Saturday, September 2, 2017

9/2 - Heat, Heat, and More Heat!

I am visiting family in Napa, California, so not much to post about, but I do have to comment on this summer's weather.  Some of you may have heard about the heat in the west this summer.  Yes, it is usually very hot in the southwest, but this heat has been much broader than that--actually covering the entire western part of the country.  

After experiencing 98 degree temps in the south rim of the Grand Canyon in late June when it is normally only in the low 80s, I knew I was in trouble.  Grand Canyon Village is at 6,800', which keeps it relatively cool.  Looking at weather forecasts, I rearranged some of the reservations and decided to head to supposedly cooler Colorado.  In fact, I had to head to Frisco at 9,300' to get daytime temps in the 70s.  Elk RIdge near Ouray was in 80s at 7,300'.

So, why the concern about heat?  The thing is that almost no RV air conditioning performs well in hot conditions.  Ditto for refrigerators and freezers.  For example, I have been keeping my AC on today since very early morning.  It is set on high fan as well.  Outside temps are now 104 degrees at 1:00 pm, but my AC is struggling to keep inside temps at 84 degrees.  I want it to be more like 75 inside, but that is not likely to happen until about 9:00 pm this evening.  

In addition, my freezer is also struggling.  RV refrigerators and freezers work on propane and switch to electric when plugged in.  They are "adsorption" devices and work differently from your home refrigerator.  (They also cost about twice as much, even for a very small one!)  That side of the motorhome is not facing the sun in this location, but even so, ice cream is likely to get soft, so I have only opened it once today.

The cause?  Well, the first is that these homes on wheels have very little wall and ceiling insulation due to weight restrictions.  Also, almost all have only single-pane windows.  I suppose they could put in more powerful AC units and add more insulation and double-pane windows, but that would increase weight and cost.  Basically, think of sitting in a parking lot in your closed car--it is like living in a tin can, and it gets hot in here fast. 

When you go to buy an RV, you look at floorplan, how many people it will sleep and where, and things like furnishings.  Very few people ask about the size of the air conditioner and the R-rating for walls.  (Actually, i don't think they even bother to rate the walls.)  There is the same issue about camping in cold places.  RVs leak air like crazy and are hard to keep warm in cold places.  

So, mostly full-time RVers like me try to plan our schedules so we stay in moderate climates year-round.  Except with global warming, the last two summers have not been moderate. Or at least, it has been a lot harder to find moderate temperatures.  So, next week, I am headed to the coast of Oregon where daytime temps are in the 70s and low 80s.  I'll stay there until mid-October when I head back here and then to Yosemite.  Finally, in November, I will be heading to southern California and Death Valley in early December.  I am following the cooler weather that way, I hope!


  1. I'm thinking about making reservations for next summer in Oregon and Washington. I've had it with the heat. We have 1000 Trails and they have a lot of campgrounds there, but need to make reservations in December.

    1. Make sure you make reservations only on the coast. Inland gets really hot. There are a lot of really nice state parks in Oregon and Washington, but I just discovered that they are already taking reservations for Washington State Parks for June 2--9 months in advance and not 6 months! One of my favorites is Pacific Beach because you are right on the beach--no sewer, but there is a dump station. Fantastic views. Check out my blog for July, 2016 for photos.