There are always struggles in life, but you can imagine by the way a winter in Canada in our Airstream we had, how to say… a few surprises… This is the article you were waiting for, admit it!
Come on let's go, we start off with a little problem with the water. We told you right here, it happened to us a few times, when the temperature got really too low, that the pipes freeze, sometimes during two or three days. It was "fun" to have to take snow and melt it in a large pot for everyday life. A bit of a hassle necessarily, we were especially afraid that the pipes would burst. Fortunately, we never had any damage directly because of this, just a dripping joint and that we have changed. Well, obviously it had to happen at 11 p.m.So here's Eric gone into the dark and freezing night to shut off the water outside the Airstream and come back fix that damn joint. In short, imagine Eric in the plumber version in a big jacket, hat and hood screwed to his head with his frontal. He would have made a great character in Mario!
Less fun and certainly the worst galley, one evening walking in front of the kitchen, we realize that there is a little water on the ground, we sponge and 5 minutes later by walking again in the same place more water which seems to come out of the floor ... Catastrophe, it had been a good month and a half since we were installed and there was a leak at the back of the pump, a place completely invisible without putting your hand there. Being connected directly to running water we did not use the electric pump but there had been a modification from the previous owner who had forgotten to reinstall a non-return valve. So the water pressure was forcing the pump upside down and she clearly didn't like it. Result, we were forced to remove half of the parquet in the middle of winter to dry the wooden floor below and the technical part under the kitchen was a big block of ice ... We spent two weeks without a floor to dry what we could with the hairdryer before putting everything back together, a real pain. (PS: Hand warmers are not effective at melting a block of ice!)
It could have ended there for the water, but a month later, we are going on a ski weekend with our friends on the United States side. We remember to turn off the water just in case (not crazy, one leak not two), and we leave serene and enjoy a superb weekend. In our return by restoring the pressure one of the only copper pipes remaining of origin has failed, still under the kitchen! Joana just had time to scream to turn off the water but the damage was done, we had to dismantle part of the floor again to dry all that… Remember that we are talking about doing this once again in a small enclosed place, in the middle of winter in Canada!
We went around for the water, I promise. Do you remember the dry toilets ? Well, we told you, we ordered them all made and unfortunately they arrived a little earlier than expected when we were in France for the end of year celebrations. Yes “unfortunately” because of course the parcel went back to the sender and we waited 1 month before receiving them again ... We'll give you the details once again, but in short, do your business outside in -30 ° C next to a pile of manure, well… that's it: "check".
So this anecdote there, we did not expect it at all! At the beginning of winter there are sometimes freezing rain. That is to say that it is not cold enough when it rains for snow to fall, on the other hand it is cold enough for water freezes instantly on all surfaces on which it falls. That's how one morning we wanted to quietly get out of the Airstream and there… door blocked! Hum weird, we tap gently and we finally manage to open. To our amazement everything was covered with ice, the ground, the trailer, the barn and what about the car ... a real icicle, impossible to open the doors, 1cm of ice covered everything outside. Even the tires had become blocks of ice! The funniest thing is that after a good hour of effort to get into the car we had fun lowering the windows and the ice remained in place.
Another thing that we did not expect ... Very early one morning we turn on the propane heating but there is nothing ... Hey weird, is the bottle already empty? "No, she has less than a week, impossible". We look at the outside temperature and the thermometer indicates "- - ° C". Strange, we had never seen that before… Would the thermometer be out of order too? Eric goes out with his headlamp to go see the propane bottles and it is particularly cold that day, the wind is blowing hard and directly on the bottles. Eric who had gone out halfway in his pajamas comes home quite quickly, and says "Ouch, it's colder than usual, it looks like the propane froze! »A first search on the thermometer's user manual will tell us that it works down to -40 ° C, a second search on the internet that propane freezes at -44 ° C !!! We will never have the official temperature that day but believe us it was extremely cold. A few hours later the sun finally rose and thawed the bottles.
When we say storm we mean closed roads, blocked highways, almost zero visibility, strong wind, heavy snow, ... we are talking about a big storm. We had a few that winter, but one in particular stood out for us. We had gone out to work on the van a few miles away. The storm was raging and we took advantage of a slight lull to return to the Airstream. The road was blocked but we still pass thanks to our 4 × 4 pickup. On each side, snow banks several meters high, in the middle of the road heaps of snow where the pickup almost crashes once or twice but finally passes without problem. We end up arriving on the farmhouse grounds. It is particularly exposed to the wind because in the middle of the fields in the Quebec countryside. On the one hand, a chance because the snow has not accumulated too much, on the other we we have 80m to walk and we really take (excuse the expression) full mouth! Despite the wind, there is a good meter of compact snow which has accumulated during the day here. And we struggle so much thatwe end up crawling on the snow. We move slowly and 10 minutes later we finally arrive 80m further, in front of the Airstream, fingers frozen. (Joana has developed a hyper sensitivity of the hands to the cold this winter). It could have ended there but ... the door was frozen too ...
The next morning Miss Alu seemed frozen in a white box. A magical morning ... Olivier cleared a path for us with his machine to make us a passage. Come to think of it, this is surely one of the times when our "winter house" was most caught in the snow.
And again, luckily we put in a few blows of the shovel and that our dear neighbor passed us from time to time the snowblower to clear our access, otherwise we let you imagine how far the snow could have accumulated!
We would surely not have been able to open the door ...
So here is a small anthology of our winter adventures in Miss Alu.
Difficulties that will have kept us busy during this long Quebec winter and especially challenged properly!
And yes, that's winter in Quebec .. it is sure that the Airstream is not made for ... we have beautiful landscapes, beautiful snowshoe hikes and the pleasure of making beautiful fires in the fireplaces ... But the best that's when it ends ..!
Not really made for but ultimately not so bad, we came out alive haha 🙂
Yann, still in Levis, but you? where are you ? how to pass the Darien stopper in Central America? I look forward to your photos / video .. Have a good trip, take advantage of it. Ready to support you
We are in France, repatriated since last year. It seems that there is a global pandemic… so we wait wisely to be able to move again to come back to America. In the meantime we are on the roads of France. For the Darien, there is a ferry (sometimes) but especially freighters to go from Central America to South America, it is the only way unfortunately.