After spending New Year’s Eve in McKinney Falls SP near Austin, TX, with perfect weather & fantastic companions, we headed for the Hatchery (the Casita factory near Rice TX) to pick up a few parts & pieces: new hinges for the front door since ours have never been right since trying to get into the Casita when the original door latch locked us out twice before getting replaced by a newer, heftier lock; replacement for cabinet door latch for the broken one of the large, back upper cabinet (That cabinet holds A LOT of things that kept falling out as we traveled.); and a clear screen door slide to replace the perfectly-good original black slide (so we now have a totally clear storm door with plexi-glass covering the screens).
While at the factory, we got to take a tour. The most important things I learned is that the upper and lower Casita shells aren’t actually held together by the belly band. As soon as the shells come out of the molds, the two parts are sort of welded together by fiberglass cloth applied to the inside of the two halves. Also, the wood floor placed over the fiberglass bottom is also totally fiberglassed before the flooring is put down. So even with a major internal leak, the wood floor won’t get wet and rot. Love, LOVE, L O V E how the Casitas are so water proof.
We spent a night boondocked in Arkansas with our old camping buddies Mountainborn (Larry) & Betty. Unfortunately, neither of them were feeling well due to pneumonia & a sinus infection so it was a pretty short visit. We’ll meet up with them again when they’re feeling better & the weather’s warmer.
Then we spent a couple of nights driveway-docking with a friend in Springfield, MO. We also made it to Camping World to pick up a few new things: 4’x10’ roll of Reflectex; 10’ rain gutter for above the awning (hope it works); mesh wall hanger for bathroom stuff; bungee-cord clothesline for future use; and a tripod for our MP1 portable satellite dish. We also stopped at an RV equipment place for new guts for our outside shower with leaking o-rings.
Finally arrived at my parents in central west Missouri for a few nights, then a couple of nights in Kansas City to visit friends and Jeff’s daughter, & finally to Jeff’s first of two doctor appointments at the Leavenworth VA. Unfortunately, his other appointment isn’t until the 30th, so we have 3 weeks to hang out in MO in January (ugh). We returned to my parents’ backyard then, but needed a dump station & reliable 30A hookup, so headed off for a campground.
We considered heading to Sioux Falls, SD to establish residency, but weren’t comfortable with the predicted weather. We did set up a permanent address for our mail though Your Best Address in Sioux Falls. We’ll go by there in the Spring to register the truck/Casita & get new driver’s licenses after Jeff’s father’s burial in Wisconsin. If anyone is thinking of getting a South Dakota address with Your Best Address, we get a free month’s mail service if you give me as a reference (like we did for someone else).
We decided to go somewhere we’ve never been: Truman Lake, near Warsaw, MO (a Corps of Engineer Lake that is half price with my geezer card) which is open all year with electric hookups, potable water, dump station, dumpster, & a nice view of the Lake.
Although we’re getting DirecTV from our sat dish, this particular area of the country needs a different receiver than what we have to receive local TV stations. So we’re doing without Network channels for now. I sent off the paperwork to get DNS (Distant Network Service) to get the national network programs wherever we go from now on.
Although a little slow, we DO have Verizon cell phone & MiFi service. Larry (Mountainborn) showed me how to connect my Droid (which has unlimited Verizon web access) to my laptop for internet access. I know many people use PDA Net but I’m trying a free Android app called Easy Tether which seems to be working well, especially for watching data-hungry videos. However, using Firefox, it won’t connect me to Google (weird).
Although the winter (even in Missouri) has been surprisingly warm & unsnowy, we knew it was only a matter of time before we would be slammed with freezing temperatures. So I put the Reflectex we bought at Camping World all along the walls under our three wrap-around windows in our Liberty, as well as all the way to the upper cabinets in both back corners. Then I covered those areas with sheets & two pillow shams (from our house) which fit the back corners perfectly. I used long straight (hat) pins from Wal-Mart to hold everything in place. I also pinned up the bubble wrap I used several years ago, but it isn’t cut large enough to keep out the drafts well. So I cut a clear plastic shower curtain in three pieces (wide enough for serious overlap under the Reflectix) & covered the three large windows in hopes of creating an insulting air pocket to prevent frozen window condensation & stop all window drafts. I’ve thought of using the window film some RVers have used, but I don’t believe that would work well on the Casita’s aluminum windows, plus it’s not reusable. I believe all this extra insulation has definitely helped us stay comfortable with overnight temps so far as low as 18º. And we’ve only used the A/C heat strip for heat so far, although we have the propane furnace if needed. As small as the Casita is, it’s not really hard to heat or cool. Kira gets too warm & I have to shed some layers. Unfortunately, the cold, drab landscape (even at the lake) is just as depressing from inside the Casita as it was from a house.
We are staying here at Truman Lake until the 25th when we’ll head to Kansas City to driveway dock again before Jeff’s last doctor’s appointment, celebrating a friend’s birthday and saying goodby to Jeff’s daughter & grandson. Then we hope to make a hasty retreat SOUTH immediately after that appointment – heading to Quartzite!
We have a few feelers out for Spring & Summer workkamping gigs, but since that is so fluid, we just want to concentrate on some much-needed downtime for now. We have over two months of recorded shows to watch on our DVR & I’m sure my eyelids have pin holes in them that I must check every afternoon. And there’s always a movie marathon with RedBox $1 movies too.
Stay tuned for more of our winter camping experiment & experiences.