Winter Is Here

We were under a freeze warning overnight, and that forecast was perfectly accurate. When I woke up this morning, the temperature was exactly 32F outside — the coldest I’ve seen so far in this journey. I may be in one of the warmest parts of the country right now, but that doesn’t mean tropical weather, either. The coldest it got inside the van was 44F. Chilly, but definitely survivable. Here’s how I did it.

One nice thing about Arizona is it does get warm during the day. Although I fight against passive solar heating inside the van all summer, I can use it to my advantage right now to capture heat while the sun is still up, making it even warmer inside than outside. I got it up to about 75F inside this way. As soon as the sun goes down, I put up my Reflectix window covers to trap as much of it as I can.

I turned my Olympian Wave 3 heater on low and ran it for several hours while I bummed around, watched videos, and whatever. By the time I went to bed, it was still 65F inside, despite the temperature plummeting outside. I cranked the heater up to high for a little while to give it one last boost of heat, then turned it off for the night, because I’m not comfortable running propane while I’m sleeping. I crawled into the sleeping bag I picked up along Route 66 for some cold nights at elevation, then pulled my warm blanket over me as well. Unfortunately, Lister decided not to join me under the blanket.

It wasn’t bad when I woke up at dawn (around 7:30am), which is the coldest time of day. Eventually, I found the motivation to crank the heat, get dressed, and make coffee, all of which warmed things up. As I type this now, my thermometer reads 55F both inside and outside, though I question the outside temperature because it’s in direct sunlight, and probably reading higher than it should.

I didn’t quite pull out all the stops to stay warm last night, either. This assures me that I can handle 20s if I have to. Not that I want to, but I could.

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