air conditioning good

Air conditioning, ahhh, the mark of true civility. When it's available, all things are good and right in the world, but when it's not available...

Not long ago, my sister-in-law posted about the demise of her car's air conditioning--and she lives in the South where heat and humidity are as referable as Catfish po boys, big hair and "y'all". It reminded me of a couple dreadful days a several years ago when B and I drove from Dallas to Seattle in July. It was the apex of Southern summer heat and humidity, and B was a little stingy with the air conditioning, thinking it might affect our gas mileage--we were driving a one-ton dually diesel pickup truck and carrying a camper. He would only turn the AC on when it became way too hot. Of course, in Texas in the summer, it was constantly way too hot and humid. To our benefit, the weather--although still very hot--was much less humid and way more tolerable as we approached New Mexico and Arizona. We even had to use the heater that frosty night we spent at the Grand Canyon's North Rim. The following day, it was so temperate that we even ditched the AC altogether and rode old school with the windows down all the way to Provo, Utah. The next morning, as we drove toward northern Utah and Idaho, the temperatures rose very high, and regardless of the lack of humidity, it was dang hot. Heat-wave hot. Idaho was experiencing unprecedented temperatures. By the time we reached Mountain Home, ID, we were sweating off pounds by the second. Damn the gas mileage--the AC stayed on.

Along the highway, we saw a sign for Wendys, and B suggested that we stop and cool off with Frosties. We pulled into the parking lot; he turned off the AC and then turned off the truck. We reveled in the Wendy's lobby, dancing about gleefully about and linking arms as we orderedour Frosties. Once back at the truck, B turned the ignition and immediately flipped the AC switch. Instead of that instant, "AHHHH," there was nothing but hot air blowing in our faces. He tried it again and again, all the while ice-cold Frosties turning to hot chocolate in our hands. And he tried it one more time.

No AC. No icicles forming from our ears, no cold air taking our breath away, no goosebumps or shivers. Nothing. NOTHING.

And we still had a day and half of driving left in the heat wave. "We're not going to make it," B stated with that sort of end-of-the-world doom. "There's no way we are going to make it to Yakima. Find us the nearest campground in Oregon."

I grabbed the campground book, and we rolled the windows down as B back the truck out of the Wendys parking lot and heading back to the highway.

We toughed the two-hour drive to the nearest full-facility campground with a pool in Northeastern Oregon. In an move showing off his expert drifting skills, B slid the dually sideways into the campground and into our slot without ever braking. He threw open the truck door, poured himself out of the cabin, and grabbed the camper's electrical connections hooked up the camper inside 5 seconds flat. He then jumped into the camper and turned on its oversized AC unit. For the next hour, we laid on the bed directly under the AC, naked and not moving. The next morning, we woke early, hitting the road about 5 am to miss the heat of the day as we crossed the desert-like environment of Central Washington. We pulled into Seattle just after noon, where it was much cooler.

Moral of the story: AC good.