Archive for the ‘gear and tips’ Category
This rubbery silicone kettle has a stainless steel bottom and stands 5 3/4 inches high—until you squash it to a nice flat 2 1/2 inches.
For use in your galley (not on the campfire), it has a detachable handle and a little silicone lid. The packaging states one obvious instruction— “do not press down on the lid when the kettle is filled” (thanks, Captain Obvious)—and another, more ominous one.
Ask any RVing oenophile and they’ll concur: Harvest Hosts a fun and fabulous way to camp for “free”.
My southwest journey was a trip of firsts. My first look at the Grand Canyon. The first time my tires touched Route 66 (and what better place to emerge onto the historic highway than Kingman, Arizona). And, near Kingman, my first experience with the Harvest Hosts program.
The uncomplicated concept is thus: forty dollars a year buys you access to a super-secret map of wineries and vineyards where, for one night, you may camp at no cost.
I freely admit it: last camping season I overindulged. Potluck pizzas. Open grill burgers. Potato-based side dishes. White bread sandwiches stuffed with tuna and mayo and Fritos…with Cheetos on the side. Martinis and tequila and margarita mix from Costco.
This year, I resolve to eat healthier on the road. Buy more fresh produce, at more farmer’s markets. Shop at roadside fruit stands. (Drink fewer martinis? Let’s not get too giddy.) Absolutely, positively: eat more salad.
You’re fully recovered from Blue Monday—the most depressing day of the year—only to be thrust deep into Sad January. (Is that a thing? Let’s call it a thing.)
At this time of year those of us up north are either A) preparing to tow south to Alumafiesta or Alumaflamingo, or B) miserably regarding our winterized Airstreams out in the driveway, glumly counting the days until spring. But after learning more about winter towing, I propose option C): beat the post-holiday doldrums by fleeing to, not from, the cold and snow.
So, here’s what didn’t work.
My effort to prevent devaluing my fabulous collectible Chris Deam DWR Airstream with the WBCCI Big Red Numbers resulted in a frightful defacement. “Take THAT,” snickered the ghost of Wally Byam.
My own displaced vanity and lack of ability to think a process through is really to blame, of course.
The first flakes of snow are sticking, and the larch in the yard is bright yellow. Time to talk winterizing.
No self-respecting RV blog is complete without a post on winterizing (just a posh word for “drying out” the trailer), a function Ralph has executed exactly twice.
A couple of years ago we moved from the mild, wet, green side of Oregon to the dry, cold, High Desert side where it freezes at night so early and often the tomato growing season lasts eight weeks.
R&B Events really knows how to throw an Airstream rally. Or educational seminar. Or festival. Or whatever that nonstop party was last week at Seven Feathers RV resort/casino/convention center in Canyonville, Oregon.
To expedite this post, please imagine I’m writing the the usual glowing review (food/excellent, entertainment/fabulous, activities/fun, etc. Insert your own superlatives). Dare I say that my Great Destinations seminar and Airstream Cookie Decorating workshop were highlights?
How do you tell the quality of a diner? By its chicken fried steak, of course.
Maybe it was just the mid 80’s, when everything was better, but the finest I ever tasted was at Boz Scaggs’ Blue Light Cafe on Union Street in San Francisco. I’ve been chasing that high for three decades. (The Blue Light today, minimized and lost to new management, serves greasy, monotonous bar food paired with Jello shots.)
The award for Second Best Chicken Fried Steak went to a diner outside Grand Coulee Dam. Actual steak, with a bone, real and delicious. The coating, crispycrunchy. The gravy, oh god, the gravy: not too salty, and lumpy with pork sausage.
For five years I’ve been towing alone, passing myself off as some kind of RV studette. Repeatedly on the road I hear, “oh my, a woman all alone with your Airstream, crossing the country, how do you do it?” “Nothing to it,” I brag, with a smug wave of my hand.
I’m a fraud.
I’ve been cheating. For five years I’ve been using the trailer as a glorified tent, essentially car camping. I’ve never showered in it, washed dishes in the sink, or used the commode for its intended purpose. I’ve never replaced the propane tanks myself, put up the awning, or, god forbid, visited a dump station. (Sexist alert: I have my man for that.)