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Thread: Wintering over in a trailer

  1. #1
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    Default Wintering over in a trailer

    I've been contemplating a vagabond life style when I finally retire. That said I've been thinking of getting a 5th wheel trailer and a diesel PU. What is the feasibility of wintering over in Anchorage in the trailer or is it more of a PITA then it's worth. I realize that Anchorage weather is not generally all that extreme but am concerned mainly with plumbing problems.
    Thanks for any insight you can give. FWIW though I'm currently living in Texas I'm from the Mid-West and am used to -10 to -15 weather.
    Steve
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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    sounds really stupid as even with the winter heated basement packages on the new trailers, their insulation is so poor you will be going thru propane and electgricity like mad, propane is less and less effective as the temperatures drop.. probably be cheaper and more comfortable to rent a run down apartment in anchorage.
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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    I'd say Anchorage is going to be a bit tough on the heating aspect as mentioned above, not that great a place to Vagabond Out for the winter anyway, if you came down to a coastal city, Kodiak, Southeast, the feasibility is much higher. Probably even Homer and Seward are going to be Too Windy Cold for hanging in a trailer. Southern Coastal tho, Much warmer, on your plumbing systems freeze up factor,

    I would eliminate much hopes in Propane as you probably already know. Definitely look into Diesel Heaters, if you are packing diesel for your truck, find a Toyo system for your trailer or something like that. Propane Definitely is Too Weak for serious winter in my opinion.

    I suppose that as far as Vagabonding goes in winter, if you are in a place like the Anchorage you would have more to do in the way of libraries, interesting bookstores, etc. places to get out of your small home. It might be a Real Stir Crazy scene in Kodiak where the rain and wind drives you inside All Winter and there isn't much to walking the halls of Walmart for kicks.

    When I was 20, I did nearly an entire winter in a Visqueen Tipi outside Ketchikan, Man, that was hard core, did a LOT of WALKING after dark, in Sheets of Rain with my hood up, just to get out. Changed my perspective on everything forever. I still think back on those days and think "What the Heck?"

    Now one of my favorite replies to whining, (including my own) is "Well, Just Get Tougher, Put Your Hood Up!"
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    New member fishingis4play's Avatar
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    You can do it but it is a PITA I lived in mine for 6 years in Soldonta. I skirted my 33 ft trailer with blue board and plywood built access points to the sewer so I could dump it and when temps were cold I would run a space heater under the trailer to keep septic tanks from freezing. You'll want a bulk propane tank because when it drops to zero or below you'll burn through a standard bottle every three days or so and it usually runs out when your asleep so you wake to a cold trailer. I built a roof over mine also because when snow lays on the roof your ceiling will begin to sweat there is only 2 inches of insulation up there. You'll also have to run heat tape on the water lines going into the side of the trailer or the water freezes. The windows will also sweat and when it's in the minus temps they freeze on the inside! Feel free to PM me, my friends all thought I was nuts when I was living in it but with all this said it was worth it in the end I built my house out of pocket on 14 acres and I'm NOT making a house payment for the next 25 to 30 years like they all are!
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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    very nice setup !
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    Thank you for your responses, youíve confirmed that it will be the PITA that I thought, though I do like some of the alternate (diesel fuel) furnace ideas. Iím in my early 60ís and have been interested in moving to Alaska since I first subscribed to Alaska Magazine back in the mid-50ís. Also a lifelong friend of mine has spent the last 35 years living in Anchorage and itíll be good to do some hunting and fishing with him (he has my hunting, fishing and trapping partner in high school). Before I completely commit to the move, I have to learn if Seasonal Affected Disorder is going to be a major problem (I used to get it in late February and early March in Northern Illinois and it was another PITA). Probably the only really good thing about living in Houston is that itís low enough in latitude that SAD doesnít bother me here. I think what Iíll do when I decide to come up is put my stuff in storage and rent for a year in Alaska. I guess the 5th wheel motorhome is part of my fall-back plan if Alaska doesnít work. With the motorhome I can spend summer, fall and early winter in Montana and the Dakotas and then migrate down to Flaggstaff AZ for the rest of the winter and spring (I love winter but really hate SAD!).
    Thanks again to everyone that responded.
    Steve
    Tomorrow's a mystery, yesterday's history, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present!
    Approach life like you do a yellow light - RUN IT! (Gail T.)

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    ya i think being a snowbird is the best anwser, alaska is great in the summer, but winters can be long dark and cold, top that off with being uncomfortable in a tavel trailer with ice forming inside the walls and youll deffinatly have the sads!
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    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Best way to defeat SAD is to get out and enjoy all the winter sports(Ice fishing,snow machining,skiing,skating). There are lots of things to do in Anchorage to keep you busy in the winter time. SAD will defeat you if you worry about it all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Man View Post
    Best way to defeat SAD is to get out and enjoy all the winter sports(Ice fishing,snow machining,skiing,skating). There are lots of things to do in Anchorage to keep you busy in the winter time. SAD will defeat you if you worry about it all the time.
    Yep- got this advice my first winter here and its been invaluable. Getting out is paramount to making it. Met plenty of SAD sufferers who were housebound, can't recall any outdoor active folks who were very affected.

    Living in a travel trailer while it can be done with some effort would generally not be worth it for somebody of modest means. You could easily rent an apartment for what you'd spend on fuel alone.

    If you were doing it to accomplish a goal (like building or for short term lodging on the move) it would be doable but I don't think I'd suggest it.

    As an idea... if you like the idea of being here for cheap look for a caretaker type position- lots of snowbirds here who would love to have a responsible person house sit for the winter and be gone in the spring. Your lodging could be nearly free if the right deal comes along.

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    Hodgeman, what a good idea, I'm very good at any type of maintenance. As for SAD, when I lived in Illinois I had my own business and made it a point to get outside alot no matter what the weather, I even kept a SAD lamp next to my computer, it didn't matter with all those short overcast days by mid-Feb I'd go into a funk that would last through most of March. However, I'm thinking part of SAD might stem from a vitamin D deficiency, after all vitamin D is actually a hormone that your body needs sunlight to produce. In fact genetically speaking, I'm thinking that is why my Norwegian ancestors were fair skinned, to help their bodies facilitate the production of vitamin D in the winter months.
    Steve
    PS in 2005 my friend and I went grouse hunting for a few days near Delta Junction, it was a nice area.
    Tomorrow's a mystery, yesterday's history, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present!
    Approach life like you do a yellow light - RUN IT! (Gail T.)

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Two cures for sad, get out and be active in the winter, especially on sunny days, and head to Hawaii or somewhere warm and sunny for a week or two mid winter. I used to poo poo heading South mid winter, but after having done so the winter before last, and not doing it last winter, I'd say it's essential.

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockdoc View Post
    In fact genetically speaking, I'm thinking that is why my Norwegian ancestors were fair skinned, to help their bodies facilitate the production of vitamin D in the winter months.
    so do black people in alaska get SADS more?
    Semper Fi!

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    I have a geologist friend from Nigeria, he earned his Masters and Phd studying in Norway. He told me that he had a terrible time with SAD, in fact that's where I started to develope my theory that perhaps part of the problem is a lack of vitamin D, a hormone made by your body that requires sunlight. His dark skin (and it's really dark!) would definitly impede his bodies ability to produce vitamin D in northern latitudes.
    Steve
    Tomorrow's a mystery, yesterday's history, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present!
    Approach life like you do a yellow light - RUN IT! (Gail T.)

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