As a fulltimer, I am not in the habit of putting up with bad weather. As I have written before, I usually travel around the continent in a route designed to give me pleasant temperatures twelve months of the year. However, that silver-tongued devil, Jim Hammill, talked me into coming to Kitchener, Ontario for some secret goings-on three months ago, and the longer I stayed the worse it got. I now know for a fact that I hate cold weather.
Sure, everything was nice back in September. We enjoyed the cool mornings and beautiful fall foliage, and drove around in the countryside on weekends to see the sights. But then October turned into November, and all the leaves went away. The sun went away too – that far north it's never overhead like I'm used to, and at this latitude had dipped to an alarming 23 degrees above the horizon at noon by the time I left last week – barely above the treetops. It's just not natural, I tell you.
Then there's the snow. I am a son of the south – when I was about ten we got a freak six inch snowfall in Mississippi, and they closed the whole town for a week, so we got to play in it. That's all the snow I have ever seen – until the past two months. I remember it as clean and beautiful, but then I was way too young to have to worry about driving. Snow turns into this ugly mess on the roads, making your vehicular footing treacherous and depositing a fine salty grayish film all over your paint and windows which dries to a powdery coating that is deceptively tenacious. One time I wiped my windows down, and it dried to a positively opaque film, making it worse than before I did anything. And it's too cold for you to use water to clean your windows so you can see. Very frustrating. Your vehicle is an aesthetic disaster area all winter.
And then there's the cold. I can put up with a few mornings down in the teens because I know the temperature will bounce up to the 70s in a day or two. Up north it doesn't bounce. I had consistently below-freezing temperatures for over a week before I made my break for freedom. One time the sky cleared after sunset and the temperature went from ten below Celsius to 23 below – that's from 14 degrees to minus 9 Fahrenheit – in about three hours. Luckily the clouds came back and the temperature went back up, but before they did you could just feel the last vestiges of warmth radiating out into space as if you were on the dark side of the moon. Scary. It hurts to breathe when it's that cold.
Then there's what happens to your RV because of the cold. Sadly, after seven years of Roadtrek ownership, I finally had to winterize. Once the water is gone, your ability to cook and keep things clean goes away too. You are tracking this slushy mess in, so the floors are a disaster. Yuck. You have to run the heat all the time, and there's no air circulation. My poor Roadtrek was a depressing sight, especially with all the fond memories we had of sunnier times.
I finally made a break for freedom, dodging the steady snow and random chunks of ice flying off the roofs of passing semis, to cross the border and head south. By the time we got to southern Ohio the snow was patchy, and it actually got up to 40 degrees. On the second day, we left all the snow and ice behind and made it down to South Carolina for the night. The third day of traveling will be to Florida, where the sun shines and the palm trees rustle in the sea breeze. Ah, now THIS is the way to spend the winter. I am just not cut out for that cold stuff.