Item #101

Jan 18

Item #101

A while back, our friends and fellow-Airstreamers Tiffani and Deke over at Weaselmouth took the 100 Thing Challenge (where they had to limit their possessions to 100 items.)  Chris and I aren’t nearly that brave (or crazy), but we’re gaining an appreciation for the need to keep the “stuff” to a minimum in such a small space.  There is, however, one item we think they, as full-time Airstreamers, need to add to their list.  Let’s call it “Item #101”: Have you seen the ads for this stuff? They’re quite silly and funny, and when people first hear of this product they think it’s a joke. I picked a bottle of it up at the local drugstore on Whidbey Island, mostly as a joke, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work wonderfully. Full-time RVing is an intimate experience, to say the least.  You’re pretty much 24/7 with whomever you’re camping with, and if the place you’re camping doesn’t have restrooms (or they’re too far away or it’s pouring rain or whatever) then you’re gonna have to “lay down the law” in close quarters with your travel companions. You use Poo-Pourri before you go, spraying  a few spritzes into the bowl. That puts a layer of the product, which is mostly nice-smelling essential oils, down on the surface of the water. Any … erm … droppings that fall in afterward are immediately covered back up by the layer of oils. The smell can’t get out.  Then you flush and … it’s like you were never there. This is especially appreciated when the other inhabitant of your RV is sitting five feet away from you at the dinner table and trying to eat. Hang around RVers for any measurable amount of time and soon the topic will turn to toilets. I’m not kidding. You’ll be having poo conversations in no time. It’s kinda weird. But, you know, it makes for very quick bonding. I showed Tiffani and Deke our bottle of Poo-Pourri the very first night we met them. Did they waver? Hardly. “I think,” said Deke. “You just saved our...

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The Conundrum of New

Jan 16

The Conundrum of New

“We’ve been in Morocco now for a few days, and it is a little bit confusing. Things I expected to be challenging are not. Things I never thought would be challenges are. Trying to sink into the uncomfortable feeling as best I can and see what lessons come from it. Either way, I’ll have great stories!” – Betsy Talbot on Facebook Our friend Betsy is half of Married With Luggage, who really inspired our journey when she and her husband Warren sold nearly everything they owned and took off to travel the world with just a couple of backpacks. She is explaining one of the interesting things we’re facing as we transition from our former, stationary life to our new mobile one. They have been doing this for several years now and it is interesting that this sentiment doesn’t seem to go away – if you keep putting yourself in new situations, you will continue to feel the discomfort that comes with the unfamiliarity. That’s not a bad thing, but if you aren’t ready for it this stress can show up in strange ways. We just passed the two week mark for our journey. We love what we’re doing but nearly every day there is something that comes up that is new, or at least different, and is challenging in its own way. Things that we didn’t have to worry about back in the house. The toilet blew a fuse and wouldn’t work for a day (who knew toilets had fuses? Not our Airstream manual!). The place we parked for a night was not level  and it was raining so we didn’t want to do all of the work to correct it so everything was “off” for the night. This park doesn’t have a lot of trees or grass and Tiki can’t find a place that she likes to ‘go’. Sometimes just squeezing into the smaller space is uncomfortable. Sometimes these are problems that we just need to deal with that we didn’t need to deal with before.  Sometimes they are just different from what we’re used to. The same “New” that gets us excited about seeing new places and meeting new people also creates these uncomfortable situations. I’m calling...

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Long walks on the beach at sunset

Jan 15

Long walks on the beach at sunset

Back when we lived in the bay area, we made several treks down to Monterey to visit the aquarium. A few years ago, a few of us came down for an epic weekend of golf at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. We love this area, so we knew we needed to make a stop along the Monterey Bay area on our trip down to Tucson. The drive down from Petaluma was actually pretty good – we timed the traffic pretty well and avoided any long traffic jams though there were a bunch of aggressive semi truck drivers who were weaving in and out of traffic around us. Also, pulling a trailer in a big city is rather nerve-wracking. People don’t like to leave enough room for a truck and a trailer to change lanes easily and navigating the exits in an unfamiliar city can be a real pain. Perhaps this is why the semi truck drivers are so aggressive. Right around noon, though, we pulled up to Marina Dunes RV Park. This park is kinda pricy, but it is right next to the Marina Dunes Preserve, an area dedicated to restoring the native vegetation on the site of an old sand mining site. I didn’t even know that sand mining was a thing so there ya go. As we pulled in, one thing became very clear. We found the warm weather! By the mid afternoon, it was 82 degrees in Marina and after unhitching, we needed to unpack some of our summer clothes. Sure, it will drop down into the mid 40s tonight but it was great to have a nice warm day for a change. Just before sunset, I took a walk down through the preserve to the beach and watched the sun dip down across the bay. I would have loved to see a few more nice puffy clouds in the sky but the sunset was definitely worth the 1/2 mile hike down to the beach. Tomorrow we have some more work to do but then we’ll be headed over to Carmel and Monterey in the afternoon to check things out. While I’d love another shot at Pebble Beach, that will need to wait for a future...

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Visiting the North Bay

Jan 15

Visiting the North Bay

Wow, five whole nights in one place. There is a lot to do in the Petaluma/Sonoma/Napa area and we had some work to do as well so we extended our stay in Petaluma. On Sunday morning we took a trip to Bodega Bay, along the Sonoma Coast. There has been a big low spinning off the west coast so there were huge wave crashing which made for some fun photos. After wandering along the bluffs above the crashing waves, we headed to Yountville for a delightful lunch at Bouchon. We’ve visited the Bouchon in Las Vegas a few times but this was our first time at the original. The lunch was awesome, as were the the delights we picked up next door at the Bouchon Bakery. While we were at the campground we met Michelle and Matt who are also traveling the country in an their Luxe Land Yacht. It is always great to meet more full-timer Airstreamers and share stories and ideas. There were actually quite a few Airstreams at the KOA, I counted 7 or 8 of them in the campground and another 5 in their storage lot. I love seeing so much shiny silver on the road! Today we are off to Marina, California on the Monterey coast. See you there...

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Nest Protect Smoke/CO Detector

Jan 11

Nest Protect Smoke/CO Detector

One of the downsides of cooking in a small space is that it doesn’t take much to make the smoke detector go off. In fact, it has been a daily event, signaling that it is almost bacon time. It clears pretty fast but it is a bit annoying. Enter the Nest Protect – a combination smoke/CO detector made by the people who brought us the Nest smart thermostat.  When the Protect detects smoke, it starts with a verbal warning – it actually speaks – saying “Smoke is detected in the kitchen.” If it is something as simple as smoky bacon, you just step towards the alarm and wave your hand at it letting it know that it is ok and there’s nothing to worry about and it will silence the alarm. If you don’t silence it, it will sound the standard piercing alarm which will definitely wake anyone up, particularly in a space the size of an Airstream. Unlike regular smoke detectors that start beeping when the battery runs low, the Protect will actually announce that its battery is low.  In addition, it will notify you via the iPhone or Android app (a Windows Phone app would be nice). When the lights are out and you walk near the device, its circular LED light will turn on, making it a handy nightlight. Finally, if you have multiple Nest Protect devices, they will talk to each other so they can announce alarms throughout your house.  This is not necessary in a space the size of our Airstream but it would be nice in the house. Installation was simple. I just unscrewed the old smoke detector and reused the same holes to mount the mounting bracket to the ceiling. Then the Nest Protect just clips right in. Hooking up to the internet was slightly more difficult only because the app took a few tries to add itself to our free Nest.com account though I think that is more related to some wifi configurations issues I’m dealing with right now. Eventually that succeeded and we are up and running. I have one concern, and we’ll see if this is an issue the next time we hit the road. The detector clicks in...

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