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Old 07-22-2014, 05:22 PM   #1
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Wintering in Rapid City, South Dakota


My wife and I are considering moving to Rapid City in our Class A Winnebago, but we are concerned with possible severe winter weather; has anyone done this and if so, how bad are the winters? I've been looking around the web and am not finding a lot of information.

Thanks All!
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:29 PM   #2
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Average Weather for Rapid City, SD - Temperature and Precipitation

Better winterize!!!
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:10 PM   #3
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Be prepared to buy a lot of fuel and electricity and still be cold. There are some things you can do to help but at those temperatures your bound to have some issues with frozen waste tanks and plumbing. If there are other options I would give them serious consideration, it will be a long winter for you.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:39 PM   #4
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I spend every winter here, just not in my coach.

The extreme colds days don't last for a long period of time, but they do happen. If you're adamant on being prepared you'll be fine.

There are a couple parks open year round.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:39 PM   #5
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My son and his family live in Rapid City and we've taken our RV's there many times over the years but never in the winter. They are brutal! Cold temperatures, normally lots of snow and wind. There are a couple of campgrounds in Rapid but I believe they close for the winter. Most campgrounds are up in the black hills and I'm pretty certain that they close in October for the winter.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:40 PM   #6
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Thanks all...trying to figure out how to respond more individually
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:02 PM   #7
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If you're serious, this is the most in-depth hands-on resource I've seen on the web:

Surviving Winter

Surviving Winter

I would not mind it in a house, at all, but a coach might be too much. I know it would be a test for many marriages. Good luck.
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Old 07-23-2014, 04:39 AM   #8
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20 plus years ago spent six months in a late 70's Winnebago Class A in Kansas City, MO. Further south but still gets pretty cold. I had to have skirting put around the entire bottom of coach to block wind from blowing under it. I had a 40 gal propane bottle delivered than hooked into the coach line. In my outside refrigerator compartment I put a 60 watt bulb to generate enough heat so the refrigerator would work. During the below 32* temps, I let all the faucets drip and kept every cabinet door open. Did this for 6 months, January till June. Man was I happy to see spring. Good luck on this.
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:30 AM   #9
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I was stationed in Rapid for 13 years...I remember some days warming up from the Chinook winds. But mostly cold blowing winds as I work out in the remote regions on the Minuteman Missile launch facilities. Be prepared for really deep snow the one they had last year that killed thousands of cattle.

Truthfully, I wish I could move back there again--fantastic assignment! A cabin near Custer or Hill City would be ideal for me.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:18 AM   #10
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@ThomandGloria and @Nuclear...thanks; thank pretty much confirms what we thought the winters would be like. Brrrr.
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:26 PM   #11
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I worked in local TV and radio in Rapid City from 1983-1986. Loved it there, but the winters can get awfully chilly. I remember getting three feet of snow there in November, 1985 which, as I recall, was a little unusual for in town. To their credit, all that snow and not a single day when school was cancelled.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:27 PM   #12
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When we first moved to Cheyenne we spent 3 months in the coach in winter. I have to tell you, I am still finding odds and ends that got unhappy in the cold. Some things to think about/do:

1) water line for an ice maker. If you have an ice maker, make sure you've got a water line cutoff for it, and turn off the water to it. At least with our coach, that line runs up the back of the fridge, and, well, in sub-freezing temps that line froze and water was pumping out the side of the coach

2) holding tanks. We found that pouring, say, 3 gallons of windshield wiper fluid (which was rated not to freeze down to 20 below) helps avoid any freezing issues. That stuff isn't potable -- unlike the pink RV stuff -- but since it is going right down into the tanks, who cares? And it's like 99 cents a gallon at Walmart compared to 4.99 for RV stuff.

Even if you have heated tanks, what can get you is that bit in the valves that are in the unheated dump station compartment

3) basement heating. I know some rigs are very insulated and heated down below, but we found that for us, it just wasn't quite enough, and ran a 1500 watt electric heater to supplement things so that the fresh waters in the basement wouldn't freeze when overnights got down to 0 or lower.

4) blocking off the front of the coach with a second layer of fabric. my wife bought some inexpensive fabric (like a light canvas or muslin) and we taped it up against the overhead cabinets at the front of the coach and let it drape downover the steering wheel, etc. Windscreens transmit a TON of cold through them, and by adding a second air gap (in addition to the sun screen drapes we normally have) made a huge difference.

5) don't forget to heat your sewer hose if you leave it out. Otherwise it will just become a block of ice! Since we didn't actually plan to be as long as we were in the coach, we never bought all the winter type stuff and instead just went to filling our fresh water tank (rather than running off city water) and putting away the sewer hose each time after dumping (but we have large tanks and only needed to do that once a week)

Having grown up in warmer climates, we had never appreciated that the difference between freezing and 10 below is just as dramatic as the difference between freezing and 74. Then throw in wind... and holy moly. Not unmanageable, just totally different.

And as I mentioned, other issues we had were rubber seals and such. For example, I had a Crossfire pressure setup that had been fine before that winter that I ended up pulling off because the cold just killed the little rubber o-rings that I suspect would have remained fine for a few more years in warmer weather.

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Old 07-23-2014, 01:32 PM   #13
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I have family that used to live there and he talked about his cars freezing to the garage floor in the winter so that they wouldn't move when you started them.
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:02 PM   #14
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How cold was it?

It was so cold when I threw the pan of water out the door the ice block nearly killed the dog!
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