Our first lesson was learned within two minutes of driving on the QEW. As we got Lily up to her mighty cruising speed of 90km/h, I quickly noticed Arctic Force winds all up on my legs and feet. It was hard to tell exactly which rust hole or gap between the doghouse and the cab was providing us with the inconvenient air conditioning. I guess on the positive side of things, ones feet would go numb within a matter of minutes and consequently stop feeling the frostbite setting in.
The worst part was that upon coming home and telling Rudy (my father) about our little draft problem, he let me in on an old car manufacturers secret. Before AC was a widespread option, there were foot vents installed in vehicles that were operated by hand. Sure enough, when he showed me where the vent was, it was wide open. Kids these day don’t know nothin’ it seems.
Other things that we needed to consider were the cold nights that would inevitably come our way. Hoards of blankets, sleeping bags and pillows were added to our inventory and a few space heaters to hook up to the generator were brought along as well. Lily isn’t exactly insulated, and she could use some of those energy efficient windows that retain heat in all the fancy new houses these days. Perhaps we can get in on that government grant that paid people to install them. Driving in the RV was naturally colder than driving in the summer, but you know what they say: A chilly environment is a productive environment. I don’t actually know if anyone says that.
After breakfast in Elkins, we drove to Circleville, West Virginia. This was the town from which we planned to hike. When we climbed Mt. Fitzwilliam two summers ago, we were slightly unprepared for the snow that one encounters once you reach the top of a Rocky Mountain. This time however, we had a better grasp on what we were doing. We were better prepared for the winter weather and once we had loaded our backpacks it was time to hit the mountain.
With Lily parked on the side of sketchy Country Road 28, we set out to conquer the Spruce Knob with spirits high.