Invariably Variable Reloaded
This post is just to show that now and then, weather in the Great Southwest varies from the usual sunny-and-hot broil that we all associate with it. I do, anyway. I’m normally much more centered on avoiding a nicely-baked dehydration than I am anything else, so it can be a nice change of pace to actually get some weather here, which does happen. This morning’s outside temperature is nothing compared to the Midwest where I come from, but everything in my little self-absorbed world now revolves around getting along in a “temperate weather only” travel trailer where, during its design phase, the word “insulation” was a token term mumbled incoherently, if at all, in the engineering meetings. Ever seen what an inch of poor quality fiberglass insulation looks like? It looks much like a fiberglass furnace filter. You can almost read a book through it. After a 12-hour overnight cold soak, cabin temps are typically 10-15 degrees above ambient. With no cloud cover, daytime temps will usually peak at 5-10 degrees above ambient, too.
Compared to a more contemporary trailer, these numbers are pretty bad for a brief overnight exposure. But, they are not too shabby compared to an uninsulated van or other similar approach hurriedly pressed into service as a camper. Thus the unending hunt for finding an elevation that will provide a livable average as the daily temperatures do their 30-40 degree swings up and down. How picky you have to be depends on a mix of one’s wimp factor (in my case high) and the camper’s insulation effectiveness (in my case low-to-moderate). Several places I’ve been to out here have provided residents who justifiably think the world of their town and area, and who have, during a conversation, effectively invited me to relocate and live there year-round. To them, it just makes good sense, and I probably wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t considering it. They assume I’m a snowbird looking to upgrade.
In boondocking trailer-ese however, it’s not even remotely thinkable. As always, it comes down to a battle between cash and comfort. You have to sacrifice one to get the other. At any given location, it will only be comfortable during one or perhaps two seasons of the year. The remaining two or three, you’re financing quasi-comfort by using massive amounts of electrical power, and not at all cheaply. One guy has proven that A/C can be run entirely on solar panels, but the up-front cost of that is sobering, as would the psychic toll of living in a windowless box in order to stay comfortable. Down here, it’s much less expensive to alter the seasons by altering one’s elevation. Considering 40 cents per mile for fuel plus wear & tear, that’s not cheap to do, but it is cheap-er than hooking up to utilities in commercial camps. The better able you are to accommodate temporary cool and warm spells, the lower your cost. I’m talking from a minimal-budget perspective of course – many full-time RVers are financially able to stay where they like and go where they like, when they like. Nothing wrong with that, if you can swing it. Me, I prefer to study seasonal temperature averages for various locations and elevations, and plan accordingly. Then I brag about what a cheapskate I am. Hey, it’s a living. Would you rather read about a wide array of beautiful places to visit in the Old West, or about the effects that asphalt has had on American societal attitudes and expectations? Hmmm…Don’t answer that.
The photo above explains why I try to stick to my modest annual budget: tent camping is just not my bag!