Snowbirds Freezing Weather

Travel Journal – December 18, 2015

I wake to a numbing cold in my Coach and look at my clock, it’s 4:15 AM. The outside temperature was near 30 degrees. What, this is Arizona! One reason I am wintering here was to escape the cold weather and snow in places like Montana. Well at least it’s not snowing, yet. Arizona can have very cold nights. In fact just up the mountain from here I’ve heard has three feet of snow.

[one_third][/one_third]I got up to check my heater. I had programmed the electric fireplace to go off at 2:00 AM and the Atwood forced air system to come on at 5:45 AM. That’s not going to happen today Jagger. So I flip on the heater and set it to the lowest setting, 60 degrees, then climbed back into my warm bed. Jagger stands at the end of the bed with a sad look on his face while shivering. Okay Jagger, I give him the command and he gladly jumps onto my bed, settling close to share body heat.

I dislike sleeping with the heater on and the problem with the Atwood thermostat that comes standard with my fifth wheel is it only goes as low as 60 degrees. That means it will turn off at 62 degrees, which can be even warmer in some areas of my Coach, like the bedroom since it’s higher than the living area. The one nice thing about the Grand Design fifth wheels, is they are designed for winter camping. The basements are heated, providing protection for internal pipes and tanks from the freezing cold.

I wake once again, it’s daylight! I look at my phone. Bummer I slept until 8:00 AM Jagger. Why didn’t you wake me up? When I do this it feels as if I lost a good chunk of the day. I drag myself out of my warm bed, stagger down the steps to my living area and down a cup of coffee.

Let’s go for our morning walk Jagger. Of course he never argues and jumps around excitedly. We climb in the Workhorse and head to the local dog park. It’s freezing out here! The walk is short today and we head back to the Coach, where I work on my blog. Going over my journal notes and photos, brings the adventure back to my memory and I get to relive it with you.

Travel Journal – August 10, 2015
Reflection: Modoc Campground South Carolina
Second Camp Modoc

Second Camp Modoc

Several days pass. We are at another camp that will be hard to leave. Last weekend Jagger and I hosted another barbecue here at the lake with Cheryl, and her friends Bob and Danette. I enjoyed visiting with them. Bob and Danette actually live on the lake not far for our camp. Bob had many interesting things to share about the lake and its construction by the Army Corp of Engineers between 1946 and 1954. The Clarks Hill or Strom Thurmond Dam spans 1,024 feet and is 204 feet at it’s highest point. An interesting point I thought was the area was originally surveyed in 1890 and recommended to prevent flooding. Then the survey was lost for fifty years. The resulting lake is 70,000 surface acres and over 1,000 miles of pristine shoreline. A huge project, even by today’s standards and technology.

As I travel, I am amazed by our ancestors. They seemed to be looking forward for generations. Determining what will be needed for growth, especially infrature, constructing huge projects, that we all enjoy today. I hope our descendants will be able to look back on our contributions and say the same.

Laundry Again

Laundry Again

Today is, yes laundry time again and I take Jagger with me, but he hangs out in the Workhorse the whole time. I think it’s better than being left behind in the Coach as long as the outside temperature is below 75 degrees. I do go out in between washing and drying to hang out with him.

While doing my laundry I met an interesting young man, who was a retired Marine. He was stationed in the South Carolina area during his tour. While we were visiting I mentioned I had a terrible encounter (my first) with chiggers in Tennessee earlier this summer, while hiking. He said that he and the Marines in his barracks bought Avons’ “Skin so Soft” by the case for just that, Chiggers and some kind of sand flea or crab that’s prevalent on the beach in South Carolina. “You smell a little girly, but it works. All my buddy’s use it.”

[one_fourth][/one_fourth]Needless to say I didn’t want to experience Chiggers anytime soon so I bought some on Amazon. It works! Not only Chiggers, but mosquitoes and other biting bugs. It also has a SPF rating of 30, so it’s a light sunscreen. I put it on everyday the rest of my Summer trip and never had a bite of any kind.

Tomorrow we are packing up again and Heading out for our last camp at the Clark’s Hill lake. Tonight I stay close to home and read. I’m reading mostly pioneer-trapper adventure novels.

The final morning at Modoc we wake and go through our routine to pack up camp. On the morning walk we pass a neighbor who, along with his fellow fishermen, were dropping a line in the water right at their camp. Below is the fish one of them caught. Nice. Jagger and I visit, then off we go to hitch-up and move on to Winfield camp.

20150724 Modoc (1) 2015-07-24 19.58.28

Safe Travels…Gary


More Photos: Clarks Hill DamModoc Campground

5 replies

  1. Gary, Skin so soft has been around for years. We used to use it at Colorado River in summer time for flies.
    Also I had a friend that used it on her small dog for fleas.
    Sounds like you are having good time but 30 degrees is a little to cold for me.
    Safe travels. Take care. Jan


    • Nice hearing from you Jan. Now you tell me 😉
      Like you many people I have told about “Skin So Soft” along the way already either heard or had used it themselves. It was a great find for me since I lived outdoors so much during the Summer, a lot of it by lakes. I learned the hard way. I won’t be without it again.

      For Jagger, I researched thoroughly. I had a hard time choosing anything to put on him. Due to the side effects. After weighing the benefits of protection against especially ticks in the south and east that carry lyme disease, I decided to use Nexgard. As it turned out it was just for four months. He seemed to be okay with it. We may not need anything this year as we are planning a trip west and north.


  2. Iv’e been watching those SW temps. I had planned last summer of possibly tent camping with my hounds boon docking between Yuma and Quartzsite. I am glad I didn’t. It’s warmer than normal here in Indiana … strange weather but I’ll take it. Reading about El Nino predictions last summer warned me of the possibilities of the weather in the SW.


    • Hey Steve, You’re right, tenting here wouldn’t be pleasant at all. The nights are still in the 40’s, but that’s not too out of the normal range for winters here. If you come down in the spring to fall time there is a nice state park up the mountain near Show-Low, Az (Fool Hollow Lake). Not sure about the number of dogs they allow though.
      I hope you have a Merry Christmas.


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