January 5-6, 2017 (by Angela)
During most of the winter of 2014-15, the dog, the camper, and I were in counties in Alabama and Mississippi bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Jim spent part of the time there and part of the time flying back and forth to projects he was working in the snowy north and western parts of the country. We headed south on December 28th, so other than November and December, we really were not impacted by the cold, cold of winter that year while in the RV. Jim, the dog, and the camper were located in very southern Tennessee during the winter of 2015-16 while I spent most of those months on the southern coast of Virginia helping our pregnant and sick daughter. While Jim did have a few very cold weeks, over all, it was a much milder winter than the one in 2014-15. The winter of 2016-17 is not looking so mild, at least not by southern standards.
October 1, 2016, we moved to Arkansas for his work, and we truly didn’t expect to still be here as the heart of winter is bearing down upon us. While we are thankful for extensions of contracts that mean extension of income, I am not going to cry when Jim tells me that his work here is done because I am COLD! Yes, we have an Arctic package that provides us with a heated underbelly, but to keep the RV cozy and warm, we use quite a bit of propane. We have two 30-lb tanks, and experience has taught us that when it is as cold as it is now (20s and even teens at night and not always getting much above freezing during the day), we can go through both tanks in 7 to 10 days even supplementing heat using ceramic space heaters during the day.
What are our plans when this job is done? Jim has decided he is going to tell prospective clients that he is not available before March 1st at the earliest, so as soon as we can, we are heading SOUTH! Beyond that, we have no specific plans, though I have requested an opportunity to visit St. Augustine, Florida, if it works into our meandering. Once far enough south that we don’t need much heat, yet not so far south that we need to run the A/C, I’m hoping that we can expand our experiences with boondocking, or dry camping, in free camping locations. If we do this, it will be baby steps with us doing so for a night or two in between our stops in normal campgrounds.
The only requirements for where we go is warmth and affordability. The major downside to Jim not being on a client site, other than the obvious loss of regular income, is that we have to pay for our own site rent and utilities. These expenses are reimbursed by the client when he is on job sites in the same way that clients compensate him for travel, hotel rooms, and car rental/gas when he travels in the more traditional way to a client site for work.
Until we know the exact date he will complete the client’s needs here, we don’t know when we will leave. Still, I know we are getting close, and I am more than ready to not have to run heat day and night. Here’s to soon being on the roam again toward warmth.
UPDATE: The snow came during the night! We woke on January 6th with it 16 degrees F and with a wind chill temperature of 7 degrees. BRR!
P.S. I think Jim got chilled, also. 🙂