Day 8: Summer Heat (30 Day Car Living Challenge)

Day 8: Summer Heat (30 Day Car Living Challenge)
Image courtesy of Max Pixel

9/15/2018 : Day 8: Merciless heat

Last spring was when I first turned my car into a camper for meditation retreats. I parked my car in 10 acre woods down by a creek. It was a beautiful spot with birds chirping, and at night with no surrounding lights allowed one to see the stars. The weather was a perfect balance of warm and cold. If I was ever too warm, I could crack the window. If it was too cold, I could always bundle up.

In contrary to the spring, the summer heat is relentless, as relentless as the the tow trucks (yeah, they are back at it again tonight like Day 7). If you do not have solar power, there is no way to cool down your car without a battery-run fan or by turning on your car air conditioning. The exception is to keep the windows open and to park somewhere in the shade. If you decide to leave your car at any time in a moderately public area, you close your windows, put up the windshield reflector, all of your shiny curtains, the heat will still build up. During many nights I will sleep without a blanket and still sweat.

This is what I learned:

  • In the Georgia summer weather, you live in your car at night and in the mornings. However, during the day you live out of your car.

Although this may not be convenient, this is what I have gotten out of this:

  • As a modern monk, you begin to realize through living out of your car that the idea of “home” is an illusion.
  • You can make everywhere your home with enough practice, because you become the foundation of your life, not the roof over your head.

The stove is working again!

Correction, the stove always worked, it is just that the flame is so hard to see in bright daylight, and that I did not see it was lit before. 

If you are in a situation where you cannot see whether the stove is lit or not, you can check by seeing whether condensation appears around your pan as soon as you light it. 

Here is a golden rule for the summer heat, cooking breakfast early is the way to go. Even at around 9:00 AM, the sun was still low and shade encompasses most of the area around my car. I seized the opportunity to cook out the back of my trunk and made my staple meal: oatmeal with banana slices.

I boiled a tiny bit of water and still had hot water left over. There are a few options for how I deal with excess water in the future. 

  • Store a coffee mug and make some tea left over with the water.
  • Boil the excess water and then pour it into a bottle during the winter as a heat source.
  • The hot water can be used to wash the dishes.

Regarding food storage, I put a banana in the cooler, so we will find out tomorrow how well the banana endures the heat. In addition, I will also place two re-freezable cooler blocks which I bought at the dollar store.

If they work, then I will buy two more and do the following:

I will always keep two of them in the cooler while the other two are in the freezer back at my dorm. Then I switch them out over a certain period of time. 

You might ask: What is the point of doing that? What if you do not have a freezer? 

Those are valid points. This is a luxury I have at the moment, and not everyone will have the chance to freeze their cooling blocks. While I am still experimenting with foods that need to stay cool, the freezer back at my dorm is the only option I currently have. (I could buy bags of ice, but that is not sustainable for the size of my cooler.)

What will most likely occur is that I will find dry foods that preserve themselves well.  And lastly, spring, fall, and winter will be much more forgiving for my food.

Anyways, this refreezing block experiment is for my future plans. You see, in a year I will end my lease with my dorm and commute to college for my final year. I will spend some days on campus living out of my car, then I will spend a couple of days back at home. In this way, I can switch out my cooling blocks every time I return home and leave to commute and keep my food fresh.

Join the discussion:

  • How do you endure or overcome the heat?
  • Have any ideas for food storage?

Share your insights with us! –  Justin

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