It’s that dreaded time of year. The end of the RV season.
Any positive feelings related to this sad time can be directly attributed to where we store Bessie the RV for the winter months. We are fortunate to have an underground storage facility that is about 20 miles from our home. It’s called Wampum Underground.
According to their website, Wampum Underground offers a total of 2.5 million square feet of underground space that houses offices, material and warehouse storage, as well as secure storage for classified documents and data. Over 1,000,000 square feet of general purpose space is used for the seasonal storage of recreational vehicles. In the 1870s through the 1940s, Wampum Underground was mined for limestone.
The physical structure of the facility is impressive. The ceiling is solid rock and some of the limestone pillars are 30 feet in diameter.
Pristine & Primitive
The cave’s main roads are well lit, and nicely paved. The ceilings and walls are painted white, so it feels pristine and bright. The secondary roads are more primitive, with dirt/gravel surfaces and poor lighting that creates a “cave-like” experience. Most of the RVs are parked throughout the primitive area.
The temperature of the “primitive” part of the cave is 55 degrees year-round. It’s very damp and dusty. Wampum Underground also offers a climate-controlled storage option that provides a consistent 65 degree temperature and 65% humidity levels. This area is sealed off from the rest of the cave, so it’s dry and clean.
We have tried both options and prefer the climate-controlled area.
Roughing It In A Cave
This will be the third year that we have stored our RV at Wampum Underground, and the experience of driving into this cave continues to be amazing (and kind of thrilling). This footage was filmed in Spring 2015 when we picked Bessie up after her long hibernation roughing it in the cave. Check it out.
The registration office is located inside of the cave. Once you check in, you get into a line with other folks who are led into the cave by a staff member. Without the help of a guide, I am sure I’d get lost in the maze of poorly lit, confusing roads. Cell phones and GPS do not work underground (you might notice that our GPS is blank in the video. We forgot to turn it off when we entered the cave.)
Driving through a cave and ogling all of the RVs, Classic Cars and Boats is an interesting and surreal experience. It’s so much fun to see our RV for the first time and to hear the engine turn over.
Our Experiences In The Cave And How We Prepared The RV For Storage (Bonus Section)
The first year that we stored Bessie in the cave, we opted for the “primitive” area of the storage facility, which had unpaved roads and had no climate-control, so the air was very damp. We knew about the dampness in advance, and prepared for storage in the following ways:
- Placed humidity crystals in pans throughout the RV. Others use big containers of charcoal and/or Damp Rid.
- Removed everything from the RV that could attract rust, mildew and odors, including linens, towels, pans, silverware and clothing. In other words, we completely cleaned out the RV.
- Sprayed (drenched) all fabric surfaces with Lysol in the can, including our ceiling, mattress, curtains, floor (you name it, we sprayed it).
- Placed mouse poison pellets in the engine. Note: The facility provides pest control, but we were being extra cautious.
- Once you park the RV, the staff unhooks the battery.
Preparing our RV for storage in the “primitive” area was grueling. And we really didn’t know if all of our preparation had actually been successful until we brought her home 6 months (or so) later. Luckily, she still had that wonderful fresh smell that comes from a combination of dryer sheets and happiness. She was dusty, but she smelled and ran great. Hooray!
However, when offered to reserve a spot in the “climate-controlled” area for the following season, we eagerly placed our deposit. The cost difference for the two areas is as follows: $68/mo (primitive) vs. $109 (climate-controlled). Note: This is Winter 2015 pricing for a 28′ vehicle, check their website for costs specific to your rig/time frame.
For us, the increase of $40 more per month was a no-brainer. The time savings of preparing our RV for storage pays the difference. Also, some folks have trouble with the mechanics of their RV after sitting in the damp conditions, and/or they have problems with odors inside their rig. The extra money goes a long way toward easing our worries, reducing workloads, and insuring our rig is in good condition come next season.
The preparation for storage in the climate-controlled area was so easy:
- Removed food.
- Cleaned Bessie.
Everything stays in the rig, unless it’s perishable and/or attracts critters. And there is no dust in the climate-controlled area, so Bessie looks as sparkly when we picked her up as the day we dropped her off.
It’s never easy to part with Bessie over the winter months, but this arrangement sure takes the sting out of saying good-bye.