Forced Boondocking at 14 F

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IBTripping

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Sep 19, 2018
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1,585
Location
Virginia
Because of some personal problems, I was forced to delay leaving my campsite in my resort to my usual site south of here. Then, Monday morning's projected snow was 3-6 inches. Instead, it was one and a half feet of heavy wet snow. Temperatures were in the low 20s with a low of 14 F. Major North-South I-95 was shut down for about 14 hours with traffic stranded on the Interstate. All local roads and highways were were extremely slick and icy. Numerous vehicles including tractor trailers were in the ditch all over the place. Police were inundated with hundreds of vehicle crashes. It was awful.

Electricity was out in large areas including my resort. It is not likely to be to be restored here until next week. Trees were knocked down on all the roads in the resort. And, I'm stuck here.

Fortunately, I had 4 full tanks of propane. I had dumped the black and gray tanks on Sunday and put RV antifreeze in both tanks. After the snow on Monday, I covered most of the windows with blankets and sheets. I wasn't worried about having propane heat. I have a large 122 amp hour house battery, but didn't know how long it would last running the heater fan. So, I turned off all the lights (all LEDs) to preserve the battery. I also set the thermostat at 55 degrees to lessen the drain on the battery and lessen propane use. I also used jumper cables from my running truck to recharge the house battery.

I used LED lanterns and an LED headlamp for light to preserve the house battery. I limited use of my phone to preserve its battery. The worse part of the whole experience was boredom. I had only 2 books to read. One is a Michael Crichton novel (very good read) and the other is a rather dense tome on social policy by Daniel Patrick Monynihan. After reading both, I reread the novel.

Guess the maintenance crew got all the trees removed blocking the resort roads because I saw my neighbor got in to check out his fifth wheel. I went over to see if he needed any help. He had winterized his RV and was in good shape. I told him my situation and he offered to lend my his 3800 watt inverter generator. THANK YOU JASON. With the generator, I now have plenty of electricity to to run my space heaters, charge the house battery, charge my phone, watch TV, and use the Internet. Whoopee!!!

Let me finish by commending the Forum and its members. Because of you, I was well prepared to be boondocking in winter. By the way, 5 inches of snow is forecast for tonight and Friday's temperature is projected to be very cold getting down to 10 F.

EDIT - SOME MOTORISTS WERE STRANDED ON I-95 UP TO 27 HOURS.
 
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Arch Hoagland

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Jul 11, 2014
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3,868
Location
Clovis California
Wow, all things considered you're a lucky man. Having all that propane was a life saver. And Jason was a gift from heaven.

Good luck and hope you get on the road soon.
 

IBTripping

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Sep 19, 2018
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1,585
Location
Virginia
Stay safe, just watched the weather and it does look cold and snowy.
Thanks. Projected 3" to 5" which is not too bad. But Friday night the temperature is forecast to be in the teens down to 10 F. Kind of hard to believe I'm in the South.
 

Ex-Calif

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May 15, 2020
Posts
2,237
Wow - that sounds a bit dodgy. Was there any chance of charging your batteries with your truck?

Sounds like you might wanna invest in a Honda 2000 or similar.

On a funny side note I only scan/watch news clips on Haystack. Here in Florida I see the following headline, "Hundreds of Florida Teachers Delayed Returning To Work Due to Massive Snowstorm On I95"

Of course I am like, "Wait, what? Is there a giant snowstorm in Jacksonville???"

Talk about click bait. I also have no idea how they determined hundreds of Florida teachers were stuck in WV - LOL.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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5,473
Location
SW Louisiana
Wow, glad you are ok, and this sort of thing makes me glad I have 400 watts worth of solar panels on the roof.
 

jymbee

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Feb 20, 2018
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Upstate NY
Wow-- quite an adventure. Looking at that mess on 95 I wondered how many RVers might have been stranded.

Would have been a lot worse if your tanks were near full and hour propane was low. Reminds me of our similar circumstance last year south of Houston during that big freeze. Whole park was shut down with no power/water.

Your experience is a good reminder for all to always, if at all possible, not to let your "resources" get too low.
 

SpencerPJ

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Nov 1, 2017
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3,716
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Midwest
If it gets bad, don't be discouraged to throw the towel in for a night or two and head to the local motel. Safe, warm, water... and maybe internet ;)
 

Fishspike

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May 24, 2021
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35
Location
Wi
Nice job on thinking this through. So many folks dont plan well. My kids all make fun of me because I check weather all the time. My Dad worked for a power company. Every bad storm we would take “trouble calls”. Because we we the first number in the PHONE BOOK. Learned a lot about being prepared. One question is why 4 propane tanks? For times like these? Glad your okay.
 

Memtb

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Aug 25, 2017
Posts
991
Location
North-Central Wyoming
With your tanks emptied, your propane supply good, and access to a generator.....you should be in great shape!

Assuming that your still in Virginia, the cool temperatures should be short lived, and you should be fine! At least I hope so. I’m also assuming that you have water in the unit....if so, like a weekend at the Holiday Inn!

Our coldest boondocking saw 2 mornings at -20:F. You better have good batteries, plenty of propane, and a “genny” to charge the system, plus a pretty good rv to prevent freeze-ups of the tanks and water lines memtb
 
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Memtb

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Aug 25, 2017
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991
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North-Central Wyoming
Wow, glad you are ok, and this sort of thing makes me glad I have 400 watts worth of solar panels on the roof.

Issac, 400 watts doesn’t help much with the forced air furnace running a bunch, combined with the short daylight periods in the winter and very likely snow covered panels.

We’ve got 800+ watts of panels, angle them for maximum efficiency and still run our little 2000 Honda several hours every 2 days to keep the batteries happy!

Summer times we have excess solar, Winter....not so much! 😁 memtb
 

Memtb

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Joined
Aug 25, 2017
Posts
991
Location
North-Central Wyoming
Wow-- quite an adventure. Looking at that mess on 95 I wondered how many RVers might have been stranded.

Would have been a lot worse if your tanks were near full and hour propane was low. Reminds me of our similar circumstance last year south of Houston during that big freeze. Whole park was shut down with no power/water.

Your experience is a good reminder for all to always, if at all possible, not to let your "resources" get too low.

I missed my granddaughter’s February wedding last year because of the bad weather and bad wedding timing. We canceled our trip because of the very narrow travel window to get us to southern New Mexico. Very glad we did, as we would have been stuck somewhere in west Texas while the power grid was down and roads closed....meaning we couldn’t have bought truck fuel or propane. With no heat and our water tanks full.....it would have gotten ugly once we ran out of propane!

I hate that we missed the wedding.....a frozen-up camper would have been ugly! memtb
 

IBTripping

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Sep 19, 2018
Posts
1,585
Location
Virginia
Nice job on thinking this through. So many folks dont plan well. My kids all make fun of me because I check weather all the time. My Dad worked for a power company. Every bad storm we would take “trouble calls”. Because we we the first number in the PHONE BOOK. Learned a lot about being prepared. One question is why 4 propane tanks? For times like these? Glad your okay.
The electric system in the park is over 25 years old and has outages every few months. In addition, the park is in a forest and a strong wind may knock down a power pole. So, keep well supplied including (food, water, propane, etc.) What amazed me is that the first 2 tanks lasted 4 days.
 

Matt_C

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Mar 4, 2019
Posts
551
Location
SE - Mich
IB,
It is actually refreshing to read of someone that can think and figure things out.
A forum back in my reading for today was an owner that can't figure out how to turn off his interior lights when he is driving at night....
Thank You
Matt
 

Alontheway

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Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Posts
246
Location
Alageorgia
I like to plan ahead too. I guess a Buddy heater would not be so bad to keep in the storage bay.
I carry a little portable water pump that works for a shower just in case of water issues.
They say preppers do one thing every day: Act as if that were the day...
Emptying tanks and all you did was this.

Boredom is big. We used to trade DVDs at events when camping.
 
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