To A Degree

The degree to which you read and absorb any of the material in this post is entirely up to you.  My intention is to give you a glimpse of RV living on a high Arizona desert plain in midwinter.  Depending on where in the world you read this post, the contents may or may not have any degree of relevancy or importance in your life.

I’m a first-time Canadian snowbird and when I heard Arizona referred to as the “50-degree weather” state, I didn’t know exactly what it meant.  But as the days and weeks passed, the meaning became quite clear.  I noticed that I was either “sweatin’ or freezin”, as my mother used to say about me.  The daily high and low temperatures here in this part of central Arizona during the winter vary from morning til night on average approximately 50 degrees F.  The early morning temperatures hover around 20 degrees F, and by early afternoon in the heat of the day, the temperature is approximately 70 degrees F.  In metric, that’s a range of -6 degrees C to 21 degrees C in a 12-hour period and in reverse degree order for the other 12 hours of the day, which I guess could be called “27-degree weather”, but it doesn’t have the same degree of verbal resonance.

An unusually cloudy "50-degree weather" camping day in Arizona


This variance of temperature presents many challenges when living in an RV, the most inconvenient one being the need to continually change my clothes.  I’m either peeling away the layers all morning or putting them back on as the sun sets towards evening.  To aid in this time-consuming and habitual changeover, I have created on my spare bunk one handy pile of clothes with each piece varying in degree of warmth.  On a cloudy day, of course, this degree of temperature variance is considerably less because there is no sun to increase the temperature of the air, so I usually wear all layers of available clothing for my entire waking hours.  Even if I decide to spend a day in the RV, my wardrobe still depends to a certain degree on the time of day.  To explain, when I rise in the early morning or go to bed late at night, the temperature in the trailer is only around 40 degrees F, or 4 degrees C.  On sunny days, which is typically the case here in Arizona (although you’d never know it from looking at the cloudy-day pictures), the interior of the trailer can warm up to 80 degrees F, or 27 degrees C through the day.  For those of you who might be asking “Doesn’t she have a heater in the trailer?” I do, but being a fixed income pensioner (oh, that sounds dreadful), I’m trying to keep expenses down and electric charges in Arizona are very excessive.

Another challenge with keeping track of Arizona temperatures is conversion.   My mind is programmed in Celcius from all the years of conditioning by the Canadian government to “think metric” since 1970 when the country converted to that system of measure.  So after 40 years, I now can finally subsist in a metric life.  But I am living again in a country that uses a derivative of the Imperial system, and I have to now reprogram my mind to “think Fahrenheit”, which is very difficult to do in the short period of time that I’m here.  This challenge in conversion also affects other areas of my life here in Arizona, including shopping for groceries in pounds instead of kilograms, buying gas in gallons instead of liters, and calculating driving time in miles instead of kilometres.  It’s hard to know if I’m getting a degree of value for my purchases or arriving at my engagements on time.   I have an online conversion table on my desktop, and I use it to the degree that my mind can’t complete the mathematics anymore.  Thank heavens the two countries still keep track of time in the same manner.

A snowbird on a bike

One of the first things I did when I got settled here in Arizona was buy myself a mountain bike.  At one of my yard sales this past summer, I sold my 40-year old 10 speed with the handlebars that look like upside down water buffalo horns.  (And yes, someone actually paid money for it.)  On my first couple of excursions out and about on my new but used bicycle, every slight hill presented close to a 100-percent degree of difficulty.  I was panting pretty hard and the old thighs were screamin’.  But after a few days of getting my cycle wind and legs, the degree of difficulty on those same inclines lessened each day.  Now I enjoy going for longer rides every afternoon around 3 pm when there is not only a lesser degree of traffic on the local roads but also a lower degree of probability that I’ll get smacked in the head in this helmet-free state.

A Buick in the bush

I also spend some degree of time driving the Buick out into the Arizona bush to check out ancient ruins, go for a hike, or just look at the scenery.  On my first such venture onto one of these primitive roads, I unexpectedly came face to face with a big black bull standing in the middle of the road no more than 10 feet from the car.  This monsterous creature and I had at least a 5-minute standoff as to who was going to move first.  I was concerned that if I reacted to any degree, he would charge me, which I was told later by fellow campers would never happen, but in retrospect, I am still not convinced.   So in that seemingly endless moment, I decided to blow my car horn.  The handsome beast instantly made a hasty 90-degree turn and ran into the bush, while I simultaneously manoeuvred the fastest 180-degree turn ever on the narrow dirt road and returned thankfully intact to the RV park.

Speaking of turns, I’m taking a wide-degree turn here; in fact, the following content may not be suitable for this post’s viewing, but what the heck.  It’s my blog, and I can milk it to the “nth” degree if I want to.  This is a very short video clip taken last fall during my drive across the Texas panhandle – an almost 360-degree view of what I call “nothingness.”  On hindsight, I wouldn’t even be writing this post had I not made it through this desolate stretch of American highway without falling asleep and running off the road.  So in that respect, this clip has at least a degree of relevancy to the rest of the content.


Your degree of patience and fortitude in reading to this point is remarkable.  If you would like further information or want to ask a question about life in Arizona from a Canadian perspective or living full-time in an RV, please leave a comment below.  I will do my best to reply in a reasonable degree of time.

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5 Responses to To A Degree

  1. Peg says:

    Must admit, I feel a DEGREE of envy for your journey as I head out in the 10 below zero DEGREE
    morning to scrape my windshield and head off to work. Still, it’s a lovely diversion to read about
    and see pictures of your adventures as they unfold.
    Bless you for sharing….

    • Shanomi says:

      Thanks Peg. I’ve been waiting for the “comebacks” from that piece and you’re the first to dish it out to a certain DEGREE, so thanks for that. I was hoping that people would have some fun with it if they put some DEGREE of humor into it.

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi Shanomi, Glad to hear you are all safe and sound and seem to be enjoying your adventures in the US of A. Are you getting what you were hoping to get from it or are you getting more than you expected? More than likely nothing of what you expected and a lot more of what you didn’t! Happy 2012 and be safe and happy

    Love and light

    • Shanomi says:

      Hi Eileen…Thank you for “stopping by”. Nice to hear from you.

      To answer your queries, before I left Nova Scotia, I tried not to have any expectations of coming here to Arizona – hard to do, nevertheless. I know that I am here for a reason and have had what I call “spiritual nudges” in this direction for some time – years, in fact. I’ve learned to trust those nudges and that’s the truth of why I’m here. If I’ve had a purpose in coming here, it is to create a lifestyle for myself where I have the freedom of time and energy to write. My first post was about that. All I can say is that I now have that time and energy (but can distract myself quite easily), and I’m living very cheaply and in one of the most spiritually conscious places on Earth. Besides that, I look at magnificent scenery wherever I go, and I don’t have to shovel snow. That’s the best part. I also have a feeling here that I have come home after a very long time away, and I know that you understand what I am saying. I believe that it is my destiny to be here, for how long, I don’t know. I try not to think about that or where I’m going when I return to Canada. Life here is certainly an “adventure” as you say.

      Always great to hear from you. Hope you are keeping well. Stop by anytime. And let the sun remove the snow, not your shovel.:)

  3. Joan Hebb says:

    Second time I have read your last “report” on Arizona and read it to Bill who was also interested.
    What a real good picture of you Shanomi on the “new” bike! You write so well and it is almost as good as being with you in person. I admire you my dear! It’s a beautiful winter’s morning here in B’water, sky very blue, sunshine and a chill in the air, small amount of snow on the trees and ground. Take care, love you, Joan

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