Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Living in the Northern Latitudes ...

The Yankee sun is lazy. At least after September 21.  It can't even climb half way up the sky before it gets tired and heads back down.  The Yankee sun is not very generous; it distributes little warmth even when it makes its way around the gray, dingy Yankee clouds. I much prefer a Southern sun.

In the northern latitudes the shadows cast by our closest star are always long this time of year.  1:30 in the afternoon looks and feels more like 4:30; 1:30 feels like the day is almost done and you should be putting things away and hunkering down for the night. By 4:30 only a glow of what the day once was is left on the western horizon.  By 4:35 it is dark. 
Joanie and I both admit that this autumn has been one of the most beautiful we have ever experienced.  You can see some the photos in previous blog entries. However the beauty doesn't last long and now, in Massachusetts, almost all the leaves are off the trees taking away all the vibrant color and leaving mostly gray.

The thermometer went down to 19° last night.  We have two furnaces in Phaeth; one fore, one aft.  The aft furnace produces 30,000 BTU's, 5,000 of which is diverted to the wet bay to keep the tanks and pipes from freezing.  The front furnace is rated at 35,000 BTU's.  So that is 60,000 BTU's to the living quarters of the rig and it seemed that the furnaces were running all night.  We were comfortable but the numbers attest to the lack of insulation in RV's.  The wind is also a big factor.  The "feels like" temperature is a much better predictor of the furnaces' performance.  More wind = more furnace use and the toppers were flappin' all night.

Some might ask why not use electric heat? We have a little 900 watt space heater. It produces 2,728 BTU's per hour.  If you do the math, ten of these space heaters would only produce 27,000 BTU's and where am I going to plug in 10 space heaters?  I don't even have 10 outlets and only 4 circuits.  10 would draw about 90 amps and we only have 50 amp service. So the LP furnaces are MUCH MORE efficient at keeping us toasty.

Monday we had 2.0 inches of rain.  The land in New England drains well (better than Carolina clay).  However, there were still a few ice puddles this morning.
We had a device called an Extend-a-Stay installed on our LP gas system which allows us to make muse of supplemental bottles of gas.  This is needed because the additional use of the furnaces. This extra bottle belongs to the campground and we will just disconnect from it and leave it when we pull out.

We are also living off our own water supply since we must be disconnected from city water whenever the temperature drops to freezing and below.  It's not a hardship; we just have to remember to conserve water because it could be days before the thermometer rises above 32.  We were unplugged all day yesterday and will be again today.  According to the forecast we will be able to connect tomorrow but then be off until Monday.  We will top off the fresh water tank tomorrow and take showers, etc. We are going to take our laundry to our son's house on Friday.

NEWS FLASH! Yesterday Buffalo, NY was hit by a record blizzard. Parts of the city got 100 inches.
Here are a couple of news photos I pulled off the internet.

Yeah.  I'm a Southern boy!



  1. For heating an RV, we use an Olympian Catalytic heater [ ], It is much more efficient because all of the heat goes inside the coach. You do need to crack a roof vent above the heater and open a couple of windows about an inch (we use the ones at the head of the bed at night) to keep fresh air circulating. Our Wave 8 keeps our 40' Bus warm by itself.

    Safe travels,

  2. Richard and Patsy, thanks for the link. I am familiar with this type of heating device but am still a little afraid of the exhaust fumes safety. Has your CO/LP detector ever gone off? How did you pipe in the LP hose?

  3. Right you are, these RV's lack sufficient insulation. This is our 4th RV. First was a 1989 Georgie Boy MH. Never camped in winter, so can't say if it was drafty. Then a 2002 Cedar Creek fiver. Cold air blew in around the slides. Then a 2009 Montana fiver. Don't remember feeling drafts and we spent Nov and Dec in the Northeast in it for a few years.

    Now a 2014 Cedar Creek fiver. VERY disappointed in it during cold months. Feel drafts around windows. Walls are cold. So, we use the fireplace to supplement the propane usage. And electric blankets at night. Next unit will not be a Cedar Creek for sure. Fortunately we head south from PA. in less than two weeks. But from what I hear it won't be much warmer.