Essential Oils and Herbs, in all their glory

That which exists in Nature will save us. All the high tech gadgetry and artificial replications of Nature’s tools will never replace what can be found living in our own backyards. Here’s a perfect example about the herb Thyme, as published in the UK Daily Mail:

Scientists have found that the common cooking herb, thyme, could be a miracle cure for the deadly MRSA bug.

Researchers at the University of Brighton, East Sussex, discovered that oils extracted from the plant can kill the bug – linked to at least 8,000 deaths each year – within two hours.

An extract from thyme has been found to kill MRSA in two hours

They hope the findings, published in the International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics, will be the first step in developing a new treatment to stop the spread of MRSA.

The infection is rampant in many hospitals and resistant to antibiotics.

Herbs: Natures true wonder drugs.

Airstream yogaFLIGHT (aka Coming Home)

Today was just another day in the world of sKY and slaDE in our life on the road. We planned to do some shopping at the Airstream store and then try to get away at a decent hour so that we could bypass traffic in Toledo and Detroit. But before our departure, slaDE wanted to introduce yogaFLIGHT to a Canadian couple from Sechelt, British Columbia who are travelling the world in their PanAmerican Airstream, with their lovely dog Violet. Laurie and Gary are about our age, who are happy active Snowbirds like us, spending approximately 6 months of their time in Canada and 6 months in the USA .

CharlesSo right in the middle of the Airstream Customer Service lobby, slaDE lay out his mat and demoed yogaFLIGHT. What a sight to behold! A small crowd gathered around Laura flying. So mesmerized was Charles (a curious bystander) in watching what the body could do upside down in yogaFLIGHT, he was fully up for the adventure of trying it! I would guestimate that Charles is in his mid-70’s, and Charles was not at all intimidated by his age and unknown capabilities. Very impressive indeed! Gary was up next. And then we felt the need to make our way northbound, attempting to avoid traffic. It was only after we purchased our final goodies from the Airstream store that we ran in to a unique couple from Arizona. As it turns out, Charron and Alexander had somehow heard of us and yogaFIGHT through some of their friends on facebook. It was an interesting phenomenon to meet 2 strangers who knew us because of yogaFLIGHT reputation. Perhaps it had something to do with their unique ‘Airstream roadshow’ talents: Charron is a tattoo artist, and both of them are sword swallowers (website link).

As we made our way through the remains of Ohio and Michigan, I had these interesting sensations of completion set in to the core of my belly. That feeling of ‘coming home’, although we towed our physical address behind us in the form of our 34.5 foot Airstream trailer. Although the boundaries between the USA and Canada is a topographically fixed entity, the actual differences between the two countries, its people and culture is surprisingly idiosyncratic and noteworthy. Hard to explain, unless of course you’re a Canadian and reading this :).

Home

Crossing the border was once again, literally a breeze. Not only did the lovely Custom’s Officer question us politely and succinctly, she not once bothered to look at our Airstream, let alone get up to examine it or the truck’s contents. Amazingly blessed each and every time that our transition across borders is with ease and comfort. Of course we have nothing to hide, having all of our purchase receipts at the ready with factual dates and times available if questioned thusly. However, it just rounds out our trip experience to the fullest when one is not deemed a ‘delinquent’, which can often be the case when crossing between countries (and I proffer this up, banking from my own vast personal travel experience from the past 24 years).

They say: ‘Home is where the heart is’. I’d like to extend that to ‘Home is where the heart is and the roots have been firmly planted in one’s soul, physically, mentally and familiarly.’ Canada and Family will always be my home away from home. Having the ability to return to both my Mother and Father’s different farms has me melt back into the memories of yesteryear, of which my soul has grown far beyond measure and flight. Blessed be to have this home to return to whilst my parents live on. Blessed be.

Airstream Factory Tour

Touring the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio was one of my shining moments on this trip. To many non-RVers, this may sound rather boring and a stretch of imagination, considering the life we’ve led in our journeys over the past 6 months. However, if you have ever owned, travelled or stayed in an Airstream, you might understand the depth of pride to be an Airstream devotee and admirer.

To witness the progression of the life of our trailer, from the chassis to its final shining aluminum glory was a treat to behold. My heart raced and palms sweated at the thought of arriving and setting roots (for a few days anyway) at the birthplace of our beloved trailer, which I fondly love to call Airabella (Airabella is an English girl’s name., which means: `shall never harm or fear; sweet and lively created`. ). The chance to explore other Airstream trailers, both new and old, left me breathless with anticipation! And the tour of the service centre with its unique memorabilia photos, furniture and aluminum wall covering only highlighted the tour of the factory.

Heading over to the factory, we were shown the custom chopper sidecar made for Airstream by Jessie James. The story goes that Jessie approached Airstream looking for a gift for his then-wife Sandra Bullock. In exchange for the trailer, Jessie themed a custom built bike that is truly the most gorgeous piece of motorcycle artwork I’ve ever witnessed. Jessie proudly owns two Airstream trailers btw. 🙂 Also there in the service area was one of the original Airstream trailers. Did you know that Airstream is the oldest recreational vehicle manufacturer in the industry? Here’s a few history tidbits for you from Wikipedia:

Airstream trailers are easily recognized for their distinctive rounded aluminum bodies, which originated in the 1930s from designs created by Hawley Bowlus (who was the chief designer of Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft, the Spirit of St. Louis). The design of the now familiar sausage-shaped, silver aluminum Airstream trailers cuts down on wind resistance thereby improving fuel efficiency. The company was founded by Wally Byam, And of more than the 400 travel trailer builders operating in 1936, Airstream was the sole survivor of the Depression.

And did you know that:

In 1969, upon their return from the Moon, the crew of Apollo 11 were quarantined in the Mobile Quarantine Facility, a modified airtight Airstream trailer until it could be determined that there was little likelihood of their having brought back “lunar pathogens” with them.
For decades, NASA has used a fleet of Airstream motorhomes to transport astronauts to the launch pad. The space shuttle program has used a modified 1983 Airstream Excella since 1984 dubbed the Astrovan.

Also, Airstream trailers are commonly used to transport American officials around the world. The trailers are strapped down inside military cargo planes.

The history behind the Airstream trailer is as rich as the quality of these rugged trailers (which seemingly hold their value more than any other RV out on the market!). Quite a few famous people are proud owners of an Airstream. Here’s a few to start (as documented on the website airforums.com):

  • Lawrence Welk
  • Howard Hughes
  • Matthew McConaughey (who owns 3 Airstreams, one of which is named ‘The Canoe’, including a 2004 factory unit, a refurbished 1958, and a 2010 Timeless Airstream fully custom 34′)
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Jeff Daniels, who co-starred with Robin Williams in the movie “RV
  • Wally Byam
  • Diablo Cody, Hollywood screen writer
  • Mark Harmon has a 1972 24 footer that he restored and uses on the set of his show NCIS
  • Sean Penn ~~ once a proud owner of a 27.5 foot Airstream until lost in a fire.
  • Tom Hanks
  • Julia Roberts
  • Kyle McLaughlin
  • Mathew Modine
  • NASA
  • Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam
  • Brad Pitt had a classic Airstream nicknamed “The Love Sub.”
  • Rikki Rokket (drummer for the rock band “Poison”) has a 19′ Bambi
  • Pamela Anderson: Hugh Hefner gave her a customized totally white Airstream, dubbed the ‘LoveStream’ – complete with a stripper pole and strobe light (article posted in the Service Center)
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Jessie James (see above photos and facts)
  • Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie took a cross-country trip from Florida to Beverley Hills pulling an Airstream trailer behind a pink pickup truck on their TV program, The Simple Life.

No photos were allowed, of course, inside the factory. But from my memory of the tour, I noticed the quality of materials and workmanship that went into each production was a marvellous sight to behold. Shiny aluminum everywhere makes my heart skip a beat.

Our own Airstream trailer is a 1991 60th Anniversary Limited which is 34.5 foot in length. A mighty long trailer which has been beautifully restored to look like a land yacht inside. Comfy, cozy and plushly gorgeous with our granite countertops, magnificent U-shaped couch and king sized super bed. We’re pulling it with a half-tonne 1994 Dodge Ram pickup truck, fitted with ‘The Edge‘.

As the ‘ole saying goes: I have a loaded Airstream trailer and I’m not afraid to use it! 🙂

Baking Soda Delights in the Kitchen

I love the fact that I can use natural and environmentally friendly products in the home to clean, cook, beautify and deodorize my world. Any part that I can do to reduce, reuse and recycle in the most efficient and least harmful manner is incredibly important to me. Some of my most used and favourite household items that I use everyday are baking soda and vinegar. In honour of every day being Earth Day (in my household it is!), I wanted to pass on these useful and original vintage recommendations offered up through one of my favourite resource websites for environmentally friendly tips: TipNut.

Hope these prove to be practical, helpful and fruitful (pun intended!) for you in your kitchen food prep and cooking. These tips have been sourced from a recipe booklet published in 1936 by Church & Dwight Company, Inc. (Arm & Hammer and Cow Brand baking sodas).
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Tips for committing to change for a better planet: 10 by 10

Here’s a mammoth posting for Earth Week, cutting out the clutter and getting straight to the point of focus on environmental issues.

These tips come from a website called: 10 By 10 ~ the website offer ways for you, as an individual, a chance to voice your commitments to change and thus to creating a better planet. 10 By 10 asks that you choose a minimum of 1 to a maximum 10 of the commitments (which I list below).

What commitments are you willing to make and uphold?!!! If you’re like me, try to do as many as you can rather than limit yourself to just 10, each and every day.

Together, we can make the world a better place. Be a Eco-Hero! 🙂

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Scam: Truck Stop Three Card Monte

Life on the road thus far has been pretty exciting and filled with many positive and amazingly cool adventures, with much luck and good faith on our side.
Today however, we started out on a rocky road learning some valuable hard-earned lessons that left us feeling a bit shaky and a whole lot foolish, as we wind our way back home to Canada.

Last night we decided to spend the night at the Kentucky Welcome Centre, just an hour or so north west of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was a busy rest stop with lots of both RV and truck traffic flowing. One RV couple that we stayed with said that they felt quite comfortable here, even though no security monitored the area. The night was uneventful, apart from the sounds of loud trucks coming and going. And I marvelled this morning at how well the facilities were maintained and cleaned. At least 2 staff seemed to be on duty whenever I wandered in to the bathrooms to freshen up. So all in all, I felt quite safe and in turn foolishly let my guard down.

As we were about to leave, 2 guys approached us, excited by something they wanted to show us. The story: this big trucker guy from London Ontario had just won $100,000 from a scratch lottery ticket and was playing 3 card Monty, giving his money away. We thought, how strange. Just as a note, we were boxed in by a couple of trucks, meaning that the ‘game’ could be well-contained and kept from the eyes of the local workers and traffic passing through.

Two other ‘players’ flanked the dealer and before we knew it, the dealer had us guessing which card was the red one. It seemed simple enough and the the guy to my right gave it a couple of tries. At one point in time, the trucker to the left jumped down and crimped the corner of the red card when the lottery dealer guy looked away, making it ‘apparent’ which one was the red face of the three cards. I was about to protest and say something about that tactic being rather unfair, but for a still unbeknownst reason, I kept quiet. At this point, I was feeling somewhat uneasy and dubious (whilst also falling victim to actually believing his exciting story — call me a naive Canadian). But unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my gut. Ding, ding, ding, ding — red flag, red flag. However, we foolishly played along. And before you know it, the dealer had some of our greenback (which he happily slipped in with the HUGE wad of cash he was sporting — part of the initial draw, I suppose). At this point, another massive thick-necked dude comes around the truck, yelling and threatening us with breaking the law, gambling in his lot, telling us to get the heck out of there before he called the cops. In the flurry of heated words and scrambling, the dealer and other dudes had scattered with our money, and it was then that we realized, we indeed had been scammed by a total of four really BIG guys. Foolhardy, naive Canadians!

Once the reality of what had just happened settled in (can you say upset and deflated?), I ran up and down the parking lot, looking for the culprits (all to no avail), and then approached a staff member with our story. Sadly, our hoodwinking had not been the first time such fraudulent hustling had happened at this Kentucky Welcome Centre. Supposedly, the last time this had transpired, a trucker had lost $2500 in one fell swoop, literally. We thought about alerting the cops, but without a vehicle to identify the culprits with or clear concise descriptions of them all, we were up the creek without a paddle.

Lessons We Learned:

1. Follow our instincts — if a twinge in our gut is telling us that the situation is just too good to be true, take a step back, because it is.

2. Don’t play 3 card Monty, especially with strangers!

3. There is no such thing as free money.

4. When stopping at Welcome Centres / Rest Stops / Truck Stops = do our business and move on.

5. When someone asks you to bet your own money, see the red flag, and run (don’t forget to grab your partner when you do run :)).

6. Be ever vigilant about our surroundings (i.e. be very wary of someone that follows you to your vehicle).

Indeed, we were truly lucky not to have our persons / rig robbed (apart from our pride), kidnapped, injured or left for dead. So much worse could have happened, and we walked away with many a valuable lesson in our pocket (no receipt required).

As characterized by RV.net , life on the road is best depicted by these words: “There is a pulse, a certain and definite energy that comes from traveling [across] country, listening and learning from the people you meet along the way … [which] you only get from living in a house on wheels.” Here’s to one lesson that we hope others can learn from in our misadventures! And you can bet that the next time a scam comes sniffing our way, we’ll be sure to listen to our gut and keep on trekking. Check out ‘Scam: Truck Stop Three Card Monte’ for more information.

RV There Yet?

As an addendum, this advice is a security notice issued by privateofficer.com:

  • Be alert.
  • As you pull into the rest area, take notice of its name or the closest mile marker, in case there is an emergency and you need to tell authorities where you are.
  • Avoid parking close to tractor-trailers, which need a lot of space to maneuver and which could also block other people from seeing your car, providing the kind of cover that criminals often seek.
  • Parents traveling with young children should use family restrooms, when available, that allow adults to accompany children. At the same time, older children and adults should have someone go with them to the rest room or wait outside.
  • Travellers who find themselves at a quiet rest stop at night should try to flag down a security guard or a state trooper and ask them to keep an eye out as you use the facilities, especially if traveling alone.
  • If the rest stop is particularly isolated and empty, try to avoid stopping there at night. If possible, opt to use the indoor facilities at a fast food restaurant or convenience store.
  • RV travelers should never open their camper door to strangers. Keep the door locked, and when someone comes knocking, talk to them through a window or from behind the camper door.
  • It’s illegal to sleep overnight at rest stops in Florida, not that authorities would recommend doing so.
  • In other nearby states, it may not necessarily be illegal to park overnight at a rest area, but many have signs warning against it. Instead, drivers should map out campgrounds or state parks along their route where they’d be able to enter for a small fee and get some shuteye in the car.
  • The bottom line police say is that you are responsible for your own safety and security and you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Airports, Jack Daniels and Jesus

What an exciting, fun-filled day! On this day we experienced an amazing airport extravaganza, a fascinating tour of the Jack Daniels distillery and Jesus. But first, let me explain ……

Last night, whilst driving through the glorious green spaces of Tennessee, we were grazing for a unique place to park our Airstream overnight. Walmart and Truck Stops are okay places to use as a standby when boondocking (i.e. dry-camping with no hookups — electric, water and sewer), but the crowds and noisiness can be quite interruptive at times, with the question of safety always a factor. So why not search out the local airport, was slaDE~s suggestion.

We’ve camped at drop zones across the country. Why not non-skydiving operations as well, if they’re open, willing and able? Being a Licensed Private Pilot with 130 some odd hours of flying until my belt, I can talk the talk and walk the walk :). And that’s an important step in to building new communities and possibilities … finding a mutual interest with common dreams and values. It also helps to have a good looking trailer than has similarities to an airplane! :).

So around the airport we walked and knocked, until we found an authority figure who had the say as to whether we could park for the night. Blessed be the Fleeman family!

And park we did …. the only ones in the parking lot, on a starry-bright pitch black skied night, 5000 foot paved runway aglow, with a Wifi connection to boot! All you could hear were the chirping of birds, the waving of freshly born leaves in the wind and the occasional drone of a passing airplane. Life doesn’t get pretty much better than this.

Speaking of walking, I started out my day with a gorgeous walk in the country. Strange how passerbys can turn around and drive by several times out of curiosity to see who you are. But I carry forward at my speed-walking pace, not really giving them much notice. And it’s at opportune times like this that I LOVE carrying my camera when out-an-about in new territory and find awesome signs like this! How would you label this photo? ‘Jesus, just around the corner’ perhaps??

Before getting ready to pull out, Reford, one of the airport staff, suggested that we go and visit Joe Fleeman in his shop where he builds new and restores antique aircraft. Oh what a treat!  It was like an aircraft playground with the most unique and fabulous airplanes one could witness: a cloth-winged Piper, a Cessna T-50 called the ‘Bamboo Bomber’, a Pitts Special, a Mustang II and Joe in the process of building a wooden framed Aeronca Champion from scratch (no quick build kit needed). WOW. Such brilliant talent, and Joe doesn’t even use the internet at all to acquire his knowledge. Rare indeed … old school, the way I like it!

After enjoying what seemed like our own museum tour, we made our way through to Chattanooga, but not before stopping along our scenic route in Lynchburg, home of Jack Daniels. I never knew what a treat visiting such a small town and going on a 1 hour Distillery tour could be. Lynchburg is a unique small town, population 361, rooted upon the growth of the infamous JD Tennessee Whiskey. Fascinating history around the origins of Jack Daniel and his emerging company registered back in 1861. “Even though it’s home to the Distillery, it’s a dry county and has been ever since Prohibition.” The 1 hour walking tour was awesomely unique and filled with interesting tidbits around the complete story of JD whiskey. No samples per se but lovely cold lemonade at the end of the tour helped to quench any thirst hunkered up through the succulent temptations of our tour (the wafting smell of whiskey from the vats was incredibly appealing). We had such a great day, touring the town and meeting some wonderful Tennessee people. We’ll surely be back, especially if we can go for a ride in some of Joe’s aerobatic airplanes ;).

Happy EARTH DAY! ReDuce, ReUse, ReCycle

Travelling across the US of A for the past 5 months has certainly had its challenges in the recycling department, especially when compared to the structured and effective salvaging system we were used to when living in Canada. It seemed that as soon as we crossed the border in to Michigan, the concept of recycling seemed as foreign as we are, being from North of the border: strange, interesting, but not always welcome. Unwilling to bear witness to and become part of that mentality / inaction, I / we made it a point to store all our recyclables, tucked away in a box for that opportune time to deploy our excess consumables to the recycling godS. On top of recycling, I was fretting over our inability to find community gardens for the veggie and fruit cuttings. We had been lusciously spoiled in Calgary with our weekly composting treks, and I was uncertain as to how we could maintain the cycle of returning our organic matter back to Mother Earth. With the encouragement of a socially responsible Yogini, we’ve been digging holes across America, fertilizing the ground with our plant offerings. So in our own small way, every day is Earth Day in our travels and life, where we celebrate the wonders and beauty of nature’s beauty around us, treasuring our natural resources and trying to do our part in minimizing our ecological footprint.

How about you? Did you take an active part in the proceedings? How can you / your community strive each and every day to celebrate our Mother Earth and our biodiversity, by being the change in creating a new vision, a new way and therefore a new planet? Yes, we can save the planet, one step and action at a time.

Here are just a few ideas of ways to give back:

  • Support the David Suzuki Foundation
  • Swap books for Earth Week
  • Buy certified organic products
  • Counter your freight and travel footprint with green power (i.e. travel sustainably; support alternative green transport methods — bicycle, carpool, telecommute, walk, etc)
  • Buy green packaging (hint: even packaging pellets are made from vegetables starches which can be thrown into a composter!)
  • Eat for a healthy planet (i.e. compost; eat sustainable food sources — organic, local; avoid red-listed seafoods)

ReDuce, ReUse and ReCycle

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Zorbing in Tennessee

ZorbingWhy should hamsters have all the fun? Zorbing, first developed in New Zealand, involves hanging out in a giant plastic ball and rolling down a hill. It’s not as painful as it sounds, though: there’s a smaller ball within the large one, something that makes it a shock absorber. You have two options here: strap yourself in, or go free and let yourself “walk” around, encased in water. Which one will you choose?!

Freedom of Flight

Today’s fantasy: Freedom of Flight

Wing Potion

  • Mix a pound of glitter with a zero-gravity mixture
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes
  • Use a brush to paint a thin coat of the potion over your wings
  • Store the extra potion in a zero-degree freezer to use for later

This will allow for you to fly much quicker, higher, and more FREE!!!