Friday, October 22, 2010

'Nother Cold Rainy Trip to MA

Yesterday, after an early morning lending committee meeting at the community land trust, I came home to finish packing and hook up the Airstream for a trip to Massachusetts. It's our grandson's tenth birthday and our daughter's was the day before.

I had tried to take a short nap after an early lunch since we had a long trip ahead but all I could do was think of the trick of getting backed into Jen's driveway off a relatively busy road. It's more than a 90 degree turn and rather tricky -- and having several cars waiting in line and watching is never helpful. I decided to get up and get going.

The light rain started just as I got ready to maneuver the truck to hook up. It's been a while and I was taking my time but with several layers and a raincoat, finished up relatively dry. Still always get grease on my hands from either the ball or the sway bars.

We got the gear and the dog loaded and negotiated our steep driveway. At the bottom, the rear bumper always gets hung up and scraps dirt for a bit -- adding a few swear words to the start of the trip.

The drive down was rather easy -- traffic light but steady -- with some low clouds and fog hanging over the high parts of I-89. The weather got better into New Hampshire, as did the foliage. The photo was taken at the Sutton, NH rest area.

With five miles go go, I started visualizing the backup process -- where I would stop the truck, which way the wheel went first, etc. I briefed Mary on her role as observer, director, traffic cop but we both decided to stay cool. Well, either I'm getting better, or getting lucky, but the trailer was angled in off the road right away, letting traffic move -- and with just a little geeing & hawing, I got the Airstream situated in the wooded parking place. Voila.

So, we've got the catalytic heater going and the inside temperature is manageable. I've got a little water in the system but I'm not using it. I'll winterize either this weekend or next trip down. We are going to leave the Airstream here in MA since we have several trips more in the coming months.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Planning The Winter Trip

As the trees lose their leaves here in Vermont, we start thinking about heading out once again this winter to the Southwest. So it's time to crank up Google and Mapquest and lay out some options.

This year, I want to head toward Pensacola first to revisit the place I started my flight training decades ago. The Naval Air Museum, which I visited briefly many years ago, is high on our list of must-see places. I was in the NAS Cubi Point Officers' Club in the Philippines during several Vietnam deployments and the Cafe at the museum has a replica of the bar and many of the hundreds of squadron plaques.

The start of the trip, now planned for early January, is probably the toughest part of the journey. Not only will the Airstream be winterized with anti-freeze in the systems, the weather is often dicey. There are some high spots on I-88 between Albany and Binghamton and the stretches of I-81 until you drop into the Harrisburg area can get a lot of wind and snow. We're planning to watch for a weather opening and drive to Harrisburg the first day -- perhaps the longest drive.

Right now, I've got stops planned at state parks at Warrior's Path State Park in Tennessee and Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama. We're planning to stay for a while at Fort Pickens campground on the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Weather and conditions permitting, we'll use that as a base for visiting Pensacola sites. With a wood fire going behind me, it's kind of nice to think about -- three months from now.