Monday, March 17, 2008

Planning travel for optimal weather

While we like to believe that we are going to be traveling without any plan, agenda, or itinerary, some measure of thought does need to go towards figuring out where we should be when, to avoid either the hottest (or coldest) and rainiest (or snowiest) parts of the year. The National Geographic Map Machine is by far the slickest weather mapping site I've found. It lets you look at average temperature, rainfall, and snow cover for both January and July (among many other things), and looks pretty while it's doing it too. Given that we're going to be heading out of the US at the beginning of September, from the overall weather patterns from these maps, I think we should try to drive down the Pacific side of South America, arriving at the Southern tip sometime in January or February, and head back up on the Atlantic side to the Amazon arriving there by May or June. Looks like it's always going to be hot and rainy in Central America. We'll do more in depth checking with our guidebooks and more local weather information, but this is at least a beginning.

This is a screen shot of the average rainfall in January:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Our first road trip

This past weekend we drove the car down from San Francisco to San Diego to get the camper installed. We parked with a bunch of truckers in a parking lot, and were awakened the next day by a van full of barking dogs. This was the first time we slept in the car, and I am looking forward to having the camper done. It works ok to have two people sleep in the Element even without a camper on top, but it's pretty crowded. There are two sleeping options:

1) Remove the front seat headrest, fold the seat flat, and fold the back seat flat to create a 'bed.' Cornelius seemed to think this was the more comfortable option, but I thought it wasn't flat enough.
2) Push the front seat forward all the way, flip the back seat up, and sleep on the floor. Here's a picture of Cornelius still asleep the next morning.

You can also see what a scenic location we chose for the night. No really, this is scenic for the 5 in California.