The other day, I returned back to the Enterprise from a hearty (for me) bike ride exploring the nether reaches of my La Posa West Long Term Visitor Area, and was greeted with a chunk of banana bread from Swankie Wheels, who has been camping close by until she can hook up with some friends that are due in soon. That $180 LTVA seasonal pass can be a bit much for one person to swing, and that’s when you call in some buds to share the expense. Living in a van with a cargo trailer, she’ll eventually move to an area further down that has several outhouses scattered about. That’s a daytime convenience for people without holding tanks in their rigs, and officially, such RVs are required to camp within 500 feet of them here at the LTVA.
At any rate, I was a bit stunned to be handed a warm slice of banana bread by someone who barely has room in their rig to turn around, let alone bake!?! The “How on earth did you make this?” question led to a trip to her cargo trailer door. She opened it, then lifted out a square contraption, setting it on the ground. She unfolded and flipped several hinged and highly polished aluminum reflectors in a few seconds, and BAM! – solar oven.
I’ve heard of ’em, of course, but had never seen one. What impressed me about this one was that it wasn’t a cheap piece of crap you have to struggle with to set up, or baby so that you don’t tear off a panel section. The Swankinator handled it just like a normal human, and had it opened up and ready to go in maybe five seconds! You don’t assemble anything, you just open up and position the reflector panel assembly. There’s an extendable leg in back to control the angle of the box in relation to the sun. There’s no need to get all paranoid about following the sun if you’re simply slow-cooking something. At any rate, this sucker apparently works, and works well, going by my taste buds.
I won’t detail much here, because what’s the point? Everything you need to know is at the manufacturer’s website. I already have a propane-fired oven in the Enterprise and plan to use it for bread and baking ‘taters once things settle down, but if it turns out to use muchly propane (as I suspect will be the case), a solar oven may be the way to handle those urges. This is one of those things that is more expensive than the cheap-ass Chinese-made copycats, but I’ll be getting this one because it’s engineered better, performs better, and will outlast ’em all. Part of the upcharge also helps get these things into the hands of people around the world who aren’t RVers simply taking advantage of something cool. Not everybody has firewood, gas, electricity, or wood. Should you just happen to be at the point of purchase after looking over the maker’s website, please consider using the link included on this blog page, because it will heave a few pennies toward The Swankster without affecting your cost at all. It will also save you quite a few bucks off list. Actually, I’m not trying to sell the thing – I’m just saying that it is more of a real cooking appliance than a technical gizmo. Ever felt like baking cookies when it was too hot to let your A/C and oven battle it out? There you go.