Tag Archive: cold

Easy winter

Yeah, school’s been keeping me away from the blog, but there’s another reason I haven’t written anything about sleeping in the cold yet… I was waiting for a night that felt like a real accomplishment, a real Canadian winter night spent in a van. But global warming seems to be working in my favour: -16 is about the coldest it got for me. There were two nights that it got down to -19, but one was the night I was locked out (see last entry), and the other I was up all night at school finishing a project.

All in all I was pretty comfortable this winter, and the key to it all was my beautiful, sweet, dear hot water bottle. Instead of trying to heat up the bed with my body, I’d boil water at school before I left, and toss it in bed about foot level. By the time I got home it’d be nice and toasty (in one spot at least). Many, many thanks to Shirley for that idea.

I only had one vandwelling adventure, when my usual spot at Horseshoe Island got buried in snow and I had to find a new one that wasn’t in the way of the snow plows. I backed the car onto a quiet little corner off the road near the yacht club, and got stuck halfway with two feet of compacted snow under the van. After about 45 minutes of digging it all out and tramping down the snow behind, I was able to back all the way in. I used that spot for the next two or three weeks, it was lovely. Sometimes it even had internet!

This photo was last week… I always leave the front windows open a crack for fresh air, and on that night there was a fine dusty snow getting blown all around… by morning it was winter wonderland in the front seat!

It can still be pretty chilly (yesterday morning when I woke up it was -7 inside the van), but most nights are fine, and last night marked the lifting of the ban on overnight street parking, so in my world, winter is officially over. Wahoo!!


On the couch

Yes, I did stop to wonder if it was really such a good idea to go through a car wash in freezing weather… but the van was totally caked in salt, and I figured if it was a bad idea then car washes probably wouldn’t be open. Wrong! After the car wash I went to school, worked through the evening and returned to the van around midnight, to find the locks and handles and presumably the seal around every door frozen shut. I did manage to heat up one of the locks enough to get the key in and even turn it, but that didn’t open the doors. Arghhhh!!

Architecture school saved the day; there are a couple of couches in a cozy little workspace on the top floor where I slept very comfortably, and by noon today, even though it was still -16 out, the sun had warmed up one of the doors enough for me to get in and start up the car. First stop: Canadian Tire for some lock de-icer.

I had an americano around 6pm. Should’ve known better.

Generally I get into the van and right under the covers and temperature isn’t a problem. But tonight, not being able to sleep, I watched a movie, read for a while, and not moving around much must’ve dropped my body temperature. Well, most of me was fine, but my feet were like little icicles.

In Ashtanga yoga there’s a kind of breathing called Ujjayi where you constrict your throat muscles, so that your breath slows down, and it makes a loud rushing sound as you breathe it in and out. It’s supposed to heat your body up, which I guess helps you get bendier. Anyway I thought I’d give it a try. And it worked! I noticed a difference after ten minutes, and after twenty I was downright toasty through and through. Give it a try next time you’ve got chilly toes.

I should warn you though, it doesn’t actually help you sleep.