The Second Time Around

Like daft tourists, not seasoned travelers, we associated Santa Fe with warmth and sun, but discovered that we had strayed far enough north to be almost in ski country in late winter.

Santa Fe NM, Oldest House in the USA
Santa Fe NM, Oldest House in the USA

Duh. Hadn’t we learned our lesson on our first circuit of the United States the year before  at the Grand Canyon where we were frozen to the ground in 5°F weather? Apparently not.

Hey! Don't leave me down here!
Hey! Don’t leave me down here!

The endless summer we had planned – summer in the north, high summer on the east coast, late summer and snowbird’s winter retreat in the south – never happened. Gales, sweaty heat and freezing temperatures made the circuit with us.

Southern Arizona was at least a comfortable temperature until the sun went down. A “nation” of saguaro cactus “people” with their funny arms held up in greeting had welcomed us to Tucson and given at least the impression of a hot landscape.

The dry air, calming buff colors, and peacefulness of the Arizona desert were most appreciated after so much lousy weather and soothed our need for warmth, but our winter sojourn had been meant to entail leisurely swimming and sunbathing, beach combing and sitting in the balmy shade of our awning for the margarita hour.

I risked a couple of “heated” swimming pools, one in Sarasota and one in Tucson. Getting into the cold water (heated means not icy) was a shock. Getting out into the cold air was agony.

Sunbathing hadn’t happened at all and our skin thanks us for that. Beachcombing on the Gulf coast was done in winter jackets while powering ahead. To stand still was to risk windburn and then hypothermia.

Only one madman in the water!
Only one madman in the water!

For our margarita hour, we substituted red wine “indoors.”

Neither comfortably cooped up inside nor drenched in perspiration or shivering outside was the relaxed experience we had anticipated.

Tucson in March was our first destination since leaving Washington State the previous July (picture a clockwise trip on the edge of the States from Washington all the way around to Arizona) where we could sit comfortably outside or stroll languidly in t-shirts and shorts, particularly galling as Washington had had their best summer in years after we left.

Coyotes yipping in the distance setting off the distinctive yips of several packs of their chums at 3 a.m. the night before had added a thrilling ripple of fear to the spell the desert had cast. Quite unused to this particular wildlife encounter, we exchanged notes the next morning.

Coyote, Saguaro National Park
“Yeah, it was me who woke you up. What are you going to do about it?”

“Did you hear the coyotes in the night?” he asked.

“Oh, yes. I went back to sleep and then wondered if I’d dreamt it.”

“They ran right under us. I could hear them pounding back and forth and panting!”

That growth on the back of our trailer is our bed-in-a-drawer, suspended about coyote height.
That growth on the back of our trailer is our bed-in-a-drawer, suspended about coyote height.

Camped for the night under stately and beautiful but dripping giant redwoods in Crescent City, Jimmy had googled the weather where we were headed. “Do you want to hear the forecast for Olympia?” Giant redwoods, Crescent City campground

“Go-o-o o-o-n-n,” I groaned, expecting the worst.

“Rain today. Showers tomorrow. Scattered showers the next day. Wait. Let’s look at the 10 day forecast.” Spare me. “It’s going to rain for the next 10 days.”

The only thing worse than the predicted 10 days of rain was the thought of 10 days of rain cooped up in an RV.

We’d have permanently cold damp towels to look forward to. Clean clothes that have languished in a locker for a few days feel damp when they’re fresh on. There’s nowhere to put soggy coats. Muddy shoes end up kicking around our very small floor space just as we will be kicking around our very small floor space.

How do we cope? Badly.

How do you (would you) cope?

27 thoughts on “The Second Time Around

  1. Santa Fe fooled us our first winter visit there also. If it’s any consolation Floridians don’t go in the water in the winter even if it’s not cold 🙂 We’re finally used to the coyotes after hearing them since December (with the exception of one month we were out by the water in San Diego). They’re quite active now, having pups.


  2. There’s a reason that the Olympic Peninsula has a temperate rainforest. If you think an RV is bad, try a tent. It’s a test of perseverance, rain gear, and on some days – the marriage. Hide all the knives! James


  3. You painted a very vivid picture of life in an RV when it’s rainy and wet. I actually shuddered. That damp and clammy feeling is so ….. awful.
    Wishing you warm and sunny days 🙂


  4. I agree with Laurel, get out of the trailer. I on the other hand like rainy days (a few) as long as I have a few good books. But then, I don’t have another person to trip over ;-).


  5. Oh my…imagining 10 days of rain cooped up in our small trailer…it would not be pretty!! In our 9 months so far of full-timing (and 15 years of part-timing) we’ve been lucky to only have to endure a couple of days at a time of relentless rain. Wet rain jackets go into the shower, muddy shoes go outside on a rack under the trailer steps. It’s a mess no matter what! We go to a coffee shop, library, museum, out to breakfast/lunch/dinner — anything to get out of the trailer and save our relationship. 😉


      1. You are so right! We do spend quite a bit of time in Washington (especially in the San Juan Islands) but ONLY in July-August-September. Then it’s lovely.


  6. Like minds…..we must have visited Santa Fe at the same fricken time and froze our a**es off. The plus side; we didn’t need to share any of the historical sites with anyone else because no one else was crazy enough to be strolling around tourist destinations in 10 degree weather 😉


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