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Old 10-14-2016, 01:39 PM   #1
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Snow bird travel

Just laid up my 2015 Flagstaff 26FKWS by blowing out the lines and adding anti-freeze. For the first time we are taking our baby under brutal winter conditions (Jan-Feb) from Winnipeg (just North of Grand Forks ND) to Mesa AZ. Should I put a heater in the trailer for a day or so to warm it up for loading bedding and clothes before departure. I worried about breaking something plastic during the loading process. I know you have to clean the roof off to prevent damage to the rubber roof and putting on the furnace with floor heat vents can cause problems with the vinyl flooring. Any other pearls of wisdom for preparing and travelling under extreme freezing conditions?
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:07 PM   #2
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We pack our 5th wheel in our drive way for winter departure. I get it as level as possible and put the slides out and plug the unit into the house for AC. I will then turn on the heat if it is really cold outside and begin the loading process. I leave the unit winterized until I get far enough south to no have to worry about freezing the pipes and then un winterize on the road most of the time. We stop at a campground with AC and turn on the heat and take a gallon of water in a jug or two for coffee and flushing if needed. This works for us.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:36 AM   #3
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And you want to make sure your slides do work because the US customs folks may want to go in the trailer when you cross the border. By do work I mean that they aren't frozen shut or anything like that. The first night for sure possibly even 2nd, you should bank on staying in a hotel. You may luck out and have decent enough weather the 2nd night but January is unpredictable. Cold weather with clear skies are actually in your favour to avoid any freezing rain or snow.
What route are you taking?
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:20 PM   #4
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Possible routes to AZ

Will likely take I29 from Canadian border south to Oklahoma City and use interstates through Amarillo and Albuquerque then Mesa if the weather is bad. Also looking at cutting across on Highway 25 or 81, not sure
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:25 PM   #5
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I have three cracks on the inside of my door. The inside thin vinyl covering cracked in three places, so be careful on closing the door at below freezing temps.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rthomaslyons View Post
Will likely take I29 from Canadian border south to Oklahoma City and use interstates through Amarillo and Albuquerque then Mesa if the weather is bad. Also looking at cutting across on Highway 25 or 81, not sure
I have driven that route from Winnipeg several times. Ok City and Amarillo will extend you big time.....Highway 81 is very good with lots of places to stop along the way when you need a break or stop for the night. From 81 you can take Hwy 61 south of Salina,KS at McPherson going through Hutchinson and Pratt. That then turns into 54 which will take you all the way to Liberal, KS and and through OK panhandle and portion of Texas(you will be North of Amarillo)and you will come out to I-40 at Tucumcari, NM. then onto Albuquerque. Although 54 is alot of 2 lane, they have done lots over the years to twin parts of it and provide many passing lanes. It's a very good highway. I would have to double check my figures but you can check it out on Google Maps, I am going to say you will cut off 180 miles or so as opposed to OK City.
When you get on I 40 as you get closer to Albuquerque, you can check weather west of Alb to decide to go or hold off, and watch for the trucks coming east from that way...if they are snow or ice covered, then you know it's not pretty west of Alb. I have driven through a snow storm west of Alb near Flagstaff that very much resembled our Manitoba weather, so you want to check forecast and road conditions.
Anything is possible all the way to Alb...sounds like you have time being a snowbird, so pick your window and be flexible. Hopefully you get a 3-4 day window of clear skies and dry weather.
Feel free to private message me if you need more info.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:25 PM   #7
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With regards to your point on packing...my experience in our climate is that once you put even a bit of heat on in the trailer, you will build condensation like crazy and once you unplug and kill the heat to head out, things freeze up, then your slides may not open, etc, etc. I wouldn't put any heat on till you are in warmer weather. Pack what you can in the trailer without heat, and pack in your truck and move it into trailer once in warmer weather. You might luck out and have it warm enough after 1 day of travel.
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
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With regards to your point on packing...my experience in our climate is that once you put even a bit of heat on in the trailer, you will build condensation like crazy and once you unplug and kill the heat to head out, things freeze up, then your slides may not open, etc, etc. I wouldn't put any heat on till you are in warmer weather. Pack what you can in the trailer without heat, and pack in your truck and move it into trailer once in warmer weather. You might luck out and have it warm enough after 1 day of travel.
Not sure how to PM you on this forum.

Thanks for the info, while I was still working we did this trip in less than a month with no problems back in 1999-2000 around Christmas and New Years but for the life of me don't remember much about the packing and planning. I was younger and didn't sweat the details. We went by interstate all the way but returned to home using a good part of Hwy 81. Would the weather be similar using 81 as compared to the interstates? Do you recall good places to stay along 81 either motels or camp grounds?
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:48 AM   #9
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To private message somebody you just click in their username and a box will appear with a drop down menu and private message feature is in there.

81 and I29 are pretty close to one another that whatever weather you have on one will likely be the same on the other. Difference will be that the Interstate will much likely be better maintained during a snow/ice event. Plus being 4 lane it will be less nerve racking....that's where the see what the weather is when you leave comes in to play.
Many towns along 81 that will provide good hotels...keep in mind you will likely only be on 81 1 day. Many campgrounds along 81, even along Interstate will be closed at that time of year or they will be open with electrical service only.
Norfolk, York, Concordia, Salina....all good places along 81. I would normally grab 81 off I90 at Sioux Falls.
If you want to stick to I29 longer you can do Omaha, Lincoln and then a short stint on 81/135 to Wichita and then grab Hwy54.....that way you still avoid going to Ok City.
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Old 10-17-2016, 12:19 PM   #10
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How rare are open campgrounds when your heading from North Dakota to Mesa. Showers with toilets and an electrical hook up would likely do for overnight stays on the way down and back North.
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Old 10-17-2016, 12:34 PM   #11
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If your coming down I-25 thru CO, KOA north of Pueblo and the one south of Colorado Springs is open year around.
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:29 PM   #12
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They will be very rare your first day till you get closer to Kansas area, then you will likely find some that offer electrical but no water. Depending on your travel habits and distance you drive per day, you could be in decent weather 2nd day, just don't count on it because being January anything can happen.
Having said that we have stayed overnight in Stromsburg, NE in a small municipal c\g right on 81. Water and sewer were not available but electrical was so that worked just fine...there are other places like that along the way...but we did that in a motorhome...easier than with a trailer, since heat is always on.
Personally, with a trailer, I would just count on staying in a hotel the first night, and then play it by ear after that.
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