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Archive for the ‘miscellany’ Category

of steinbeck and salinas

You know you’re in for an underwhelming museum experience when the docent at the entrance greets you with “We don’t have a lot of exhibits right now.”

There’s a lot to read and very little to see at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, where Nobel Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck…I dunno. Was born? Grew up? Went to school? I was unable to differentiate, assimilate and process what I wanted from the barrage of words and pictures and plastic dioramas that make up the permanent collection, all competing for attention.

Since the exhibit hall is essentially set up for children to enjoy, this should be easier.

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nevada state museum

“On the road again…” Without fail I sing that out loud when I put the 4-Runner in drive with the Airstream in tow. This trip, Ralph was spared (left behind to continue shaping young minds at COCC), but I had Raven by my side as I embarked on a long-ish journey through the Southwest.

Among other activities, I was researching the lesser-known fossil dig sites of the West for a magazine article. My first order of business was to study up on the geology of Nevada. First stop, Reno…and the nearby Nevada State Museum in Carson City.

Despite the terrible online reviews, I overnighted at the Silver Sage RV Park in Reno.

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airstream advice: tow in the snow like a pro

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.

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airstreaming with author tom schabarum

Even before we met, I liked Tom.

I had the opportunity to interview him over the phone but we didn’t meet in person until we shared a beer when he visited Bend two Julys ago.

About six months prior Tom published Airstreaming, a story about, in Tom’s words, “family, relationships and characters that would intertwine and cause each other to do surprising things.”

I was curious to find out how, since then, Tom has been changed by both Airstreaming the novel—and his own recent Airstream lifestyle.

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wbcci big red numbers update

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.

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trailer scarves!

Just in time for the holidays! A one-of-a-kind gift for you and your trailering friends.

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world’s largest

Spend any time at all on the American highway and you’ll see one: the world’s largest [fill in the blank].

The Frazee, Minnesota turkey. The Vergas, Minnesota loon. (Giant fowl are popular in MInnesota). The Medicine Hat Teepee in Alberta, Canada. The list is endless; their aficionados, legion.

If you have a very long Airstream you’ll have trouble turning it around—especially if other gawkers pull in behind you—at the site of Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow, who makes her home at the top of a steep hill in North Dakota.

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alumafandango 2013

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?

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t@b shakedown at paulina lake

I accompanied BFF Patty on the shakedown cruise of her cuddly new T@B trailer at Paulina Lake, an easy 35-mile drive from our homes in SE Bend.

Not quite an Airstream (but not a white box nor hillbilly tent trailer either), the new T@Bs look to me like a next-best alternative for those, like Patty, with a Subaru Outback and a spouse on a budget who’s suspicious of used Type B motorhome engines. (If pressed, Patty will tell you that if she won the lottery, her preference would be to forego towing forever and purchase the Interstate.)

In the meantime, the T@B is an enormous step up from sleeping in a tent.

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oregon wbcci airstreamers in 1859 magazine

Early this spring I reached out to 1859 (the magazine named for the year Oregon became a state) and pitched the WBCCI Oregon Unit as the subject for an article.

“In an intelligent and beautiful format, 1859 explores the landscapes, the personalities, the movers and shakers, the history and the architecture that is the jewel of the Pacific Northwest,” states their website. We were thrilled (I think, mostly) to learn that the Oregon Wally Club would be featured in the July/August 2013 issue.

A real live professional photographer was assigned to attend our rally…

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