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& Travel Tips

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Archive for the ‘tips’ Category

airstream winterizing

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.

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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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boondock of discovery—or, airstream faker comes clean

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.)

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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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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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iball hitch camera

The iBall Hitch Cam went directly onto my Christmas wish list after Teresa Taylor’s sister demonstrated its virtues at the Pendleton Round Up rally.

It requires a 9V battery, not included, nor is a manual—everything you need to know about its operation is described by a three-step diagram on the packaging card. (By the way, will someone please invent a device to pop open the industrial strength plastic casing that’s fused around everything these days. You need the jaws of life just to open the iBall package.)

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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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the rally

Airstream is but a tiny, shiny star in the RV universe—most are SOBs (Some Other Brand). ‘Streamers I recently polled guesstimate that Airstreams comprise only one to three percent of the market, both new and old.

As it was held in my backyard (Redmond, only thirty minutes from Bend), I dropped in on “The Rally” (sans DWR…no aluminum allowed*), the premier annual RV gathering, to see how the other (more than) half lives.

It looked kinda fun, if you have a White Box.

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foldable favorite: twist espresso maker

It doesn’t fold but for Christmas I received the MyPressi TWIST Easy Elegant espresso maker, which claimed to change how and where I will enjoy my delicious espresso and espresso-based beverages, as it is “perfect for home and office”. Somehow they overlooked its most obvious application: for use in the Airstream.

Producing “perfect crema every time”—I suspect that’s the beige foam at the top of the coffee—the unit uses pressurized cartridges (the ones that make carbonated water from a seltzer bottle) in lieu of external power, and dispenses single or double shot extractions. A separate “frother” turns hot milk into a fake-steamed latte lather.

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burning man

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of Burning Man, the annual art festival slash summer camp for adults in the Black Rock Desert north of Reno, Nevada.

In the weeks leading to my departure several fifty-something friends confessed that they’ve wanted to see it for themselves but have felt too intimidated to attend “that thing in the desert”. I concur; it’s difficult to get mentally and physically organized for Burning Man if you’re a grown adult not surrounded by peers who have been or are coming with you.

For the “virgin burner”, shopping and preparing can be daunting and confusing; it’s the packing equivalent to extreme boondock camping, seven day Halloween party, and week-long potluck.

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