Desert heat

We celebrated Earth Day by returning to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for a five-night stay.  We arrived in warmer than usual temperatures for this time of year, which gave us a chance to see how well we could keep comfortable if we camped in the desert later in the season. We had full hook-ups at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground and used our Safari’s air conditioner extensively for the first time. This and other strategies enabled us to keep relatively comfortable, even when the outside temperature was 100 degrees.


Our desert heat is usually a dry heat that I tolerate rather well. I sat under one of our three trailer awnings (which also help to keep the trailer cool when the wind is not gusting) and sipped on a cool one.


Marshal South described desert heat in his article, DESERT DIARY  7, July at Yaquitepec, (August 1940 issue of Desert Magazine):

Heat! And the distant phantoms of mirage. Desert summer is with us now and Yaquitepec shimmers in the heat of a midday glare that is thirstily metallic… Nowhere but in the desert, and in summer, can you see such magnificent cloud effects as those which tower into the hard, turquoise sky above the heat-dancing wastelands.

(All 102 articles and poems written by Marshal South for Desert Magazine from 1939 to 1948 can be read in Marshal South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles: An Experiment in Primitive Living, 2005, Edited and with a Foreword by Diana Lindsay and Introduction by Rider and Lucile South, Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, CA.)


Upon arrival, the first item that I connected was shore power so that we could start running the air conditioner. Our original 30-amp power cord that came with the trailer was starting to pull loose at the male connector end. We recently replaced it with with a heavier duty Marinco 30 Amp Right Angle Locking RV Cord Set.

On an earlier camping trip here we noticed that the campground’s water pressure was overcoming our water pump’s check valve and the fresh water tank filled and water was seen trickling out of the overflow drain on the side of the trailer.  We found, that by hooking up a water regulator gauge, the incoming water pressure could be monitored and adjusted to prevent this from happening.

Once we were hooked up to shore power, we were pleased that our new 3-stage Xantrex  XADC 60A Converter/Charger worked perfectly and quietly. (Our previous two Parallax converters failed). See how I installed it: “Parallax Converter Replacement with Xantrex“, on


The desert heat prompted us to convert the trailer into a comfortable cave.

dsc_0047-insulation-leds-copy.jpg We closed the curtains, blinds and Vista View window covers. Larry made covers for our two Fan-Tastic Fans from Reflectix insulation that he cut to size and then sewed the edges together. (Our forward Fan-Tastic Fan has a reversible switch, so we have the option of pulling in cool night air at one end of the trailer and blowing it out the rear end, if we didn’t want to use the air conditioner or if we were boondocking.)

Our cave was brightened by new Warm-White LEDs that Larry installed. They use less energy and run cooler. He replaced the ceiling, over-the-stove and reading lights with LED lights (G4-WHP10-D, T10-PCB-WHP9, and G4-WHP15-T respectively) that are now available in a pleasant warm-white light from Super Bright LEDs, Inc.  See details and photos of his installation in his post, “LED ceiling lights“, on


Those hot-to-touch Halogen reading lights now feel only slightly warm with the Warm-White LEDs, which is very much appreciated when camping in the desert heat, and as a bonus, colors look truer.


More images and notes about our LEDs appear in this Airforums post.


Earth Day was brightened in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park not only by the blazing sun, but also by the flowering Palo Verde tree, also called “lluvia de oro”, which is Spanish for “shower of gold”…


Reminding us that the real desert heat is still to come, and hopefully, with more gorgeous blue skies.