My son Joe wants me to go with him next month to Williston, North Dakota and spend a month. Joe is a mortgage loan broker, and the demand for housing in that oil boom area of the country is high, there is absolutely no housing available, and oil workers are paying well over $100 a day for rooms in motels and private homes.
This will be quite an adventure, the local RV park is closed for the winter, so the Walmart parking lot is the only place to stay, temperatures this time of year are normally below zero, making it a challenge to keep the motorhome warm and avoid freezing everything up.
In preparation for this, I installed a "stay-a-while
" gas valve on my built-in LP gas tank to enable me to hook up external tanks as I need them. There are several sources for liquid propane in the city. I'm also adding some insulation in key areas of my motorhome, and I'm experimenting with a foam rubber "tent" to surround my holding tanks, with a quartz heater on the ground inside that enclosure. It seems to work well, a week ago, my grey water tank froze, and by using the foam rubber enclosure and heater, it thawed in just a few hours and remained unfrozen.
Joe will need his car to drive the area and visit with prospective clients, so the decision was made to buy a car dolly. I looked at several in the area on Craigs List, but what I saw were generally a bit over-priced, most were rusty, with "fair tires" and no spare. I didn't want to travel 600 miles towing a car on "fair tires". I expanded my search into Wisconsin and found what I was looking for near Eau Claire, a well-maintained Master Tow with new tires, including the spare, a good paint job, no rust, and the electric winch was a real bonus. I contacted the seller and made the deal.
The plan was to drive the 150 miles, pick up the dolly and stay overnight in the area, returning home the next day. I called Joe, and he was glad to come along and keep me company. Joe works 12-18 hours a day, making heavy use of the internet and online faxing services to get his documents, and spends hours a day on the phone, talking to clients and mortgage lenders. So, the next morning, I picked up Joe in the Twin Cities and we headed out.
Thank God for my GPS, I'm not sure I could have found the seller without it, and we arrived after dark. The car dolly was every bit as good as the ad and photos showed it, and it only took a few minutes to hand over the cash, hook it up, and off we went to the Walmart store to spend the night.
Walmart doesn't charge to park there, but they must do ok financially because of it, I have yet to spend the night with them that I didn't go in the store and spend $50 bucks or more, and last night was no exception.
Temperatures were down in the 20's, and the furnace kicked-in now and then, and we ran the generator for several hours to power the computers and television. It was a good test of the cold weather abilities of our equipment.