How low can you go?

NOT The Limbo….

F40 degrees?  F20 degrees?  Below ZERO???

While many northerners like winter camping and have a winterized rig set up with a heater, I chose to not go that route and prepared only for 40-90 degrees weather.  After a childhood in New Hampshire and most of my adult life waaaaay above the Mason-Dixon line, I wanted to keep my winters mild as I travel. However, Mother Nature is fickle and most of the country has experienced some cold weather this year.

Without a heater (separate from the engine heater), my van can get pretty chilly.  I had insulated well when doing the renovation, and have Reflectix for the windows so that helps quite a bit.  Fortunately, I like sleeping in the cold and am able to keep warm under covers.  Here is my secret:

No-sew fleece body-sack “mitten”

Just like a mitten will keep you warm by creating a body-heated air pocket around your hand, this snug-sack will create a body-heated air pocket around your body while you sleep under the covers.

Fleece No-Sew Snug-Sac for RV-ing in the cold
Wearing the Snug-Sac


  1. Purchase a length of fleece a bit longer than your body height.  If you are large-sized, you may want to follow the modifications below for double-sized snug-sack.

2. With fleece folded (as it comes off the bolt), cut a 2-inch fringe along the raw edges at every inch or inch-and-a-half.  DO NOT CUT along the top or bottom – leave these edges open.

Finished Snug-Sac, ready to stay warm tonite!

3. Knot the fringe from both sides together to make a body-sized sack.  Keep the bottom and top open.  The top is for your head cover (hood), if desired, and to get into the snug-sack.  The bottom is so you can stick your feet out and walk around when not in bed.  I also use it like a radiator with my feet sticking out when I get too warm under the covers!!

4. When ready for bed, climb into the snug-sack and pull it up and over your head if you want a hood.  Otherwise, snug it up around your neck and climb under the covers.  Because the snug-sack is all around you, your body heat will warm up the air pocket and keep you toasty!  If the fringe-knots bother you when sleeping, remember to keep that part towards your body front if you’re a back/side sleeper – or towards your back if you’re a belly sleeper.

Pattern for Snug-Sac

Large-size Modification:

  1. Purchase fleece at double the length of your body height.

2. Open fleece to full flat size and then cut to two body height pieces, laying one on top of the other.  (If patterned fleece, have both pieces with pattern inside or both pieces with pattern outside…either one is fine as long as the finished piece will match on both sides.)

3. Cut 2-inch fringe along BOTH sides of both pieces every inch to inch-and-a-half.  Knot both pieces together along the two sides.  Keep top and bottom open.  Continue as above.

Pattern for LARGE Snug-Sac

When I wake up and it is especially chilly, I walk around in my snug-sack as I get warmed up in the morning!  Then I fold it and stow it away with my pillow in the quilted pillow sham on my bed.  (The other pillow sham stores sweatshirts/hoodies and extra towels.)

Snug-Sac folded into pillow sham for the day

Speaking of getting warmed up in the morning, here is my morning walk while here in Albuquerque.  I have a beautiful mountain vista for most of the walk:

Walking the Tramway path, Sandia foothills

Hope everyone has had a great January, wherever you are!

—Scout, out!

From the Bookshelf:

“Clark looked at the Indian.  Light-haired, slightly built, poorly dressed, unprepossessing.  But he commanded the space in the middle of this dance ground, a master.  He commanded the crowd, a master.  Christ, he must know a hundred Indians at this place would shoot him in an instant. Evidently, they had just been shooting at each other.  But the man rose up and dared them, and from the force of his spirit and the fear of retribution, they dared not.  Remarkable, and just like him.  As commander of the scouts Clark was supposed to be the leader of most of these men.  He felt envious of their real commander, Crazy Horse.”

–from Stone Song, a novel of the life of Crazy Horse, by Win Blevins, 2016


Wanderlust…or FERNWEH

Wanderlust, is a very strong desire for or an irresistible impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.  The term originates from the German words wandern (to hike or to wander) and lust (desire), meaning you have a lust for travel.

Fernweh, which, again Germanic, literally translates to distance-sickness (fern meaning distant and wehe meaning drift), refers to a longing for far-off places. This is similar to the state of homesickness, as it makes you sad and depressed when you aren’t travelling.


This love of traveling and visiting other places is not new to some of us, but it is rather perplexing to many of our family and friends.  While some love the comforts of home and the structure and stability of a settled life, others love the freedom to travel and experience new places and new people and new food and new…everything!

Many years ago when I was 14, my family moved from New Hampshire to Oklahoma (for complicated reasons not important to this post) and thereafter I usually moved just about every two years…from various places in Oklahoma, to Missouri, to New York City, to Illinois, to Long Island and then upstate New York.  I have never felt a “this is my forever home” feeling, although I always enjoy a “this is my home for now” settled feeling wherever I am.  I am connected with family (my children, my brothers, my cousin Leslie) and friends who I wouldn’t hesitate to stop and visit whenever in their locate (Kim Calleja, Linda Monez, Tim and Ann Moore, Marcia Poole, Dawn Stephanoff, Elizabeth Rossi, etc.)  While I feel connected and have roots with people, I really don’t have roots for a location.

For the moment, I am enjoying staying in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with my daughters Tara and Morgan, and their housemates Dayton and Emily. Albuquerque is a beautiful area, with SO MUCH to see and experience. My plans for the next few months while getting established in my online business include:  Ride the Rails train trips to Santa Fe (will probably have to do this many times as there is so much to see there and at only $10 for the two hour trip!!!), the pueblos and petroglyphs in New Mexico, the Indian Cultural Center, the Rio Grande Bosque, the Sandia Crest tramway, and all the beautiful state parks of New Mexico.

The sky is SO BIG here in New Mexico and the weather is almost always sunny.  I feel like I breathe deeper out west here where the horizon is so expansive, and the mountains I see in the distance are actually on the other side of the state!

When I was leaving Arkansas after visiting my brothers David and Kevin, and all the great family there, I headed across Oklahoma and Texas to New Mexico.  Someone had said this was a boring drive, but I found it to be so very exciting! Having just crossed some of the same territory two and three times in the last couple of months, I love driving these miles.  I don’t even have music or the radio on; I just drive and look around and enjoy every little thing.




Tumbleweed – killed a few of these on I-40 on a windy day!

“Big Jim Bowie knife!”

Biggest Bowie knife, in Bowie, TX

“Big canyon!”

Palo Duro Canyon, just south of Amarillo, TX
Second largest canyon in USA – beautiful!

“Huge can of Whoopa$$!”  (no picture -darn!, was in traffic, but seen outside of Dallas Speedway in No Limits, TX)

I imagine when this territory was the home of Native Americans and wildlife…buffalo stampeding across the ground…then the pioneers and adventurers coming in dribs and drabs…the Oklahoma land rush…the years of bloodshed and disease and sorrow – a part of our history I think of with great shame for the greedy white people who thought they were superior to the natives….

The beautiful mesas and canyons and arroyos…the vast plains…the rocky hills and mountains…and the sun, always the vast sky above and around me!  Perhaps it is the big windows on my van as I travel, but I am so very aware of the big blue sky – and the stars at night, wow!

An appreciation for the arts and culture of peoples around me has always been part of this FERNWEH.  For now, in Albuquerque, it is the Navajo, the Apache and Comanche and Ute tribes, the Zuni and Pueblos – so much history and art and traditions to experience.  This week (Dec. 21) was the night-long drums of the longest night of the year and the celebration of first sunrise.  I hope to spend all night next year to experience this! Add to that, all the sacred ceremonies and beautiful art and historical villages

While crossing part of Texas again after Christmas, I stopped at Palo Dura Canyon just south of Amarillo.  What a beautiful spot, second largest canyon in the USA, second only to the Grand Canyon itself…and far less touristy or crowded! New Year’s Eve “last night hike” and “first 2017 morning sunrise” were spectacular!  20 miles of gorgeous canyon views, and a great drive as well.  Definitely, this is a place to return for camping adventures!

Where will I be heading next?  After a couple of more months in New Mexico, I will be heading back east, stopping to visit family and friends along the way.  I’ll be stopping in Arkansas, Missouri, North/South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Maine … then heading into Canada for their 150-year anniversary and free national parks there during 2017.  Plan on seeing Prince Edward Isle (Anne of Green Gables, anyone?) and the Tall Ships at port in Nova Scotia.

I cannot get enough of these experiences!  Are you amazed by all the beauty of our country?  Do you experience wanderlust or FERNWEH?  Do you desire to travel here and/or abroad? Do you feel trapped, or in a rut, or just ready to go out and explore?  There are so many of us out there, part time and full time travelers – come join us!

–Scout, out!


From the bookshelf –

“She felt suddenly as if she hadn’t been breathing, not properly, for a long time. It was as if her entire body was exhaling…. It was a most peculiar feeling. Nina breathed in suddenly, all the way in, and felt her shoulders uncurl, as if they’d been jammed up around her ears…”

The Bookshelf on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan, 2016