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Lessons Learned- Unexpected Weather


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Wife and I recently returned from a long trip to West Texas where we shared some great times with good friends in Palo Duro Canyon and Amarillo.  However, we got caught in Amarillo in the unexpected Arctic blast with temps down to 16* and wind chills to 5*.  On top of that we lost electricity in the campground for awhile as well as water despite having a heated hose (spigot froze and campground was on well so no electricity-no pump!).  Thanks to wonderful friends we made it through with two borrowed Honda Generators and 10 gallons of canned water.  So my take away from the trip:

1.  My propane gen set in the trailer uses 0.6 gallons of propane per hour so with two full 40# tanks I had only 30 hrs of continuous run if needed NOT counting furnace propane use.  I have a home gas 3500kw generator I will add to truck with auxiliary tank and extra 5 gallon fuel can. The Honda used about 1/4 gallon per hour so with auxiliary fuel tank had several days of needed for continuous run and longer if used just to recharge batteries.

2.  Have a Mr. Heater propane in my hunting gear which will go with extra bottles for emergency.

3.  If cold weather forecast add fresh water to “fresh water tank” prior to freeze, not day of 😳.

4.  Luckily we had a stash of cold weather gear under the bed so be sure and plan.  Essential is waterproof warm boots for slushy wet snow.

5.  Stock fridge. 
6.  Finally, vacate any areas BEFORE the weather that may require a prolonged stay and inability to exit.  Luckily we had left Palo Duro Canyon prior to the freeze.  Descent into the canyon is a 10% grade with several switchbacks.  Would have been impossible to exit on icy roads.

Your suggestions or additions would be appreciated.

 

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FYI-You can by a special hose from Mr. Heater and have a quick connect in the rig so that you can run off of your propane tank. Much more efficient than house furnace. Mr. Heater is our primary heater.

Our philosophy:

1. Fill up fuel tank before pulling into any CG, we have MH so this feeds our generator, and a full tank means you can leave.

2. Always have full water tank.

3. Always have some emergency food though we travel with plenty of food normally.

4. Fill up propane when at half.

We have learned this throughout the years. Water main breaks(3), full area power loss(gas stations can't pump gas), ran out of propane once(40 years ago, 20 degrees, left lasting impression).

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Carl

The water thing can happen anytime of the year if the campground has a pump failure or water main break.  Find some where to store a 5 gallon water jug so you can go somewhere and get water.  What is the shelf life of a case of bottled water?  
I think you are worrying too much on the generator side.  You have an inverter in the truck which will probably give you 15 amps and keep the trailer batteries topped up.  If you have a diesel bunk heater you can always hunker down in the truck for a few days and use the truck air to blow out the water lines in the trailer so they don’t freeze.

I think you already have it covered other than something to carry water in and I bet if you look around you can find something in a pinch.

Just my two cents.

Nigel

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1 hour ago, Brad & Jacolyn said:

Carl I always travel with about a 1/2 tank of water. We have had the no water at the park problem 6 times in 11 years for various reasons (broken pipes, no electric, bad screen in the well).

We always carry fresh water, we have run into silver water at a State Park CG, we were glad we had water on board.

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We keep the water tank full when we're at parks... in 7 years there have been enough times where there is no park water to make it worth while.  As far as power sources, having a large enough battery bank is the goal with enough Solar to maintain it.  Lacking that, our truck has a 3500puresinewave inverter that will power what we need in the RV.  Truck carries 400amp (useable) batteries.  Start the truck to charge the batteries, while also charging the RV batteries.  Not exactly efficient but it works.

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12 hours ago, geodog1 said:

This may sound trivial but we have a heated mattress cover. It helps keep us warm while allowing the thermostat to be set very low at night.

 

 

ShortyO

It also allows you to start the genny a couple hours before you stop for the day, and thus have a warm bed to slide into.  A 40* bed isn't as fun as it was when we were newly weds.

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One thing to remember about LP generators plus using LP to heat the trailer. I have had mine freeze up more than once in ABOVE freezing temps. We were looking at lows in the teens for an unknown period of time. An inverter from the truck will work but you will need to run the engine for extended power outages.

I used the diesel APU on our truck to power the trailer but didn't want Carl to find out the hard way that the surface area of a 40 pound tank will not supply enough vapor to run heat and the gen set at 2:00 in the morning.

I keep gas generators, a diesel APU and a 6500 LP generator (summer use for the LP) to give me options when I lose power which has happened fairly often with us.

We always travel with at least 30 gallons of water onboard and when this weather came our way, we put a total of 60 gallons on to make sure we could last until better weather returned.

Yes, I always use the one is none and two is one theory and we always manage to get by without a lot of effort. The main thing to remember is be prepared as well as you can.

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On 11/7/2020 at 9:16 AM, SuiteSuccess said:

...

1.  My propane gen set in the trailer uses 0.6 gallons of propane per hour so with two full 40# tanks I had only 30 hrs of continuous run if needed NOT counting furnace propane use.  I have a home gas 3500kw generator I will add to truck with auxiliary tank and extra 5 gallon fuel can. The Honda used about 1/4 gallon per hour so with auxiliary fuel tank had several days of needed for continuous run and longer if used just to recharge batteries....

... Luckily we had left Palo Duro Canyon prior to the freeze.  Descent into the canyon is a 10% grade with several switchbacks. ... 

 

Do you have a auto switch over valve on your (2) 40# propane tanks to feed the generator?  Have you had any issues with propane tanks freezing up?

We were at that state park and the 10% grade was not fun! But we enjoyed the park so it was well worth it.

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19 hours ago, Star Dreamer said:

Do you have a auto switch over valve on your (2) 40# propane tanks to feed the generator?  Have you had any issues with propane tanks freezing up?

We were at that state park and the 10% grade was not fun! But we enjoyed the park so it was well worth it.

I’ve never had a “tank freeze” and yes, I have an automatic switch over.

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On 11/7/2020 at 9:49 AM, Brad & Jacolyn said:

Carl I always travel with about a 1/2 tank of water. We have had the no water at the park problem 6 times in 11 years for various reasons (broken pipes, no electric, bad screen in the well).

Same here for the same reasons.

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always keep water tank full. Grill as secondary cooking source if no electric/propane is out. Generator on the truck plumbed into the tanks, so can run for days and days on 200 gallons of diesel. Even with heated hose, if super cold, unhook at night and close the spigot (typically a freeze proof spigot) and use the freshwater tank, rehook in the morning. I also carry a couple of heat tapes and zip ties to keep the spigots warm. Also, carry a spigot freeze bag to go over the spigot. 

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10 hours ago, lockmup68 said:

always keep water tank full. Grill as secondary cooking source if no electric/propane is out. Generator on the truck plumbed into the tanks, so can run for days and days on 200 gallons of diesel. Even with heated hose, if super cold, unhook at night and close the spigot (typically a freeze proof spigot) and use the freshwater tank, rehook in the morning. I also carry a couple of heat tapes and zip ties to keep the spigots warm. Also, carry a spigot freeze bag to go over the spigot. 

Thanks 

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