Joe and Sandy were our Camp Host predecessors and the poor souls really missed out by leaving here early! Ever since they left in the heat and with the skeeters eating them alive the weather has been very much different. So much so that people are talking like it’s SEPTEMBER!
Which brings me to a tool we have been using to make travel plans and I don’t know if you use it too. It’s not a one-click find — you have to look around for it, but I love it.
Everyone knows about The Weather Channel website: http://www.weather.com.
I’m not sure how many people know about the basic climate information they offer — particularly suited to deciding where we want to be during any month of the year. I have a stack of screen captures of just this graphic filed away on my ‘puter for those times when we are trying to figure out whether New Orleans at this time of year is a winner, or Fairbanks AK at some other time of the year would be better. My travel plans live by these little graphs. They aren’t perfect but they sure do make my planning easier.
Once you get to the page for whichever locale you are interested in you can get all sorts of info about the current weather. That’s not what I want.
It’s an easy click to the Monthly page. And that page has a lot of interesting information about highs and lows and precipitation THAT month. But what I want is essentially CLIMATE information rather than WEATHER information. I want to know the AVERAGES so that’s where I go next.
Hidden at the bottom of the daily chart are links to various pages, including one for AVERAGES. It’s a small text link and easy to miss, but click on it!
It’s here that I find my Holy Grail of Route Planning.
Peg and I kind of like the temps were in right now: average highs in the 70’s, average lows in the 50’s. For us that’s pretty comfortable right now. We would like to acclimate to warmer temps but we aren’t there — YET.
The reason I have a pile of these little graphic files is that when we add a location to our bucket list of places to go and things to do I also add one of these graphics and WHEN we go there will depend on what the temps are like during that timeframe.
I don’t care about low season or high season. In a sense I don’t even care whether so-called ‘attractions’ are open or closed — most of the time we aren’t visiting that location because of a man made attraction that has to be open for us to enjoy our visit. We tend to like the more wild space and nature is pretty much nature whenever you see her. It’s just that sometimes she’s a little more fierce than other times.
What I Don’t Do…
I believe in travel planning you can make yourself sick worrying about all sorts of details that will never occur — and if they do occur you could never have predicted them anyway.
To illustrate my point let me pull up a different graph for the same locale — Spring Valley — right where we are now. The difference between the first chart and the second chart is that this large one has a couple extra boxes ticked. Note that RECORD HIGH and RECORD LOW are checked off.
I suppose you could say that this graph gives you a lot more information, and it does. But not really useful information. You can’t predict highs or lows. They happen once a century, or once every 50 years and all they do is clutter up your screen with extraneous information.
That might be a sign of the times — that clutter up our lives with stuff we don’t need to know — but it’s not helpful for route planning. Not at all!
With the first graph I can almost tell at a glance whether I want to be there. The TWO BLUE LINES on this second chart have been drawn to illustrate my point. I don’t care what the dark blue line on the bottom is doing. I don’t care what the top red line is doing. I want the yellow and blue-green lines to fall between those horizontal lines when I’m there. I’d like the precipitation chart on the bottom to be below 3″ for that month but I’m flexible there. As long as the average temps stay in that +/- 80 high and +/- 45 low range I’m pretty much good to go!
Let me know if you use these graphs. I’d be interested to know what tricks or tools YOU use to make your travel plans.
Our movements (or some may our lack of movements) will most likely keep us in areas where there is more Nature and fewer people — that’s just who we are. We are too new at this to know if we’ll spend the majority or minority of our time volunteering, or touring, or sitting on our duff reading a book. All we’re doing is living in the best and most interesting way we can find.
So, there you have it — it’s cool here, even in the middle of August when it’s supposed to be hot. — or when people want to THINK it’s supposed to be hot. And that is my takeaway about using graphs to plan your travels. We all have our perceptions of what the weather is supposed to be like in certain places and sometimes we are right.
But sometimes we are wrong. You see, no matter that people are saying that the weather here is like SEPTEMBER, the fact is we are right on our monthly averages this month. THIS is what Highland Ridge / Spring Valley are supposed to be like in August. This is why we planned on being within 100 miles of there. Our plans can’t account for the exceptional summer like last year’s drought — but we’re going to be on the money most of the time — no matter what people tell us about their perceptions of a given month.
That’s if for me for today.
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow