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Don't Underestimate How Boring Desert Camping Is

I wonder how many armchair travelers, stuck under grey skies in the north, look at the postcards put out by Arizona visitors, and immediately fall for the romantic escapism. It probably doesn't occur to them that the winter camper is indoors, in the dark, by 530 pm, and that it is dark until 7am.

And what does that camper do for 13 hours of darkness in a little box where you can barely walk? At least at home, in a normal house, you could walk to the bathroom (or microwave oven) during television commercials. In an RV your butt is glued to a chair, or you are twisting or turning in bed, wishing that you could still sleep 10 hours a night.

When you finally admit that you don't sleep like a youngster anymore, what do you do with all those hours of darkness? The nearby desert town probably closes shop at 6 pm. There is no social life when camping in the desert, unless you live where people are a bit non-transient, and you get a chance to know them.

The easy answer is, "Well, I read books in the evening." That is easier said than done, when the eyeballs get old. Even if you have young eyeballs, too many hours of reading can go way beyond tediousness, and become almost sickly.

A more truthful answer is, "media consumption." That is a neutral and nonjudgmental way of saying that you squander more and more time watching television, You Tube, or web surfing.

I am aware that I spent too much time at the desk. So it makes me appreciate any pleasant surprises there. For instance, this morning, I saw this wonderful cartoon of the "Deep State."

Why doesn't the cartoonist sign their work more clearly? I would like to add a caption to this, acknowledging the credit, but I can't read the cartoonist's name.

Cartoonists can be brilliant. When old eyes weary over weighty books, it is sheer pleasure to look at a cartoon like this and say, "That is all I need to know about that topic. Let me close my eyes and think. Maybe I will go to sleep now."


XXXXX said…

David Gothard

Sleeping in the long winter nights is different. That's for sure. I'm sure it's more of a challenge for you exactly for the reasons you stated. I usually end up going to sleep early and then being up for several hours in the middle of the night. Even though it's boring, I always tend to think Mother Nature knows what she's doing. Maybe all we can do during these long winter nights is take stock of ourselves, something we don't have time to do in the summer. If that's the case, it's a good thing.

George, but I don't want to "take stock of myself", if that means solitary, self-absorption. I want daylight, physical activities, and motion.
We were fortunate enough to spend Three Winters in the deserts of the American Southwest. Our biggest complaint was the Ten days spent getting there then repeating the time to return Home. We also experience equipment failure (Blowouts and Engine Problems) but we’d get that even at home.

We were fortunate to have made many Lifetime Friends we often socialized with and sat by many Campfires with. We also survived the heavy Rains that caused the Washes to flow like Rapid Filled Rivers next to our RV that later cause Grass and Flowers to grow through the Rocks. We watched as the night time sky was filled with so many stars it made us wonder if we lived on the same planet.

The piece and quiet caused us to relax so much that we'd watch the Sunrise above the surrounding mountains in the morning then watch it set giving brilliant displays in the evening. The biggest problem we seemed to have was that Time just seemed to fly by.

It did cause us to live similar to what our Parents did in their childhood years which was a much more relaxed way of life. If that is our only complaint we can only say give us more.
Be Safe and Enjoy!

It's about time.
Rick and Kathy, "peace and quiet" was what you found in the desert? You must have chosen well. Every year it gets harder to escape noisy neighbors, UTVs, target practicers, drones, motorcycles, car-campers who come in late and slam car doors for an hour, and generators.

I think it is important to stop feeding newbies excessive expectations about desert camping.