Monthly Archives: January 2011

Dreamstreamr’s Best of 2010 — a short personal list

2010 was one of our best years in many ways.  We haven’t had a bad one, mind you.  We realized today we started Airstreaming seven years ago this year.  Four of the less than seven we’ve been full-time in our 25′ Airstream travel trailer.  All four years have been wonderful, exciting, different and often surprising.

What made 2010 great and different? A thumbnail sketch includes these things:

  • participating in a WBCCI Airstream caravan;
  • staying a month in Gillette;
  • visiting the oldest hamfest in the world;
  • visits to over a dozen national parks (and we’ll try to narrow it down to the best one;)
  • fun in Vancouver with our granddaughter;
  • three weeks volunteering with NOMADS, a United Methodist mission;
  • making a couple of smart purchases; and
  • stays at a wonderful pair of resorts.

Rainbow Bridge

We spent six wonderful weeks touring America’s southwest on a WBCCI Airstream caravan led by our friends Jay and Elna Thompson and Winston and Carol Montague. We were delighted to gain precious friendships with couples we hadn’t already met before the caravan while deepening our relationships with those we traveled with before.  And the six-week

Mule ride thru Bryce Canyon

guided tour throughout our country’s southwest was wonderful.  Our caravan leaders arranged tours, boat rides, and other special treats we either would have missed by scrimping or just wouldn’t have known about on our own.  Too, we enjoyed the company of many friends while trying to absorb the wonders in six weeks of sightseeing.

A month in Gillette WY allowed us time to really mine the area, so to speak.  We  toured one of their incredible and gigantic coal mining operations — nothing at all like the media makes it out; eat wonderful bison rib eye steaks at The Open Range Restaurant in Wright WY; tour the Wyodak air-cooled electrical generation plant;walk downtown Gillette; play tennis in Campbell County’s

That's a big pickup

incomparable municipal recreation center;  join the local ham radio club for breakfast at Granny’s Kitchen; browse and restock on electronic parts and custom cables from Chris Supply; participate in amateur radio’s annual Field Day with our WBCCI Amateur Radio Club; enjoy terrific convention management by the CAMPLEX staff; and celebrate another successful annual Airstream WBCCI rally.  We had a great month in Gillette!

best place for a hamfest

More than two years ago Dave Blum kf4gtj (SK) and Jim wanted to briefly slip away from our Airstream caravan’s tours for a look at the oldest continuously running hamfest in the world, the Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park Hamfest.  Dave and Jim didn’t make it then but it remained on their bucket list.  We (Jim and Debbie) put it on our agenda for 2010 and enjoyed a week in East Glacier with the best international group of hams we’ve been with.  Great weather, great scenery, great radio folks — This was a fine week.

North Rim Lodge

Debbie and Jim are divided on which was the best National Park we visited — North Rim of Grand Canyon, or Zion, or Mesa Verde.  We visited probably at least a dozen throughout 2010.  These three were our clear favorites for the year, and all were stupendous for roughly similar reasons.

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde wins out for being the least crowded and still providing stunning history and scenery. Zion has incomparable hikes and public transit and a very accessible but separate town site.  North Rim gave us an inch of overnight snowfall, very nice days, such a great old lodge, and more views than we ever could have imagined.  How do you pick one best one?

Cradlepoint router

Hands down, no equivocating, our best purchase for the year is our Cradlepoint CTR-500.  Our Airstream trailer is a mobile WIFI hotspot and we are radioactive!  Okay, only figuratively, but for us nothing beats the convenience of our own mobile wifi network.  We work three laptops, an iPad, and an iPod Touch.  Friend Bob Simms highly recommended the Cradlepoint to us, and we owe him many megabytes for our happiness with local wifi.  All devices tune effortlessly and quickly to the wifi, the Cradlepoint can support up to 32 devices at a time (but please don’t ask us to share, okay?), and we don’t mess with VZ Access anymore.  Wifi is good.

We don’t usually stay in resorts, national or state or provincial parks are more our speed.  But several years we have stayed in two resorts, one in British Columbia and the other in Mesa AZ.  Burnaby Cariboo RV Resort 17 km east of Vancouver BC is really really nice.  But Towerpoint Resort in Mesa has it beat hands-down.  Towerpoint is a  premiere tennis resort with five gorgeous hard courts, two hot tubs, two swimming pools, and too many excellent facilities to mention.  If we weren’t tennis players, we’d find plenty else to occupy us at Towerpoint.  And the people are wonderfully friendly and supportive.  Towerpoint is clearly the best resort we visited last year and we look forward to many more visits.

building a shed at Ocean Park Retreat

The best short description for our past year is “active”.  We saw a lot, participated in a lot of guided tours, hiked and toured many places, volunteered three weeks at Ocean Park Retreat on Washington state’s coast on mission work with NOMADS, played tennis all winter in Mesa AZ — we had an active year.  Yet we moved fewer times, stayed longer in places.  Three months in Okeechobee FL, a month in Gillette WY, five weeks on Washington state’s coast, three months in Mesa AZ.

We might be getting the hang of this full-timing thing, living throughout the continent.  Life on the road as full-timers, as a recent responder reminds us, isn’t vacation — it’s life (thanks, Sue, for the excellent phrase) on the road.  Our house has wheels, but it doesn’t require constant rolling.  We can stay in one place awhile if we want. We’re enjoying our environs more as we dig a little deeper in each locale.

You’ve absorbed all you can in one reading — we’ll save some highlights from last year for another day.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Home is a great place

We’re home.

Benign here, this snowfall messed up transportation state-wide

Weren’t sure we would make it on our first try, the forces seemed opposed.  Charlotte’s weather turned horrible Sunday night, covering everything in four inches of snow.  Monday we added another couple of inches plus half an inch of frozen rain.

Our Charlotte plans for Monday were modest.  We would have attended my stepfather’s graveside service at 1300 hours followed by his memorial service at Providence Methodist at 1400 hours.  The family would gather, reminisce, and eat later at The Cypress where mom and Dow have lived.

Monday morning we postponed the services.  The major roads were mostly good by late morning but the smaller streets were covered with snow.  Nearly no Charlotte drivers maintain studded tires or chains, the tires would rot before twice serving.  We knew we couldn’t have folks driving about for these services.

Family, not counting Debbie and Jim, were in from Portland, Seattle and Boone, and some had early return flights.  Some postponed their return, but we needed a memorial service while family and a few friends were still in Charlotte.  Monday afternoon we gathered at The Cypress for an informal memorial  service and a meal.

The service was sweet and not long.  Dow’s children, Nancy and Harry, recounted their dad’s life, telling stories about background and work and achievements.  Thao, Dow’s granddaughter, expressed her appreciation for mom’s and Dow’s loving marriage.  Chuck, Jim’s brother, told about his special relationship over the past five years with Dow.  He and Dow were buddies, hanging out frequently and cutting Chuck’s lawn on a John Deere lawn tractor.

Later Monday we watched the NCAA national championship game.  Tough break for the Ducks, lucky break for Auburn’s Tigers.  The game could have gone either way, Auburn seemed slightly ahead throughout on the statistics, but almost let the game go to overtime before they kicked their winning field goal.

You want to leave Charlotte WHEN? Ha Ha Ha

The snow and ice devastated Charlotte’s airport processes.  Tuesday we watched the airport news very very closely — hundreds of flights canceled out of Charlotte, what about ours?  Our evening flight to Phoenix showed “on time” all day.  But when we arrived at the airport we found cots and sleeping mats throughout the concourse.  Gate waiting areas seating looked like a hurricane had struck, with each person staking two seats so they could sleep overnight.

One look at the departures board showed us the story.  Very few flights were leaving Charlotte this evening.  A ground crew member told us our 6 p.m. flight would be the last flight to leave Charlotte this day.  Monday the airport, we heard, ran out of de-icer and innumerable flights stayed on the ground.

Same today?  Apparently so, or the destination airports aren’t available because of foul weather.  Our flight carried over a dozen stranded airlines crew members, all probably very grateful to fly anywhere out of Charlotte.  Our flight left the gate ten minutes late, full of passengers and hope we could leave the airport.

Ten minutes later we stop somewhere on the airport and the pilot shuts down the engines for plane de-icing.  This took a half-hour then we were on our way, we were going to fly!  A lot of folks on the plane were very relieved at this point, and perhaps none more than the stranded crew members.

We arrived back to our little silver home, turned on the lights and water, and found almost everything in fine order.  Indoor temperature was 57F, fridge was cold, Alice Aloe looks good if a little thirsty.  Two casualties — the truck’s battery is dead, totally dead.  And the little refrigerator temperature monitor seems to have worn out it’s battery.

The truck’s battery is now connected to the trailer’s two batteries, to restore a bit of charge so we can start it and replace the battery.  We’ll go to the grocery store to restock our refrigerator and freezer.  And we’ll take extra time relishing in the durability of our little home.

Not bad for almost a month’s absence.  We expected worse and are happy to have found everything in good order.  We are happy to have been able to spend so much time with our families, especially fortuitous during this family crisis.

We are happy to be home, sitting by the sunny windows sipping green tea and reading the morning paper.  It’s great to be home.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Maurice Dowell Sellers

Maurice Dow Sellers of Charlotte, NC died Friday, January 7, 2011 at the Stewart Health Center at The Cypress of Charlotte. The eldest son of Eunice and William Sellers, Dow was born July 1, 1920 in the small town of Red Level, AL. At age 5 the family moved to Montgomery, AL where his dad worked for the railroad until the Great Depression came and he opened two small grocery stores. Dow was his bicycle delivery boy during the early ’30s.

Later, he attended Sidney Lanier High School where he played in the band, took Latin, and excelled as a student. With encouragement from his mother, he attended Auburn University graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1941. Soon after, Dow moved to the Akron, OH and began his career with B.F. Goodrich at its wartime tire factories. During the ’40s Akron was a 24/7 city attracting people from all over. One of these was Helen Virginia Muldoon who Dow met and married in 1943 and began a 62-year strong and loving marriage.

In 1946, Harold was born and a few years later in 1949, Nancy was born. For 24 years Dow worked for B.F. Goodrich around Cleveland, OH. The last location was Brecksville, OH in a house he designed and built. Dow, throughout his lifetime, was a master handyman whether it was a bicycle, kid’s toys, washers, dryers, or automobiles. Looking for new challenges, he accepted a job with Celanese Corporation and moved to Charlotte in 1964.

With Celanese Dow quickly advanced and his promotions took him to Connecticut, Mexico City, and Bogota, Columbia. In 1974, Dow returned to Charlotte to become President of Celanese Fibers Company until his retirement in 1985. During his time with Celanese he established many friends in Charlotte and a reputation as a mentor to many of those who worked with him. He was admired and well-respected.

With retirement, Dow and Helen continued to live in Charlotte but traveled extensively including one around-the-world tour. In 1999, Dow and Helen were one of the first residents at The Cypress of Charlotte. Helen had suffered a stroke in 1997, which left her partially disabled. For the next 7 years Dow was her devoted care giver, along with his sister-in-law, Mildred and the staff of the Stewart Health Center.

Helen passed away in 2005, and soon after, he met Catie Cocke who had just moved into The Cypress. They married in March 2006 and enjoyed five very special and loving years prior to his passing.

Dow was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Monty, his sister-in-law Mildred, and his wife Helen. He is survived by wife Catie, his son Harold and his wife, Van, of Seattle, WA, his daughter Nancy of Portland, OR, and grandchildren, Thao, Bi, William, Christopher, and Francisco.

Many heartfelt thanks to Catie’s family, especially her children: Chuck Cocke, Nanelle Napp, Ginny and Allen Martin, Emily and Paul Campbell, Medora and Jeff Hoskins, Jim Cocke, and Debra Wood. They embraced him warmly and provided many delightful experiences for him.

A memorial service to celebrate Dow’s life will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, January 10, 2011 at Providence United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at a reception following the service in the atrium at the church.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to Providence United Methodist Church, Our House of Portland (www.ourhouseofportland.org) or to a charity of your choice.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr