Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter Camping in Tucson

One of the most common questions I have been asked about going to Tucson was "how was the weather?" My sister had been there only a week before and every day was in the 80's while she was there. Of course, it's the desert so it cooled down at night but she told me it was still warm enough that she just needed to wear long sleeves or a light jacket at night.

Sadly, this was not my experience of the weather in Tucson. Don't get me wrong, it was still quite pleasant and definitely warmer than Ontario in November but I ended up wearing the same long-sleeved shirt and pair of jeans almost every day since the majority of the warm weather clothing I had brought with me wasn't appropriate for the suddenly cooler temperatures that prevailed while I was there. I also wore my fleece jacket most of the time when we were outdoors and definitely needed it at night.

It was 80 degrees on the day I arrived which turned into a lovely, warm evening. My sleeping quarters were in what Kate calls the "Barbie camper", a fabulous trailer she has installed at the back of her property. The photo on the right is Kate and Stefanie, just after we finished making up the beds in the camper. That first night was so warm, I slept under just a sheet until about 3 a.m. when I woke up cold and pulled the oh-so-cozy down duvet over top of me.

The next day, the temperature dropped about ten degrees and that night, it was a little chillier in the camper and I definitely needed the duvet from the beginning. It got progressively colder in the evenings, as the days were cloudy and cool and there was no residual heat to warm up the camper and by the third night, I was sleeping with my fleece jacket over my pyjamas. On the fourth night, Kate gave me a second duvet. Suddenly, sleeping in a camper in Tucson was starting to feel all too familiar - just like October nights at the cottage. We made jokes about winter camping and how we were now ready to stay at an ice hotel. In reality, I was warm as toast sleeping under these conditions, as long as a hand or elbow did not peek out from under the bedclothes, as the cold air would quickly wake me up with the realization it was time to pull that chilled body part under cover again!

Of course, it wasn't until the day after our coldest night that Kate remembered she had a couple of space heaters in the house that she could have brought out for us to use in the camper. Oh how we laughed! By then, we didn't need them - we moved into the house that night, as some of the other guests had left by then, freeing up a couple of the beds.

Still, it was so much fun to sleep in the Barbie camper. It was like camping out in a tree fort or pitching a tent in the backyard when we were kids, remember that feeling? When you feel totally safe knowing the house is just a few feet away and the door is unlocked, in case you need to go to the bathroom or a crazed ax murderer shows up, but also just a little adventurous because you're not sleeping in your regular bed, technically you are outdoors and potentially anything could happen.

The first night, I even stayed out there alone! Boy, did I feel brave, staying in a new place in a new city all alone outside in the yard! Surely Nancy Drew and/or Amelia Earheart would have been proud of me!

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