Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Winterizing the Motorhome - Such a Sad Time of the Year

Ahhhh it is the time that most RVers in the northern states hate. 

Yes, winterizing the RV.

That means no more camping until spring.  


Although, we do try to sneak off for 6 weeks in the winter to the south, we start out with winterized lines and do not fill with fresh water until we are far beyond the freezing temps as we trek south.

In our motorhome, we have *zones* of water lines in groups to various water items.  The section in our compartment is called a Water Manifold.  Your rig design may vary.....

We use a combination of blowing out with air and also adding some RV antifreeze in some areas.  We know some people do only air, some do only RV antifreeze.  You can choose what works best for you. After owning RVs for over 30 years, I lean to the antifreeze system, while Steve leans to air only technique.  We have reached a happy medium now between us with what works best for us.

We have a washing machine, an ice maker unit, the kitchen sink and then the bathroom group of items, as well as an outside shower unit.  The manifold has valves that let us control each group as to what water goes where.  This also makes it easier to winterize each section.  They are the little white levers on each side of the blue filter in this pic.

Our temps are reaching the freezing mark here in Wisconsin .... so sadly it is that time of year to winterize the rig. 

1. drain the tanks- 
The first step is to drain all the holding tanks. The black and grey we did last weekend at High Cliff before leaving the campground.  Now we had to drain all of our fresh water from the fresh water holding tank. Every rig is different, but our rig has a fresh water tank drain located right near it. Check your owner manual to find yours.

2. pull anode rod out of water heater-
I did not get a pic of this because Steve was working so fast ahead of me.  Be sure your water heater is OFF and drain out all the water. It is a good idea to clean the rod at the same time, or replace it with a new one if it is all pitted up and worn away. Now replace it back in tight (because we do not by pass our water heater) 

3. Now open your low point drain-
On our rig we have two low point drains on our system (not to be confused with the fresh water tank drain).  This lets the water from all the lines run out into the ground, not into your holding tanks.

4. open all the faucets-
We go into the motorhome and open all the faucets wide open, including the shower turned to the spray position. We flush the toilet a few times until no water is running in the bowl.

5. take care of icemaker before blowing lines-
We have a separate built in icemaker unit from Uline.  This is too expensive to ever ruin, so we take extra care to winterize it.  It is built into a cabinet and has a separate manifold valve.

We unhook the fill line on the icemaker unit and turn the end of the hose into a small bucket to catch the blowing water as it comes out. We use this little garden hose valve unit to run it out into a bucket that is set outside the door.  That way it does not accidentally spray loose all over our carpeting or hardwood floors.
(sorry the garden hose is already unhooked in this pic, 
Steve is too fast for me to take pics of everything)

6.  set up the compressor and hose near your water bay-
Next we put on this air compressor fitting to our fill inlet where we normally hook up a water hose. Steve made ours up himself but they might be bought at some rv suppliers or a plumbing store?

We have the air compressor set at only 
40 pounds of air pressure, 
you do NOT want to ruin all your fittings and connections 
by blasting in too much air! 

7. double check your hose and compressor-
We turn the valve from fresh water fill mode over to city use (as if it was water coming from a hose) to allow air to enter the system.


8. We go inside and open each faucet, directing the handle back and forth from hot to cold several times.  We do this on all the sinks and then we flush the toilet several times to be sure there is no more water coming through the lines.. We work the shower diverter control back and forth to do both the tub and shower line.

9. We run the washing machine for a short segment on fill mode with the dial set to WARM so both the hot and cold lines drain into the machine. Run it until you do not hear any more water coming through the fill lines. Then we switch to SPIN so it all spins out. Our washing machine drains straight out the drain, not to either grey or black tank. Do not fret, we do come back to add winterizing antifreeze in a bit.

10 Now we go outside and blow out the out side shower faucet. Next, turn the valve as if to fill the water tank... that then blows air through the pump and into the fresh water tank fill lines.

11 Now turn the fill valve to the use or street position.  Once the water is all blown out ... then we close it everything back up again. Yup we close every valve and faucet and line --- except the ice maker which already has that little garden hose shut off to the inlet connection.

12. Next job is to winterize the waterpump. If you do not do this, you can ruin the diaphragms or crack the pump itself. Not fun come next spring to find out that you ruined your pump!   We take the line off the waterpump connection, add on the extension line that goes into a bottle of safe PINK RV ANTIFREEZE ------  DO NOT USE AUTOMOTIVE RADIATOR ANTIFREEZE. Get two gallons of it.

13. Time to run the water pump. This will suck antifreeze into the pump (our lines are clear so we can see it go through). To get the idea, Steve had ours done before I could snap a pic.  Here is a photo I robbed off the internet of another person setup.  It sucks through about a quart or less.

14. Shut off the pump.

15. Go back inside the rig... Using the rest of that jug of antifreeze to pour in the sink traps, the tub trap, and the toilet.  Now you can open the faucets back up, just in case there is a tiny bit of moisture that could expand under freezing conditions.

16. Now open the next jug and dump about 2 quarts into the washing machine.  We run it though a spin cycle so the pink goes through the pump and out the drain.

We keep the rest of the extra jug of antifreeze onboard in the rig for when we head south. The first day or two we are still travelling in sub freezing temps and might need it to flush the toilet or add to the drains if we stop for the night.... Windshield washing fluid can also be used if you need to flush the toilet and will help prevent anything from freezing in your black tank on the road.  It is readily available at most gas stations, whereas pink RV antifreeze may not be.

Once we reach warmer temps, we hook everything back up and refill our water system  We rinse the system out a few times if we can---  because the pink is in the line near the water pump.... Although it is safe to wash or drink, we do not care for it in our water.  We use bottled water the first few days until we can get all the pink rinsed out.  After a few showers the pink is gone and all is well again.

It is Halloween Time in our small town of Chilton.  This afternoon is trick or treating in our town from 3 till 5.  We decorated up the house a bit the other day after taking down our decorations at High Cliff.  We have had them on each evening to create a ghoulish effect.....

The purple, pink and blue lights create the interesting effect.

Surprisingly, we came home to find a whole bunch of extra decorations piled up at our back door.  A kind neighbor had some leftovers after cleaning out and knew we loved to decorate so she gave them to us!   Steve went out this morning and added a few more to the front yard to really do it up good.

 (do not miss the skeleton hanging on my weeping cherry tree on the far right of the pic) 

He strung the two ghouls up from the tree and they are blowing in the wind.
The yard has been planted with tombstones and gargoyle is on the front steps.

Tomorrow is my birthday,
and I am going out to lunch with our oldest daughter Erin
and brand new grandbaby Claire after their checkups. 
We missed them at High Cliff last weekend, 
so this will be a wonderful way to spend my birthday! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Welcome Home Claire Bear - and - Halloween at High Cliff State Park

I am so pleased to be able to announce that our preemie granddaughter Claire is thriving! After 6 days being on CPAP machines to help with her immature lungs, and a feeding tube, they were finally removed and she was able to breathe on her own, and nurse as well.

Lookee at this little Claire Bear bundled up to go home! 

She was released on Monday, one week after being born. She is home and healthy and thriving. Thank you everyone for your kind words, thoughts and prayers for her surprise early birth.

She had a check-up today at the pediatrician and has gained two and a half more ounces and has grown half an inch. What a wonderful new addition to the Choate family!!!


Well she was basking in the care of the hospital NICU, her two older siblings were able to join us at High Cliff State Park.

For the last 4 years we have enjoyed our Halloween celebration at High Cliff. This year was going to be wonderful because we would have six of our seven grandchildren visiting us at the park. It is also my birthday (actually on Halloween itself) so it is a great time to celebrate everything together at once.

This event at High Cliff usually takes place the weekend before Halloween. This way the campground bathrooms are still open, water and dump station are still operational, and everyone is able to enjoy the holiday at home the following weekend. We reserved our camp site, as well as one across the road from us for our son and daughter-in-law with their children for their Salem camping trailer.

The entire Campground gets into decorating and handing out treats on Saturday. The headcount at the main gate was approximately 6,200 people coming through the park. This year I really stocked up on candy so we did not run out!

Here are some of the campsites and their crazy decorations!

and our October Camp Hosts, 
Rosie and Luke
who go all out....
 this is just a small part of their decorations on the host site

It was delightful fun and we had a great time. Our grandtots and our great nephews got all dressed up for the candy and festivities....

Great-nephew Matt took care of handing out the candy from our site

 Thousands of people descended on the campgrounds!  Crowds floated by and we watched all the delightful and creative costumes as they passed our site.  Someone was making balloon animals and swords and toys for the kids. It was like a three ring circus, but it was 6 roads long!  112 campsites full of festive fall fun.

After the trick or treating was all done, we put those kids to bed and they all zonked out toot sweet.  All of that fresh air, walking and playing wore them plum out. They did not get to eat too much candy, so the sugar high was kept to a minimum.  Then we adults sat out around the campfire till well after midnight. 

The BEST part of camping with grandtots is when they all pile into our bed in the morning for a snuggle fest! The dogs hop right in and take part too.  Good thing we have a king sized bed in our motorhome. 

Our tradition is to give them little boxes of cereal to tide them over
until we cook a bigger breakfast once all the other adults wake up.
Notice how early it is, still kinda dark out yet....
(I remember Gram Kafehl getting those boxes for us as kids)

Then my oldest grandson Jameson made me 
a very special birthday cheesecake to celebrate
my birthday! What a great chef!!!

 The younger kids gave me a spa day including a foot massage, a back massage, and brushed and styled my hair for the day. What a lucky Grandma I am!  The kids were busy playing on the long stone wall that runs along the southern edge of the campground, leftover from the farming days in this area.  This is my FAVORITE pic of the weekend....  taken by my daughterinlaw Heather.

We got in time to visit, cuddle grandkids and 
have a nice visit with everyone together. 
(except Erin and Waylen with baby Claire at the hospital) 

The weather was unusually delightful and warm and sunny and on Sunday it actually reached 71 degrees for a high. Imagine that! I remember some Halloween's where it was snowing and we had to wear snow suits under our costumes to stay warm.

Steve and I lazed around the park after everyone left and we took our time packing up. It might very well be our last day of camping until maybe a mid winter vacation somewhere to the South. Sometime this week Steve will winterize the water lines in our motorhome.  Today he also blew out and winterized all the water lines in the park too!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Welcome to Our World Little Claire Bear!

Oh my goodness what a whirlwind this last week has been! What started out as a normal weekend, sure took a crazy turn!

I had a friends quilting guild come tour my house on Friday. They explored my weaving looms, spinning wheels, sewing room and antique sockknitting machine.  I will write more about that later.

Then Sunday we had a little baby shower for our 8-month pregnant daughter Erin and gave her some gifts for the upcoming baby.... who was not due yet for four more weeks.

Little did we know that that night she would have a serious complication and be rushed to an emergency C-section surgery!

Erin had suffered a placental abruption which meant that she was bleeding profusely and both her and the baby were in a precarious situation. To top it off, the baby was in breech position and could not be delivered normally.

Within two hours of arriving at the hospital, our darling 7th grandchild, Claire Lillian was born!

I am pleased to say that she is doing well in the NICU. Her breathing has had some difficulty because of her immature lungs, so they hooked her up to a CPAP machine to help with regulating the in-and-out motion of her breathing. She is not on oxygen, but using regular room air to breathe. She is just getting some help with the lung muscles.

Mommy and Daddy made it through the whole ordeal with flying colors and are happy to have brought this new child into our world.  What a surprise when they thought she was coming a whole month later.
She is already wrapped around Daddys little finger.....

 A few hours later I was able to go into the NICU and see her and touch her. But because of all of the hoses and tools and monitors she was not allowed to be picked up yet on the first day.

We showered her with as much love and tenderness and support that we could give. Our hearts were aching with worry, but she was getting the very best care in the NICU.

From tearing myself away from the baby, now my Grandmother Role came into play. I went up to their home to care for their other two children and their two sassy little dogs. I held down the fort and did all I could to help their family hold up during this big unexpected change.

Here is a video clip of the kids being told WHY grandma picked them up from daycare and school....  and where were mommy and daddy?

Two days later we were finally able to hold the baby in the NICU. I cannot tell you how my heart soared to hold this wee one in my arms. Although she was born at only 6 pounds 3 ounces, she didn't feel delicate or dainty in my arms. She felt like a good baby of a healthy size and I'm sure she will gain in strength and vigor as she continues to get such good care.

I even got her eyes to open and she looked at me for the first time!~  Ahhhh love at first sight, I tell ya!

As of last night they removed her stomach tube and she is now just on a nasal cannula that pumps regular room air into her lungs to help regulate her breathing. Her little lungs either work too fast or too slow at this time, being 4 weeks immature.

Erin is going to be discharged from the hospital today. Of course, neither parent wishes to go home yet while their baby is still in the hospital. Wonderful Aurora hospital in Green Bay has a 5th floor which works like a hotel. Parents and family of patients in the hospital can rent rooms upstairs at a reduced rate, but it operates just like a hotel. Now they are only one elevator ride ride away from their baby and they can remain close.

In the meantime I took their sassy little dogs back to my house and the kids are going to spend the night in the hotel room on the fifth floor with their parents. The kids can not yet see their baby sister because they must be 13 to enter the NICU.  But being close is important enough. I am glad the hospital offers this service. Now they do not have to drive back and forth 40 miles each way to their home.

Biscuit and Ewok are getting along with our dogs well. They have been here before and know the routine.  I know they are getting homesick, but at least Erin and Waylen do not have to worry about letting them out and feed them at home.

The dogs enjoyed a popcorn treat during the Packer Game last night on tv.  
Yayyyy Packers won! 

Tomorrow morning our daughter-in-law Heather will be going up to the hospital and nabbing the kids to bring them down to us at High Cliff State Park.

This weekend is a big huge event at the park, with over 5,000 visitors that come through. They are short staffed, so Steve will be working the weekend.  We will decorate up our campsite and get ready for the many thousands of trick or treaters that walk through the campground. They block the roads off to vehicle traffic so it's a safe environment for people to walk up and down all six roads of the campground.  I stocked up on $100 worth of candy, more than last year, when we ran out during the last hour.

Now Big Sister Chelsea and and Big Brother Clayton can celebrate this event with us. Steve already drove the motorhome to the campground this morning and I have to get my butt in gear, load up these four dogs, and head on out to the campground. The rest of our family is coming this evening and we are going to enjoy our weekend. But all of our thoughts and prayers are on the sweet little girl up in the NICU getting the best care possible

Welcome to our family little Claire, you will be from now on known as our Claire Bear.....