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Archive for the ‘miscellany’ Category

chicken fried steak

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.

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of new models and monkeyproofing—airstream 2013

The fine folks of George Sutton RV towed three spanking new Airstream trailers to a recent WBCCI rally for us to paw over.

When we bought our little DWR lo these many years ago, the sales process was a simple matter: we pointed to its photo on the cover of the Design Within Reach catalog and exclaimed “we’ll take it!” I wasn’t aware of the usual drill when purchasing a new Airstream: options abound, Chinese menu style, and many features are customizable.

I was also unaware how intimately involved local dealerships are with Airstream production and innovation.

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star party, oregon outback

Ralliers at wonderful, warm, windy Ana Reservoir RV Park enjoyed what the Oregon Outback had to offer: a tour of the state wildlife refuge, wildflower viewing at Fremont Park, the Paisley Mosquito Festival, splashing in the lake, collecting cattails, and evening kite flying followed by a knock-your-socks-off sunset reflected in aluminum.

An expedition to the Cowboy Dinner Tree in Silver Lake was organized, and mass quantities of meat were consumed—obscene portions served family style with sides.

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solar ‘streaming – new airstream solar panel

Confession: I don’t understand energy. At all. I know that after two miles on the treadmill I’ve only burned the caloric equivalent of one damn cookie, but apart from that, I got nothing.

What’s a watt? What’s a volt? What does “at peak the inverter will pull 170 amps” mean? These and other concepts were no doubt covered during a science class I was absent from, or during shop, which was once For Boys Only.

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maupin – airstream rally on the deschutes river

Maupin, Oregon is a two-horse town perched above a pleasing bend in the Deschutes that exists solely for the enjoyment of fly fishermen and as a place for river rafters to put in.

We joined the Oregon Unit of the WBCCI “Deschutes and Ladders Rally” at Maupin City Park, which isn’t a city park at all but a shady, grassy RV campground. As always, we were late to sign up for the sold-out rally and were relegated to the cheap seats in the adjacent overflow dry camping lot. Not a problem.

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airstream office

It’s the first truly warm spring week in Bend. I’m itching to be outdoors, but deadlines are oblivious to the weather report. Time to move rg coleman communications HQ to the grounds outside the Pine Cone Lodge.

There’s too much screen glare to work from the patio table on the backyard deck, but the Airstream makes a perfect indoor/outdoor office.

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meet ralph

To rectify a massive oversight and kill time until we get back on the road, I asked Ralph, co-pilot of our DWR, to finally guest post on ‘Streaming. Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time ever, put your hands together for “The Master of History”:

Hello! I’m the other half (or quarter, if you count Ripley and Raven) of the quartet that’s featured here. I’m the one that’s the product of that celebrity math equation on the “Who is ‘Streaming?” page, and the one with the foldable fetish.

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foldable favorite: portable invisible fence

I was outside at a Utah Starbucks when a man arrived with his two chocolate labs. He left them unleashed near a table, and without a word, went inside to fetch his latte. The dogs watched him disappear, then sat politely to wait for his return. “That,” I said to my friend, “is the difference between a lab and a dachshund.” Ralston would lie down to wait. Ripley and Raven would cry, “Yay, she’s gone! Let’s play in traffic!” and I’d never see them again.

Thus the need for Invisible Fence at home and a new camping must-have: “The Rock” portable electronic fence system. It works like a charm and the concept is fiendishly simple.

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pendleton round-up

I towed into Pendleton, Oregon minutes before the Westward Ho! parade and faced nowhere to park; every empty slot and lot teemed with RVs and horse trailers and teepees. Somehow I squeezed into a miracle spot in the WalMart parking lot, stuffed to the curbs with motorhomes, tents, and rednecks camped in the beds of their pickups…like spring break for hillbillies. I followed the crowd and piles of manure on Court Street to the all non-motorized parade which showcased wild west wagons and buggies, all manner of cowboy, Indians, Mexicans, sheriffs, preachers, outlaws, firemen, Oregon Trail pioneers, weird timber equipment, every rodeo princess in the Northwest, longhorns, mules, donkeys, horses, miniature ponies, and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler.

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looney daze

The state fair may be legend, but Minnesota’s podunk summer festivals—Detroit Lakes’ Water Carnival, the Audubon Pet Parade (which took ten minutes, beginning to end), and “Looney Daze” (sic) in Vergas—deliver superior fun with easier parking.

Lakeside communities in northwestern Minnesota—frozen into a block of ice for seven-plus months—have to cram their pent up energy into the short tourist months of summer. In Vergas, where the loon is revered as a deity, you’ll find loon ball, the worlds largest loon, and, in August, Looney Daze. (Actual slogan: “WhAt HaPpEnS In VeRgAs!…StAyS In VeRgAs!”)

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