While most people go south for the winter in this lifestyle, Brian and I decided we wanted to try out life up in the Pacific Northwest. We have been thinking of moving here for years, and we hadn’t experienced winter in the PNW yet. As well, we hadn’t experienced winter in the Airstream because we hit the south when we crossed the country in December and then we were in California until mid January visiting family. So all the adventures are new!
We found a spot to stay up at in Anacortes on the water where we could be full timers month by month and have full hookups. This works great for us because we are new to the area, so we are still deciding where we would like to live, work, and find a new home. Winter is cold up here. One fast and important thing we learned was that we needed a dehumidifier to deal with the moisture that was condensing on the inside. We went to Home Depot and bought one. It’s bigger than we expected, so we keep in under the kitchen table to not take up too much space. This has been a very very wise purchase. Without it we would likely gotten sick and would have started to get mold.
The next thing we learned was that on the nights that dip below 32 degrees, we needed to keep the water dripping so that our water hose and exterior faucet wouldn’t freeze. It also helps the Airstream pipes, however, as long as we are heating our Airstream those pipes stay warm too. We also keep our electric hot water heater on all the times which is also supposed to keep things happy in the winter.
Next we learned we burn propane much faster than before for our heating. In the winter we now need to refill our propane about every 2 weeks. While we are out during the day, we keep our heat on at least 50 degrees if the weather is in the 30’s. When we are back we run the heater between 60-70 degrees, until bed, then run it at about 58 at night. For us 58 degrees seems to be the magic number for sleeping, when I have put it to 60 or 62, we wake up too warm, and have to change it. We had been filling the propane about every two weeks during the winter, but then the last week was really cold 20’s most nights, and we were cooking with the oven a lot, so in one week we ran through our propane. We found out the hard way at 8 p.m. while cooking, then tried to get more propane, but they don’t fill it after dark. It was a cold nights sleep. From now on we will check to see when one is empty, fill it and then we will hopefully never be out of all propane again.
Winter is different because it’s too cold to be outside very much, so we spend a lot more time indoors, much like you would in your home in the winter. Most of our trip we didn’t watch TV, but it’s winter now, and TV is awesome in the winter, so we are glad that our place has cable. We have also have been playing backgammon which has been fun, and as well, the Olympics were on. Also, just like in the winter in most communities, people are more indoors, so things are really quiet.
We have had a few snow storms in Anacortes which makes everything really beautiful here. If it is going to be cold, might as well! Seeing snow at sea level is something else. We are really liking Whidbey Island, which is possibly where we will settle. It’s been smart for us to test out the winter here. After all we are Californians and we needed to see this weather for ourselves. We always seem to be in the Seattle area when the weather is gorgeous, so this is great for us to see if we can do it. Some days we go back and forth on it, but once the sun comes out, it’s pretty much the most beautiful place ever! We love taking the car ferries up here. We’ve taken ferry trips over to San Juan Island, over to Port Angeles, and back and forth on Whidbey. Absolutely love the ferries, and seeing the islands here. It’s a pretty spectacular place!
We went back to California for a week for a job, and while we were gone the nights were in the 30’s. We filled up our two tanks of propane, and left the heat at 50 degrees. We also were advised that it may be a good idea to keep the water running to be on the safe side. As a Californian, I feel weird leaving the water running, but there is plenty of water here, so I decided it’s better than coming back to frozen pipes and problems. We were gone about 8 days, and when we returned all was well. We thought all the propane may be gone, but we still had one full tank. Now we know a lot more about winter living in the airstream, and if we leave town we know what to do!