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A Professional Attitude Toward Autumn Migration looks like thermal collapse in a couple days in southern Colorado. Here I go again. After 15 years of full time RVing there is still a nervous drama to. I still feel anxiety about the fall migration, so much so in fact that it's a bit embarrassing. Or is it? Although I can't really explain it, it seems that I must be doing something right if I still have strong feelings about the migration, after all these years. 

But why do I only get emotional about the autumn migration, and not the spring migration? You'd think that it would be symmetric.

But there is something that I can explain: it is important to resist hitch-itch in migrating too far south too fast. It's not that the warmer desert locations aren't appealing. I like them well enough. But in migrating south, imagine pouring yourself and your rig into a conical funnel whose downstream tip is at Yuma, AZ. As you proceed "downstream", North America keeps shrinking. Your options become fewer and fewer.

The only way to defeat the Shrinking Funnel Syndrome is to winter in Mexico -- an option that I exercised a couple times, but which I now reject -- or to learn to enjoy chillier weather. Do you really need to play golf in shorts with palm trees in the background, just because you saw that on the front cover of some glossy retirement magazine? Did you really hate northern winters because of the Cold proper, or because of the crap that went along with the Cold there?

It's easy to preach. A couple days ago it got down to the upper 20s F at night on BLM land near Alamosa CO. I was struggling not to run my furnace. I hate the inconvenience of buying propane, and the expense. 

And yet just a week ago I was glorying in the shadows of September. I spent all day, outside, working on a storage shelf improvement in the van and an aluminum rack on the mountain bike. The afternoon temperature was only 75 F, but the monsoons are over now, so the southwest is back to zero percent humidity and bright sun. As the sun marched across the sky, it was like watching a malevolent sun dial. I kept fleeing but it kept chasing. I had to move all of my tools and work from one side of the RV to the other in order to keep them out of the blistering sun where they soon became too hot to touch.

Somehow we have to overcome weakness and get better at appreciating crisp chilly air and scalding sun. The payoff is huge.


I agree with you completely... right up till it starts snowing. :))
Well, Boonie, maybe you should head west instead of south. Nice and warm here in Moab during the day and nights in the 50s. Just a thought.
Jim and Gayle said…
You're much hardier than us, not running the furnace when it was in the upper 20's. We've learned over the years we are miserable boondocking when it gets that cold. Guess there's still too much Florida blood in us, but we have no desire to spend the winters in FL.
XXXXX said…
I think it is all very easy to understand. Why should you feel the same about winter coming as compared to summer? It's in our DNA, I think. For thousands of years winters brought the challenge of food shortages as well as unsuitable temperatures. Death could so easily be waiting on the doorstep. Why shouldn't we feel a bit gloomy about getting through another winter as compared to the warmth, ease, and plentiful food of the summer?
Unknown said…
Here, here! Not *everyone* is heading south...
Unknown said…
We've become soft in this modern age of on-demand heat and a/c.

Last time I was in Gettysburg I toured the Shriver House museum,a personal residence from the civil war. Did you know that the house doesn't have any fireplaces or other heat sources upstairs? Downstairs there is one fireplace in the parlor and a stove in the kitchen. I asked the guide how they kept warm during the Pennsylvania winters and she simply said they didn't expect it to be warm so they layered clothing and used bed warmers. She also said often they woke up to mornings so cold they could see their breath.

I think there is something to be said for adapting to one's environment rather than artificially changing it.

On migration, I know it's not strictly "west" but both Texas and Florida are farther south than Arizona and last I heard they're still in the US :)
Maria, my dear sweet child (grin), do you really think I'm the sort of guy who would winter in Florida! aaaargh!

Spotted Dog Ranch, well, that's what I did last autumn: i stayed in the Grand Valley (Grand Junction, CO) until almost November, and then shifted downriver to Moab. But migrating down the Rio Grande produces little warming until you reach Albuquerque.

George, I'll bet you are right that it's an anthropological thing.

Mark, I thought you were going to give the standard apologia for Colorado: that it's comfortable until Halloween! Yea, sure it is.
Tom said…
I could stay up there another couple months but I'm wondering... When it's in the 60's and 70's during the day and 20's at night how cold does your Rv get inside at night without any supplemental heat?
Tom, my travel trailer (cheap single pane windows and worn-out weatherstripping) is 12 F warmer than the ambient temperature, at dawn.
Unknown said…
Hell no Boonie! But I had to mention it :p
Bob Giddings said…
Mexico is not your only option. Just slide a little east and south, and stay in the USA.

I would suggest you make your way down to central and then south Texas, via Big Bend. In the Austin area it only gets down around freezing for a couple of weeks a year, and usually that is spread out over 4 months, mainly during the night, with lots of halcyon days between. There's all sorts of terrain, from mini-mountainous to lakes and streams to desert. Right now it's highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s.

In south Texas, it is balmy all winter. There's lots of cheap places to camp. And it's not all that far from where you are, as the crow flies. Winter in Texas is bucolic, like summer further north. Summer in Texas is pure hell, but that doesn't start again until May.

You're in a rut. Think your way out of it. It's only a hop and a jump to the Gulf of Mexico.
Unknown said…
Doesn't hypothermia set in at those temperatures. Sure would for me. Circulation in this old body is not what it used to be and not with polar bear layer of fat, I will spend the money to keep the inside RV temps in a comfortable mid/high 60s. If I don't spend the money, the kids will.
Teri said…
I find that I can tolerate more heat or cold in the RV than I could in my house. Central heating and air conditioning contributes to many respiratory illnesses. Living in a house that has every opening tightly sealed is unhealthy.