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Countdown to Drive-Off

If you buy a brand new RV, its a miniature version of moving into a newly built house.  It’ll have everything you need to just start living there, but it will not have things like bushes and trees, curtains, furniture, bedding, dishes, etc.  My new Airstream has curtains and furniture, so I’m one-up on that account.  I don’t really care to have bushes and trees.  I do, however, need bedding, dishes, and all those types of amenities.  I grabbed excess items from the house and have had to purchase a few items.

Its been kind of fun going online and watching videos about the things that other Airstream owners recommend having on hand.  I’m amazed and pleased that people think to even make videos about kitchen storage, sleeping comfortably, how to make coffee – all that stuff.  It’s neat.  I have taken a lot of notes and there are little notes all over my desk.  I have bookmarked websites about hitching, unhitching, setting up camp, taking it down, storage, off grid camping (called dry camping), where to get water, propane, free camping, and on and on.  I feel like I know these people who are out there living in Airstreams and making videos, taking photos, exploring, raising families, riding bikes, hiking, kayaking, and helping people like me start down the same path without the heartache of learning the hard way.

There will always be more things to research, but I feel a lot better about striking out on my own travels now.

I’ve spent the past few days going over my notes and making purchases.  I plan to spend a lot of time in national and state parks, bureau of land management land, army corp of engineer land, military campgrounds, and a lot of friends’ driveways.  When necessary I’ll stay in regular campgrounds.  The initial costs of getting ready should make things easier and will be lasting.  For nights when I’m on the road, I’ll likely stop at a Walmart Super Center parking lot, Cabella’s parking lot, Cracker Barrel, or a rest area.

I’ve learned that everything you take with you should serve at least two purposes.  I just ordered a truck topper yesterday, for instance.  It was more expensive than I expected, but it should last quite a long time.  This particular topper is aerodynamic.  The person who made the first Airstream travel trailer in 1931 did so with the aerodynamics of an aircraft in mind.  It would be a shame to own one and then use a tow vehicle that undoes that benefit.  Having the truck topper will enable me to take along a bike, lawn chairs, a small folding table, a solar generator, and other things that are better out of the Airstream itself.  I have extra water hoses (white hoses), septic drain hoses of various lengths to fit a variety of campsites, regular hoses, electric hookup cable, wifi cable, television cable, tools, gloves, and more.  It seems overwhelming to consider, but these are things I’ve discovered I need over my first travels.  They are not things that I always need, but I would rather have them with me than to buy them each time.  They can be stored in the bed of the truck, dry and safe.  I have an inexpensive bike for exercise and for running short errands.  Its not easy to put a bike rack on an Airstream. I hear it can be done with the newer ones, but I’m not worried about such a luxury yet.  So even the truck topper serves more than one purpose.  It keeps things secure.  It keeps them dry.  It keeps things out of the Airstream.  In a pinch, it could also serve as a place to sleep.

Its really been fun to discover things that are useful in a travel trailer.  My aunt gave me a little Mr. Coffee maker.  It works great, but takes up a lot of my limited counter space.  I also have to find a safe place to store the glass pot while in transit.  I have discovered that many people use a little thing called a Moka pot.  The one I purchased is made by Bialetti.  It’s for Espresso, but I’ll use it for regular coffee.  Water goes into the bottom chamber.  The top chamber has a mesh filter area for the coffee.  A small tube goes up through the center and, as the water boils, it rises, spilling into the coffee area and making the liquid coffee filter down into the middle of the Moka pot.  Wa-la!  A delicious cup of coffee made quickly and without electricity.

I’ve also ordered a thermal cooker.  It looks like a crockpot, but it is not electric.  It has an inner stainless steel pot that you put your meal into.  You cook it on your gas burner until it is the appropriate temperature (perhaps 170 degrees for a roast).  When it reaches the desired temperature, you put the stainless steel pot, with its accompanying lid, into the thermal cooker.  You seal it (vacuum seal) and set it aside for maybe 5 or 6 hours.  You can sit it outside if its hot out.  The cooker will keep the food cooking at 170 degrees (or whatever temperature you had it when it was on the stove) the entire time and your meal will be delicious.  No electricity.

There are solutions like those for many tasks.

My Airstream came with a really nice mattress.  It’s called a “short queen” and is perhaps four inches shorter than a normal queen mattress.  Quality-wise and comfort-wise, it’s the top of the line.  However, for me, it’s not quite right.  I have joint pain, medium arthritis pain, periodic back pain, and hip discomfort at night (I’m a side sleeper, too).  I did hours of research about mattress toppers and found a 4 inch LuxurestLLC topper which alleviates all of those aches and pains.  It was a little pricey, but I’m quite hopeful that it will help.  It was in the top three rated toppers multiple years in a row.  It’s also ideal for heavier sleepers, which I’m afraid I am.  Yes indeed.  Not proud of it, but I am heavy.  When it arrives, if I like it, I’ll get one for the cabin.  I’ll take a photo of it to show you as well.  A good night’s sleep is critical, even when you’re out on the road.  One of my reasons for having a travel trailer is to know exactly what bed I’ll be sleeping on every night.  Hotel beds run the gamut of comfort.  Plus I know my mattress doesn’t have bed bugs.  Hotel rooms also vary in temperature during the night.  Some heaters/air conditioners can be very noisy.  My travel trailer is in my own control and is very quiet.

Tomorrow I’m taking the Airstream back to the dealer.  I’ll park there overnight and sleep in the trailer.  Early Monday morning I have an appointment with the Airstream maintenance folks to adjust a couple of things that are loose.  I want to make sure everything is snug and secure before heading out.  Its not uncommon for a brand new RV (just like with a brand new home) to need some tweaks.  While I’m there, I’ll stop over at the store (Camper World) and buy some sheets and a mattress pad that will fit the short queen.  I have regular queen sheets and mattress pad on there now and they slide around because they don’t fit properly.

Another fun part of all this has been the excitement of UPS, FEDEX, and USPS deliveries to the cabin.  Today the suction cup arrived that will be used in mounting the weBoost cell antenna I ordered, so that I will have maximum cell signal wherever I am.  It will also give me full cell signal while driving, which will be helpful for my GPS.

The coming days are full of preparations.  Ordered items will arrive.  Dogs will get check-ups.  I’ll photograph a wedding for two very special friends, Sierra and Adam.  Cell booster will get installed.  Truck topper will get installed.  I’ll be deciding what I want to take along.  I want to be wise about it, but yet have what I need to do photo editing, film editing (for a wedding I filmed last weekend), artwork for the Ren Girl book, maybe some yarn for knitting.  Of course, I need a few books with me.

Once out on the road, I’ll be taking photos and making videos to use in my blog.  I hope you’ll stay tuned.

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