Dear R.V. Shrink:
We bought a new fifth wheel this fall when I retired, with plans to spend the winter in a warmer part of the country. I think my wife is getting cold feet (no pun intended). We live in Wisconsin. It has been a mild November and early December, with little snow. However, it is colder than a well-diggers lunchbox and I am ready for that warmer clime. My wife keeps dragging her feet. First it was, "We'll leave after Thanksgiving." Then it was, "We'll leave after Christmas." Now she has fallen in love with the month of January's winter wonderland. Her argument is that January and February are cold months even in the Southland. She thinks we should not leave until we are assured of warm temps in March. I am fit to be tied. Please give me some debate maneuvers that will help hoist anchor before spring sets in again. --Frostbitten in Fond Du Lac
Okay, let's put on our cheesehead hats and work on this problem. First, your wife is right about January and February being the coldest months in the South during a normal year. The difference is you won't need your snowblower, the days usually climb to high sunny temps and the closer you get to the sun the less your gooseneck's heater is going to kick on.
I will admit I have had my water and septic freeze for a few hours as far south as Rio Grande campground in Big Bend. But by noon I was birding in my shirt sleeves. In Wisconsin you will still be hauling wood to the stove at noon. I think you both need to head south, if that was your original intent, and feel the difference yourself. You can't gauge North American weather by staring at a laptop AccuWeather map. If you don't believe me, compare it against the weather outside your door vs. what is on your computer screen. They will never match.
Often, recently retired RVers have a hard time adjusting to this new found freedom. It is not a good idea to force an agenda or time schedule on your maiden voyage, but you need to discover the reality of this type of travel, and the only way to do that is to get some experience under your belts. You did not give me an indication of your compass reading. You will find the further you go south in Florida and Texas the warmer your average temps are going to be. In the West it is all about elevation. I can only think of about a million beautiful places in the sunbelt that will allow you outside every winter day to hike, fish, chase birds and bike without your woolies making you itch all over. So, if it's not family holiday commitments that are keeping you in Fond Du Lac, and you both agree that RVing is something you want to try, there is no time like the present. Your wife has had many years to discover Wisconsin Januarys. It's time to experience and experiment with new and exciting climates all over the southern tier states.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink