I am happy to report that despite crippling Houston heat, Chesky and I spent a relatively comfortable trial run in the trailer last night.
I’m not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to go camping in 100 degree weather, but I really didn’t have a choice. I needed to test the water pipes, the tanks, and to spend some time “living” in the trailer to get a better feel for what my challenges are going to be.
Challenges I see from the inaugural trip:
Space. Every inch needs to be used efficiently. Especially with the supplemental air conditioner, we are pretty crowded. I’m going to jettison the extra A/C once I hit Virginia in mid-September, but will have to accommodate it for two weeks.
Storage. I need hooks and hangers and nets for just about every bare inch of wall.
Efficiency. The act of setting up and breaking down each day needs to be streamlined; I can’t set out items or decorate like I do now. My energy is going to be consumed by hitching the truck, emptying the tanks, resetting the stabilizers, rolling up the power, water, and sewer hoses, and making sure everything is locked up and ready to hit the road.
It took me all morning to get the trailer hooked up and figure out a solution for the supplemental air conditioner, all the while dripping with sweat. I know it's horrible, but I was desperate.
We drove 30 miles north to a Lake Conroe campground and stayed in the site marked by these three words: cyclist.battle.succulent. The campground was a little dry and deflated looking, but nothing looks good in this heat. Once I was finally settled into the campsite about 2 PM, I was able to test the tanks for the first time, and the toilet! Then I crawled inside to hibernate and wait for the heat of the day to pass.
I had 13,000 BTUs cranking in a 16 foot trailer in the form of two separate air conditioners. The trailer was in full sun (Houston, despite its reputation for trees, does not have shade trees large enough to park under, at least not in newer neighborhoods, or this campground) with all the blinds drawn. Chesky was passed out on the guest seat, panting gently through his nose. The A/C thermostat read 87 degrees inside. It was 99 outside, according to the Internet, with a heat index (i.e how hot it actually feels) of 107.
In all of my preparations for this trip, 50% of them have been fighting the heat and trying to coax the air conditioner to work more effectively. This has been a rather inefficient use of my time, given that I’m going to be traveling in early fall through mostly northern states and late fall through the southwest, but it’s hard to plan for cold in the unbearable heat. Since I bought the trailer in June, I’ve had to complete repairs and niceties throughout July and August. It’s been difficult, and I can’t wait to head north to the cooler weather.
Living in Houston this brief year, I wonder why anyone would voluntarily subject themselves to this weather. Winters are pleasant, yes, but the summers are unbearable and in my opinion, far outweigh the benefits of a mild winter. Right now I would be happier living in the frozen tundra, but that might just be the heat exhaustion talking.
I cannot figure out why everyone is moving south in America. I think I’ll ask them. Or tell me yourself.