Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Back in 2013 I made some covers out of Reflectix for the Rolling Steel Tent's rear windows. They did a fine job of blocking light, creating privacy and providing a bit of thermal barrier.

I stowed the covers at the end of the bed, between my folding table and folding chair. Partly because it was a handy place, and partly to act as padding to keep the table and chair from rattling. It's essentially bubble wrap, after all. But over the years, the silver finish started to wear off, and instead of being opaque the covers became translucent. Then one of them blew away, never to be found again. (How can a shiny object about two feet square not be clearly visible out in nature?) I repurposed one of the side window covers, but it left a gap.

So I got some new Reflectix at Herb's Hardware in Quartzsite—one of the places you can buy it by the inch off of a big roll rather than buying a prepackaged roll of too much. I made new window covers and, presto, opacity returned.

With the window covers in place, the blackout curtain drawn between the cab and "living area," and the bedding pulled up to my chin so I can't see the status lights on the solar charge controller and voltage meter, it's really dark.

When you tour Timpanogos Cave in Utah, there's a moment they turn off the lights, plunging you into absolute darkness deep inside the mountain. It's a blackness darker than closing your eyes in a dark room, because your eyes are wide open, fully dilated, searching for something, anything. It's like this, only darker:

That's how black it seems in the van now, in the middle of the night, even though outside there's glow on the horizon from the lights of nearby cities, plus stars and a sliver of a moon. And the decorative lights of an RV across the way. It's so dark I had to get up and blog about it. Man, the laptop screen is bright!


  1. And bravo for having a life in which you can feel free to get up and blog in the dark because you have a nomad's non-schedule!

    1. Yeah, but that has my sleep patterns totally messed up. Not that it's terribly important.

  2. Ha! Our troubles are trivial in comparison to most people, aren't they? I laughed when I read the part about the charge controller lights, I NEED to keep a piece of duct tape over mine. Why do they make those lights So Bright?!?