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On to the Next Project of Enjoying a Difficult Season

It seems funny to switch to a new project about enjoying a difficult season -- winter -- so soon after making a big project out of enjoying summer more. Perhaps the summer project worked well enough that it encouraged me.

What makes winter difficult? It isn't the temperature or the clouds or the snow -- not for snowbirds, it isn't. The difficulty is the long hours of darkness. 

Remember that the American Southwest has a higher latitude than the Texas coast or southern Florida. Phoenix is only slightly south of Atlanta, GA.

The easy answer to too many hours of darkness is to sleep more. Yes, animals do sleep more (and better) in cool weather, but there are limits to that trick. 

Recently I was watching a video by Jonna Jinton, a young woman who spends the winter in northern Sweden, so her credentials are similar to an Alaskan. She was probably quite correct when she recommended not trying to sleep too much. Her point is even more important for an oldster.

Campers in small RVs, vans, or tents are at a great disadvantage compared to somebody in a normal house who can walk around and find errands to do. This hardship doesn't get much attention from the bullshitters on the internet who rhapsodize about the glamorous van nomad lifestyle. It can get glum and confining in a small box during 13 hours of darkness. I don't see how people do it if they can't even stand up.

Fortunately modern technology helps.

  1. LED lights for brightening the RV without draining the battery.
  2. Electronic screens for reading books. No longer are we at the mercy of tiny print in a paper book, or poor lighting from light bulbs.
  3. All kinds of media consumption are easier than in the past. Granted, 99.9% of media is garbage but that still leaves a lot of good stuff to use during the long hours of darkness. Audio books in particular are helpful because eyes tire at night, but ears don't.
  4. LED headlamps for doing chores inside the RV.
  5. Cooking is probably the best chore of all for the dark hours. Then, during the daylight hours, you need only warm up what you cooked at night. This could save you a lot of money, considering what food-inflation has become.


You have well articulated a factor I have noticed in my life. Long dark hours in the winter have always seemed a burden. But I have managed to last through 75 of them.
Thanks, Barney. With long dark hours, every little trick helps.
Unknown said…
Going thru this now. sitting out a week of rain in Redding, when like to be heading further south.
What do they say happened to your van motor? All of our worse nightmare to be broken down, but the whole motor--yeoch!
Unknown, A week of rain? I have trouble imagining that. It shows that there IS a reason for larger RVs -- tiny ones make you very susceptible to less than perfect weather.

My van: one of the crankshaft bearings is shot. Covered by the powertrain warranty. They swap out the engine with a new engine, but carry over my "old" transmission and the bolt-on parts to the new engine.

But I am caught up in the Great Reset, that is, supply chain problems. New engine still isn't here after 13 days.
Anonymous said…
Books, movies, music, writing, breathing, calisthenics, quiet contemplation, quiet non-contemplation, masturbation.

Not necessarily in that order.
Ed said…
I feel your pain kaBLOOnie.

The really bad news is that by the time they get a new engine installed the price of gas will be too high for you to run it.

What happened to the all that talk about "U.S. energy production in 2019 was higher than U.S. energy consumption for the first time in 62 years. Thus, the U.S. attained the long-held goal of “energy independence”—which is not to say that we did not import or export energy, but that we produced more energy than we used."

Ed, we certainly didn't get the drop in gasoline prices that we usually do, after Labor Day.