July - September 2007
This page is the illustrated journal of our second quarter-year of Dreamstreaming around North America, Jul - Sep 2007September 2, 2007
We describe our current month's travels in our Journal page, and everything older we store in quarterly pages. This keeps the archive files easier for you to load. Thanks for your interest -- let us know your comments anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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OHIO SWISS FESTIVAL, to see our pictures and experience at this great rally, September 22-29, 2007.
September 21, 2007
Our final day
in Jackson Center, Ohio was wonderful for us and our camping
neighbors. Many of us enjoyed the successful completion today of our
respective Airstreams' warranty work and service. Our Airstream now
sports an awning along the entire streetside and an awning across
the rear. These will help keep the trailer's sides cool from the sun
and will reduce rain entry when the windows are open. Jim installed
our new OCEANair cassette blinds in the entire house (seven
windows), replaced a cracked part (cast aluminum end) on the support
arm of our older awning, and prepared our Airstream for tomorrow's
trip to Sugarcreek.
production runs a very short Friday schedule to avoid overtime, and
the service department runs a lighter schedule where feasible. The
skilled mechanics completed installation of our trailer's new
awnings by 0830 hrs. Deb caught up the website for this week, adding
narrative and pictures of this enjoyable visit. Jim helped Paul
Martin, one of our camping neighbors, repair another camper's
electrical supply cord. The trailers are all self-contained but
benefit from connecting to electricity, water, and sewer when
The "shore power" cord is industrial strength 5/8"
diameter 30 amp electrical cord with huge ends on it. One of our
camping neighbors had accidentally pulled the cord out of the plug
when driving the small Airstream motorhome away from the campsite
without first unplugging it. Paul reattached the plug and Jim helped
test the repair and find the tripped campground breaker to return
power to the motorhome. The motorhome's owner was so appreciative
they invited Paul and Jim to a visit to the local ice cream bar. Jim
and Paul still had a lot of work to complete on their own campers so
instead countered with a "drinks at seven" request which worked out
well for everyone. We were in for a fun surprise. When we joined up
at seven, Paul brought his guitar and offered to play his "Dreaming
of Streaming" composition for us. This attracted an appreciative
crowd and gained for Paul an invitation to play next year at another
Airstream venue. Stay tuned for this, his song is charming and fun
and Paul is a very good performer.
September 20, 2007
We awoke at
6:00am again and as we were leaving to go to the Service Center just
before 7:00am we looked back and the short green and yellow John
Deere tractor already was towing our Airstream trailer out of the
Terraport. We again settled into the lounge and spent most of the
morning conversing with our fellow Airstreamers. The mechanics worked on the
maintenance items this
morning and completed the work on the furnace to our satisfaction.
At lunch, we drove up to the TA Marathon Truck Stop at Wapakoneta to
weigh the truck. We have weighed the truck and trailer together but
wanted to know the actual trailer weight by subtracting the truck
weight from the combined weight. Fortunately, the truck weight was
more than we thought and the trailer weight is exactly where it needs
to be. While in Wapakoneta, we drove around and found a place called
Generations in Thyme for lunch downtown in the turn of the century
Hotel Steinberg. The place is very quaint and our lunch was
returned to Jackson Center for the afternoon and were informed
everything had been completed except for the new awnings. The
awnings would be done Friday morning and would take about 2 1/2
hours. Chris Burch, the service manager, knew what he was doing when
he suggested we make our appointment on Wednesday instead of
Thursday, just in case we needed an extra day. Deb did a little
Christmas shopping in the Wally Byam store and finished out the day.
Looks like another lovely evening in Jackson Center for us.
September 19, 2007
Up at 6:00
am, had breakfast, got the trailer ready to be towed the short
distance to the repair bay. We checked into the Airstream Service
Center at 6:55 and met with Bill our expert mechanic. He
meticulously documented all 14 items on our warranty list and the 4
items on our maintenance/enhancement list. We really had only one
big warranty item, an issue with the ducts coming out of front of
the furnace being pinched closed. Our big enhancement for the
trailer is the addition of street and rear awnings. These will help
keep the trailer cooler when we're staying in warmer weather, such
at the international rallies. Bill seemed to think there would be no
problems with any of the items on our list and said he would come
and get us when needed.
into the very comfortable waiting room were we have WIFI available,
free coffee and cookies, and lots of Airstream pictures and
memorabilia to enterain us and of course the store for more
shopping. While Jim worked on downloading pictures and other website
maintenance, Deb caught up on some reading. We spent a lot of time
meeting the other people in the lounge and finding out what they are
having done to their trailers or motorhomes. We find a number of
them are planning to continue on to the rally in Sugarcreek. There
will be more familiar faces when we arrive.
the morning, Bill came out to the lounge to get Jim and review what
he had found or was considering doing to address our warranty
concerns. We found the process very comforting and reassuring. We
knew exactly what was going on with our trailer during the day and
we were being consulted on the decisions. We felt we were in the
hands of an expert and Bill would take care of us through this whole
process. Everyone at Airstream was extremely helpful and pleasant to
We signed up
for a tour of the Airstream factory during our first day of service.
They called us for the tour at 2:00 pm and gave us safety glasses
and ear plugs and off we went. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to
take pictures so we can't share the Airstreams in-the-making with
you. It was a fascinating tour. We saw little production-line type
work. Most of the work that goes into making each unit is manual,
very little automation here. It also surprised us to see that there
was every variety of make and model coming off the two production
lines at once - no two of the same thing in a row. We saw some of
the new narrow body trailers (7 1/2 feet wide) being made for the
European and Japanese markets. These are much lighter weight than
the standard 8 and 8 1/2 foot wide models popular in the United
There is an
extensive wood working shop where Airstream makes all the cabinetry.
There were areas labeled for Roof Lockers, Galleys, Lavatories,
Wardrobes, etc. All the wood used is high quality hardwoods and
plywoods, no particle board. We saw them building the floors;
assembling front and rear ends; all these pieces being brought
together into the shell of the Airstream before our eyes. The only
real production work that we saw were two men assembling doors. They
began with a frame and added the insulation, interior covering,
They each had quite a stack this late in the day.
After the body was assembled and the windows, doors, vents, fans,
and skylights were all assembled, the unit was pulled inside a
carwash-like enclosure and submitted to a downpour for seven minutes
to detect leaks. Once they certified the roof leak-proof, it went
forward to begin the interior finishing. Here they let us go inside
the partially finished units and inspect them. We were able to see
the finishes for the European models which were pretty sleek. The
tour ended back at the customer lounge and they had finished with
our trailer for the day. They towed it back to the Terraport for us
to spend the night in it.
September 18, 2007
Tuesday was a
"zero" day for us, meaning no traveling. We planned to do laundry,
wash the truck, pick up our mail at the post office in Jackson
Center, and do a little house cleaning. We checked in at the Service
Center and were told to be ready on Wednesday morning at 7:00 am to
have our trailer towed in to the service area.
haven't had to get up this early since we were working, but it's
only for a couple of days so not too bad. There's also the Wally
Byam store here at Airstream so we spent some time browsing. Jim
found a 12K pound hitch ball for only $11, a real deal, so we
purchased it. That's all for now but we know we'll be back before we
leave. We asked about a laundry in town and the ladies here told us
to go to Wapakoneta, about 15 miles up the road. There's a
combination laundromat/car wash there so we can accomplish two of
our tasks. After picking up our mail, we headed up to Wapakoneta and
Deb did laundry while Jim made the truck look beautiful again. Then
we headed back to Jackson Center for more socializing with our
evening we took a walk around the Airstream parking lot. In front of
the Service Center, Airstream Company has a number of vintage models
parked, including the gold anodized Airstream that Wally and Stella
Byam took on the 1959 African caravan. In back of the Service Center
a number of units that have been left for repairs are parked; some
of them are vintage units. We enjoyed viewing these and speculating
on what we would do to restore them - if we wanted a project. After
setting the alarm for 6:00 am(!), we enjoyed another quiet evening
in the lovely Terraport campground.
September 17, 2007
On to Jackson
Center, OH - just 187 miles to our second key destination for this
trip, the Airstream factory. We've called ahead and have an
appointment for Wednesday, September 19. Most of our drive to
Jackson Center is along US 30, a divided highway with somewhat
limited access so the road is pretty good but very popular with the
18-wheelers. We listen to some interesting conversations on the CB
radio as we travel this route.
At last we turn off to Jackson Center, a
town so small it does not show up on our AAA regional map. Airstream
is easy to find as it's about the only thing here. We check in at
the Service Center and they direct us to the Terraport, their
"campground", where we have full hookups. The camping is free the
day before, the day after, and while you are having service work
done on your trailer. We go over to the Terraport to get settled in
for the evening and find that it is almost full. We back into one of
the two remaining spots and get hooked and began meeting some of our
Almost immediately we connect with members of the South
Carolinas Coastal unit of WBCCI we know and get together with them
for Happy Hour. Yes, you can tell we're with a bunch of
Airstreamers. We had a lovely quiet night. They even turn off the
overhead flood lights at 10:00 pm in the campground. This is a
simple but very nice consideration so we can leave our windows open
to enjoy the delightful overnight temperatures and the bright light
won't shine in our windows while we sleep.
September 16, 2007
is not just one big city -- it is a huge mess to drive through on
the highways. Jim missed a turn trying to follow the right highway
signs and we ended up driving right through Niles, IL. Fortunately,
Deb is a great navigator and Niles was "the good part of town". We
found our way back to the Interstates with a little help from Lucy
(Garmin 650) and a lot of help from Deb.
We spent over an hour
traversing a mass of road construction with horrible merges and
ramps and detours. It will take through 2009 to complete the work
and we won't try the route again until afterward. Oh, and one should
probably check professional team schedules before driving near or
through major cities on Sunday afternoons. The Chicago Bears' game
is this afternoon only three hours later so we didn't time this very
well. It would have been worth the extra hundred miles to completely
bypass this mess.
West of Ft
Wayne, IN is a pretty area, Bass Lake. Our old camping directory
stated we would find Bass Lake State Park campground. We could not.
Two years ago the county apparently dropped this pretty little park
and it became privately owned. Rates doubled and it appears the
county was running it into the ground. The new owners are very nice
and have great plans for the campground and beach they took over
from the county. We hope they make it -- it is a great location,
well away from highways and commercial areas, and very pretty. We
were glad to find this after our rough drive through Chicago. It is
sunset, the sun is hanging low over the lake and reflecting
beautifully on the water through the campground's trees. This
website does NOT endorse drinking, driving, or carrying on in any
manner, but one of us is getting ready to have a Jack Daniels on the
September 15, 2007
We crossed the
6,000 mile mark today on this trip! The driving has been absolutely a
breeze. Yeah, we are burning a lot of gasoline and navigating is an
occupation when we are driving almost every day. We are still
enjoying being on the road and aren't looking forward to returning
home. We'll do what we have to but think we've found what we want
with travelling. Every day is different in whatever way we choose.
Drive or stay. Pick a compass direction. Head for warmer
temperatures, or cooler ones. Take a factory tour. Make really big
mileage or drive a few hours. Pick a
secluded little campground well off the interstate or stay in a
commercial rv park in a super-convenient location. Take a leisurely
morning? No problem. How many cups of tea would you like with your
morning, Ma'am? Awake, brush teeth, wash face, brush hair, dress,
check the trailer hitch, and drive for an hour or two before a break
for tea. Any way we want to do it is okay with you, isn't it?On the
return trail we were startled by a deer breaking away. But he only
distanced himself fifty yards away and stood watching us until we
moved along. His behavior and the chipmunks' bravery around us
confirmed the obvious -- they see a LOT of people every day through
pleasantly surprised we saw no litter along the 2.5 mile trail. Not
even gum wrappers or cigarette butts. Just as it should be, eh? On
the drive back to Jackson we encountered a bunch of cars pulled off
the road and the people stepped up onto their door sills aiming
binoculars or cameras at something a hundred yards distant in the
sagebrush. A few dozen elk were grazing in the sunset and attracting
a large crowd of viewers. The elk were too distant for us to get any
pictures but we were able to see them clearly with our binoculars.
Two were massive and had large antler racks.
September 8, 2007
We drove 400
miles today to get from Meacham, OR to American Falls, ID. This is
double the daily mileage we want to maintain but will give us both
better access to a choice campsite in Jackson, WY area and will
allow us more time in Jackson and Yellowstone before we resume our
eastward travel. We woke up this morning at 0630 (PST) and were on
I-84E by 0745. It was a cold morning, around 38F. We slept very warm
under a single sheet and one year-round comforter despite the 48F
temp inside our camper.
Today's drive went quickly -- we started
without breakfast, stopped only for fuel or rest areas, and split a
chicken sandwich at a local grill at 1600 hrs. Only thirty miles
later we found a nice city park, Willow Oaks Recreation Area, high
above the Snake River in American Falls, ID. Bright, sunny, a little
breezy, and well away from the interstate for a change. Oh, but the
rr tracks are only 800 yards south of our campsite. Fewer trains
pass this track section than trucks would a section of interstate.
We hardly notice. We sat in the sun and read awhile, caught up a
little on phone calls and email. Jim grilled a piece of Sockeye
Salmon we bought in Vancouver and we enjoyed it with a fresh salad
and cooked carrots.
We dumped the fresh water tank and refilled it
with American Falls, Idaho water, something we try to do every couple weeks
to keep the tank fresh. We don't use much on-board water but keep
the tank full for two reasons: it may add to the trailer's stability
since the tank is very low in the trailer's frame; and we never know
when we may need to have our own water since we don't know where we
will stop next. It takes only minutes to refill the tank with a
potable water hose from the faucet but requires a couple hours to
drain it through a tiny valve on the side.
September 7, 2007
We were up
and eating a great hot breakfast Jim cooked before 0730 today. We
learned early today we could not stay another night in this site so
we hitched up and moved seven sites further up and slightly away
from the exposure to I-84 a little more peaceful and much more
woodsy. A quick 25 mile drive brought us to Pendleton, OR to tour
the historic Pendleton Woolen Mill and peruse their shop.
find anything we needed but were interested in a little Christmas
shopping while we were there. The factory tour is short and interesting. They
do a very nice job showing their compact factory where they produce
up to 1,000 blankets a month. Pendleton claims they produce, in the
United States, 84 percent of their apparel products as opposed to
approximately thirty-something percent of other apparel companies.
We appreciate this and were still disappointed in the number of
goods the Pendleton store represented from China, Mexico, and a
smattering of other countries.
After lunch we toured the Pendleton
underground. This guided tour centers under one of sixteen
underground blocks from the late nineteenth century. One of the
things Jim found most interesting was a turn-of-the-century kerosene
stove the Chinese men had used for laundry water heating in this
area under the buildings in Pendleton.
The underground area served both as domicile
for the male Chinese workers and as storage or work area for many of
the shops above. Underground was the required haven for the Chinese
workers who were not allowed above ground in Pendleton after curfew
each day. We viewed an opium den, bunks, laundry, ice cream making
shop, meat cooler, ice making, speakeasy, card room, and other
underground features. Pendleton had at least four blocks by four
blocks of interconnected underground areas. These underground paths
and storage were originally intended to provide transport of goods
from the railroad depot to the shops without exposure to highwaymen
or other thieves.
September 6, 2007
drove from Yakima Sportsman State Park to Yakama Cultural Center and
Museum. We spent over an hour learning how the Yakama Nation is
preserving and representing their culture and history. The tribes
were severely disadvantaged by the damming of the Columbia River at
The Dalles. This dam destroyed the historically significant Celilo
Falls salmon fishing area for the tribes. The tribes saw an
reduction in their annual fishing from up to six million pounds of
salmon to under 550,000 pounds.
The museum portrayed very well the
strong bond between the Indians and Pohta (Mt. Adams) and the animal
spirits. The museum also made much of the terrible irony of being
required to give ownership of the land to the invading white people.
The Indians had never owned the land and didn't believe anyone
could, nor did they believe they had a right to sign over this right
since they never presumed to own the land.
They were like one with the
land and, if anything, governed by the land. We drove on back roads
from Yakima to Pendleton then twenty-five miles south to find a
state park campground. It is very nice but, as we have found more
often than not, closer to the interstate highway than we would like.
We'll stay here so we can visit Pendleton tomorrow.
September 5, 2007
Burnaby, B.C. this morning after one more trip to see Kelsey,
Stephen, and Eleanor. Deb cooked everyone a wonderful southern
breakfast of grits, eggs, bacon and toast. Our mail didn't arrive
but we are just going to hope it catches up with us later. Afterward
we returned to hitch up the camper from Burnaby Cariboo RV Park. We
drove through a very quick and smooth U.S. customs check at Alders
Grove and were through Seattle by four o'clock for a brief visit
with Jim's cousins, Jan and Chad Cocks.
Chad led us out of Sammamish
to I-90 West for our brief trip to Yakima. Deb found us a beautiful
campground in Yakima, Yakima Sportsman State Park. This is, without
question, the prettiest campground we have visited. It is well away
from the highways (approx six miles), nestled in a wooded area, has
irrigated grass areas, paved sites, nice comfort stations, and is
generally just really attractive. We hope we can find more like this
down the road.
September 4, 2007
planned to leave Burnaby today but are going to wait another day for
two reasons: our second forwarded mail packet from Deb's mom and
arrange a visit with Jim's cousins near Seattle. Jim got up early
and washed the trailer outside while Deb thoroughly cleaned the
inside. The campground, like many others, prohibits hose washing of
RVs. (they provide very nice RV washing areas, unlike any we have
visited) They allow hand washing in the campsite so Jim washed and
rinsed the trailer with a small bucket and some cloths. The process
ended up requiring very little more time than hose washing would
have and the result was excellent. It helped to have an overcast and
cool morning. The clouds burned off by lunchtime and we sunbathed on
the nice sundeck above the swimming pool.
September 3, 2007
Labour Day in Canada. We went just after breakfast with Kelsey,
Stephen, and Eleanor to Granville Island. The bakeries smelled
divine, musicians were playing in the open air and in markets in
various places, and the shops weren't overcrowded. We enjoyed
browsing and doing a little shopping before trying to lunch at Go
Fish! Unfortunately for us they were closed for the holiday so we
ended up eating at a popular touristy place near the entrance to the
island. It was a nice lunch place with outdoor dining overlooking
the harbor. Here's the view from our table:
Here are a
couple other pictures from the same morning on Granville Island:
This is a
good image of the Granville Island market, of Eleanor perusing the
lunch menu, and of her beautiful mother Kelsey. After lunch we
dropped the kids off back at their house and we returned early to
relax at the RV Park.
Today is a
day of rain. We slept in late today then enjoyed a quiet day. It is
a good day to catch up on laundry and then take the kids out to eat
at Naam, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver.
September 1, 2007
awoke after 0800 hrs (again) after another night of wonderful cool
weather for sleeping. Deb made coleslaw and packed the picnic for
later today with the kids. We walked to a late brunch with Kelsey,
Stephen, and Eleanor at a colorful little coffee shop near their
neighborhood. After Eleanor's nap we piled into the truck for a
little trip into British Columbia's past. We toured Fort Langley on
the Fraser River. Little did we know, this was not a militarily
significant fort but a trading post which became a major supply post
for early British Columbia. The fort was built by the Hudson's Bay
Company in 1827 to capitalize upon excellent location on the Fraser
River as a trading site. Very few years later the fort's mission
changed to one of farming for and supplying the rapidly developing
area. We enjoyed touring the exhibits especially the storehouse with
all sizes barrels, and had a wonderful picnic.
August 31, 2007
Deb's birthday today with a pleasant 90 minute walk through some
Burnaby neighborhoods and parks, a quick shopping trip for groceries
and other picnic stuff for tomorrow, and a visit to the Vancouver
Aquarium with Kelsey and Eleanor. Kelsey volunteered at the Aquarium
when she and Stephen first moved to Vancouver so was a very capable
tour guide for us. The Beluga Whales were beautiful and the
jellyfish presentations were stunning. Also they vend soft-serve ice
cream so we can watch the children learn to eat it.
The Aquarium does a fabulous job with
all their displays. Afterward we enjoyed pizza, cake and ice cream
with Kelsey, Stephen, and Eleanor at their house. It was a lot of
fun relaxing with them, opening presents, and big surprise, our
first forwarded mail from home arrived.
August 30, 2007
those old wanderlust feelings. We've been in Burnaby, B.C. nine
days. We've seen the sites and he's hungry for some good western
U.S. National Parks on our way to Ohio. Today we took three hours to
walk an eleven kilometer trail around Burnaby Lake. Thankfully it
was relatively flat and partly shaded. We also had a fun bonus of
plentiful and delicious blackberries growing wild along many parts
of the trail. The bears and birds don't seem to have much
competition for the berries apparently the locals regard the
blackberry as Americans regard kudzu. Just one more non-native
species running amok in their cities. We enjoyed the berries just
the same. Vancouver has been outstanding. The weather has been very
gracious. Yesterday might have hit 78 degrees. Last night was in the
low sixties. We've seen one day with rain and a very few light
sprinkles. The skies have been mostly partly sunny and we've had a
few full sun days. You cannot ask for or expect this much good
weather. We feel lucky.
yesterday visiting one of the premiere public parks in Vancouver,
Queen Elizabeth Park. Due to the 42 day old 'labour dispute' the
Conservatory was not open. We had the run of the rest of the gardens
including a beautiful hilltop pavilion and wading fountain. There
were a dozen small children playing in the fountain pool and Eleanor
was immediately attracted. Off came her shoes and socks and off with
her skirt. She wandered about in the pool and could not seem to get
enough of it. We had to do some convincing to get her from the
fountain and back onto walking again. The day was warm and bright so
the fountain's water felt really nice.
Tuesday we visited Grouse Mountain, riding the
Swiss cable car up to the high chalet then walking the remaining few
hundred feet up to the peak. This peak offered a marvelous view of
Capilano River and the waters around Vancouver as well as of
downtown. We tried to see the grizzly bears but they were enjoying
their privacy in their little habitat and weren't coming out without
due reward. We watched a fun lumberjack demonstration and a show
named "Birds in Flight" with trained falcons, turkey buzzards, and
hawks. Oh, this falcon is a little headstrong he took flight and
kept on going. They mentioned, after a few minutes, this happens
occasionally and they collect him and return him to his job. The
radio transmitter on his leg works well. The keepers can track the
falcon and find him sitting in one tree or another a few miles away
seeming well pleased with himself.
We've spent a
few days in the RV park enjoying the indoor pool and Jacuzzi and the
sunning deck above the pool. One day we washed the trailer, did
laundry, and caught up on reading. Another day we had a very
pleasant shopping day when we walked twenty minutes to the mall at
Lougheed Town Centre to replenish the few things we needed. We've
spent a few days at Kelsey's and Stephen's apartment, enjoying
playing with Eleanor and talking. Overall we are enjoying an easy
pace without rushing to any goal. We visited Vancouver in December
and had seen some of the attractions already. This visit we are
comfortable exploring and sightseeing some days and relaxing some
days. We have five days remaining here. We will continue to enjoy
the weather and our time with Eleanor, Kelsey, and Stephen. We both
love the beautiful British Columbia atmosphere.
August 23, 2007
a very short 60 mile drive from Cle Elum to Issaquah WA on Sunday
and checked into the pretty little Issaquah Village RV Park
alongside I-90. Petunia pots hung from every light post. The park
refills propane tanks. The asphalt paving was very dirty with runoff
from the mulch. The highway noise from immediately adjacent I-90 was
terrific and constant. This park is $45.00/night and just not worth
it except for the proximity to Seattle.We stayed two nights at
Issaquah Village RV Park. The first evening we enjoyed a great visit
with Jim's cousin, Jan. The next day we toured Seattle all day
including Seattle Center and the Space Needle Pike Place and the
famous Fish Market, and Recreational Equipment Inc., or REI. Seattle
is beautiful and we enjoyed our short visit.
enjoyed two beautiful days in Vancouver, B.C. Yesterday reached 78
degrees F and both nights were just under 60 degrees F. Yesterday at
the park we overheard a neighbor of Kelsey's exclaiming to his wife
and children how hot it was. We thought to ourselves how incredibly
nice it is to have mid-70 degree weather in August. Great days and
really nice sleeping weather. We have found 70 degrees at last.
Let's stay awhile. . .
one reason we drove 3,100 miles to Vancouver is to see nineteen
month-old Eleanor, Debbie's granddaughter. Since
they eat the same breakfast cereal you wouldn't have been able to
tell which one is the grandmom so we put two pictures of Eleanor
here -- see if you can tell which is Eleanor?
believe we had over seventy-five pictures just from our short time
seeing Eleanor and less than fifteen from the previous four
pictures they all are, and anyone can tell we are most impressed by
little Eleanor and willing to use any amount of disc space to try
and capture the great picture. Burnaby Cariboo RV Park is like
no other we have seen in our very limited rv camping experience.
Every site is
protected by a 2.5 meter tall evergreen hedge. The entire park seems immaculate.
Our site is paved under the Airstream, has a brick patio
under our camper's awning, and grass behind us. The park office
includes a comprehensive convenience store with dry goods, a dairy
case, frozen foods, camping supplies and equipment, and souvenirs.
The campground has a large fenced playground, a large coin laundry,
a fitness center, game room, pool, hot-tub, and rv wash areas.
There are many more amenities than we have
previously enjoyed. Tuesday we
completed our cross-country drive, arriving at Burnaby Cariboo RV
Park in Burnaby, immediately east of Vancouver, B.C. Customs at
the border crossing was a very pleasant surprise. We prepared with
our passports, drivers' licenses, vehicle registrations, insurance
card, and a list of what we needed to declare.
Instead Jim answered four
questions to a vigilant Canadian Border Guard: where is your home (I
did not mention I may not long have a sticks/bricks home); where are
you going; what are you going to do; are you carrying any gifts you
will leave in Canada? We were, without any delay, signaled to
proceed through customs. And after all that beer and wine we had to
finish off in Issaquah so we wouldn't have to pay penalties upon
entering Which of our fruits and vegetables would be consumed or
thrown away immediately to enter Canada we even cooked the eggs and
made egg salad in case they didn't like our fresh eggs. What a
Today is a
business day -- we have talked with our wonderful Merrill Lynch
financial advisor Dan Brienza, washed the truck, vacuumed the
trailer, washed over two weeks clothes and linens, updated our
website, read today's paper, and relaxed. We will link up with the
kids again tomorrow and Saturday to do the tourism thing again. We
are here two weeks, if we want, or three. We love it and are having
August 18, 2007
today thinking, it's Saturday so we can do anything we want. Every
day is Saturday except the Sundays. Cool. We're still adjusting to
this retirement thing. Don't know how it will turn out but we relish
Yesterday the west Montana fires turned the
skies extremely hazy and smoky. The air smelled strongly of smoke
sorta reminds us of camping except we aren't allowed to have any
campfires now. National Guard and state fire service are proclaiming
extremely high fire risk in Idaho and Washington. We're happy to be
west of the fires and very sorry for all the losses and trials they
are going through.
We found 72 degrees in Cle Elum at the Whispering Pines RV Park.
Theoretically we should stay here and explore from this base point.
This campground, although very beautiful, breezy and cool, is
situated a little too close to Interstate 90. Some people full-time here.
Perhaps they need the noise, don't hear it, or evidently don't care
either way. We imagine we can find quieter places we'll be happier
in. We'll see. It doesn't matter for us anyhow. Tomorrow we land in
Seattle for a day and a half of tourism and perhaps family. Deb
hasn't seen Pike's Fish Market and REI. (The really big mother ship
home store, that is.)
This trip has been effortless for us. Nothing
(knock on wood) has gone wrong, the truck and trailer have more than
met our expectations. We have been to one grocery store, one post
office, no Laundromats, several scenic overlooks, and a zillion gas
stations. The truck is so very comfortable and we sometimes aren't
sure the trailer is still obediently following us. The Airstream
tows beautifully we already knew it did and have confirmed it with
2,900 miles in eight days. No concerns, we are just loving being on
Sort of funny, our entry August 13 mentioned the pleasant breezes and light rain, right? A few hours later we were wondering if we would be able to 1) find the tornado shelter, and 2) get there in time. A great huge storm piled in with driving rain and strong winds. We turned on the ham radio and listened to dire reports of tennis ball-sized hail in the area. What area? We didn't really know where we were in relation to the storm reports. So we unpacked the t.v. and watched the stormwatch, showing this terrific damaging storm started 45 miles northwest of us and skirted us to bomb St Paul. Whew! Close call.
Left the Frontier Village campground in
Jamestown, ND (night's low was 58 degrees) after taking a picture of
the world's largest buffalo with us along side for size comparison.
Unfortunately, we still had no siting of White Cloud, the albino
buffalo. Today's drive was very uneventful -- very
little traffic, with gentle, rolling terrain. In two places along
I-94, the interstate was routed up the exit ramp and back down to
the interstate for work on the road under the bridge with minimal
impact to traffic flow. Try that on I-77 or I-85!
On a tip from
Rick, an amateur radio contact, we stopped at the Painted Canyon
visitors' center. What a sight - like a mini Grand Canyon. We can
really tell we're not in North Carolina anymore. The terrain has
really changed in the last two days. We rode through the North
Dakota Badlands today along the southern border of the Theodore
Roosevelt National Park. We've added this park to our list of places
to go backpacking, but not this trip. We are onward to
August 13, 2007
We have completed 1,400 miles toward Vancouver. That took two big days of driving and an easier
one today. Pulled into a small city (Sauk Center)camping park named Sinclair
Lewis this afternoon for a little relaxation and full hook-ups. It's
already sprinkling and pleasantly breezy. We have less than 2,000
miles to go in the next eight days.
August 12, 2007
We drove 550 miles today, starting
from just east of Lexington, KY to Wisconsin Dels between Madison
and Eau Clare. The driving was much easier today. Our gas mileage
was better because we drove slower and we were entirely on
interstate highway and mostly very slight grades.
We were on the road for over twelve
hours. We talked, listened to old albums on the radio, did a lot of
navigating through Lexington, Louisville, Indianapolis, and Chicago,
and Deb read some of the paper aloud. We ate and stayed in the
parking lot of Cracker Barrel restaurant, our first meal "out" since
we left Charlotte five days ago.
August 11, 2007
We drove more than 400 miles today
and parked at sunset in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Mt Sterling, KY.
We stressed out Australian Jill (our gps voice) with NOT taking
turns she prescribes. Deb jokingly suggests the satellite watchers
are onto us by now, and track our non-compliance with Jill's
instructions. "Yeah, those are a couple of baby-boomers still
rebelling . . ."
The interstate was totally blocked due
to a car fire in a tunnel on I-77 between Wytheville and Beckley. We
elected to bypass it and took a curvaceous local hiway up and down
for 26 miles instead. Worked out great and don't want to know if
they cleared the highway of the wreck but we finally muted Jill
after listening to her repeated commands to u-turn and return to
I-77. She didn't evidently didn't hear the cb radio proclaiming the
interstate impassable for northbounders.
We learned Jill is helpful to confirm
what the maps suggest or the driver intuits. Jill would be a sorry
sole navigational source for the maneuvers we took in town and on
the interstate today. The AAA map, the large Atlas, and Jill combine
with the driver and copilot as a formidable navigational system.
The truck and trailer are a dream on the
highway. Everything in the trailer was where we left it despite the
strong driving just above Wytheville as we detoured the car fire on
I-77. The truck has room for us to organize our maps and atlases and
snacks and drinks and still move around all we want. We'll look
forward to more days and miles and miles on our way to Vancouver.
We walked into Customer Service at
Wal-Mart and asked for a manager. The customer service lady looked
at us and deduced 1) we looked like road-weary travelers and 2) the
only people who look like us are going to ask if they can park. She
said, "you want to know if you can park? It's okay." We bought three
things we needed in auto parts and home section and then returned to
fix supper in our Airstream. A wonderful salad, a beer and some
talking, a shower, and we are ready for bed after a great first day
on the road to Vancouver.
Today we drove to Dan Nicholas Park
in Salisbury, NC for the first leg of our 7,000 mile shake-down
trip. We're sure we've packed the trailer and truck for five days
but both still have spare storage -- can't we find something else to
take? I'll look forward to weighing the trailer sometime in the next
week or two and seeing how much below the max allowable weight the
trailer is. Or, we may find ourselves moving heavier items into the
very capable 3/4 ton truck.
Today is an auspicious beginning for our
trip -- 101 degrees without the heat index. Will shade at the
campground make much difference? Probably not, but the swimming pool
August 4, 2007
Today is the first day of our retirement. Our
neighbor, Nick, said all our days can be Saturdays. Well, at least
one Sunday per week, too. We'll adjust but know it is going to take
Last night we celebrated and pondered
our future. It's up to us. We will apply the same intensity,
ingenuity, and enjoyment as we always have. The results may be
equally wonderful -- we think, Yes.
Our luncheon and Airstream tour Thursday
was a lot of fun. We fed over twenty people from our work teams a
delicious black bean chicken yellow rice casserole and showed them
the Airstream interior. Most, if not all, had never been inside an
Airstream trailer. They all seemed impressed.
Deb's division put on a reception
Thursday to celebrate her twenty-three years service. She wished she
had a guest registration to enjoy reviewing names of all the
wonderful friends who came by to bid her farewell.
Yesterday Jim's division (the Taylor Division> held a
reception to which they invited all the managers and directors in
the hospital. Jim tried to mix and move around well but realized
later he didn't get to speak to a few friends who had come by. Maybe
receiving lines are the way to go, after all?
Our workplaces are behind us. We are
grateful for the many caring messages we received at work and by
email. We will look forward to maintaining the good friendships we
formed working here.
We work two more days for Carolinas
HealthCare System. Tomorrow we host more than 25 people for lunch in
our sticks and bricks house and open house in our future home.
We have one week of work remaining. Five work days and we
are on our own. We're amazed and intrigued and maybe a little
afraid. So many people have written in so many places about how they
prepared and set out upon their journey into full-timing. Yet we are
feeling our way through this major new project and building the plan
ourselves. There are so many small tasks and a few large ones. We
want to start traveling five days after retirement so we have a very
finite timeline to meet. Here is a partial list of the tasks to
health insurance to start before we lose our coverage from our
mobile banking to avoid the expense of atm fees and avoid carrying
sums of cash.
new email accounts separately for commerce and
to work this web site and properly take advantage of
Set up the
laptop for the tasks we want to perform.
car, turn in the tags, cancel the insurance. (done!)
temporary mail forwarding for our first adventure.
how and whether to use automatic position reporting system (APRS)
for viewers of our website.
for the cats, dogs, birds, and aquarium fish while we are away (just
This list just scratches the surface. We
aren't complaining -- we are completely thrilled. In case we didn't
know how lucky we are, everyone tells us how much they envy what we
are going to do. Are we just a little too ambitious, though? Should
we have allowed more time between last day of work and first day on
the 7,000 mile first leg of the Odyssey
July 17, 2007
We are getting ready to quit
jobs, pack the truck and Airstream, and travel -- woohoo! This big
change isn't a sudden decision, nor one lightly considered. We have
been preparing and rehearsing for two years. We used our personal
accounting history and a lot of full-timers' information to forecast
our expenses. We projected very conservatively our sources of income
and tried to be more liberal forecasting our expenses. We have,
except for buying and equipping our Airstream and truck,
consistently tried to conserve our resources so we can afford to
take this adventure into retirement. The income and expenses was
prelude to the physical means for the adventure.
What size trailer, what type truck? How to
equip them? Investigate what we need. Determine if we have a place
to put the things we think needed. Obtain the right equipment.
Try out the new equipment. Adjust it. Try it again. Decide how much
space we have left over after each addition. Do we need the
remaining space for something? Will we have enough space for
everything? We have made lists of lists to keep up with all the
What if we are on top of a mountain or middle of a desert
and forgot something critical? Who knows what the something will be?
Can we avoid forgetting something? Nah! Stay flexible, accept
mistakes, and keep our sense of humor. We will do our best, then
adjust and go again.
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