A few days ago it started to snow at night. It was beautiful; looking out the window of our warm motorhome and watching the snowflakes fall through the glow of the street light of the campground. The next morning we woke up by the scraping sound of snow shovels around us. I jumped out of bed and I could borrow one of the two shovels of our neighbor. We dug out 20 centimeters of wet, heavy snow and created a large open empty space around the motorhome because it was predicted to snow more. At this point little did we know what would still lie ahead.
Winter in the Lower Mainland
At the campground the roads were not cleared and a resident told us that a few years ago it wasn’t possible to leave the campground by car for three days. You should know that winters in the Vancouver area are among the mildest in Canada.
Therefore, the people of the so-called Lower Mainland of British Columbia are also referred to as being wimpy. Here panic breaks out when a little snow falls. Although it didn’t snow as severe as announced, we shoveled light, fluffy powdery snow for the next two days. The temperatures were between minus 5-7 degrees at night, no problem for our motorhome. But then, on the fourth day, the weather forecast suddenly announced a temperature drop to minus 14 degrees because of some arctic weather influence.
That night we turned up the heat to make sure the water tanks wouldn’t freeze. We already secured the water hose for the water supply of the motorhome home a few weeks ago with a heating cable and insulation against freezing.
Close to eight o’clock the next morning we were awakened by a vigorous pounding on the windshield. It was our neighbor who said that water ran out of our motorhome; probably a water pipe burst. Oh great, I thought, I got dressed and went out. From the storage area on the left side of the motorhome water was pouring out. First I had to get the key ring to unlock it, in the meantime I called out to Frank that we had a problem. In the storage area the water was about 2 cm high. After I saved a couple of things that were stored (nothing sensitive), I turned off the water supply to the motor home. With a car wash brush I swept out the water as much as possible. Meanwhile, Frank came limping in, he is allowed to walk short distances now without support after breaking his ankle. We could not find any damaged pipes in this section and we feared that the broken pipe had to be somewhere deep inside the vehicle.
Now the question arose, what to do? We decided to turn off the water heater. Then we called a mobile motorhome mechanic to give us some expert advice. He arrived after an hour and realized immediately, unlike us greenhorns, that there was a crack in one of the visible lines. He told us to put a heater in the storage area to keep the pipes warm. He drained another pipe, which contained water from the boiler to avoid freezing. That was all he could do for us, he told us to wait until temperatures would rise above zero degrees which was expected in three days.
Now we cant use the water supply of the motorhome anymore and have to take a shower in the bathroom at the campground. We can still use our waste tanks because they are heated, plus we have antifreeze poured into the tanks and we put an additional heater in the area of the sewage outlet pipes. But we need to use water from jugs to wash hands or dishes. The storage compartments in our motorhome are actually very well insulated and even the tanks are heated, so we thought to be protected well enough. Learning the hard way…