Sunday, September 11, 2016

Squirreling Away RV Nuts for Winter

      I thought it might be informative to detail the packing and storage considerations for a winter sojourn of 6 months that takes us across many states and climates.  We're not talking "off the grid doomsday prepper survivalist levels", but pretty simple common sense things that can save time and money down the road.  Our average winter trip lasts 6 months and across anywhere from 8,000-15,000 miles.  This necessitates planning on several logistic levels.  These are in addition to the normal supplies utilized.  This winter our travels will only take us as far south and west as Louisiana and Texas as we save $$$ for Alaska next summer. 

Auto/RV maintenance supplies

CLOTHING:  We stock about 7-10 day's clothing consisting of underwear, shirts, pants, shorts, hoodies, sweaters, sweatshirts, raingear, rubber boots, and shoes.  Basically whatever you might think you will use on the road.  We limit this to such a short time because laundry is almost always required about every week.  Types and weight of clothing will depend on individual preferences and regional climes.  (This year we will be quail and pheasant hunting in NW Oklahoma and SW Kansas during late November early December so the temps can be quite COLD at times) Shoes also fall into this regional category, depending on use (leisure, hiking, golf, dress, etc.)  Of course we carry all the required laundry equipment including (and don't laugh) a healthy supply of quarters.  Laundry costs on the road can vary from $1.75 to $7.00 a load for wash and anywhere from 50 cents upwards for dryers depending on time.  Always bring your own detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets.
FOOD:  One can try to plan ahead as much as possible, but there are always factors to consider.  Barb and I always take the leftovers from several meals over the summer to pack and freeze for winter.  Also, our garden is planted with the express intent of supplying the winter pantry. We have an additional 43 quart DC powered Engel Cooler/Freezer to assist with this, effectively doubling our freezer storage throughout the trip allowing for hunting, fishing, and regional stocking up.  Of course we stock about an additional 20 pounds pet food.  This year our frozen pantry storage consists of:
10 packs of asparagus
13 packs of corn
6 packs of broccoli
10 packs of tasso (Cajun Bacon)
10 packs of green beans
11 packs of cudighi (Yooper Italian Sausage)
10 packs of whitefish
1 pack of oxtail
6 chicken and beef pastys
      In addition we have stocked frozen meals of Wild Boar Mac n Cheese, Wild Boar Ham, Crab n Corn Bisque, and New Mexico Manicotti.  These meals always provide an easy thaw and cook alternative on travel days as well as defray costs along the way.  Additionally, the pantry is fully stocked with nearly every spice, herb, stock, sauce, and marinade imaginable for my kitchen adventures.

ACCESSORIES:  This is just about everything and anything in between.  There is, of course, all the hunting, fishing, and golf equipment which can be substantial. We stock extra charger cables for electronics, empty water bottles, bucket, several gallons of fresh water, batteries, rolls of Velcro tape, duct tape, Gorilla Glue, and several containers of Flex Seal in both spray and caulk, Rescue 911 Rubberized Spray, Clorox Spray, Armor All, WD-40, and Silicon Spray Lube.  Additionally the on board tool kit contains nearly every screw, fastener, light bulb, LED, and fitting we might need in addition to a portable trouble light, rope, extra filters, an 11 foot telescoping ladder plus another 6 foot step ladder, and a variety of tools including my Milwaukee 18V Fuel cordless drill (a beast on torque).  The idea here is to be able to initially fix or repair any OTR leak or mishap at least temporarily or until a repair facility is reached.  You can't fix everything on your RV on the road, but a good toolkit, sealant, and duct tape goes a long ways.  Another important note:  we carry all our financial and bill paying info with us as well as a complete set of medical records for both Barb, Bones, Roux and I.  We carry all prescription, pharmacy, and doctor info as sometimes cross referencing prescription refills on the road can be a bit of a juggling act.  We have a sheet of contact info for those (with keys) keeping an eye on things while we are gone and mail forwarding points of contact too.  Lastly, we keep our credit card company updated as to our locations to further protect our card securities and ensure acceptance at any stop when needed. 

AUTO RV MAINTENANCE SUPPLIES:   Depending on how long we travel either via miles or distance determines the supplies I stock up on.  For the solar system I stock a gallon of distilled water for the on board battery bank........a NO BRAINER.  I also carry a complete set of multimeter tools and cabling for the battery bank.  For the truck I always stock an additional 3 gallons of ROTELLA Diesel Synthetic Motor Oil, 5 gallons of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), a portable air compressor, water pump for off grid point of contact pumping,  two 6 gallon water jugs, extra 40 gallon water tank with pump, Honda EU 3000 generator, and 2 five gallon 'jerry cans' of gas......diesel and unleaded.  On a longer trip, let's say Alaska or Mexico, I also carry 2 extra spare tires for both the truck and RV plus a versatile RV drive on mount for changing tires.  This is much easier and quicker than a standard jack.   
Summary:  This is the bulk of our 'Winter Pantry' planning and stocking list, most of which remains either in the truck or onboard the RV year-round.  Other items are used both on the road as well as at home during the summers so we have to be sure and swap back and forth where needed.  Prepping advance frozen food supplies saves us considerable $$$ thus saving us for when we want a special dining out experience or just a break from the critters.  The solar powered battery bank and generator backup allows us to boondock off grid for a day or up 10 dayssy whenever/wherever we need to.  We only need the generator for microwave or A/C should the need arise.  We do have to keep an eye on weight due to the light RV frame. We get the entire unit weight once packed once underway.  This is much easier as we do not haul water on travel days until we get very close to our destination.  This is only for toilet flush considerations unless we plan on spending several days in one location.   Inevitably we end up needing something we didn't expect on the road, but not for lack of preparation.  Winter's coming, must get back to my 'squirrel duties'......

"He who would travel lightly must travel light"
                                                                      Antoine de St. Exupery

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