I am sure some of you are tired of me bitching about the cold.  “You live in Colorado, you asked for it, suck it up and deal!”   Yea yea, but I like to share (gripe) anyway. 

The secret, for you warm weather folks, is layers.  I am not like a lot of Coloradoans who I see running from their car to the store wearing shorts and a hoodie when it’s below freezing, I dress for the weather.  I have to, I drive my HPM to work every day no mater what the weather. 


I checked the weather forecast before I went to bed and the consensus between the talking heads in Denver was that we were in for a bit of a chilly morning commute.


I planed ahead and chucked all my warm cloths I wore the previous day into the washer. 


This morning I went to the laundry room and removed my cloths from the dryer.  In the dryer was everything I was doing to wear for the day.  It was quite heavy and took time to put on but it’s worth it.


Heavy sub zero socks, long john pants, under armor shirt, work pants, long sleeve long john shirt, work shirt, sweater, sweat shirt, heavy coat, gloves, boots, and a stocking cap.




I also have a blanket I wear over my lap when driving my HPM on cold days like today. Normally I don’t usually break out the blanket until the temperatures in the morning is in the single digits. This morning it was -6, so out came the heavy blanket. 


Some people may say, “Why don’t you just turn on the heater and let it warm up a bit?”  They obviously have never driven a 1968 VW bus in sub freezing weather.  Here is how the heater works in my little HPM: 


There are little louvers on the rear of the bus that allow fresh, arctic air into the engine compartment.  Inside there is a fan that sucks in this frigid air and blows it down through two 2″ ducts (not insulated) into a heat exchanger. The fan also cools the engine which at this point is of little consequence.  The heat exchanger is basically a tube inside of a tube where the exhaust goes before entering the muffler. They are about 12 inches long.  Then the air gets heated up to about 80 degrees when it goes into the next set of 2″ ducts (again not insulated) and enters a Y fitting made of steel.  These ducts are exposed under the bus and receive a nice blast of air from the movement of the bus and some nice cool slush and snow from the tires.  Then the, now room temperature air, has to travel down an eight foot section of duct (un-insinuated and exposed) towards the front of the bus.  While this is going on, there are five windows, on the sides of the bus, with little slats of glass that literally whistle as air enters or leaves depending on which way the wind is blowing.  Finally the little 3″ inch duct enters the front of the bus (all steel and un-insulated) to enter either the little vents right by my feet, or the little vents right under the windshield, which I have to scrape ice off the inside with a credit card because the moisture from my breath freezes instantly on contact.  By the time the air enters the inside of the bus it is about the same temp as the inside of my refrigerator in my house. 


Picture climbing into your refrigerator to get warm.


So, one of my projects is to get the heater working well enough to, well, actually heat the bus.  Another is to remove the slated windows and replace them with solid not whistling ones.  Yet another is to put in a fan that will take the nice warm air inside the bus and run it through the heat exchanger rather than sucking it from outside. 


So in the mean time, layers of clothing and my trusty blanket is just the trick to keeping warm on days when we Coloradoans have to pay for all the good things that we take for granted by living here.  Like sunshine, clear sky, low traffic, and fewer rules than generally anyplace else except Nevada and Wyoming.  Complaining about the cold in Colorado is like complaining about rain in Washington, heat in Florida, or lunatics in San Francisco, New York, LA, DC, TX, ETC…  Sure it feels good to bitch, but no one will listen, and rightfully so.


So it’s quitting time and I have to get going home.  The weather has warmed up to a balmy 12 degrees so I may not need my lap blanket.  At least the sun is shining and my bus is still running. 



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5 thoughts on “Layers

  1. Layman Pong says:

    Daayyyyyum dat wagon has a pimp pompadour

  2. Burrowowl says:

    And here I figured an HVAC facilities expert such as yourself would be the commander of his own ambient temperature! Actually I totally agree on the layering. It’s why I prefer the “cold” weather (I put that in irony quotes for you, since cold in Santa Rosa, as it barely dips below freezing out here) to summer “heat” (the Pacific Ocean is God’s AC system, I swear). I can always put another layer on if it’s too chilly, but once I’m down to a tee-shirt and shorts, if I’m not cool enough yet I’m pretty much screwed.

  3. S. Le says:

    Just like it is here. Go ahead and bitch.

  4. S. Le says:

    Just like it is here. Go ahead and bitch.

    At least its a dry cold!

  5. The snow drift makes it look like a conehead!

    I don’t mind winter for the most part, but I HATE layers. What I hate specifically is feeling like I can’t move my arms. Also, the fact that it’s the only real way to keep warm in these types of climates.

    For those really evil-cold days, I pull out the big guns. I have a US Navy officer’s peacoat. It’s the real deal, full length and is still the warmest and best designed overcoat I’ve ever seen. It also weights a ton. I need to consider moving some place where I can be naked and warm.

    -Turkish Prawn

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