The Road Less Traveled By

Any other highway but I-10 would be fine this time. So we started westward on I-20 and almost magically found ourselves entering the Sacramento Mountains on US-82. How could we have known how cool this was going to be? How many times did we not take this road?

We’ve crossed the continent, out and back, almost every year for the past ten. Every time we’ve been pulling our sweet 25′ Airstream home-on-wheels behind us. It seems like we’ve taken I-10 way too many times.

Really we probably used other highways at least half of the times we traversed the continent. We’ve crossed on The TransCanada Highway once, and each of I-90, 80, 70, and 40 at least once in both directions. Interstate 10 gets all our other crossings because it’s the most southern route and therefore the most suitable for towing our unwinterized RV in January, Feb, or Mar, which we often seem to do.

We were headed from North Carolina to Casa Grande AZ for the WBCCI Airstream Club’s annual winter Board meeting. Each evening on this trip we looked at the possible routes and weather a day ahead ahead. An overnight in Sweetwater TX on I-20 gave us a good look at a route we’d never considered. We saw a straighter line than I-20/I-10 offered from Sweetwater to Las Cruces, by picking our way from I-20 to US-82. We had no idea the adventure we were facing, the route simply looked more direct.

One hundred or so miles later we were in an incomparably beautiful area, the Sacramento Mountains in Lincoln National Forest. Without a doubt this was the prettiest part of our entire drive. The two lane road gently turned and climbed back and forth as it followed an ancient route through a gorge and then inexorably upward toward Cloudcroft NM at 8,650 ft above sea level.

There were long stretches of nothing but unspoiled terrain. This natural beauty reminded us of driving on Top of the World Highway between Dawson City YT and Chicken Alaska, where for as far as we could see away from our road there was no trace of civilization anywhere. Gradually we started seeing more homesteads, then RV parks, and finally stores. In Cloudcroft we even drove by a small ski slope filled with folks enjoying skiing on a sunny afternoon.

It took a little while for us to recover from the excitement of watching our engine and transmission temperatures climb on the mile-high climb and imagine our brake temperatures climb on the 4,300′ descent. Then we realized we were going to be driving right by White Sands National Monument. Several times we had driven on one border or the other of the White Sands Missile Range. We’d never been on this side of the area and hadn’t thought how to find our way to it. We had to stop!

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We spent a fascinating hour touring the Visitors Center and watching their very good video about the area. We learned some history and geology about the area, and why the white sand is special – it’s gypsum instead of quartz. What surprised us most is the rule prohibiting taking any of this white sand out of the park. Sure enough, we saw little piles of it on the sidewalk of the parking area where people dumped out their shoes so they wouldn’t be absconding with the material.

I’ve friends who won’t take that road, the one less traveled. Their travel’s going to be on the four-lanes and GPS-referred routes. There’s nothing wrong with that. Those roads are likely to have good paved shoulders, softer grades, great sight lines, and perhaps other safety features. The best thing is that the really interesting routes might remain, in Robert Frost’s words, “the road less traveled by.” It did make all the difference for us yesterday.

See You Down The Road

Jim and Debbie,
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
©dreamstreamr odyssey 2017

Preparing for Snow?

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This morning on the telly NC’s new governor, Roy Cooper, announced declaration of state of emergency for all 100 counties. They’re pretty sure this snow’s coming. We’re in the dark blue region on this map so things could become messy. We made a quick trip to the local store, beat the rush. We have enough scotch and bourbon for the weekend.

We were planning to leave NC today for sunny Arizona. We miss 75 degrees and look forward to a great Board of Trustees meeting of the Airstream Club. Our new plan is to enjoy the snow and tow our Airstream southbound starting Monday. We’re ready to go!

See you down the road,

Jim and Debbie
see us at dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
see what’s going on at WBCCI, The Wally Byam Airstream Club

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Not Chasing 75 degrees

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It’s 40 below, raining, and we’re thriving. Not 40 below zero, 40 degrees below our vaunted (and often achievable) outdoor temperature target of 75 degrees. We’re glad to see the rain, have opportunities for walking and other exercise on our land, and consider improvements we might do someday.

Our Airstream is keeping us warm and dry, as always. The furnace was running upon our return from a nice 45-minute walk in the rain. That’s unusual. We normally turn the furnace down to 45, the minimum, after we warm the trailer’s interior in the morning. Then we’ll use the catalytic heater and the portable Pelonis electric heater to maintain 66-68 degrees inside. For our walk we left only the catalytic on. The interior temp fell below 64 and we’d forgotten to turn the furnace down so it was trying to keep up

Our central heat, if we ever build a house, will be very quiet. We’re weary of noisy heat, even if grateful for warmth. The Pelonis ceramic heater is the quietest of our mechanical heaters, followed by the gas furnace, followed by the electric strip heat in the roof a/c unit.

Our Olympian Wave6 catalytic heater is silent, radiates great warmth, and we can focus it in the direction we wish. Nearly ideal, except it adds moisture to our space (a bad/good thing.) The moisture wants to condense on cold surfaces and our many single thickness windows are happy cold sinks. The mechanical heat sources help dry the air more. But they’re so darned noisy. We prefer the silent radiant heat when we’re awake and indoors (we NEVER leave the catalytic heater operating when we’re napping or sleeping.)

And we love the coziness of our 25′ Airstream trailer in the rain. Even freezing rain.

See You Down The Road

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamrs, still chasing 75 degrees
See our website too

Kickstarter for Alumination, a feature-length documentary

We’d never contributed to a Kickstarter campaign. We’d never even browsed their web site. Kickstarter claims 15 diverse categories and thousands of projects. I’d wondered what was the motivation to contribute to a campaign. Someone I know kicked in on a project a few years ago. He received a handful of the items when it went successfully to production and he gave us one. Still I wondered, why get involved in this?

Eric Bricker is a friend we first met at Alumaflamingo (Sarasota FL) several years ago. We’ve since met with him several times in other locations. He’s each time impressed us with his enthusiasm for the Wally Byam Airstream Club and all things Airstream. Clearly he’s done his homework about our Club and community. This morning we opened Eric’s invitation to look at his Kickstarter campaign for “ALUMINATION, a feature-length documentary”. We love it and we’re all in!

This film is something all Airstreamers can look forward to enjoying. Eric’s trailer will give you a pretty good understanding of his feel for our Aluminum community. I’m interested in supporting this project because of his demonstrated talent, hard work, and successful portrayal of something I believe in – the Airstream lifestyle. I hope you’ll agree his project is worth supporting, and you’ll open your wallets to kickstart it like we have.

Jim

visit our website
©2007-2016 Dreamstreamr odyssey

Stittsville News article

We had a delightful interview with John Curry, news editor of the Stittsville News. He found us at the Ontario Airstream Club’s rally in Richmond Ontario. In fairness, he could have filled two more pages about the rally’s crowd, entertainment and great dining.

The Ontario Unit of the Wally Byam Airstream Club is one of the largest, with almost two hundred members. Their rally attendance sometimes has seventy Airstreams, so this rally was a little small at nearly fifty rigs.

More later, wanted to share the fun interview we read today in the Stittsville News online. We hope you have fun reading it too.

 

15 Years Ago Today

I am one very lucky man

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Jim

visit our website
©2007-2016 Dreamstreamr odyssey

Love in World of Hate

How can any of us hate another human being? How often do we not even know a thing about them, and aren’t willing to try? Because we don’t understand them.  Tom Basson says, “the only way to understand is to listen.” Tom’s passion for kindness and fairness stirs me, and I hope it does you too.

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The world is divided

And we – you and me – are the ones dividing it.

It’s part of human nature.

We set up barriers, boundaries, divisions – these walls that separate and segregate.

Us vs them, black vs white, rich vs poor, in vs out, gay vs straight.

And we go to great lengths to build these walls. We kill. We bomb. We comment on Facebook. We stay silent.

But the more we do, the greater the gaps between us become. Until eventually they are monstrous crevasses into which we all fall.

What is the solution? I do not know. But my hunch is that it lies somewhere in the heart of love.

“In the end we will only conserve what we love, and we will only love what we understand.” – Baba Dioum, 1968.

Interesting.

We only really love what we understand.

And the only way to understand…

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