Sick on the Road

Feb 02

Sick on the Road

No, not sick OF the road, we are loving it out here. Getting sick, though, is part of life and I suspect there is an increased chance when you are always in new places with unfamiliar stores, germs, etc. I got to experience this first hand on our last night in Anza-Borrego. I wasn’t feeling quite right at bedtime and in the middle of the night I woke up with that weird feeling. You know, the one where some very low-level part of your body is trying to tell you that they’ve initiated an evacuation order, the countdown has begun, but the message isn’t too clear for a while — until it is? OK, enough subtlety – I barfed. I had wondered over the past few months how that eventuality would work – it’s a pretty small bathroom. It turns out that when push comes to shove (so to speak) you figure it out quickly. Once all of the excitement is over, though, the real questions arise. How do you handle being sick on the road? We were far away from any city and we were supposed to drive that day to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site for our first night of boondocking. 250 miles to a remote location with no hookups. The first question was, do we leave at all or do we stay in place for another day so I can get enough rest. Since we needed to be in Tucson is just 2 days and we figured it would be better to get closer to a city, we decided to pack up and go but boondocking was out so we set our destination for Yuma, AZ and reserved a spot at an RV park there for the night. I was pretty out of it so that meant that I was not going to do the driving so Leslie got behind the wheel for her first day of towing (she did great!). Our insurance comes with a 24 hour nurse hotline which is a great resource when we’re on the road.  I was able to call in and talk to a nurse who not only listened to my symptoms and suggest next steps but also was willing to...

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Seacocks and Spelunking

Jan 25

Seacocks and Spelunking

It’s a funny thing when you tell people you’re going to be RVing full-time. They tend to assume your life will now be margaritas on the beach 24/7. They think of the best times they’ve had in an RV, or, even more likely, the pictures they’ve seen in magazines, and they think that’s the lifestyle. Well, just like anything else in life, it’s part of the lifestyle. But there’s still regular old life that happens, too. Case in point: clogged toilets. This new Airstream of ours has a macerating toilet, which means it shreds up the “contents” of the toilet before it flushes them into the black water tank. I’m not sure why this is considered a useful feature. Perhaps one of you readers can tell me. But I will tell you this. The goddamn macerator gets clogged at the drop of a hat. Oh, this also means our toilet is an electric toilet and anytime the macerator has to strain in the tiniest bit it blows a fuse. Yes, you read that last line correctly: Our toilet regularly blows a fuse. You can buy special RV toilet tissue that’s quite expensive but promises to flush and break up easily. It’s pretty much tissue paper. We’d heard that any toilet paper that was labeled “septic safe” would work, so we bought a roll of “septic safe” Scott 2-ply. This was the first time we discovered what owning a macerating toilet was really all about.  It spun that “septic-safe” 2-ply paper into cotton rope and jammed up good. Learning that lesson, we reverted to regular ol’ Scott one-ply. Problem solved. Except, if you use too much it still sometimes blows a fuse. Now to last night: I was very tired and cleaning my face with a disposable face wipe.  I absent-mindedly threw it in the toilet and flushed. The toilet immediately made the loud buzzing/roaring sound that we now know means the macerator’s jammed. “What did you do this time?” Chris asked from the bed. Here’s some free marital advice: Never ask that question to your spouse. Ever. We went to sleep and figured we’d deal with it in the morning.  The Sealand 8100 Series MasterFlush™ manual says to clear...

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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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