The Arizona desert may be one of the warmest places in the USA during January but it can still be cold, especially at night. Dry air means temps drop rapidly after sunset. And by morning, low 40s or even 30s are common. But we’re bundled up inside the little camper, not bothered that the inside of the fridge, the inside air temp, and the outside temp are all about the same. We prefer to not run the furnace after we’re in our sleeping bags - less noise, less drain on battery, and unnecessary with good sleeping bags - but come morning heat from any source is greatly appreciated.
Which brings up another little problem I’ve found this trip. When the ambient air outside and inside the camper is about the same as the setting on the refrigerator, the refrigerator doesn’t run much… or, at all. I mean… it’s set for same temp we're at so why would it run? While that’s not a problem for items in the fridge compartment, my few meager ice cubes (used to chill down my Dr. Daniels Amber Restorative) in the freezer get a little soft and runny at times.
And one more issue becoming evident is that our 100 watt solar panel can’t keep up with our meager power demands. The fridge pulls 4 or 5 amps (while running) and the furnace blower pulls even more. During a typical January day and night we could, between just those two items, use somewhere around 40 or 60 amp/hours. The solar panel might replace half that during a sunny January Arizona day… but after two days, we’re sucking pond-water in the battery department. Unless we drive some distance (truck’s alternator does recharge the battery too), we’re finding two days is about it. We’re discussing a solution to this issue and will have more info in a future post. Hmmm… more solar? a generator? a Mr. Fusion unit?
With the help of my trusty hiking GPS, we found it once again. As photos show, it’s holding up rather well I’d say. There is a link on our “links” page to an aerial view where it’s visible if you look closely.
|Indian Cove CG at Joshua Tree NP|
Tuesday, Jan 20 Joshua Tree NP.
We’re ready for a hike today. The recommended walk to 49 Palms Oasis seemed to fit the bill as it was close, rated moderately strenuous, and 3 or 4 miles r/t. Joshua Tree is in a geologically active area. The shaking ground is moving, settling, cracking, and uplifting all the time. At a number of places around the park all this activity has created steady flows of open water that provide the right conditions for palms to grow. A classic oasis. The walk back to this one involved hiking over a ridge and down the other side to the oasis. A very agreeable way to spend a winter morning.
I’m usually surprised by the number of people visiting National Parks. Let’s see, it’s a Tuesday, a little on the cold side, and some of the campgrounds are full. We did find a site at White Tank CG and snagged it immediately. This campground has a 25’ camper/vehicle restriction… so it fit us to a “T”. Another quiet night among the rocks.