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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Recycling Christmas Trees

To start the day off, I did everything right.  Knowing we were in for some extremely low night temperatures,  along with running the propane furnace, I went and put two droplights in my two wet bays to protect the water system.


I disconnected the outside water hose after topping off the onboard water tank.

  I did everything right, but it turned out wrong.  The Journey’s water system still froze up. 

We awoke to the lowest temperature we’ve ever seen in the Journey.  This was at 8am, overnight it was in the single digits.  (Just ignore the time number on the bottom, never can keep that time set right.  The outside number is in the middle.)


I decided to see if the water system would thaw itself out as the day “warmed” up.  Fortunately it did with no damage. 

Of course, on the coldest day of the year (so far) we headed out to help in the COE annual project to recycle discarded Christmas trees.


One of the nearby schools is the drop off point for trees.  The trees are loaded onto trucks and then dumped off at all the boat ramps around Thurston Lake.  Fishermen happily take the trees, weight them down and them dump them at various points around the lake.  These trees provide cover for fish and increase the populations immensely.  It’s a hugely popular program for fishing recreation and the trees naturally degrade over the year. 

But first the trees have to be loaded on to trucks to be transported.  That’s where we, and most all the volunteers came in.  Of course, we all bundled up to ward off the cold.  Marti was wrapped in a whole bunch of layers.  If she ever fell down, she’d never be able to get herself up without help!  :c)


There were well over a thousand trees dropped off.  



Every size and shape as well as color were in the huge pile.  Some even had that fancy simulated snow sprayed on them.  Don’t worry, it is harmless and biodegradable.


We loaded truck after truck with trees.




We even had a huge tractor trailer truck come.  In no time we filled it up with a bunch of trees.




While we waited for more trucks to fill, we dragged and stacked trees close to the curb to readily fill the next available truck.


Mike actually looked like he was having fun!  Maybe he missed his calling as a lumber jack?


We worked for over six hours dragging, loading and stacking trees on trucks. 


At the end of the day, it looked like we had moved a little over half of the trees.  We’ll be back on Thursday to finish the job.

We slept good last night.  The 800mgs of Motrin I took sure helped the aches and pains despite being very careful of my back and shoulder.  I sure can’t do what I used to, it was nice to have many younger park rangers to do most of the heavy lifting.

Thankfully, we didn’t have the water system freeze on us.  The past two nights, we’ve used over half of our full onboard tank of propane.


Below forty degrees, the Journey’s electric heat pump automatically shifts over to the propane furnace.  Hopefully, the days and nights will warm up more so I can use the little portable propane tank that I have hooked into the Journey that I can easily refill instead of having to drive the Journey into Augusta, GA to get the tank filled.  About a 36 mile round trip.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Brrrrr! That is a lot of propane to burn through. Our temps in the Bradenton area dipped into the 30s but thankfully we are back in the 60s today.

    My oldest son worked on a Christmas tree farm for a couple years, so I know how much work it is to haul trees around. Take it easy!

  2. "Single digits". Paul I think I need an explanation. It got all the way to 29 degrees so far here this year. Sorry, but I couldn't resist. Stay warm you two.

  3. We were there in triple digits in the summer!! But we have never experienced single digits in all the time we live in South Carolina!! Sure hope the worst is over for the winter weather!!

    You guys did look like lumberjacks...I bet you slept well:o))

  4. Now that's cold RVing! 24 was bad enough for me.

  5. Man, you guys need to head further south at this time of year. Like Mexico, further south!

  6. Craig likes to keep the furnace on propane because he doesn't like the sound of the electric. But the weather here has not been as cold as you had. It has only gotten down to about 45 at night. He turns the thermostate down to 63 when we are sleeping and up to 68 in the morning. Last month we used about $50 of propane.

  7. Oh my! You guys really were lumberjacks. Maybe you can workamp for Axe Men next year :-) I'm allergic to Christmas trees, so I would have had to take pictures instead!

  8. Quite the job on the trees! I know the fish will really appreciate it! So much of the undergrowth that used to fall into the water's edge to make habitat gets cut and hauled away now in the name of "progress" so the tree clusters really help for the tiny fingerlings to hide and grow bigger....

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  9. WOW Paul 17. That is really cold. So glad your water system turned out OK. I've heard you should turn off your pump and leave the faucets open but maybe even that wouldn't have helped you. Sure hope the soreness goes away. That's a lot of good work you did. We're having internet troubles here so I'm very behind in my commenting.

    1. Officially it got down to 7 degrees overnight. Probably even a bonfire under the Journey wouldn't have prevent the freeze up!

  10. We're basking in the warmth and sunshine of Palm Springs while most of the country is in the deep freeze. I sure hope that vortex thing doesn't slide its way out west and catch us up in it.

    That sure was a lot of Christmas Trees to load and haul away. You guys are earning your COE badges right now.

  11. That sounds like a lot of work, but at least I know what to wear if I ever decide to get into the tree recycling business:))

  12. I don't think I've ever been in the RV when the weather got that cold, but we have a couple little cheap electric heaters for when we're plugged in. Oh, and one day it didn't even make it to 60 here! Brrr.

  13. That's a great way to recycle Christmas trees. Plus it keeps you warm while you're hauling them around. I sure don't like it when it gets that cold.

  14. January 9, 2014

    Hi Paul
    We got down to 21 here in San Antonio, TX but this morning we have 53 degrees going up to 70.


  15. The advantage of spending Christmas with your kids is that they are in charge of taking down and getting rid of the tree. You just get to enjoy it.

  16. That Christmas tree gig resembled a J-O-B! Nothing like manual labor in the fresh (and cold) air to make you sleep well at night. We are ready to trade in our Florida cold (we saw overnight lows in the 20's during that time) for our promised Florida warm sunshine!

  17. Interesting, saw 18 one night in AR a month ago and survived. Single digits would be a little more challenging. Checked with one friend that put an electric heater in the wet bay on an ext cord from the next site.

  18. Sure hope we won't see temps like that again this winter! The upcoming days are going to feel like a heat wave!

  19. Brrrr ... and I thought it was cold here ... well it was, but not to that degree, and we are on the upswing now.

  20. I think I would have needed two Motrin. Great project for the environment.

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