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Cleanup

Not every day is an adventure. Some days we have to put our heads down and do the routine stuff. So I’m just going to do some clean-up here in the blog today.

Item #1: We have worked out an approximate schedule for getting back on the road. I’m trying to avoid a rigid schedule because it’s always easier to just wing it. But we do have to be in Jackson Center OH (home of Airstream) the week after Labor Day, so that does force us to get moving in August. Right now we are thinking we’ll pull out of Vermont around August 25.

First stop will probably be Massachusetts, where we’ve got family and friends to visit. We’ve been hearing about a campground in Salem near Massachusetts Bay, and so we’ve decided to give it a try for a weekend. From the campground I can catch a ferry to downtown Boston, which is both a scenic ride and a fun way to get into town to visit friends at their jobs and do a little street-hiking.

From the Boston area, we’ll be heading straight west to the Albany NY area, where we want to take Emma on her first-ever “wild” cave trip. Then we’ll keep west to Ohio, and eventually follow I-90 all the way to Washington state. By November we will have driven almost every mile of I-90 from coast to coast.

Item #2: To get out of town on schedule, we need to complete our personal divestiture project. What I mean is that we need to finalize our stuff in storage and get it in the hands of the movers. Eleanor and I went up to the storage units again today (and it feels like our thousandth visit). We’re almost done. Just a few more things to donate, a few more boxes to repack, and a few more boxes to sort through. I think 2-3 more sessions and we’re done. Can’t be soon enough for us.

Item #3: Frustrated with spotty Internet here at the campground, and many other campgrounds we have visited, I am investigating better ways to receive wi-fi signals in the Airstream. Right now I’m interested in the Hawking Technologies HWREG1 wireless range extender combined with their 9 db omni-directional antenna.

The Hawking extender works like my current Linksys WRE54G wireless range extender, by repeating an existing wi-fi signal. But it has two major advantages. First, it runs on 12 volt power, which means I can wire it into the trailer’s power system. Second, it accepts an external antenna, so I can have the repeater inside and an antenna on the roof for maximum convenience. I am seriously considering adding this to the permanent equipment in the Airstream.

Item #4: It’s getting to maintenance time for the Airstream. We’ve put on about 10,000 miles since we last replaced the disc brake pads and repacked the wheel bearings. I’m putting together a list of items to be serviced when we get to the factory in Jackson Center. I should have had those things done a couple of weeks ago when I was at Colin’s shop, but forgot. I’ll also be checking the running gear before we get on the road later in August, just to make sure everything is set for the 800-mile tow. I’ll verify the condition and pressure of the tires, look for leaking wheel bearing grease, check the lug nut torque, lube the Hensley Hitch, and check the underside of the trailer for damage.

A few other things need to be done on the trailer as well. The entry door hinges are starting to squawk — they need a little lubrication. The Fantastic Vent screens need their semi-annual clearing of dust, which I do with a small brush on the screen and a damp towel on the blades. I may want to use a little sandpaper and paint to touch up rusty spots on the gray paint of the trailer’s A-frame or bumper compartment.

We’ll borrow a Shop Vac to clean up embedded dirt in the carpet and corners, and break out the glue for minor repairs on trim and counter edging. I’ll also replace the water filter in the kitchen’s Moen faucet, and probably the cabin air filters in the Armada as well.

This is also a good time to get spare keys made, clean out stored stuff that hasn’t been needed, replace any broken or lost tools, verify the essential spares, donate or store books, and wash the rugs.

We’ve timed a lot of other annual events to be done in August. Our car registrations, inspections, etc., are set to expire in August. This makes it easy to get it all done when we are back at home base. When our home base moves to Arizona, we’ll reset all those things to be done in the winter instead.

It may seem like a lot of maintenance to think about, but really it’s less than we had to do on our previous house. Taking care of the Airstream is a pleasure most of the time, because it is so simple, and the Airstream rewards us with trouble-free travel for a relatively small amount of work.

4 Responses to “Cleanup”

  1. Terry Says:

    Rich, have you given any thought to getting a small house in Vermont for Summer, or purchasing a small piece of land with water and electric on it, to tow the Airstream to in the Summer?

    [Rich replies: Yes, and we discovered it was cheaper, easier, and more pleasant just to take a monthly space at a local campground. Lots here cost $120,000-300,000 and you have to pay taxes, install the utilities including a very expensive septic system, maintain a well and water system, mow the lawn, etc.]

  2. Randy Godfrey Says:

    From today’s blog, item 4, I see another idea for an appendix in your book: Checklists!

  3. Mike Young Says:

    Rich,
    How do you go about getting service at Jackson Center? We’d like to visit and get some maintenance done on our way thru Ohio.

    [Rich answers: Just call Airstream at 937-596-6111 and ask for Service. They’ll get you scheduled.]

  4. Bert Gildart Says:

    And then after all that you should be about ready to head for the pad waiting for you at the Gildart’s in Montana. And I’ll be anxious to see if the Hawking extender does what you hope it will do.

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