Airstream,
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Touring the 45th parallel and beyond with the  2007 Design Within Reach Airstream
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graceland

Full disclosure: I couldn’t care less about Elvis Presley. But as a dutiful Amurrican tourist, I went to visit Memphis to pay my respects to the King. Staying at the Graceland RV Park in the shadow of Heartbreak Hotel is convenient, and everyone seems to be having fun. Graceland is a happy place—like Pisa in Italy, clogged with souvenirs—where everything is all Elvis all the time.

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amarillo

Texas is a great place. I say that because Texans have talked me into it. Who else has so much state pride? I’ve never been to Amarillo, so I went out of my way to cruise through on my way to Alumapalooza 7.

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dinosaur national monument

Dinosaur National Monument is a fun and colorful Airstream destination—the famed dinosaur bones are in the “quarry building”, constructed around the remains of more than 500 huge dinosaurs that perished there 149 million years ago. Go ahead, touch the bones!

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craters of the moon

You gotta love huckster-slash-enthusiast Robert W. Limbert. Originally a taxidermist from Boise, Limbert saw great potential (and fame and fortune for himself) when he first explored desolate Craters of the Moon in Idaho. He was tireless in his belief that ‘Craters would be the premier tourist attraction in the country. As you can see from the many available campsites, that dream did not come to pass.

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digital voltage monitor

There is no Harvest Hosts vineyard in Pocatello, Idaho; the Pocatello KOA was completely booked; and this was the ACTUAL review I read about the only other RV park I could find: “2 violent sex offenders live here…a hooker passed out in front of my RV.” Okay, OKAY, Pocatello. I get it. See you never. I circled back to Twin Falls.

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idaho wine

Native Idahoans, feel free to disagree. Like much of the Lower 48, Idaho is a place that one begrudgingly passes through on the way to someplace else. But thanks to the Harvest Hosts program, I’m warming up to Idaho. There’s a nice little wine region northwest of Boise by the Snake River.

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nest caravans

The longer I live in Bend, the more surprised I am to discover that Central Oregon is a hotbed of RV notables—including, now, the Nest Caravan. President and designer Robert Johans let me peek behind his fence and inside one of his innovative trailers, rolled out just eight months ago.

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airstream tool kit

I printed out the Newbie’s Tool Kit—published in Issue 15 of Outside Interests (the free online newsmag for Airstreamers), took it to the local bigbox hardware store, and obediently purchased every single item.

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jamestown

Those taking a more northwesterly route home on I-94 from Alumapalooza won’t visit Hastings, but they might Airstream through “The Buffalo City”—Jamestown, North Dakota.

One could fall asleep at the wheel slogging the width of North Dakota. It’s 340 miles with no attractions (unless you count the peculiar Enchanted Highway and world’s largest plastic cow). Jamestown appears like a magical oasis halfway between Bismarck and Fargo when dad needs to crack his back, the kids need a corn dog, and mom needs a pee break.

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kool-aid

Are you returning home from Alumapalooza westbound on I-80? After 13 hours on the road you’ll need a break. Take the half hour detour to Hastings, Nebraska, home of Kool-Aid.

Deep within the bowels of the Hastings Museum, past the antique cars and taxidermied coyotes, remains every possible relic from the Kool-Aid years, circa 1927 to the present. You’ll learn about nerdy young Edwin Perkins, who began his snack drink empire in his mother’s Nebraska kitchen.

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