Howdy from the Natchez Trace in Mississipppi! We found a beautiful site here at Rocky Springs. The past couple mornings its most appealing feature was in our fire barrel!
Even with the cold, it’s nice to be in the woods again, amongst tall, tall trees. There’s a mix of hardwood and evergreen. Cedar trees are common. A couple chunks of our firewood are cedar, and wow, do they smell good.
The first full day we were here was amazing. The thermometer read 80 degF, though with the wind blowing constantly it felt like the mid-70s. Shorts and t-shirt weather, for sure! After a dark and rainy night we woke up to a reading of 38 degrees. Whaaaaaat?!
What a change! Since we don’t have cell service here, we drove to Port Gibson to spend some time online. We learned temps were expected to be in the 20s overnight! Whaaaaaaat?! Now, we pay attention to the weather so we can prepare for whatever’s coming. We don’t obsess over it and we don’t worry about it. But we do keep an eye on it. Thankfully, since we have shelter and at least one of us has know-how, this forecast wasn’t concerning, not in the sense of “Are we going to be okay?” The kinds of questions we were asking ran more along the lines of: “Do we stay and run the generator or find somewhere not too far away with electricity?” After some research (thanks, freecampsites.net!), we knew we had the option of hanging out at the Natchez Visitor Center for a couple nights. We’d have the perks of free electric and water, but traffic and parking lot noise made the quality of sleep questionable. We opted to stay in the woods.
Back at camp, we got down to business freeze-proofing the place. We lit the hot water heater pilot just to keep that bit of heat going. With 2 freshly-scrubbed buckets, we saved the contents of our freshwater tank. Other tank drains are set to the “open” position, too.
Gassing up the generator…
…means our space heater will keep us toasty.
We employ a few different techniques to stay cozy at night. Set the heater’s thermostat at a moderate temperature and run it all night (this means Mr. 78sqft gets up and refills the generator a couple or three times); run the heater wide open until the generator runs out of gas, then crawl in a toasty warm bed and sleep through the night; or, drill a hole through a gas cap, run a fuel line from your 5 gallon gas jug to your generator, and set your heater’s thermostat normally. (We’re experimenting with that last option; if we find just the right set up, we’ll report back.)
We stayed nice and warm all night long! In the morning, this guy I know who builds awesome campfires made one for us and then fixed breakfast.
This experience - my first cold spell on the road - is as good an example of any to help explain why I wanted to live “out here”. It’s a challenge - are we prepared to experience the elements? Can we coexist with nature and adapt to it rather than forcing it to adapt to us? Can I find and appreciate beauty in the day, no matter the temperature, no matter the conditions? I think it’s possible, and we seem to be proving it. The times we see something through our windshield or at our campsite we would never have experienced otherwise makes this worth it.
All that said, please realize that we are by no means modern Davy Crockets; we have access to heated restrooms with flush toilets and running water, for crying out loud. But to each his own adventure, no? And preparing for 20 degree weather in a fiberglass single-hulled camper does it for me!
I think that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for joining us in our travels! Soon I’ll take you on a photo-tour of our home, and describe the beauties of a stack of firewood, and tell you about how much we love and appreciate fresh vegetables.