Tag Archives: packing

The dreamstreamrs’ shortest odyssey in six years

to the tune of Leaving on a Jet Plane

Our big truck is packed, we’re ready to go
We’re standing here outside your door
We hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin’, it’s early morn
The trailer’s waiting, it’s hitched to the truck
Already we should be on up the road

[thanks to John Denver, 1966, Leaving On A Jet Plane]

Do you think of full-timers going part-time? We are making ready for traveling just three months before we return to NC. This is a way shorter odyssey than we normally embark upon, but takes as much preparation as traveling for a year. A breakdown is just as much problem no matter how many days or weeks we are on the road. The difference for us is what we can do without for three months versus taking EVERYTHING with us. Too much grandchildren stuff means we are leaving the 80-ball tennis tote until we return.

Just today we did all the season’s maintenance. It’s a long list, doesn’t look like one day’s work:

  • Re-attached a loose propane gas line.
  • Drained and re-filled the fresh water tank.
  • Removed the 31′ Eagle-One antenna from the roof and re-installed the High Sierra antenna.
  • Cleaned the solar panels and checked all attachments.
  • Removed the gas bottles, batteries, and hitch from the trailer’s frame.
  • Sanded and painted the trailer’s a-frame and hitch.
  • Checked all tires pressures.
  • Cleaned the truck’s windows so Deb will think the truck is clean.
  • Reattached ends on battery cables
  • We emptied and repacked the truck bed

I mentioned in earlier posts (March 2012, and April 2013) about problems with our crimped cable lugs. Today I removed all eight battery cables, drilled a 5/32″ hole in the lug’s end, and soldered thirteen crimped lugs. Two others I already had soldered and one (only one) was crimped so wonderfully there was no need or space for soldering. The process took an hour and is well worthwhile. All lugs of my battery cables are securely attached for both current conduction and mechanical integrity.

The truck bed is for this trip doing extra duty, now carrying a bed frame and rails for Vancouver grandchildren, and with printed materials for seminars and club activities we are involved in this summer. Our truck bed seems far more full, and the back seat is also full due to head, foot, and bunk ladder for the bed.

Our trip is across the USA to Vancouver BC and back. Along the way we plan to spend a week in Dayton OH for the world’s largest ham radio convention and show, a week in Jackson Center OH for Airstream factory service and Alumapalooza (a big rally), three weeks in Huron SD for WBCCI annual rally, two weeks in Vancouver BC to see grandchildren and help a little with their house, and then hightail it back to NC for Hannah’s wedding.

We’ve been in the Charlotte NC area almost three weeks. It has been a whirlwind. A wedding, a college graduation, family gatherings, Mothers Day visits, catching up with friends — we tried to make the most of our short time here. Another bene of only planning three months away — saying farewell seems a little easier.

We hope to see you down the road!

locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2013 Dreamstreamr


Everyone is packing

Yesterday morning Debbie and I awoke early and drove into St Augustine for Easter Sunrise service outside Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. The Service was in the Columbarian. Tiki torches provided light around the perimeter and chairs provided comfortable seating for 50 people. It was an intimate setting and seemed very appropriate. We enjoyed the music and the message.

We had the final event for the week yesterday evening at the Easter Rally. We sat with Gilliams from TN and Kolesars from VA. The rally evening fellowships offer the opportunity to sit with different couples each night. We got to know both couples a little better yesterday, and will look forward to seeing them again at another rally.

The Florida State Unit of WBCCI provided us a catered ham dinner plus cake and ice cream. The dinner was very good, and Debbie and I volunteered to help with serving the cake and ice cream. Some rallies offer volunteer opportunities for the participants to help carry a little of the load. We find volunteering is a fun and easy way to get to know a few more people.

After the ceremonies and dessert everyone started saying their farewells. We saw, as we walked back to our Airstream, people preparing for this morning’s departure. It was a pleasant evening and we had a little more daylight. Why wait until the morning and unknown weather conditions? Tomorrow might bring rain or locusts!

We latched the awnings and all the windows except the bedroom ones. I lowered and secured the tall antenna and mounted the towing mirrors on our truck. In the morning I would check these things again as I complete preparations to tow our Airstream home to the next destination. I saw one of our Airstream friends walk around his Airstream, clipboard in hand, going through similar steps.

A checklist helps avoid costly omissions like a broken window or awning, or an improperly connected hitch, or snapping off a raised antenna. We have, we think, good checklists. And we used them frequently. Debbie and I have committed to memory the steps for hitching and un-hitching.

I’m responsible for the awnings and hitch segments and Debbie for the kitchen and toiletries. I prep the hitch, back the truck, connect and lock the hitch and its parts. Debbie secures the stove, stows the teapot, kettle, water pitcher, fruit bowls, soap dispensers, toothbrushes. I reef and latch the awnings. Otherwise, we each tackle the preparation for travel as if the other is not doing so.

The other steps include disconnecting and stowing fresh water hoses and filter and shore power cords, and stowing outdoor rug, doormat, chairs & tables. And we remember to safely store our only pet, the aloe plant Monroe Bowles gave us in Okeechobee, FL, in January.

Debbie and I walk around the Airstream at least two times each for our “de-park” inspection. We look at each other’s work as well as our own, carefully examining each window and awning latch, hitch part, step, vent, antenna and light. We slowly and methodically walk around the trailer checking every detail of road-worthiness. This is our final pre-flight check.

We’re ready to go 22 miles to our next State Park. Our preparations would be identical if we were going 220 miles or 400 miles. We don’t want to leave gear behind, we don’t want to damage our Airstream or truck, and we don’t want to create a problem for anyone else on the highways.

We have heard stories of people whose windows broke while on the Interstate, apparently from wind currents slamming the window open and closed. We have seen batwing television antennas crashed into the roof, possibly piercing the roof skin. We have seen sewer hoses dragging from their storage place as the trailer traveled up the road. We know one ham whose raised antenna smashed into an overhead bridge. The antenna apparently smacked into and broke roof-mounted solar panels, to add insult to injury.

Our experience with this has been good, so far. We left a sewer fitting in one campsite, and two levelling blocks in another. Total losses? Less than $20 in five years. One mistake could cost thousands, though. We’ve been fortunate. We might return to a checklist yet.

The routine activities of packing and hitching up take between an hour and two hours, depending upon how “unpacked” we became at the site. Here we used all three awnings, our rug, the grill, a folding table, and had all our family pictures on the shelf inside. When we are staying one night, we can unhook from utilities (if we even connected to them) and be hitched up and on the road in 1/2 hour.

Yesterday and this morning we probably spent over two hours, although some of the time was mixed with saying farewells. We enjoy this part of the rally, too. Five years into Airstreaming we still get excited when we pull onto the road towing our Airstream. Did we remember everything? What will the inside of the trailer look like when we arrive? And, what adventure lies ahead?

Getting ready; GO TARHEELS!

We caught this cow snacking at Hazeliefs Grove

We caught this cow snacking at Hazeliefs Grove

Our time in Okeechobee is drawing to a close. We’ve been here three months and will leave very soon. But first a few things before we go. Today has been a fantastic prep day. We filled the truck and safety can with gas, drove up to Hazeliefs grove and bought 1/2 bushels each of tangerines, navel oranges, and grapefruits. While we were at Hazeliefs we enjoyed watching this cow for a few minutes.
Cleaned it out to reorganize everything

Cleaned it out to reorganize everything

I emptied, swept, and reloaded the truck bed; added distilled water to the batteries and windshield cleaner to the truck’s washer tank; checked tire pressure on all four axles; checked torque on the Airstream’s four wheels; retorqued the hitch-head bolts and the anti-sway bolts, and checked tightness on the tow ball; and cleaned and regreased the tow ball with Wally blueball grease. Thanks for the can of grease, Wally!

Old weatherstripping was difficult to remove

Old weatherstripping was difficult to remove

While Debbie worked inside, I replaced the foam weather-stripping on our screen door. It was ugly work because the old stuff was well-stuck. This picture shows the foam strip partly removed. The job didn’t take too long and the result is just right. Debbie cleaned the interior thoroughly, including vacuuming the upholstery, sweeping and vacuuming the floors, and cleaning the bathroom. Debbie washed, air-dried, and rehung the flags, and did three more loads of laundry. The linens are clean and our bed looks inviting.

Folding the roof-top antennas, reefing the awning, stowing a couple of chairs into the truck bed, and securing a few small interior things, and disconnecting from site utilities are the only remaining items before we can tow out of here. We’re ready to go!

But first, let’s go to the swimming pool a little while before we watch Michigan State’s game at 1800 hours and our Tarheels at 2030 hours. We are really excited about the games, and cheering for both these teams.