Frosty Mornings at Vasa Park

Dec 05

It’s going to be a very cold week in Bellevue, WA. Part of the reason we moved the trailer down to Vasa Park in Bellevue, WA for this month is so we can keep it plugged in and work through any last issues before we take off on the big trip though we didn’t quite expect to get this cold! The overnight lows this week will get down into the teens and that has changed some of the ways we are living in the trailer.  For one, we won’t leave the fresh water hooked up to the city water while it gets this cold since the hose would certainly freeze overnight so we are using our fresh water tank and filling it up then putting away to hose so it won’t freeze. The tanks are heated by the furnace so we SHOULD be ok (fingers crossed).

Tardis wears a frosty crown on our first morning at Vasa Park

Tardis wears a frosty crown on our first morning at Vasa Park

We woke up Wednesday to a very frosty morning with ice crystals creeping across the roof and the walls of the Tardis, making some lovely patterns on the aluminum shell. While it was really cold outside, the trailer was cozy warm inside.  One of the great things about living in about 200 square feet is it doesn’t take too long for it to warm up.

Ice crystals spider across the shell of our Airstream at sunrise.

Ice crystals spider across the shell of our Airstream at sunrise.

Our one challenge when we arrived at the park was unwinterizing the trailer.  Our dealer had winterized the water system while they installed our solar panels and they left all of the drains open. This is a totally reasonable thing to do, but we just didn’t know it. So when I started filling the water tank, it immediately started draining from the bottom. The nice thing is that this is certainly easy to fix, just close a couple of valves but then I needed to find the rest of the places where they had either opened or bypassed parts of our plumbing. A quick call to the dealership got me the total list.

  • Fresh water tank white and red valved needed to be switched.
  • Turn off the hot water heater bypass (yellow valve behind the water heater) The water heater’s drain valve was already closed.
  • Close the drain after the water heater bypass (white valve next to the water heater)
  • Turn off all of the faucets, including the outside shower since everything was left open for blowing them out

We think that is all of it and, with these changes, the water is pumping freely to all of the faucets and the toilet. The remaining trick is monitoring the fresh water use and the tank levels in freezing temperatures. It looks like the fresh tank is being used up faster than expected while the gray tank is filling slower than expected. I’m not sure what to think about that yet but we’ll keep monitoring.  I don’t want to leave the sewer hose hooked up while the temperatures keep dipping into the teens so I’ll drain that once the meter starts showing that it needs to be done. In the meantime, we’re avoiding some of the big water usage cases (showers in particular – thank goodness for the showers at work!) and keeping an eye on the water we use.

I am looking forward to getting to warmer temperatures so we don’t need to worry about freezing so much. It doesn’t look like the Seattle area is going to be back above freezing for at least a week. The upside, though, is more gorgeous frosty sunrises.


  1. Rich L /

    Don’t trust those tank gauges too much … they tend to be only approximations of reality!

    • Yes, that seems to be particularly true though I’m not sure they are even approximating reality. The monitor was still calling the gray tank empty when it started backing up into the shower. The shower monitor does seem to be 100% accurate, though.

      We can land a man on the moon, but we still can’t tell how full a tank is with water.

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