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Archive for November, 2005

Eugene, OR

Hey, where is everybody? We woke up here in Eugene, parked among a couple dozen Airstreams cheek-to-jowl, and I felt like I was at a rally — except there’s nobody in the other Airstreams. They’re all for sale. It’s like living in a ghost town. But that’s going to change soon!

When we arrived yesterday, George told us what he had planned for this weekend. They’re having a 3-day sale. The dealership has done a bunch of radio and newspaper advertising, and later today one of the local radio stations is coming over for a broadcast from here. The folks from Thousand Trails (a campground association) will be here to run a contest where people can win free gas or diesel for a year. And the dealership is giving out free turkeys, too, to new buyers.

When they saw the Tour trailer with all the decals, they decided to park us front & center, which is sort of an honor but also a bit like being in a golfish bowl! See, George & Martha run one of the largest Airstream dealerships in the country, but their lot is not that huge (as RV dealerships go), so the result is a traffic jam of units. You can get lost wandering among them. I feel like I should have a map on me at all times.

parking lot.jpg

So here we are, right smack in front of the dealership’s front doors, a bit of a human sideshow amongst the empty Airstreams waiting for happy new owners. As people notice the Tour Trailer, we will open the door and invite them in for a peek. We’re part of the action this weekend, “free turkeys” of another sort … 😉

Eleanor and Emma did their usual running about yesterday afternoon, to get oriented to the local scene. They spent some time at a McDonald’s playland to get Emma exercised, and then went out and bought so many groceries that we could survive for weeks if necessary. I have been told that people are interested in Eleanor’s continuing perspectives on being a mother and homemaker on the road, so she is composing some throughts and I expect you’ll hear from her soon.

Sutherlin, OR

We hustled yesterday … from the foothills of Nevada City to the warm sun of the San Joaquin Valley, to the foggy heights north of Mt Shasta and eventually into a twisting valley between the Coast Ranges and the southern Cascades.

We called George Sutton from the road and he said, “You’re in for a beautiful drive!” He was right. I-5 in California has the reputation of being dull, but in the northern part of the state that’s not true. The San Joaquin valley section is straight and flat, but after weeks of mountain passes it was a nice change to drive at sea level past olive and almond trees.


I had to stop at a rest area on I-5 to do a previously scheduled interview with the guys from Airstream Europe at 11 a.m., but that was easy: just pull in, open up the laptop, and take the call from the bedroom (while Eleanor and Emma did some home school work on the dinette).

Mt Shasta was the most stunning thing on the drive. You can see it coming for miles, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger… Lake Shasta is also beautiful to see from I-5.


Just north of Mt Shasta, in the town of Weed, we spotted what looked like a band of smoke from a forest fire. It turned out to be a wisp of fog from a huge fogbank. We were engulfed from there for the next 60 miles, in a deep gloom and temperatures hovering around 33.

It just kept getting deeper and darker, until finally, at 4300 ft pass just over the Oregon line (Siskiyou Summit), it got so dense that we could barely see road signs. Trucks were pulled off to the right lane with their flashers on, waiting it out. Eleanor was gripping the armrest as we crept up the pass, and we were wondering if we would have to pull over, too — when suddenly, the sky broke open and we emerged into brilliant blue sky and a gorgeous sunset down the long long descent into Mt Ashland. A pity for the truck drivers who were parked in the fog, only half a mile behind us, none of which probably had the slightest idea that they were only 2000 feet from perfect weather.

Two misc notes: (1) ain’t no parking at the Wal-Mart in Roseburg. We’re at a truck stop (hidden amongst a row of 18 wheelers) by the “Apple Peddler” restaurant off I-5. (2) After a shower and breakfast, we’ll head up to Sutton RV and join the fun. Apparently they are having a big 3-day event there this weekend. More later on that, and I’ll post pics tonight after my laptop battery re-charges.

Leaving Nevada City

It’s been a hectic three days, but a lot of fun too. I got a lot of work done in the Velocity7 offices but there’s so much more to do that I could have stayed a week. But we promised we’d be in Oregon this weekend and a lot of people are expecting us, so off we go this morning.

Nevada City has a lot more to offer than we’ve had a chance to explore, so we may be back at some point. I like working downtown. It’s just couple blocks walk through the historic district to a bunch of great restaurants. Yesterday, Emma, Eleanor, Laura, and Bailey (the 3 yr old) met Robert and I for Chinese lunch.

Last night we gave the kids a few hours to play together before dinner, and afterward they collaborated to make us all “Airstream cookies”, while Laura served chai tea.

kids cooking.jpg

We are packing up now to leave, sadly. We’ll stop somewhere in northern California tonight and then arrive in Eugene tomorrow. I’m looking forward to exploring Oregon, but also to coming back to California. This is a great state and we’ll enjoy spending more time here in late November and December.

Fun goodies!

We’ve got a fun little thing here to share. A friend of ours made up a bunch of these cool “Keep the shiny side up!” silicone bracelets and we bought the entire bag of them. So, whenever we see any of you at one of our stops, we’ll give you the silver bracelet.


Tomorrow we have to drive north, so our next stop will be in Eugene Oregon at George M Sutton RV. If you live in the area, come over to say hi this weekend, and we’ll give you a copy of the new Fall issue of Airstream Life plus a silicone bracelet and spend some time chatting. We’d love to see you.

“Don’t you miss it?”

Inevitably, I get the question”¦ “Don’t you miss your house”? “¦
Invariably, the answer to the question has always been no. “¦
At least it was until this past Saturday morning. “¦

This blog has been posted in its entirety on Gather. You can read it there if you like. Click the link for “Gather” or visit

Nevada City, CA

This is a fine place. Nevada City certainly ranks among the most historic places in California. This is gold rush country, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, downstream from old mines and sluices and Ponderosa pines.

Last night we courtesy parked at the house of the Trent family, squeezing the 30-footer into a spot formerly occupied by their recently-polished 1964 Safari, named “Pearl”. (For a picture of Pearl, see ) She has been displaced to the driveway during our visit, which is expected to be three days.

dirty trailer.jpg

On our way over, we stopped off at a truck wash near Fernley NV to clean up the rig. That boondocking stop in the desert left us covered with salt. Fortunately, the Airstream cleaned right up in the truck wash, and now we’re shining again!

This morning, Robert took me over to the Velocity7 world headquarters in his 1964 Dodge Dart (a really cute vehicle, by the way). I’m borrowing some desk space and Internet connection for the next couple of days.

V7 office.jpg

The office is located in downtown Nevada City, which is a destination in itself. The buildings mostly date from the late-19th century, such as the brick 1886 National Hotel …

national hotel.jpg

… and the 1865 Nevada Theatre (the longest running continuously-open theater west of the Mississippi, I am told).

Nevada theater.jpg

The whole downtown is lively, architecturally interesting, and has the feel of a restored historic town without being a tourist trap.

Nevada city railing.jpg

Just up Rt 20 from here is the Tahoe National Forest. We took that route as an alternate to I-80 on the way down, and it was beautiful. Plenty of switchbacks but as long as there’s no snow I’d recommend it. We spotted at least three wonderful camping areas along there, too.

Tonight we are planning to take all the kids (2 Trent kids + Emma) out for a fun dinner. By the way, I have posted a ton of new pictures from our last week on the road — take a look!

Spencer Hot Springs, 12 miles east of Austin, NV

The cave tour this morning was fine ““ Lehman Cave is exceptionally well decorated, with wonderful examples of columns, soda straws, and “shields,” which are rarely found. It was also a nice warm up to enter the 50 degree cave, since at 7000 feet the temperature hovered in the mid-30s all morning.

And then we embarked on America’s Loneliest Highway again. Next stop, 85 miles to Ely. We got fuel, propane, dumped the tanks and ate lunch all at the Silver Sage Travel Center ““ a typical “eat food get gas” operation in the center of that very small town in the middle of nowhere.

Eleanor says I am not giving the lunch stop enough credit. A sandwich bar inside the travel center called Boondoggles made us sandwiches. Eleanor got the Atomic Toaster sandwich, which she says is great.

Next stop, 67 miles to Eureka. Then 80 miles to Austin. And so on “¦ long stretches of near-nothingness interspersed with tiny western towns and speed traps. (They are serious about the 25 MPH limit in Eureka, as a trucker we spotted can testify. It’s a hard adjustment from 75 MPH.)

The scenery, however, remains wonderful. There’s always something uniquely western to see, a Pony Express station, a salt flat, a dust devil, a canyon begging for exploration. I never got bored driving. And occasionally there are interesting little roadside sites to check out, like the Petroglyphs Recreation Area we stopped at. Here’s Eleanor pointing out a petroglyph to Emma. Home schooling in action!


At Great Basin National Park I bought a book of natural hot springs in Nevada and California. We identified one in central Nevada, for which the directions go something like this: “Twelve miles east of Austin, turn south off US 50 to Rt 387. After one hundred yards, turn left onto an unmarked dirt road and proceed about 5.5 miles to a left. Turn here and continue about 3 miles to a fork, then bear right for another 1.6 miles.”

These directions brought us out into a place that is so far from ANYTHING that calling it the middle of nowhere would be a compliment. We are parked on a slight hill so that we can see clearly that there is hardly any sign of civilization for miles around. About 300 feet from our spot are three pools fed by a natural hot spring which bubbles from the earth at about 110 degrees. In other words, it’s perfect.


We arrived at sunset and I got these pictures. Of course the first thing we did after snapping a few shots was to throw on our swimsuits and drop into the second pool, which is lined with stones and runs about 100 degrees, or fifty degrees warmer than the air temperature. Ahhhhhhh”¦


We do have two neighbors. About ¼ mile to the north there is a large white “toy hauler” RV, and we’ve seen the occupants come by on their four-wheeler. They gave a friendly wave and disappeared. And a family showed up just after sunset with a couple of young kids to go swimming as well.

Tomorrow morning I plan to go for another swim in the mineral waters. And then, sadly, we’ll debark.

Misc note: a bag of potato chips exploded sometime while we were at high altitude. It might have been while at 11,000 ft on I-70. We had potato chips with dinner tonight.

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