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Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

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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road twip

The language of Twitter is humiliating. “Tweet me”; “I tweeted”; “Guess what, Tweeple?” (It’s for a similar reason that I don’t patronize Burger King. I can’t tell another person that I need a “whopper”.) Despite this, I love and depend on Twitter, and mercifully, most users have grown tired of thinking up new words that begin with “tw”.

I get it that a vast population considers Twitter to be pointless, narcissistic and time-consuming (the latter it indeed is). Opting out is a viable choice. Sometimes even regular tweeters (see? how idiotic is that) have difficulty conceptualizing its practical benefits. But if you travel, Twitter is an invaluable tool.

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foldable favorite: hot dog chills out

Ripley required only minor first aid after stepping on the cactus but Ralston, age ten, inconveniently fell ill with some kind of undiagnosable ailment the day we left and appeared to be at death’s door during the entire first week of our trip. After consulting vets in three states he was eventually back to what passes for normal. We kept him hydrated and cool along the way with the help of this special mat and bandana.

Soak the mat in water to activate the “cooling crystals”, then plop it down as a place to ride in the car or rest in the shade.

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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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does my butt look big in this trailer suit?

Yes, it does. Ralph, who pores over industrial catalogs for relaxation, had a genius idea: one piece, insulated work coveralls to wear while camping. “Think about it,” he persuaded. “It gets a little cold or rainy, boom, we pull on the suits. The dogs need to go out in the middle of the night? Jump into the suit.” Horrified but intrigued, I agreed and they soon arrived mailorder (70% off) from Sierra Trading Post.

Initial embarrassment was overcome within ten minutes. Who cares what strangers at the KOA think about you?

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oh, we’re gettin it

“I have something to show you.”

Ralph wouldn’t tell me what to expect when I arrived at the house. He sat me on the deck, put a gin and tonic in my hand, and said, “close your eyes.”

I opened them to see the cover of the Spring 2007 Design Within Reach catalog, with the sublime Christopher Deam Airstream on the cover.

“In 2000, Airstream’s motto, ‘Make only improvements, not changes,’ was shaken by architect-designer Chris Deam who gutted a vintage trailer to create a booth for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair,” states the DWR online catalog.

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