Monday, January 15, 2007

Quartzsite - Day Brrrrrr

Wouldn't you know it. We come to the desert southwest to escape the cold and the whole area has the coldest weather in 20 years! No fair!

I have a thermometer that records the high and low temperatures and Saturday night's low was 18.5. Last night was warmer -- only 19.8! Fortunately, we are warm as long as we burn lots of propane. We went through a 9 gallon bottle in 2 days, but that's not really too bad. Even though the temperature has not been above 50 in the past 3 days, the furnace only runs in the early morning, late in the afternoon and during the evening. At night we set the thermostat down to 50 and the furnace does not come on until about 4:30 in the morning. It then cycles every half hour or so for a few minutes until it automatically sets up at 7:30. By 9 we are back up to 72 and the sun is shining brightly. We open all the shades and let the sun warm the inside of the trailer.

The solar system is working very well. I now have 4 of the 5 panels tilted toward the sun. The 5th panel is too close to one of the others so it would cast a shadow if I tilted it more than a few degrees. I have chosen to leave that one flat for the time being. We run the generator for about 45 minutes the first thing in the morning while we make coffee. We also run the electric space heater to try to get it warmed up a little faster. After that we let the solar do it's thing alone and it has fully charged the batteries by early afternoon, even though we are on the computer and/or watching TV as well. It is generating about 730 watts of power between 11 and 2, and more than we need until about 4PM. If it were not for the very cold weather and the desire to get it warmed up faster by running the electric heater, there would be no reason to run the generator at all.

So, the solar setup is working very well. It will provide all the electricity we need as long as the sun shines, and we have enough battery capacity to see us through at least one cloudy day. Since the sun is near the lowest it ever gets in the sky and the days are short, we should be all set. If we can make it off solar alone now the summer should be a cinch, especially in Alaska.

We have not been doing much because of the cold. We have been to town a couple times for propane, water and a few groceries, but have not visited any more of the shops. Next week the big RV show runs in the Big Tent, so we hope things have warmed up by then. We did go to Parker Saturday night for dinner. We ate at a Mexican restaurant that was OK.

That's about it from here. We are just staying warm, watching TV, playing on the computer, taking daily walks in the desert and working hard at being retired. Dianna has also rediscovered cross-stitch and is reading more when we don't have the computer on. Life is good.


  1. The trailer is warmed up to 72 by 9:00 AM. So does that mean you stay in bed until then? (I'm not scolding you ... that's what I would do!)

  2. No, we get up, put on a robe, and drink hot coffee. I guess we could set the thermostat to bring the temperature up earlier but we don't. It's not that bad and the sun is shining in the windows by 8 or so when we do get up.

  3. It sounds like everyone in the desert has been a lot colder than the San Fernando Valley even though we have been getting plenty cold. Sunday morning it was 25 here which is about the coldest I can remember for here. I think the higher desert folks like Palmdale and Lancaster were in the teens or maybe even single digits.

    Glad to hear the solar is working out so well. I'm sure it will be all you need in Alaska this summer. It probably wouldn't do much good now though.

  4. It was 19.5 at my house Tuesday morning, so you beat us by one degree. My neighbor still had ice on his sidewalk by 5:00 yesterday evening (in the shade), so it must have been really cold, and didn't warm up much. I'm not sure if we lost some citrus or not, but I bet we did.

    It's supposed to warm up a little the next couple of days, but then they are predicting rain for Thur and Fri. Hope it really comes through this time -- the desert is very dry.

  5. This global warming is going to be the death of us all, once the cold weather stops.

    For the first time in I don't know how long they actually had snow in the Santa Monica mountains yesterday. I also heard Malibu got a litte.

    They were escorting people on Malibu Canyon Road but even more amazing was they closed Kanan Dume Road because of ice and snow. It was also closed this morning. The Santa Monica mountains are not very high and they are also very close to the ocean.

    Stupid global warming.

  6. We are seeing the damage caused by the prolonged cold. The flowering plants here were beautiful, and now all of one kind are brown and withering. Even the blossoms of the oleanders are dead. Now it has decided to warm up a little.

  7. I'll bet you have snow tonight. Scottsdale had enough to make snow balls and even a snowman. None here that I saw.

  8. Nope. It was about 20 degrees warmer here yesterday than it was in your area and is expected to be about 10 degrees warmer today. The front slid south just east of us so we only got some wind. You got the cold and wet. Funny how much difference 120 miles makes.

  9. Huell Howser had a 1 hour special on California's Gold about Quartzsite a few days ago. I watched it last night. That has to be the largest flea market in the country at least and maybe the world.

    He also went to the Saguaro cactus with the most arms(47) of any in the world. Did you know that was located there? I'm not sure what year he did that trip so the cactus may have lost a few since he was there.

    I think the most amazing thing is the number of people and RVs in that small little town. They said the population during normal times is about 2500 and I think that's stretching it.