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the international

Lowered expectations are the key to happiness. Every Airstreamer under fifty warned me about the dork factor of the WBCCI 53rd International Rally. Thusly, we had a rockin good time.

Yes, there was a weird opening ceremony involving unit flags and the procession of club officers in their blue berets; the sort of ancient tradition like the Elks’ 11 O’Clock Toast or the Shriners’ love of clown cars that many people enjoy. And I was confounded by the focus on structured indoor activities that had nothing to do with camping: byzantine meetings heavy on the Robert’s Rules of Order, some board game called Joker, ham radio workshops…it was like being on a senior cruise without the buffet.

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big red numbers

Though Ralph has the Wally Byam Caravan Club in his bloodstream we knew virtually nothing about it when we bought the DWR and fell awkwardly into membership in 2007. Now, with one week to prepare ourselves for the spectacle that will be the WBCCI 53rd International Rally—our first official rally as members—procrastination must end. It’s time to apply our Big Red Numbers.

Among the many annoyances at the unforthcoming WBCCI website is no official explanation of the history of these numbers or what point they practically serve today, sixty years since the club was founded. Most members surmise that their purpose is threefold…

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ufo festival

I didn’t have directions to the 11th Annual UFO Festival but it was easy to find: I simply followed the highway signs to McMinnville, parked the car, and followed the crowd carrying lawn chairs and wearing tinfoil hats. (At the town border I was disoriented by a guy in a Jeep Wrangler flying an enormous confederate flag stenciled with the word “REDNECK”. I though that was incongruous to the nature of the event, then remembered the rich history of American abductees.)

The UFO Festival is held every May to commemorate the Trent UFO Photographs, taken in 1950 by a local farmer that many agree are among the most credible images of a UFO ever captured.

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cyclocross

We timed the extensive damage repair from The Incident to fall in November so the DWR could winter over at the cozy dealership where it was purchased, two years and 12,000 miles ago. On the way to George Sutton RV in Eugene, OR, we stopped along the way to take in the spectacle that is the OBRA-sanctioned Cyclocross Championship in Salem.

As an irregular viewer of The Ocho, I was unfamiliar with Cyclocross. It’s a species of bicycle race that generally occurs in autumn and winter—when it’s cold and soggy—developed as a way for road racers to stay in shape during the off season and provide opportunities for them to take advantage of local Urgent Care facilities.

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intermission

Seventeen days, 4740 miles, 11 states (not including four feet of Arizona), 510 snapshots, I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about-how-much-spent-on-gas, and one emergency vet visit: Summer Roadtrip 2009 has come to a close. Ahead, seven loads of laundry and nine blog entries to compose. Be back soon.

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please kill me

The first day of our two-week summer road trip—my birthday—began with a stunning sunrise drive through the Gorge. With the fog lifting at the base of Beacon Rock and sunlight shining on The Bridge of the Gods in the distance, it was “like those romantic paintings from 1815,” observed Ralph. (By contrast, seconds later we drove past what looked exactly like a human body wrapped in a bag by the side of the road. “Somebody has probably called that in,” mused Ralph. We kept driving.)

For a few hours we motored along in peace. Ralph kept fiddling with the dashboard gauges, appalled at the dismal gas mileage (we should have thought about that before loading those cases of Diet Coke and near beer in the back). Then, it happened.

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how are they made?

Thank you friend Pete, who alerted me to this six minute video on YouTube from Season 12 of “How It’s Made”, a program on the Discovery Channel that I didn’t even know existed.

Watch while one of the longer models is built and tests are conducted to insure the outer shell can withstand “hurricane-strength rain” (a feature we’ve been grateful for more than once in the Northwest).

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what dads like

I heard a Fred Meyer ad on the radio, suggesting gift ideas prior to Father’s Day. “What do dads like?” began the announcer, implying that the listener should start a checklist. “Playing sports, and especially watching sports. And watching historical epics.” (Master and Commander or something was just out on video.)

Given. But, why do men love history? And women can take it or leave it (in my case, absolutely leave it)? Yes, of course, some women enjoy history, but even the blog for the American Association of University Women acknowledges this stereotype in a post that fumes about the gender bias of bookstores that sort the history magazines in the “men’s interest” section.

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morocco

No Airstream…just memories of Marrakech.

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andelucia

Remember back in the day when couples would force other couples to endure the slides of their trip to Europe? Please to sit back relax and enjoy Spain and Marrakech, sans dogs and DWR.

Wally Byam would have been disappointed to learn we left the Airstream at home.

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