or, laptop). Those are thrown into a small back-pack and can accompany us anywhere (even hiking). Also, all our mobile devices (we have 4 smart phones collected over the years), even the light-weight laptop are set up for GPS navigation WITHOUT the need for a data connection or plan...
Its possible to get free-to-air TV broadcasts into your tablet (iPad) or laptop from devices like W i TV, TabletTV, or buy a TVstick, or some other satellite TV tuner for Android/tablet (if you want to bring sat. TV into your mobile device). We don't do satellite TV on the road...but we can receive free-to-air (FTA) TV on virtually any mobile device, within the FTA broadcast range.
I've been keeping my rig in an rv storage garage, and am tired of the high rent.
...I'm curious: by "high rent", how much are you paying? We're paying $840 + tax for 8 months on indoor heated storage with unlimited electric, for 22-foot long space. That's just over $100 a month. many years ago in the same facility, our rent was at the $699 for 8 months + tax. But over almost 11 years storage, it climbed precipitously up to a staggering $840, for 8 months of indoor climate controlled.
We are looking for quality "covered" storage in the Orlando area for winters (not necessarily climate controlled in-door storage, like we have now up here in the north), where we'd drive the rig down, use for 3 weeks, and store. And fly home. Repeat, but fly down several times over winter. Then, our last use in Florida, we'd drive the rig back home for the summer months...repeat. Kind of "fly and store". Airport pick-up/drop-off from storage facility included...
I found an official weather station near Abisko (42 kms distant). Since the past 13 months, the coldest it has gotten over winter was -26.3C (Jan 20th). It was actually above 0C for the first ~week of January during the day-time. It also went above 0C one day (early February), and again for appx 3 days the 3rd week of February. There were 3 distinct cold waves during january of this year lasting ~10 days, then ~4 days; then 6 days (a cold snap for me is when temps dip below -16C). In February, there were a few sharply cold days (4 of them) that went down to -16C to -22C, but only for ~1 day each. In March, there one last "gasp" of winter at the beginning of the 3rd week, where temps dipped to -18C to -23C for ~4 days. The really cold months in this region is from beginning of December to end of April. So, 5 months of quite cold weather.
The winds are in the 4.9 to 6.0 meters/second range average over 5 cold months; with possible gusts to 19.5 meters/second (9 ish MPH on average, up to 43 miles per hour-ish gusts)
Now just don't try and do this in Winterpeg which is not that far from the US border.
...hah hah LOL :B True!
....the further one is from the oceans and giant ocean circulation belt arriving from southern latitudes, flowing in the direction of the north ocean regions (Europe or North America), the colder the winters will be. This is why Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Minnesota and parts of Ontario and Quebec are so brutally cold in winter. Look at the latitude of BC (coastal) and Nova Scotia, and compare that to the latitude of Winnipeg. Now check those places for average temperature over winter...southern BC is about 360 kilometers north of Montreal, but Montreal has winter temperatures comparing with southern Siberia, and southern BC coastal (even inland as far a Osoyoos) located much further north of Montreal has January/February winter temperatures comparable to Montreal in early May. This is also why England isn't a frozen wasteland over winter: the tropical ocean currents envelope England during winter even though the latitude of say London is about the same as the frozen barren James Bay, Quebec region, where temperatures are in the -50 to (sometimes but rarely -65C) range for a chunk of the winter.
If the tropical oceanic Atlantic belt ever deviated, the British Isles would probably have to be abandoned during winter; it would be virtually unlivable there.
Wow. That is a pretty impressive camper, and quite well built to use in extreme cold conditions. This reminds me of the old Bigfoot campers, built for use in the Canadian north.
As suggested earlier, propping up the "tub" for winter would be good.
The only thing I would add to my earlier post, is the following:
-since camper will be used/stored off truck, pre cut 2 inch thick pieces of XPS polystyrene closed-cell foam insulation to encapsulate the camper's tub and under-wing areas. Store the pre-cut foam in the camper and assemble it at site, using 2-inch wide house envelope tape (I used this stuff when I stored our camper outside over winter for the 1st and only time; the tape held up under persistent -36C and 90 KPH winds), XPS friendly adhesive, and a belt (a ratchet tie-down around perimeter of insulation-clad tub, for safety). This would add a fantastic barrier against ground radiated cold, and frost advection (the coldest air is closest to the ground, so the camper tub, being off truck, should have extreme insulation there). In spring, just remove and store foam for future use. Measuring and cutting the XPS should take only an hour or so; assembly should be really fast, too, with 2 people working at it.
As Joerg mentions, keeping the propane from freezing will be the biggest hurdle. The large propane cylinders would need their own insulated containment.
...ya. The Swedish Climate Center (SMHI) is showing dramatically warmer winter temperatures in Sweden's far north since at least 1998. Its remarkable just how warm northern Sweden is becoming (relatively speaking) over winter season!
The SMHI here-->
....however(!!!), there are anomalous BRUTAL cold years from time to time interlaced with warmer winters. One thing that can't be predicted is: ...is the year one plans to work in the Swedish north going to be a brutally cold one? Or, a warmer one? Hah hah!
Wow all the posts so far are good, been to them....
Valley of The Gods? Dark Canyon wilderness? Hovenweep National Monument?
9 Mile Canyon?
Chaco Culture National Historical Park? Jemez Pueblo? Jemez Springs? Valles Caldera National Preserve? Bandelier National Monument? Aztec Ruins National Monument? The NRAO VLA (massive radio astronomy installation; free open house in October) ?
Sweden is almost completely surrounded by salt water. The Norwegian Sea and North Sea to the west and southwest, and the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia to the east. No matter where you are in Sweden, you are no more than 169 miles from ocean or sea. Checking back, it appears the the Gulf of Bothnea only freezes over from Umia on north. Where exactly will they be living? My guess would be near the Lulea town area. The average low for December, January, February is a balmy +10F (this is like spring in Quebec); the average high is in the +24F range (considerably warmer than southern Quebec over winter). Occasionally, the temperatures can (for a few days or weeks) drop down to the -35F range, and this is the range where livability in even a moderately insulated (say, 3 inches of XPS foam completely encapsulating the truck camper) truck camper could become very uncomfortable. So, under the normal winter temperatures in the Lulea area, a Swedish-made truck camper designed to operate down to around +5F would be quite doable for the extended term, if its insulated to around ~ R12 (floor, walls, ceiling).
The biggest issue would be storing several hundreds pounds of propane (for a 1 or 2 week heating period) in a shelter that is insulated against potential extended -20 to -35C periods. Electric heating may be problematic, unless they have sufficient amperage to run all the appliances (however, Europe is 220V, so this is good).
I imagine that the Swedish camper has thermo-pane windows?
The other issue is storing water inside the camper (say, 50 gallons consumption a week, being conservative). The other, is storing gray water and black water inside the camper. If they have a cassette toilet, perfect. A small in-the-cupboard gray water tank could be jerry-rigged to the kitchen sink, but would need to be dumped outdoors several times a day. The other thing is washing. There would be no easy way to operate the shower, so sponge baths would be the routine (under these conditions, one would be in extreme survival mode every day of the month, making simple chores more complicated).
Since they have electric hookup, they would need to bring a portable dehumidifier sized for say a 7 x 15 foot room volume, to be run in the interior 24/7 month after month after month. The water extracted by the dehumidifier catchment could be dumped into the sink to wash dishes. The dehumidifier would be absolutely critical piece of equipment (paired with good camper insulation), since it would both remove humidity from the extremely small camper space, and supply some x heat to inside the camper.
Now, the other part of the rig that needs to be protected and maintained is the truck. Diesel sold up in the arctic would be quite well formulated for -40C or worse, so no problem there. Other fluids in the truck would have to be checked for their operating range (power steering fluid, axle oils, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, etc), and the appropriate fluids need to be replaced with an Arctic temperatures formulation. I would carry lots of lock de-icer, and some dozen cans of mechanical lubricant. Also, be aware that the air in the truck tires (and spare tire!) would drop precipitously if it was filled at say 20C, then subjected to -20 or -35C. So, a serious capacity portable 12V or AC tire inflation compressor (expedition-grade and portable) would need to be brought, and stored in the heated camper. In Quebec, where the temps over winter drop to -30 to -36C, I have our winter tires inflated in anticipation of the massive fluctuation in air temps (or, deflated), once or twice a week often LOL!! In our winters, we can have 2 days of +20F, then immediately, -27C to -34C for 4 days, then back up to +28F for a week....repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. You don't want to be driving around on half flat tires when the temps drop 40 or 60 degrees in literally a few hours.
Truck battery: I would replace the standard schlock flooded acid truck battery, with the best AGM battery available, and upon the start of winter, remove the truck battery and store it inside the heated camper on a battery minder (!). So, in effect, you are removing the battery from truck every time you use it (also, if one has to "go to work" in the Arctic, remove the truck battery and bring it into the office with you). Remember: your truck may be your life-line to get back to civilization in an emergency; the battery is the absolute weakest link in a vehicle in the Arctic environment; you can run on flat tires in the Arctic, but you can't run on a flat battery.
Frozen food (say for 2 weeks at a time) could be stored outside in a big 20 gallon+ sized steel cooler with lock. Also, check the camper fridge's ability to operate in extreme cold conditions using propane or AC.
Camper battery: get AGM chemistry, and make sure it is store/hooked up inside the heated part of camper at all times.
*now the big one: they need to have a "Plan B" shelter fairly close by, if all h**l breaks out, and a long -30C to -50C rolls in; this would be life-threatening, so they would have to work into their daily regime a serious meteorological analysis twice a day. Remember RVnetters, this isn't ski camping for a week or 10 days(!), this is extreme isolation north of the Arctic Circle for months and months, with no break.
In closing, Steve, can you ask them to document this in video and stills? This would make for an exceptional Blog !!
silversand, We will be traveling in our Class C towing our car, so no helicopter for us! We will be watching the weather for a good opening. Will not be leaving Ohio until at least Dec. 27th and we are still looking at routes to try this year.
Here is the link to every traffic cam on major routes for Florida. Just put a check-mark in "Cameras" box, and pan the map down to the Keys. There are appx 34 cameras along the 1...
Florida traffic cams-->
....We will be trying a different route this year as it was a nightmare with traffic last year.
You couldn't mean an alternative to the 1 ? Or, will you try the 905A to 905 (to 1) ?
If you are really fed up with traffic, and its causing health issues, rent a helicopter (if your camper is stored in Long Key) and fly there from say Homestead (about ~20 minute flight). It may be worth the $1000 / $1500 for you and a passenger and your gear.
Once you're at Long Key, just rent a sub-compact car as you need it (for a day once in a while).
Worst camping rig ever was our 1981 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel wagon....
...ya know what they say about Volkswagen ownership? "If ya buy one, make absolutely sure you have a bumper-to-bumper warranty that will cover every second of your planned ownership, and not 1 minute less" :B
Friends pay close to $8000.00 and they feel it is worth it to be someplace warm for the winter months.
....$8000 travel health care expense in after tax dollars would cost in the range of $10,000 (at the 25% tax bracket) to $11,000 (at the ~37% tax bracket) range. That's an expense that I will bet 99.9% of retired Canadians couldn't afford year after year, because the average annual retiree *household* income before taxes is only in the $42,000 range. So, after federal/provincial income tax, an $8000 extra (after tax) health insurance hit would likely be catastrophic for the vast majority of elderly Canadians. Complicating this, is the hellacious exchange rate entre CAD and USD. It is more favorable in Europe and Latin America for Canadians to travel....but this aspect can change over time.
You can also consider snow birding in Spain. No health insurance needed but you will have to pay out of pocket for ANY service or treatment. Their schedule of costs is comparable to Canada's so you will get most of it back from your province when you submit the bills and it is not expensive to begin with. I would get a repatriation policy though.
The other thing you can do is get a non US extended health care travel plan. It is quite a bit cheaper if you guarantee you won't set foot in the US.
Costa del sol in Spain is an excellent snow bird destination. We'll continue to winter in the US until we retire but will switch to Spain at 60 when we retire.
....this would be precisely our plan, too (and IS the plan currently for nearly all our retired friends!); however, we would continue extended retirement forays into the USA till about ~65, before going "Plan Europe".
...that's a really good contemporary video! Nice work. Lots of action. Keeps the viewer glued to the production. That's a tremendous area you visited!
I've just recently got a Sony (ActionCam; with steady shot; Zeiss tessar lens, XAVC S format), and am experimenting with it. I started with one MicroSDXC 64 gig card (shooting at 1080p 30fps; and 4k time-lapse), and that card filled up super fast. Then I got a second MicroSDXC, with 128gb capacity.
What editing software are you using? I've been playing with Blender lately.
Again, excellent work!
...there have been appx ~49 severe prolonged cold events in Florida from 1765 till 2016. There were 21 prolonged arctic events in Florida during the 20th Century (1900 to 2000); frequency: every ~4.7 years. And, during the 21st Century, there have been 10 prolonged arctic events over the 16 years; frequency: every ~1.6 years :E So, that leaves 18 severe cold events in Florida from 1765 to 1899; frequency: every ~7.4 years. So, it appears very evidently that exceptional cold spells in Florida are becoming very more frequent!
1765 to 1899: frequency every ~7.4 years
1900 to 2000: frequency every ~4.7 years
2001 to 2016: frequency every ~1.6 years (but extrapolating till 2050, ~3.0)
2017 to 2030: little ice age ? :p
Whenever Florida experiences "arctic cold fronts" that last for weeks (and sometimes more than a month), believe me, the entire central and eastern USA are experiencing much worse cold, too; but Alaska and the far north are very markedly warmer than average. We're going to snowbird in Alaska LOL! :B
And, according to the Farmers Almanac, snow showers the first week of November. And, as usual, below normal temps this winter...
It would be interesting to compare the Almanac long-term forecast to the CPC NCEP long-range 2 class 3 month/6 month outlook :B
NCEP reports for the Oct, Nov, Dec time block 55/45 for warmer than average temps for all the states from Pennsylvania down to Florida. And, for the Northeast, a 70/30 for warmer than average temps for the same period.
For the Nov, Dec, Jan time block, they calculate an equal chance 50/50 for above or below normal temps. However, for the Northeast, it is 55/45 for New Hampshire, Vermont and Mass., and 60/40 for the southern half of Maine above average temps.
Precip for Mid Atlantic to Maine is equal chance above or below normal for Oct, Nov, Dec. And, from South Carolina down to northern Florida, 60~70/40~30 for below normal precip for Oct, Nov, Dec (very dry). This will be the same or drier for the same region over the entire 2017 winter (with Florida locked in perhaps a very dry/winter drought).
On edit: the 2015/2016 winter was the warmest winter on record over the entire US going back an astounding 121 years (and most of Canada; especially from Manitoba to Ontario to Quebec); including if you live from Pennsylvania to Maine, and South/North Dakota and Minnesota to Montana. Even Anchorage had no snow on the ground for the first time (February!) on record: Washington Post article-->
OP...I notice that your sig puts you in the Chicago area...lots of snow and ice there in winter :B
Are you planning on dedicated winter tires for the dually? If so, what brand and size?
The 1st winter rubber rated tire I ever had were BFG TA /Ko's Load Rated: E; these I had on the SRW for 3 winters. I used the truck (with camper off) occasionally for one winter (the truck has been stored indoors over winter all other years owned) on our mountain roads, in a salt-free zone. Pretty good with only 300LBS sand in bed (long bed, extended cab, but nor dually). Those tires met an early demise, and am now using Duratrac (LR: E 265/75R16). The Duratracs are less that 2 years old, however, have never seen snow as yet (with truck stored indoors over winter LOL!). However, we anticipate at least some severe winter driving between Quebec and Florida upon full retiring on way to snowbirding (very soon), thus the Duratracs. I currently use the winter rated Duratracs spring, summer and fall, and don't swap them out for dedicated summers (summers I call "all seasons").
If need be, the winter rubber rated Duratrac tires are studable.
oh, in closing: whatever ya do, don't hit black ice; I've seen studded tires on trucks (duallies and SRWs) do 360s on black ice in our neck of the woods :B I think that even razorblades wouldn't keep a vehicle on the road over black ice if one sneezes holding the steering wheel or touching the brake pedal LOL
I never thought of pulling out the leaver and lubing it. Good idea. Next on my list...
Even Home depot sells Camco RV drain valves:
It may or may not be available in your local store...check on the Web first...but probably every RV parts store will have them in stock.