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My motorhome is going to a service center for 3 weeks for warranty work in November. Some of the work may involve plumbing. Should the motorhome be winterized for this short stint. This service center is located near Cincinnati, Ohio.
Today, I parked our "Cottage on Wheels" in its winter storage spot. It will be dry and out of the weather - see photo. A former lumber yard in our area has converted some of their buildings to storage, and advertised locally this fall. After confirming that they could accommodate a 32' Class A, and that it could be parked such that we could take it out for a planned winter excursion (more on this below), we sent a deposit. We also checked with others who store a MH, and found that the price was about right. A few weeks ago, as our Maine weather started to dip below freezing, I winterized the coach. I'm not totally new to this. We've had trailers before. One frustration was that this rig has not had a water heater bypass installed. I would have put one in before winterizing, but the water heater plumbing is not very accessible on this rig. I thought of a scheme where I could pump anti-freeze in the hot side first, then drain and recover some from the water heater, reusing it in the cold side. When I looked things over, i found that the gas plumbing runs in front of the water heater drain in such a way that it would be difficult to rig a drain extension hose, or even a funnel, to catch the pink stuff. So, I just put in more RV anti-freeze and filled the whole thing. Using the leveling jacks, I tipped the coach up so that the inlet from the water tank was definitely the low point. That allowed me to pump from a small quantity of anti-freeze in the water tank, without sucking air. After I had confirmed how much I needed, I went back to Wal-mart and bought enough more RV anti-freeze to re-winterize on the way back from our winter trip to Florida. That way, I won't have to be searching for it on the way. Wal-mart sells an off-brand RV anti-freeze for $2.97 par gallon, and Prestone brand for $4.97 a gallon. Given that I use quite a bit of the stuff, and I'm just going to throw it away anyhow, I buy the cheaper brand. Both claim they're good to -50 F. When I got to the old lumber yard/storage place, I had a few minutes to snoop around while the proprietor was waiting on another customer. I didn't like the looks of some of the buildings, and some of the doors did not look wide enough or tall enough. I was very pleased when it was my turn, and the man led me to one of the newer buildings with a huge door and a nice concrete floor. Honoring our request, he had saved a spot for me where I can drive right out. On the way home, Grandma commented that we could store the MH for more than 10 years for what it would cost to build a shed for it on our property. She's right, though I do like the thought of having my own storage, with at least an electrical hookup. As a compromise step, I may someday make a nice level parking space next to our garden shed, then run electricity to the shed, with an outlet for the coach. In mid to late January, we'll pull the MH out of storage and take it to a shop about 25 miles from here that does truck alignments and suspension work. I have already checked with them to confirm that I can have them install the new Bilstein shocks that I have purchased, while I have it in to them for an alignment. I'll have them do a chassis lube as well. I did an oil and filter change myself, less than 200 miles ago. I also have a steering stabilizer on backorder, which will be installed at the same time. My part-time work slows up in the winter, so it's a good time to take off. We are going from Maine to Florida, where we plan to spend about a month. We haven't nailed down our departure date. It will depend somewhat on the weather, but will be at the end of January or the first part of February. I have to be back for some work-related training in the last week of March. Later, I'll post about the Florida trip, and perhaps about how our chassis handling improvements worked out.
It's been a shocking month and a half since I've written about our motor home and the experiences it brings us. There are many excuses: busy lives, family challenges, etc. Most of all, there has been little activity involving the motor home. We parked the motor home in the driveway next to our new mobile home at Sandpipers on October 13. I buttoned her down with window sun screens, and tire covers. Then we began to unload our gear from the closets and cabinets. This was new territory for us. For the last 9 1/2 years we have been living in a motor home. We unloaded one motor home before this one and that was a direct transfer from the old motor home to the new. I carried drawers from the old motor home out the door of the old, two steps on the ground, and right into the new motor home. Louise unloaded them, packing them away in the new motor home, and I brought the drawers back to the old motor home. Three days and we were on our way in a new home! Now we were moving into a house. The half-empty motor home will sit beside our home until spring when we head north to escape the heat of the south Texas summer. The refrigerator was emptied post haste. It was near failing and we were glad to shut it down. Will it ever run again? Only time will tell. Some clothes came out right away, others as the occasion demanded. One of those rare times when I needed a pair of dress slacks I had to hustle into the motor home and dig into the closet to bring several pairs into the house. I reluctantly unpacked my tools as the jobs in the house began to pile up. After a while, my focus is on getting the house in operating condition. I'm spending less and less time in the motor home. When we returned home we made a stop at a inspection station to have the motor home inspected. We weighed in at the Flying J as we needed a weight ticket for our license plates. We planned to take it out one more time for our driving test to get our Texas drivers licenses. With that in mind, we didn't refuel on our way home. We would do that after we had completed the driving test. Shortly before Thanksgiving, Louise called the drivers license bureau to get specific details of the testing procedure. She was told we would not need to take a test and could get our license by turning in our South Dakota licenses. So we picked up all the required paperwork and headed off to the license bureau. After waiting in line for two hours, we arrived at the counter. Anna Marie efficiently worked her way through our paperwork and issued us our Texas drivers license. After checking her computer, she apparently found the information that equated our South Dakota operator license with the Texas Class B license. We were able to exchange our South Dakota drivers licenses for a Texas Class B license required to drive a motor home greater than 26,000 pounds without having to take a written or driving test! Louise was visibly relieved. Every time I had mentioned the impending test to her she got this graven look on her face that said she really didn't want to face the test now or later. I was greatly relieved because I was beginning to think that I was going to be the only driver of the motor home. So now we didn't have to take the motor home out for the test. But there it sits, with a partial tank of fuel and no fuel preservative. So I pulled the tire covers off and removed the sun screens. Several hours going through the interior to ensure that it was secure and we're ready to make a run to the Flying J. Now that I've done that, I am in the process of parking the motor home for the winter. Unlike my northern neighbors, I don't worry about securing the motor home against freezing temperatures. Here, the sun is a constant worry so the sun screens and tire covers go back on the motor home. Tires are protected from the concrete by parking on a set of boards that also help level the motor home. It will be plugged in to keep all systems live and the leveling system will be kept active. We'll keep the furnace active, set at a low temperature to conserve fuel but warm enough to prevent freezing of the water pipes when temperatures drop low during the winter. I'm working on the routine maintenance items, tire pressure, flushing the water heater, cleaning the furnace, etc. This will continue on and off through the winter with the goal of being ready to hit the road next spring. Having a house is nice but it has it's own challenges. I have a whole new set of tasks to keep me busy. I'll keep dreaming of the next trip, the new territory to be explored and new friends to see. The motor home will be there to remind me that there is still a whole world out there to be explored!