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Old 08-28-2012, 10:09 AM   #1
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Salt Lake in the Winter????

So here is my question, has anyone ever spent the winter in Salt Lake? How was it and where did you stay?
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:41 PM   #2
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I am from slc.............you would find it difficult to keep a rv warm in the winter.....10 and 20 degrees are not uncommon.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:22 PM   #3
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We spent a week there in December 2004--my photos don't show any snow on the ground. Stayed at the Quail Run RV Park in Sandy, which tragically is no longer there.

We also spent a week there in February 2007, and there is definitely snow in those pictures. Stayed for 3 days at the RV park in Park City just outside SLC (skiing), and 4 days at the KOA in SLC.

The KOA has some long-term sites in a separate section and is right in the middle of town. The only other place we've stayed there is Mountain Shadows RV Park in Draper, but that was in the summer.

I don't know anything about Monaco coaches, but it's very possible to keep my 40-foot motorhome warm in the winter. In 9 years of fulltiming I've spent major chunks of winters in Chicago and Kansas City and Washington, DC, and Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado, and stupid places like that. Shoot--one time, we headed south to Green Bay to warm up! I can't believe SLC would be any worse weather-wise than those places.

Your profile says "Pacific Northwest." Last year, we got to Portland, Oregon, in mid-November and stayed for 2 months. From there, we went to the Seattle area for about 5 months. It seemed harder to keep warm there than it did in some of these other places because sunshine can make a world of difference when it's cold outside. Yes, you pay for it if the nights are clear because it can get very cold, but the appearance of the sun can add many many degrees to the perceived temperature.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:19 AM   #4
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We spent a week there in December 2004--my photos don't show any snow on the ground. Stayed at the Quail Run RV Park in Sandy, which tragically is no longer there.

We also spent a week there in February 2007, and there is definitely snow in those pictures. Stayed for 3 days at the RV park in Park City just outside SLC (skiing), and 4 days at the KOA in SLC.

The KOA has some long-term sites in a separate section and is right in the middle of town. The only other place we've stayed there is Mountain Shadows RV Park in Draper, but that was in the summer.

I don't know anything about Monaco coaches, but it's very possible to keep my 40-foot motorhome warm in the winter. In 9 years of fulltiming I've spent major chunks of winters in Chicago and Kansas City and Washington, DC, and Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado, and stupid places like that. Shoot--one time, we headed south to Green Bay to warm up! I can't believe SLC would be any worse weather-wise than those places.

Your profile says "Pacific Northwest." Last year, we got to Portland, Oregon, in mid-November and stayed for 2 months. From there, we went to the Seattle area for about 5 months. It seemed harder to keep warm there than it did in some of these other places because sunshine can make a world of difference when it's cold outside. Yes, you pay for it if the nights are clear because it can get very cold, but the appearance of the sun can add many many degrees to the perceived temperature.
Thanks Oatmeal! We really appreciate the feed back. We have never camped in the PNW during the winter and so was not sure how it would go.

I think the cold wet air that we have in the PNW would make things colder for sure.

DH works in a field where we are constantly on the go and renting is difficult for such short periods and me being home and him gone doesn't work at all.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
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I live here and I would not consider Salt Lake motorhome friendly in the winter at all...
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:22 PM   #6
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Never spent a winter there, Just a couple of days (3 total) Two were cold but not too cold, one .... Well I was driving through a good 4 to six inches of snow. In fact I got there a day later than I planned cause... The blizzard was a tad too white and scary so I pulled off into a rest area and rested the storm away. (the 4-6 inches was in a parking lot)

Utah has a very effective fleet of snow plows.. Which means not a good place to "Winterize".
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:47 PM   #7
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It may be colder in SLC than the Pacific Northwest, but at least you won't grow moss on your RV there.

As I said, I'm not familiar with Monaco coaches. I'm assuming it has double-pane windows, insulation, and enclosed water and holding tanks. If so, it should handle cold weather just fine, and it's just a matter of learning how to do it. Just like learning about the RV in the first place, but a little more advanced.

While I wouldn't suggest SLC as a place to sit during the winter, like people do with Yuma or south Texas, if someone has a reason to be there (proximity to skiing, omnipresence of fry sauce, being with one's spouse) and a decently equipped RV, then there's no reason it couldn't be done.

BTW, I recall that Mountain Shadows had a long-term section--long-term enough that a school bus served it. Don't know if that's what you're looking for--it had the same vibe as the "long-term" section at the KOA. I generally prefer the more transient spaces.

And there's a newer RV park north of SLC called Pony Express. I've never been there, but if you don't need to be in the middle of SLC, it might be worth checking into. They're open year-round and have pretty reasonable rates listed on their website (although I couldn't tell if electricity is included in the monthly rate) and I don't know if there's a separate section for monthlies vs. transients.

If I had a need to be in SLC, I wouldn't hesitate to spend the winter there in my motorhome, and evidently there are others who feel the same way, to judge by the year-round sites available there.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:40 AM   #8
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Well we are compromising on this trip. We are going to stay in the RV and then drive home for Thanksgiving and go back and stay in a rental. WE are excited to try the cold weather but not too cold. KWIM

We will be staying at Pony Express; everything is included in their monthly fee so that is great!
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sohapi View Post
Well we are compromising on this trip. We are going to stay in the RV and then drive home for Thanksgiving and go back and stay in a rental. WE are excited to try the cold weather but not too cold. KWIM

We will be staying at Pony Express; everything is included in their monthly fee so that is great!
Pony Express is a great place, but what is your main heating source. Heat pumps will only take you so far.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:41 PM   #10
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Your plan will be a nice little trial run. I looked at some historical data for SLC and on December 1 (after you'll be leaving), the "normal" high is over 40 and the "normal" low is in the high 20s. That shouldn't be any problem at all, especially since it should be warmer than that when you're there, and your expertise will increase as the temperature decreases.

Really, the problems don't start, assuming a sufficiently equipped motorhome, until you get multiple days where it doesn't get above freezing at all and there's no sunshine, or when it drops to around zero at night. That's when you have to be at the top of your game.

As for heating, our motorhome has basement air with a heat pump, and also a propane furnace. I like the heat pump because it's a gentler heat, but as pointed out, the heat pump will work only down to a certain temperature--for us, depending on humidity, that's in the mid-30s, although I saw it still chugging away at 29 once.

When it's too cold for the heat pump, our motorhome switches to the propane furnace, and that's easy enough, especially if you can fill your propane tank at your site.

One thing you have to do is get warm air into the basement compartment that has your holding tanks and water pump and probably the majority of your water lines. Our heat pump has a vent in there, but if it's still warm enough for the heat pump, chances are we don't need additional heat in the basement compartment anyway. The propane furnace is also vented in there and keeps that compartment warm enough to prevent freezing of the tanks or pump or water lines. A lot of people put a remote thermometer down there just to keep an eye on things.

You don't have to be a maniac about it. I've never opened cabinet doors inside to allow warm air to get to the lines, for example. And just because the outside temperature dips below freezing doesn't mean everything will freeze up instantly. Especially if it's going to warm up above freezing the next day, it's unlikely to be a problem.

But don't overlook the compartment with the dump valves. On my motorhome, that compartment isn't insulated and I've had the valves freeze. No big deal because that compartment is big enough for me to put a small cube heater on LOW in there for 30 minutes or so and everything thaws out. I've done that a couple of times. Or you can leave a trouble light with an incandescent bulb for warmth in there all the time (the layout of my compartment makes that a little tricky).

I differ from most in that I never stay hooked up to water, even on extended stays. I fill the fresh water tank and run off that, and refill before it's completely empty (just to be safe--don't want to need to fill the tank and the RV park water is shut off for some reason). That way I never have hoses freeze up and don't have to put heat tape on them.

I also keep the gray tank closed (and obviously the black tank, as well). Since I have to refill the fresh anyway, I empty the gray (and if it's time, the black) at the same time. For me, that's usually once a week or so. If I've thought ahead, I'll do a couple of loads of laundry at the while the hoses are all hooked up, but that's how I operate even in good weather.

I hope this doesn't sound like a lot of work because it really isn't. It's more about awareness. The work comes when you're in Grand Junction in the winter and the fresh water spigot is 100 feet away, through a diesel repair shop, and the sewer connection is 40 feet away, and all the ground is under 6" of snow. There, I definitely did the laundry on the days I ran those hoses.

And speaking of snow, you'll have to decide how to handle it on top of slides. Fortunately, the snow in SLC will be relatively dry, and even several inches of it shouldn't cause a problem. We have slide toppers and I get a little nervous about the snow causing them to bow, so I'll go up there when it's pretty nice outside and push the snow off with a broom. I usually have to go up anyway to clear the internet and TV dishes.

When it's time to leave, please plan enough flexibility so you don't have to drive in a storm. But you should also plan ahead for getting the slides in for travel. For example, if you're planning to leave the next day and if even a little bit of snow is expected overnight, you might go ahead and pull the slides in the night before just to save yourself some hassle. Or if you're expecting a huge dump during your stay, you might pull them in for the duration, and then put them back out when it's over.

And park facing south if you can, to get the sun on your nice big windshield. It can get downright hot up there even in really cold weather. But again, don't be a maniac about it. It's just sort of a possible benefit, not a requirement.

It's probably a little more advanced than you need right now, but I don't like the "feel" of the propane furnace, where it blasts super-hot air and then when it turns off, it feels kind of drafty. So I almost never use it, and instead deploy a couple of those little cube electric heaters. One up front and one in the back are usually sufficient. You have to be aware, however, of the wiring in your RV to make sure they're not put on the same circuit. And since the furnace isn't putting hot air into the basement compartment, you have to provide heat down there either with a trouble light (if that gives enough heat) or with a little electric heater.

Using multiple electric heaters definitely takes more thought than just running the propane furnace, but I almost always heat with those instead of the furnace, even in extremely cold weather. I just like the way they feel, and I don't have to worry about propane. If you want more info on that, I can provide it, but if you're just dipping your toe in cold-weather living, using the propane furnace won't take any special thought at all. And some RV parks prohibit electric heaters.

Is the Monaco section of IRV2 active? You might get some information specific to your RV there. Like on ours, the water line from the water heater runs over a tire in a completely uninsulated area. Dumb, dumb, dumb. But I found out from some other owners that if you run the water heater on propane, the flame puts out enough ambient heat to warm that area--the electric heating element doesn't do that. You might find out specific little tips like that, but they're generally necessary only in extreme conditions.

Good luck!
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:13 AM   #11
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Thanks so much Oatmeal for the encouraging and helpful information.

We too had looked at the history of the temps in SLC and figured it looked do able.

We have 2 cube ceramic heaters and our propane heater works really well too. We have heaters for our basements too and will put a light in the gray and fresh dump area. Great idea by the way.

We figured we would pull the slide in if a storm is coming that would dump a lot of snow and then put it back out. We have a great ladder that we can use to sweep off the snow from the top of our rig.

DH will be using heat tape on any water lines that he might be concerned about so that is covered.

I am putting up a shower curtain rod (tension type) and then putting up a heavy insulated curtain rod up there to help with the door drafts.

DH is going to use the 3M clear insulation on the windows (not the wind shield) the kind you use a hair drier with.

I have lots of throw rugs for the tile floors; we have ceramic tile floors and so this will help some too.

I will post on the Monaco site and see if anyone has any ideas there too, another great idea! Thanks!

Thanks so much for your ideas and encouraging words. We will be fine and are excited to see how we do. DH is very resourceful and with your ideas we will do well I am sure.
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #12
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Your signature shows retired AF, did you check out Hill AFB in Layton?? Pretty good Fam Camp, never mind the bad reviews on the host Howard, he's actually pretty nice once you get to know him. I stayed there from Dec 2003 until Sep 2004 in my National Tradewinds. On the water hook up I always fill my tank and drain the gray tank if it's going to be in the freeze area. Point to remember, after you drain your holding tanks always make sure there is no water left in the hose, they do freeze and break real easy if there is water in them. Also, on your water fill hose, after you disconnect it, be sure to drain it real good. Been there,done that on both. Just for some extra info, the Salt Lake Valley can run several days in Jan at way below 32.

Overall, there is no reason to be really concerned about wintering here in the Valley as long as you take proper precautions to prevent your RV from winter damage. Some folks even run a light bulb in the access door to the fridge to protect the ice maker line. I never did, and never had a problem.
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