Friday, May 24, 2013

Shakespeare and Shivers

Petruchio in the seaside resort of Padua
On Tuesday, we went to see the matinee showing of The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland .  It is evidently forbidden these days to stage any Shakespeare play in 16th century garb and settings, so the synopsis for this production let's us know it is  "A hilarious, delirious tangle of masquerades and misdirection that plays out against a backdrop of beach boardwalks and rock ’n’ roll."  Shakespeare set in the 1950s.

I know I read this play in highshool, but didn't remember much of it going into the theater.  The gist of it is that the best way to win the heart of a woman and have a loving and obedient wife is to use starvation and mental abuse.  I'm guessing Will would not get any stamp of approval from the National Organization for Women.  Then again, no one with male genitalia gets their stamp of approval, so he's probably not losing any sleep over it.  As for following his formula in my own life, I don't think so.  I have to sleep sometime and have no wish to be Bobbitized.

On the way back to the motorhome after the play, about halfway up the hill, we started to get some rain sprinkles. Then we started to get some slush. And by the time we got to the top of the pass there was white fluff falling from the sky at a pretty good clip. We found ourselves camping in snow again. Not a lot of snow, mind you, but enough to make me start thinking about the prospect of driving down that twisty, steep road in a 37 foot long brick when we leave here.

It is surprising to me how much variation there is among the different weather reports you can access online. Predicted overnight lows ranged from 30° all the way down to 24°, depending on which website you went to. But all of them agreed that it was going to be below freezing. As I discussed a couple of days ago, we got the water lines emptied out and the motorhome buttoned up so we could stay warm and cozy. Or so we thought.

Our campsite on Sunday
We have three ways of heating the motorhome. There is a heat pump function built into the front air conditioner unit so you can use your electric hookup for heating. This works great if it's 50° outside and you want to heat the inside up to 70°. When the ambient temperature gets below about 40° however, it cannot pump against that large of a heat gradient and becomes useless. Secondly, we have a fake electric fireplace that has a weak electric heater element in it. And finally, there is the propane furnace, which is the real workhorse in a cold weather situation. We turned on the fireplace for giggles, but as the inside temperature of the coach dropped down into the low 60s we decided it was time to fire up the propane. Except there was no fire. The furnace wasn't igniting and I didn't know what to do about it. It has an automatic cut off after three failed attempts at ignition, but all we could get it to do was blow cold air at us. So on Tuesday night we found ourselves relying on the laughable fake fireplace for heat.

We put on warm clothes and bundled up in blankets while we watched "Lincoln" on the video. Then we went to bed because there were more blankets in the bedroom.
We actually did not do too horribly. The dogs have an electric heating pad under their bed, as does Vicki. I sleep pretty warm and have better-than-average insulation, so I did okay overnight without any electrical help. In the morning, we discovered that the heat coming from the fake fire had actually kept the interior temperature from going below 50°, but that was still a goodly number of degrees cooler than we wanted it to be. I started fiddling with the thermostat, getting the blower on the furnace to turn off and on about a dozen times and, miracle of miracles, it finally lit.

Our campsite on Tuesday afternoon
It stayed lit long enough to get the interior temperature up to the thermostat setting, which was about 70°. But when it turned off it would not cycle back on again. If I turned it off and turned it back on manually it would light up and heat the motorhome up again but it wouldn't cycle. So we had to become our own thermostat during most of the day on Wednesday, getting up and switching heater off and on to get ourselves toasty about every 20-30 min. Finally, in the late afternoon, the stupid thing finally started working the way we think it's supposed to. I don't know what was wrong with it. We've barely used it in this coach before. Maybe it just had to practice for a while to get the hang of its job.

So we took Wednesday as a snow day, lazing around and accomplishing as little as possible. On the bright side, the forest here was beautiful in the snow, which we continued to get flurries of off and on throughout the day. But by midday it was around 42° and there was more water dripping off the branches than ice accumulating on them. It froze again overnight last night but warmed up a little today and when we drove down to Ashland for lunch and to use the Wi-Fi in their library, the road was completely clear. So I expect we will be able to get out of here with no problem on Saturday to go meet Lyle and Linda in Portland.

So we seem to have survived our first snow camping experience in the Allegro none the worse for wear. That being said however, our long-term plan is to try and do our routing and timing as much as possible to avoid freezing temperatures. Hopefully it will not be an issue over the rest of the summer so we will have to see how things go come December.


  1. With each entry, I become a little more jealous of you two. Tell me, the time between entering the work force and beginning retirement just flies by, yes?

    -The Kid

  2. Also, I've been wondering, did you two have any knowledge whatsoever when you named your blog after a level in Mario Cart?

  3. No,Mario kart was the furthest thing from my mind when I named the blog. The Rainsbow is a holdover from "The Rainsbow News", a family newsletter I published sporadically when Vicki and I were living in Hawaii where the rainbow was a cultural meme. The Rainbow Road, if I recall correctly, is the road the Norse gods took to get from Earth to Valhalla. When we decided to do a travel blog, the Rainsbow Road seemed obvious.