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Easter eggs, maple syrup, and a long week ahead


We paused in our travels two days before Christmas, and here it is Easter already. I can tell it’s Easter by a number of signs: Eleanor and Emma are dyeing hard boiled eggs, people are passing around the annual email about giant bunny rabbits, and people are starting to come out of their winter hiding places to go traveling. (I’ll get to that in a moment.)

Dyeing Easter Eggs is a big tradition here. It’s a chance for E&E to express their creative sides (but they do that every day anyway), and it’s usually an excuse for Eleanor to do some above-average cooking. This morning we gathered at the dining room table in the house instead of the Airstream, and feasted on some sort of variation on French Toast (a single delightfully fluffy thing baked in a glass pan and covered with maple syrup, with strawberries on the side). I don’t know exactly what it was but that didn’t matter.

As an aside, I should mention another one of my culinary fetishes. You already know about the yogurt thing so I may as well admit to this one. Maple syrup is an essential part of anyone’s diet, unless you can’t have sugar. It’s a fact that if you don’t consume maple syrup at least once a quarter you will eventually find that your skin wrinkles. For first-timers I recommend starting with Grade A Fancy, which has a very light maple flavor. Once you are hooked, you’ll want to get something stronger, and my personal favorite is Grade A Dark Amber.

Don’t ever eat that fake stuff, it’s poison. This message is brought to you by a guy who grew up in Vermont, where elementary school kids are brought out into the snow to pour heated maple syrup over snow and eat it. In Vermont, that’s considered a legitimate educational field trip.

That early childhood experience had an impact on me. Eleanor and I have been known to carry our own REAL maple syrup into restaurants, because good pancakes can be ruined by plastic “breakfast syrup”. We always have at least a quart in the Airstream. When we started our trip, we carried several quarts and gave them away as gifts to people who gave us courtesy-parking.

By the way, Cracker Barrel, every RV’ers favorite stop (because it combines food and free overnight parking) serves 6% of the world’s supply of maple syrup. Now that’s a culinary ideal I can get behind. No wonder we like to drop in there on travel days. I can’t respect restaurants that serve fake syrup, especially this time of year when the sap is running from maple trees all over New England and eastern Canada.

I also have a weakness for maple milk (served at county fairs in Vermont), maple frosted doughnuts (which make Eleanor cringe), and maple cookies. When in Banff last fall we bought three different kinds of maple cookies and had a family taste test. Oh man, we are wierd, aren’t we?

tucson-easter-eggs.jpgAll of this has absolutely nothing to do with Easter eggs except that when the maple trees are producing sap, it’s usually around Easter time. Today, Eleanor invited over the girls from across the street, and our neighbor Carol to help decorate eggs. This seemed to make everyone happy. Decorating eggs is more fun when it is a social experience.

Meanwhile I tackled a few items from our “hurry up let’s get going” list. I finally demolished the old toilet with a hammer (and wow, is that therapeutic if you’ve got some stress to work out — I should have saved it for a stressful day), broke down and cut up about two dozen empty cardboard boxes, cleaned up some house projects, and generally got a bunch of things ready for Departure Day.

… which is now set for Sunday, March 30. Seven days to go. We pushed it back one day just to allow our friends the Neels time to come from California and visit relatives before we head south.

In our last week, it turns out we will have the travel world coming to us. Gunny called today to say he would arrive tomorrow for a brief visit. He’ll stay not far away, at an RV park. The last time we saw Gunny was up in Tillamook, OR. Bert Gildart also called, to say he and Janie would be in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument for a few days and then drop in on us too. They might park in the driveway overnight, although they won’t be able to open their Safari 28’s slide-out if they do.

I also heard from Adam and Susan, who are currently somewhere in South Carolina on their way here. They may arrive around Thursday or Friday, and will join us on the trip to Mexico. They have the prototype Airstream Class C motorhome — one of a kind — which was featured in Airstream Life back in our second issue (Fall 2004).

So we are about to be inundated with friends, which, in the grand list of all the things with which we could be inundated, is certainly right up there with greenbacks and maple syrup.

The timing is absolutely impossible, since this week we have to also somehow get the car serviced, have a followup appointment for the contact lenses, attend three karate classes, have our countertops installed, have our appliances installed, have the interior paint touched up, seal the dining room and living room floors, return books to the library, get the Airstream’s heat pump fixed, pack for a six-month trip, arrange house-sitting, take trash to the dump, and clean the Airstream — in addition to finalizing half a dozen layouts for the Summer 2008 magazine. Oh, and I’m also going to fly a helicopter on Tuesday. Somehow, it will all happen. It should be a marvelous week.


PS: The bonus picture above is of Brent and I on the roof of his Safari 30, looking for a leak, a few days ago in Huachuca City, AZ. We found the cause of the leak easily: cracked caulk around his middle Fantastic Vent. Brent’s Airstream is parked in the Phoenix sun all summer and the factory caulk just can’t hold up under that stress. He’ll need to check it annually and expect to remove and replace the caulk at least every other year. The recommended caulk for Airstreams is called Vulkem or TremPro 636.

5 Responses to “Easter eggs, maple syrup, and a long week ahead”

  1. Lou Woodruff Says:

    Your week sounds heavenly! Hope you all have a happy Easter! Larry and I are down with the flu and counting the days when we can be back to “normal”. Have fun and enjoy your sunny weather for us!

  2. Zach Woods Says:

    Hello Rich & Eleanor –

    Thought I would provide the link to my previous response to the question of what maple syrup is best:

    I am in complete agreement that if it isn’t the real thing it is not worth bothering with.

    That said, as counter-intuitive as it may sound (and from discussions with actual maple syrup producers and know this is intentional on their parts), Grade B is thicker and more flavorful (in all the right ways) than Grade A. Grade B weighs less and tastes more – definitely the way to go!


  3. Daisy Says:

    Just to prove that maple syrup is a worthy lesson plan, here is one I did as part of my M. Ed !
    We made about 3 gallons ourselves in the open air, to the delight of the tourists.

  4. Rachel Says:

    Always enjoy your site! You make such a great team!
    The prototype Class C you mentioned, was that the G-series? Where can I find a picture of it?
    Happy Airstreaming! If you are near the Kansas City area, please give us a heads up.

  5. Rich Says:

    The prototype C was one of a kind and no others were made. It appeared in Airstream Life’s Fall 2004 issue (no longer available) and also on this blog here: