Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We Don't Carry Hitchhikers

As we approach departure date (1/13 or 1/14), I'm getting serious about planning the route and possible stops -- looking at a couple of new options in Louisiana before we head over to Texas.  We have gathered a lot of information and it is fun to look over used birding checklists and campground maps -- and to read Mary's diary for the highs and lows of past trips.

Today, I am working on the Airstream a bit -- got the heat on this morning and decided to move it into a better position in the driveway with my Kubota tractor.  Not the brightest idea I've had this week.  After slipping and sliding and making thing worse, I got the truck set up and gee's and haw'd around the icy driveway, getting the trailer positioned for loading.  Our driveway is tough -- steep, little room for turning, with a ditch on one side and ledge outcroppings on the other.  It's one reason we stay with a 25 foot trailer and even then, it's quite a challenge.  I ripped a long pipe holder off the bottom departing last year when I cut a corner too tight.

About half way through the process, after a lot of jostling with the tractor, I spotted a little deer mouse departing from underneath and scurrying across the frozen ground to under the front deck.  "Well," I thought, "one less traveler to take along."  I went on with my business but just as I finished unhitching the truck, another mouse did the same thing. 

So, it's time to set the mouse-traps.  I hope they like Smucker's peanut butter, even if it is low fat.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Waiting to Launch

For the first time, I've had our Airstream at an RV dealer for repairs and maintenance -- in the past I've done it myself.  However, with cold temperatures, the prospect of repacking wheel bearings lost any appeal it might have had and I also knew that I needed to get the unit inspected.  So I dropped it off at a local outfit, Mekkleson RV in East Montpelier, VT who service a handful of Airstreams out of the many hundreds of RV's they handle each year.

To make a long story short, they did a fine job.  They found problems in the electrical system which they fixed through better grounding and work on the plugin -- and more importantly, found that one set of brakes was not working.  An electrical line had parted, probably in the awful trip up our driveway last March, so they got those working and a fresh new inspection sticker in place.  We are ready to go.

A full moon sets over the snowy/frosty Airstream as the winter sun rises behind us.
We've got a month to go before departure and we are starting to gather gear and think through our trip options.  I'm thinking of hauling both or one of the kayaks this time since we are so often near water.  Given the need for a dog-sitter, it's unlikely that both of us would paddle together so I think we'll end up taking Mary's boat, which I can cram into and take both sets of paddles.

It's not too early for me to start worrying a bit about the first couple of days of travel -- getting below the snow zone.  I just sent Mary a picture of our final day last year during our return, and I can hear the groans from the other room.  We need less excitement this trip.