I’m taking a little break from stories about our misadventures in sailing to write about how we’ve spent the last couple of winters. In the fall of 2015, we decided to buy an RV with the plan to live in it during the winter. After a bit of looking, we found ourselves a classic 22 ft. Avion motorhome.
The inside was a little funky, a lot of the systems weren’t working properly and it needed some TLC and LOTS of cleaning. The engine and transmission were solid but we did a full tune up and got it running like a top. It was leaking some antifreeze, had a few squealing belts and the front passenger brake caliper was hanging up. We had water coming in from a couple of windows and out of some places in the freshwater system. The refrigerator needed a new compressor (not cheap) so it made more sense to just buy a nice new one. The propane system had a couple of leaks as well. We fixed and replaced all of these things, added solar, some LED lights, beefed up the battery bank, reinforced the cab-over bed and bought a new mattress. It has been an amazing home for the last two winters. We took it on a 3000ish mile road trip along the coast from Washington to California and its one of a kind look was a conversation starter everywhere we went. We’ve had a blast travelling in it from day one and over the last two winters, couldn’t be happier to call it home.
Wintering in an RV can be easy in an RV park with full hookups. However, the RV park here shuts down all winter so we’ve been staying on private property, luckily only having to pay for electricity and propane. Our fresh, black and grey water tanks are exterior and therefore exposed to the harsh winter cold. To avoid freezing, we skirt off the bottom of the motorhome with sheets of insulation board and keep a small space heater underneath to keep everything warm. Due to this method, we are not mobile and since there is no sewage hookup for us here, we’ve had to improvise. Last winter, we built a custom tank on a trailer for our black and grey water. When we’re full, we hook up the trailer and tow it to the dumping station.
This is not the most carefree method of wintering. We sometimes long for an apartment complex where the snow is shoveled off our walkway for us and the last time we see our black and grey water is when it’s entering the drain, but the amount of money we’ve been able to save on rent has made all of these small hardships well worth it. Other than the few downsides of wintering, we have LOVED the RV life. It has taken us to some beautiful places and introduced us to some amazing people. However, our ultimate dreams have finally become financially achievable.
All of our work and sacrifices over the last few years have been leading up to this goal and although we’ll be sad to see our little moho go, the feeling will quickly be pushed aside by the MASSIVE list of projects we have to accomplish on the boat this summer and the adventure that lies ahead. If you’d like to hear more about the work we’ve done on our RV, the trip back to Washington we’ll take in April and the boat projects to come, stay on the lookout for Fair Winds Ahead!