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

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©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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MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of our country.
[http://www1.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/]

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Safe Travels,

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2016 Dreamstreamr odyssey

Air travel is Again safe

Tried to get through TSA screening today with Chapstick in my pocket. It’s nonmetallic, non-liquid, right? The full-body scanner picked it up, thank heavens. We then submitted to the one-on-one.

“Sir, do you have items in your pocket?”

“Yes.” Reach in and retrieve the Chapstick, and I show it to him.

“Sir, I’ll need to pat you on that side.” I guess it was good for him. Then he said, “Please open the Chapstick.”

Okay, that worked. I get to keep my Chapstick. They either didn’t detect the individually wrapped lifesaver mint in my other pocket or they know what it is. Probably the latter, eh?

I hope we’re safer now. So long as only goodness comes in Chapstick- and smaller-sized packages, I do feel safer.

Who needs TPMS?

We never thought we needed tire pressure monitoring on our truck. Until yesterday. Last summer we upgraded our trailer’s TPMS to a really nice TST system sold by friends of ours. What to do with the old system? Aha! Put it on the truck tires. We can monitor the truck’s tires with the old system instead of junking it.

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TST with display turned off

We’ve been monitoring the truck tires pressure since last July. Everything’s been rock steady, just as we would expect. Until yesterday. An alarm sounded while we were towing the trailer north on Interstate 77. I looked immediately at the new TST system to see if a tire was flashing (while keeping the other 100% of my attention on driving.) No alarm.

I asked Debbie to read the old system for me and see what’s up. Yep, the RR tire had dropped from 73 to 50. No, it’s to 40. It’s going down fast! I was able to pull over immediately onto a wide paved shoulder. And the tire pressure monitor showed 23 pounds. The (600HP) brass and rubber valve stem’s rubber base was broken. It showed an break at the wheel rim when I flexed it. I anticipate switching to metal clamp-in stems, like the one below on the right, on the truck.

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We’d never had a tire incident on our trucks. 162,000 miles on this truck, 115,000 towing miles on it, and this is the first time we’ve pulled the jack and rods from under the truck’s back seat. Pretty intuitive setup, so we’re able to get the truck up, tire changed, and ready to go in under 45 minutes.

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Friends have expressed concerns over their ability to get 3/4 ton truck wheels off and on in a road emergency. My tire stores are torquing the truck’s lug nuts  120 to 140 ft lbs. Using the Silverado’s lug wrench I was able to break the lug nuts loose before jacking the tire off the ground. We didn’t need to lift the flat tire or the spare, we just rocked and rolled them into place. The spare tilted onto the hub easily, and the flat tire cranked up (in a mere 40 turns of the crank) into the storage spot under the truck’s bed. The biggest effort I expended was setting the jack under the axle and cranking the jack and the spare tire crank.

We frequently torque the trailer wheels so already have the socket for those lug nuts. I hadn’t realized I lacked a socket for the truck’s wheel lug nuts (when have I needed it?) so couldn’t have used my breaker bar and pipe extension. If one of the truck’s lug nuts had been especially tight I would’ve had a problem. Today I spent $5 on a 7/8″ six-point impact socket. I can now torque the truck wheels and more importantly I can break loose the most stubborn lug nut with my 3′ extension on my breaker bar. 8558058-21

One especially bright moment in our roadside stop? A big yellow truck pulled up behind us and raised his large traffic hazard warning sign. NCDOT State Farm® Safety Patrol is a free service that provides roadway assistance to stranded motorists – regardless of their insurance provider. He asked if there was anything he could do to help? I told him I was already putting the spare on and really appreciated him blocking from the rear.  His presence comforted me  – it reduced our vulnerability while we attended to the business at hand.

Thanks to State Farm® for sponsoring this program.  In NC, simply push *HP on your cell phone to call for assistance. They’ll change your tire, provide you a little gas or diesel, boost your battery, all to help you get back on the road more quickly and safely.

Lessons learned?

  • Keep using TPMS on both the trailer and truck’s tires;
  • Carry the lug nut 7/8″socket for truck wheels in my tool box;
  • Switch to metal clamp-in valve stems on the truck;
  • In NC, call *HP before I start working at roadside.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2016 Dreamstreamr odyssey

How many years full-timing?

2-dswkayak2015 was a good year for us. It wrapped up an enjoyable eighth year of full-timing. We began the year in a wet and chilly Corpus Christi TX, and the year mostly improved from there.  Our year was full of interesting travels throughout much of the United States. We visited another FL state park (Silver Springs) for the first time before visiting Sarasota and Miami again. We added another state, Pennsylvania, to our camping list with two weeks enjoyable visits there.

5-liarWe traveled a different path westward to Farmington NM for the Airstream Club’s annual meeting and rally. It was fun to stop at the mother ship of Bass Pro stores in St Louis MO. Along the way we discovered a free city park in Elk City OK (electricity and water,) and nice RVers everywhere we went. While in Farmington at the annual meeting, Jim was elected to 2nd Vice-President of the international Airstream Club. This was an exciting event and promises to provide a lot of hard and rewarding work.

9-ChacoFarmington NM is a great part of the USA to visit. Attractions include Shiprock, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and Aztec Ruins, and Hovenweep National Monument, and Durango, among other ancient and more recently developed attractions. Summer may not be the best time to visit the southwest but we found the weather manageable and enjoyed our stay and the attractions.

3-CWCSadly, Jim’s mother died in mid-March last year. We left Miami earlier than planned to rush home to be with Catie and family during this tough time. Thankfully the campground in southwest Miami was very accommodating about refunding our unused camping nights, and we’re glad we weren’t any further away from the family home. Our full-timing lifestyle allowed us to quickly respond to the family’s needs and care for Catie so she could stay home during her last two weeks.

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One of our daughters and her family repatriated from Vancouver in Canada last month. They’re getting settled in with many adjustments after being out of the country for ten years. We’re excited to have all our children and grands living in North Carolina for the first time. We sense, on the other hand, a tug to start settling on our NC mountain acreage. Doesn’t this look really inviting? We have courtesy parking – let us know if you’d like to stop in. It’s pretty nice.

 

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Two new grandchildren joined our family last year. We’re grateful our travels and their arrivals all timed well, and they’re both in N.C.

 

We encountered our fair share of mechanical issues last year. Our fridge and water heater both failed on our rain-soaked trip from Farmington. Not until we hit some dry pavement in Tennessee did these start working again. Our batteries stopped charging from shore power. We accidentally destroyed our folding step when we ran it into a projecting concrete sidewalk. Precipitates from the water heater clogged our sink faucet completely. The solar charger quit. Debbie’s makeup mirror LED lights failed. We found ourselves needing to replace the trailer’s brakes and turn the drums. We had our worst water leaks into the cabin. One that soaked the fabric base of our sofa and one that dripped onto the floor from inside the roof air conditioner.

These are all pretty routine maintenance issues to us. To have a gaggle of mechanical issues in the same year is unusual for us and was frustrating at times. We sometimes defer maintenance when we think we can count on getting to it before long. Ideally, we catch problems before they catch us. Other times, a delay turns out to be punctuated by a repair instead of preventive or scheduled maintenance. Dry camping is easy when most things are working. Living in an RV is easy for us when most things are working. Our RV is eleven years old and is apparently becoming a little more demanding. Okay – we’re on it!

Our 2015 towing mileage was 11,740, down from 14,866 miles in 2014. This brings our total full-timing towing miles to just under 108,000 miles. Our truck has 157,000 total miles, so towing represents 70% of our total truck mileage. The truck and trailer each continue to delight us with low maintenance needs and costs. We still plan to run the truck to 200,000 miles, or another three to four years, before replacement. Get your bids in soon for future purchase of a lightly used truck!

Our full-timing travel costs continued another year to trend downward. We spent $2,966 on camping sites, down from $4,050 and $4,565 the prior two years. Our average cost of camp site rental for 2015 dropped to $8/night, down from $11 and $13 the prior two years. Our average nights stay per site returned to six nights.

One expected decrease is our towing miles per relocation. We averaged 178 miles per relocation in 2015, our second lowest number in eight years. Moving more often within southeast USA from July through December 2015 drove this and other reductions. This year we’re likely to spend more time traveling out west, so some of these may swing upward again.

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Finally, we now freely admit we’re likely to build a house. We bought very nice land two years ago in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Weeks spent at various times of the year getting a feel for the sun, the weather, the wind, and the neighbors, provide us good ideas for site placement.

This attraction to building a house runs counter to our full-timing ethic of the past 8+ years. We promised we would only stay on the road full-time so long as we wanted. We’re still loving it, but are beginning to wonder how many more years. We think it’d be nice to eventually have a house again.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2016 Dreamstreamr odyssey