A&A Going From One Extreme To Another | RVing Through Climate Changes
End of Week #71
Washoe Lake State Park, New Washoe City NV > Space Station RV Park, Beatty NV > Lake Mead RV Village, Boulder City NV
Miles traveled since last week's post = 469 miles
Total miles traveled to date = 8,935 with trailer
Today marks 500 days of living in the RV!
We have traveled through much of the western border of Nevada now, and yesterday we arrived just outside of Vegas near the border of Arizona. (I know I told a few people that we were not going to Las Vegas, but today we totally bummed around the city for a few hours.) Our next major destination is still Santa Fe where we will spend a week with our friends, and we are getting closer and closer as the days go by! This time next week we should be all settled there, before making our way southeast through Texas.
Right now we are still experiencing the warmest temps we have probably ever had RVing, or at least since the beginning of this year when we were in the south Texas desert. Daily highs are about 100 degrees and the AC is working overtime. We are making adjustments, staying indoors a little more than we are used to, and I can't even begin to explain to you how excited we are to head towards Flagstaff, AZ tomorrow where the temps are in the 70s.
It's been a drastic change for us to leave the secluded Redwood forest and head back out into the unforgiving desert again, but we always course correct where we need to and constantly learn new lessons along the way!
A&A Going From One Extreme To Another
The cool, damp, coastal forest
I've this said before, but staying in one place for a prolonged period of time will obviously make you comfortable and used to that environment. For us, we spent a very long portion of this journey in the Redwood forest - 22 of our 71 weeks on the road to be exact - and that amount of time was enough to become complacent even. In the beginning, it took some getting used to the cool, damp, dark forest, but by the end of things this was what we knew, and we knew it well. We were used to running 2 dehumidifiers 24/7. We were used to wearing sweatshirts in July and sleeping all summer with a space heater on. We were used to it being so dark that you accidentally sleep until 10 AM on your days off. We were used to the humidity, all the greenery, and every other peaceful element that comes with the coastal Redwood forest. I also became used to the fact that my hair never fully dried, all of my clothes in my closet always felt wet, and I always had to have all the lights on in the trailer no matter what time of the day it was just so I could see.
But then it was time to hit the road again...
The dry, hot, middle of nowhere desert
And now we have found ourselves in the polar opposite of the Redwood forest for two weeks now, and it couldn't be more different. We are in that trial period again - where everything takes time to get used to the sudden changes. The heat has been excessive, making it even harder to get accustomed to after being in a controlled 60-65 degree climate for 5 months. Now days the sun pours through the cracked windows in the wee hours of the morning. The AC has been running full blast to keep us comfortable. We sleep with the windows open, taking in the noises of the highways, other campers, even wildlife. (A couple nights ago I heard wild burros yelling at the top of their lungs.)
I think that I am adjusting better than Adam, because I do love and desire the elements of the desert. But that doesn't mean that it still isn't difficult and that there are not things that you have to work through. For one, my skin has been so dry it's been hard to keep up with. I have lathered myself in lotion and coconut oil daily, including multiple times a day for my hands and lips, and I'm still cracking and uncomfortable!
RVing Through Climate Changes
When you are changing climates as quickly as you do when you are on the road full-time it can start to have an affect on you in a lot of different ways. No matter if you're going from sunshine to freezing, the desert to the mountains, the prairie to the coast - it's all going to be something you have to plan for and account for in your travels. When you are traveling during the spring and the fall you are going to experience the most drastic changes, and I feel like right now we are in the most variable month across all states. There seems to be no consistency to the month of October, year after year, or state after state - you just have to get out there and hit the road and see what it's all about!
I've always been a planner by nature, so I already do the best I can to look ahead at our intended destinations and account for what the expected weather will be like. But now, I feel like this is an even more important step than it's ever been, as we have been in a heat bubble of 90+ degree temps for over a week and have had to even skip desired destinations because they would be excessively hot. I keep several cities at once saved on my weather app on my phone so that I can check them daily to see how things progress. As we continue to make our way south along the coast this will become especially important to track any tropical storms or hurricanes too.
Things can always change in a quick instant and different warnings can come up for locations we thought would otherwise be totally safe. This summer we have already learned about the importance of red flag warnings and in the past we have dealt with high winds, sudden snowstorms, dust storms, and heat waves too. Whenever we have high risk destinations I like to also set up weather alerts so my phone will notify me of sudden danger and we can do our best ahead of time to reroute. It's an ever changing landscape out here on the road and you have to always try to be prepared for what might come your way next!
Clothing & laundry
Over the summer this situation was so effortless - we would wear the same long pants and sweatshirts all the time and we had limitless laundry available to us at the campground whenever we needed it. Now, while we are out here on our own, we frequently have to layer in a wide variety of clothing to handle the drastic changes in temperatures from morning to night, and we are going through clothes a lot more quickly. We also do not have any guaranteed form of laundry and in fact a lot of places we stay do not even offer laundry services at all. Every few weeks we have to consciously choose locations near laundry or that offer laundry on site so that we can keep up with our wardrobes. That also means we have to have a stash of cash or quarters on hand because most machines do not take credit cards. It's a whole other world out here!
Fun fact: We are looking into the idea of purchasing a portable washing machine to keep in the van and to use for small loads when we have water and electric hookups available to us.
Hookup situation & use of generator
Regardless of where we are these days, it's super crucial for us to think about what the hookup situation will be at each new destination - in relation to what the temperature will be. This includes taking into consideration both the highs and the lows each day. We also have to think about what kind of activities would we be doing at each destination, as in will we mostly be home in the RV or will we be off adventuring leaving the cats in the RV by themselves. All of these factors are really important because in order to maintain the most comfortable temps in the trailer we need to be prepared.
Obviously we desire the most cost effective camping options, including boondocking on free public lands when we can. But when the temps are to reach freezing at night or a scorching 100 during the day it makes it tough for us to pursue this route. Our generator can only do so much for us and we certainly would not run the generator during the day if we weren't going to be home (people steal them and they are valuable) and we would not leave it running overnight either. We are able to run the furnace on the trailer battery all by itself but on the flip side the AC only works if we have a direct power hookup or have the generator attached. Take yesterday for example, as we were traveling into the greater Las Vegas area - I totally planned on dry camping with no hookups and figured with some tree coverage and higher elevations we would be just fine. Needless to say when we got here we immediately opted for the more costly choice in the RV village with full hookups and proceeded to blast the AC for like 7 continuous hours...
I totally overlooked our situation with water when we first entered the desert, completely forgetting that when your source of water is a hose hooked up to your RV - sitting outside completely exposed to the sun - that water becomes very hot water! I learned firsthand in the past week that during the middle of the day is NOT a good time to try to fill up your water jug and have a cool glass to drink. The other day the water was so hot coming out of the surface it felt like I was drinking soup!
The key to combating the water problem while you are in the heat is to fill up multiple jugs either at night before you go to bed, or in the morning - or both! I've been putting a few large glasses in the fridge, even though I don't like super cold water either. And then I've been filling up our jugs that are more insulated and leaving them sit under the desk until I want to drink them. There is nothing worse than being SUPER thirsty and only having literal hot water to drink.
The key is to remain open minded & flexible... or at least as much as you can! Hot days can be frustrating to travel and set up in and sometimes tempers flare. Cold travel days make you feel impatient and want to rush through everything just to get it done. We are also in a point of the year right now where weather is so variable from state to state, city to city, and day to day, we really have to be ready for anything that might come our way. The key is to stay as open minded and flexible as possible, and to keep a variety of clothes on hand in the RV and in the van while traveling. In the desert the mornings might be chilly, but the afternoons can still reach the 100's.
If you let the weather get the best of you and your attitude then you quite literally ruin all the fun of the adventure. One of the best things about living on the road is the wander of never knowing what each new day will bring or what new excitement you might find around the corner. If this past year and a half has taught me anything it is the importance of releasing the things you can't control, releasing expectations for how you think things should go, and being completely and 100% open to any amazing moment that might be coming your way!
Other climate challenges
There is a lot to consider when it comes to the climate you are camping in. Here are a few more things that have been on my mind lately, while we navigate the desert heat:
Protection from the sun - wearing sunscreen more, remembering to bring it with us or put it on before we leave for the day.
Putting a cover on the front door window so that the sun does not blind us in the eyes in the bedroom at 6 AM.
Use of hats and maybe a visor for me! Neither one of us are really the ball cap type, and honestly most regular hats don't even fit my head. But boy do I want to get a visor!
While driving in the van if it becomes too hot inside Roscoe will start to pant aggressively. He will never drink water while we are traveling so I have to pursue other ways to keep him cool.
How many blankets am I going to need to sleep at night? Some days the answer is 2 and I have to dig that second one out from under the bed, and other nights even 1 is too many (like last night for example) and there is a lot of tossing and turning involved.
Is it going to be too hot to cook inside? Should we cook outside instead? Should we just say screw it and not even cook at all and just make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
We also have to consider what time of the day we leave on travel days, especially if it's going to be super hot. The earlier you leave the better chance you have of not driving all day in the uncomfortable heat!
Regardless of where we are on our adventure, there is always a lot to plan out, think about and remember. And when we forget to do any of those things we do our best to just roll with the punches and figure it out as we go. If the two of us have grown at all in the past year, we have most definitely learned how to be more adaptable and patient with every new situation that comes our way!
We officially have some winter plans for 2020! We are not just aimlessly driving across the country right now, in fact we have a PLANNED destination to kick off winter hibernation. Stay tuned for next week's special announcement and RV living updates.
*Currently under construction and paused at this time.*
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