Our stay in the paradise that is the Western desert has given us new insight into the lore of heat management. In an environment that goes from freezing at night to boiling at mid-day, conserving heat, or rather the right kind of temperature becomes a daily obsession. And, so it is that we experimented with fans, windows and various thermodynamics equations to see if we could stay ahead of the game.

This is also how, surprisingly enough, we came to understand the French.

Now, most people would think the French have very little to do with 2 crazy folk sitting in a house-car in the desert, but sometimes life throws us unexpected insights. Call it a vision, or enlightenment if you may (the desert does weird things to you, you see), but it was one fine morning as the temperature was just changing from a few minutes of absolute perfection to several hours of searing hot that we had the brilliant idea of closing the shutters…completely and utterly…just like the French. It turns out this genius insight is not a new one, nor are we the first to feel a sudden, budding kinship to the French. The use of shutters may in fact be traced back to ancient Greece where the first shutters were made with fixed louvres and marble. So, the idea of keeping out the afternoon heat goes back, literally, thousands of years, and they didn’t even need to use Fourrier Transforms to figure that one out.

So, as it turns out daytime heat management is all about keeping the cold air in and the hot air out. Our previous approach, which involved futile airing of the RV in the oven-heat of mid-day effectively turned dead heat into convection heat which, as you all know, just helps to cook faster. So, here we are, considerably more comfortable and grateful to our friends across the ocean.

So, close your shutters, my boy…and make like the French. Allez!

Some more pics from Anza Borrego for your enjoyment:

Long Shadows and a looming storm.

A ladybug on a desert sunflower

Shadows and light on AM Hike

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