Airstream Storage

After a wonderful day visit with my Mom, we made our way back home to Southwestern Ontario. Time to pull Airabella, our 34 foot Airstream beauty, out of the storage she was safely nestled in over the winter. Boy, did I miss her! Considering she weathered the storm in a storage barn for 6 months, she fared very well. Albeit dusty with cobwebs, I was extremely pleased to see that mice hadn’t found a nesting place during our time away. I SWEAR by my dousing of spearmint oil throughout the trailer (I probably used about 30ml of pure essential oil and the smell is still strong, lingering in it’s wonderful scent). Luckily we managed to keep any and all pests at bay during our time away ~ I am incredibly relieved. I was worried …. rodents and barns tend to go hand in hand, especially in the winter.

Spearmint essential oil strikes again. Brilliant! Rodents dislike the smell of mint and it seems to keep them away. So very important in maintaining a clean and healthy living space. Nobody wants vermin burrowing in the walls of their trailer, especially as these pets have a tendency to chew away at anything along their path, including electrical wires. Any access given to food, water, heat and shelter is a huge bonus for vermin. The key to rodent-proofing an rV (any home for that matter) is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Steel wool stuffed in small places is another deterrent to mice biting their way in through narrow entryways. Here’s a great article on other ways to keep the rodents at bay, away from your home and rV.

Decompressing: After Alumapalooza

The final day of Alumapalooza: time for everyone to pack up camp and move on down the road. Some people would decompress in the Airstream Terraport (usual that would be us), but we are on a mission to return to Canada asap for the skydiving working season. It’s time to supplement the funds and take our newly minted AFF ratings for a spin :).

So off to Lou & Larry’s for the evening before winding our way back home. Decompression with some Rockband guitar and relaxation, enjoying the sun and friendship of our Ohio friends. Life sure is grand!

Amuck at Alumapalooza

Another spectacular morning yoga class with 25 people making the effort to attend our 7:30am class. I wasn’t sure how people would respond to the earlier time slot (last year we started at 8am each day). But it seems to be working out just fine, with those who really want their yoga morning fix, making the effort to join us under the big top, breathing and stretching on the luxurious tall grass. How wonderful indeed.

However, all is not champagne and roses on this windy, schizophrenically rainy day. The weather was failing to ‘cooperate’ as requested :). Backup Derby in the rain … not the best idea, especially with the threat of an impending torrential downpour with 50mph winds. Today, the winds started out much milder than yesterday’s stormy schizophrenic weather (although the skies threatened with their similar tempestuous character). It was actually perfect kite flying weather!

This year, slaDE and I decided to register for the Backup Derby. This truly is a tough event where a driver can show off their backing skills.  Teams of one or two can sign up to participate (note: married teams are coached to be prepared for marital-disharmony potential). You can find the 2012 rules here. The other 3 years I had been completely intimidated at the thought of pairing up with my husband in a trial run of rVing communication skills that would test the most skilled of rV marriages / friendships! Somehow 3 couples (including ourselves) managed to weave our way backwards through the seemingly simple track before the skies opened up in a heavy rainfall that had us scampering to the Airstream factory’s safety and dry interior.  The Derby looked deviously easy with the supplied single-axle trailer, until you saw that the supplied truck had ‘blacked out’ rear + side windows and mirrors, and that the traffic cones were strategically placed considerably close together. Aha! This would indeed be interesting. slaDE and I were 2nd up to bat. And managed to finish in 2min 3 seconds with two penalties (we hit the cones twice ~ slaDE was driving and I was outside with a walkie talkie), giving us a final tally of 2:23 minutes. By the time the first rain hit, our score was indeed the best of the three. However, there were 6 other couples to compete in the finishing round tomorrow. Wonder if we’ll win ourselves another set of ZipDee Alumapalooza special edition chairs for this year (we won the Rivet Master contest last year, with 2 chairs as our special prize!)?

The rest of the day was awash until ‘Happy Hour’ and then things started to really liven up! I announced that we would be offering a yogaFLIGHT workshop as a Roving Happy Hour pitstop, but we needed all participants to be sober. That caused quite the funny heckling ruckus, until I stated that we would be having a wIne & cheese afterwards. We in turn received a huge hurrah! 🙂

Three couples showed up to participate in the hugely successful and playful class. Turned out that afterwards, we had a really amazing happy hour under the big top tent, dry and tucked away from the fickle weather. Food and wine kept showing up after our supply ran short. It was a wonder to witness!

Josh Rogan finished off the night with a wonderful 2 hour set of rocking great tunes. What a fabulous day :).

Day 2, Alumapalooza 4

Another gorgeous day at Alumapalooza! So wonderful in that I slept soundly and solidly through the night, waking just minutes before we were to be teaching our yoga class in the tent beside us. YIKES! Nothing like rolling out of bed and stumbling to work :). Luckily enough, I’m a morning person and I can hit the ground running as soon as I wake up. Usually, LOL. The 23 attendees were gleeful at my tension-taming, easy-does-it morning class of stretching and breathing. And I threw in a bit of Pranayama and Meditation before stretching it out with yang-like asana postures. Lucky for me, slaDE was a wonderful assistant and allowed me the pleasure of teaching the class, for the most part anyway. We’ll try to switch roles later in the week.

Today’s highlights beyond the yoga tent ….

  • A vigorous countryside bike ride – very WINDY with the added bonus of a front-seat visual of the lovely Ohio countryside, topped with a big side of kick-butt exercise
  • A revisit to the Airstream factory tour. Nothing like being called to the Mothership :).
  • The ‘Aluminum Gong Show’ was a fundraiser where anybody could offer up their talents, and during their act, people who wanted the act off the stage could speed up the process with donations of large sums of money, after the gong was . Oddly, enough, if one liked the act, people were encouraged to give money as well! slaDE and I offered up a yogaFLIGHT routine to wow the crowd, Cirque Du Soleil style :). No gong was initiated for us. BONUS!
    • Over $800 was raised for the Red Cross to help with tornado relief in the midwest (in light of the recent Oklahoma disaster). Talk about generous Airstreamers! What an amazing community. Brett and Rich pledged to match dollar for dollar of the donations, leaving the grand total at $1,636!
  • Sitting around Colin Hyde’s trailer with fellow Airstreamers, shooting the breeze and podcasting via Colin’s cell phone (Colin Hyde is the Panel Pro) with VAP host Tim Shephard. The VAP usually discusses the weeks vintage topics , but tonight, everyone hanging out at Colin’s trailer spoke mostly about their Alumapalooza week thus far and how each individual found themselves at this venture in their Airstream life. You can find ‘Episode 186: Live from Alumapalooza 4!‘ VAP here.

Yoga and Alumapalooza 4

Alumapalooza 4: Our 4th year of returning home to the Mothership! Airabella’s birthplace, 22 years ago. Oh how we love to return home. I liken a trip to the Airstream factory as a trip to the ultimate candy store. 🙂

Our first official day as this years Alumapalooza Yoga Instructors started out beautifully with our 7:30am yoga class … 20 people in total! The weather was pure perfection, and with a freshly raked mown lawn under the big top tent, the earthen carpet for those to practice on was soft, clean and so very compelling in its true connection to Mother Earth, in every sense of the word. I love it when  people who are new to yoga, make the effort to come to our morning classes, never having attended any sort of class before. From the outset, we were very clear that these classes were purely a practice of breathing and stretching where we learn to listen to our bodies. Becoming attuned to one’s senses and connecting with in the inner world can be a very new experience for many. Any of the extra benefits of yoga (such as flexibility and strength) are just that … additional perks rather than goals. No excuses necessary or allowed! We had 7 new attendees, 4 of them new to Alumapalooza. YAY!

I learned a lot today from the multitude of discussions being offered in the main tent …. many great tips on rV Organization by a new friend Ramona Creel, the tech tips behind axle replacement on the Airstream by our friend Colin Hyde (we are possibly due to replace all 3 of our tandem axles). I had a tremendous amount of fun learning how to fly a trick Revelation kite (‘The Rev’), with Joe and my hubby. Roving Happy Hour was a wonderful success! We’ve been hanging with a similar group for the past 3 nights, and I’m thoroughly enjoyingWe were very blessed to have lent to us the wide variety of personalities, talents and knowledge base of these various new & old friends. It’s been such an amazing day of weather, warm sunshine, a cool breeze and endless blue skies. We topped off our day with sunset kite dances. Spectacular! Life is pretty incredible and amazing.

Carlisle Tire Failure

It’s always a bit sad leaving a large venue where tremendous connections with friends have been made. Such is my feeling in leaving Alumapalooza this year. So many new and wonderful friends made with the bonus of reconnecting with lovely friends from last years rally. However, we’ve had such a full month of activity and I’m ready for some down time! Packing up, we managed to beat the throng of the parade folks and made our way to LaGrange Ohio, happy campers per se.

Thankfully we arrived safe and sound at our friends Lou and Larry’s house. Why might you ask? When we arrived, upon backing up the trailer into the driveway, Lou and slaDE discovered that all of our 6 trailer tires were at the point of complete failure! In fact, 2 had failed (we lost about 12 inches of belt in the front tire somewhere close to LaGrange and the rear tire had a bubbling big hole). We are incredibly fortunate to not have blown them on the way here. It’s actually quite amazing that we didn’t. Luckily, there was no damage apart from the tire loss itself. Someone was certainly looking down upon us today. That really would have sucked to have blown 1+ tires, especially if we were travelling at speed. Eeek!

With more research and the advice of our friends, we decided to switch to Radial tires shifting from our current failing Bias Ply (cross-ply) tires. Radials are safer in that they are steel belted rather than nylon based. Theoretically this in turn means that they will last longer and hold up better. Well, when you spend over $1000 in tires, I was kinda hoping that they’d last for the expected 3-5 year minimum life expectancy. Too much to ask??! What are your thoughts?

Another potluck this evening. Fabulous fun with food and yogaFLIGHT by the campfire.

A New Year = New Adventures

2011 = Part 2 of our 2nd full year of Airstreaming a.go-go, where every day is a new beginning in our silver tube. No matter where we are on this planet, I seem to be able to find a reason to smile and marvel at each new day that blesses us with its presence. We travel in a gleaming plane-like aluminum bullet that is a constant with our ever-changing scenery. And I’m constantly reminded of the magnitude of this truly wonderful life. I have to pinch myself every so often at the ‘good fortune’ bestowed upon us. I’m wondering though, is it truly luck, or did this adventurous lifestyle result from choices made once we made a firm decision to pursue our dream of travel on the road? I suppose a bit of both, mixed in with a whole lotta courage to leap off of the hamster wheel without a parachute. There were definitive decisions and determined actions which helped us to save money like monks, squirrelling away the fruit of our hard-earned savings (5 jobs between the two of us), building networks and skills along the way.

It seems that one can’t make a road trip without simultaneously making an inner journey. I’ll forever be grateful to my husband for inspiring and coaxing me to join him in pursuing our Yoga Instructor ratings, despite my fears of teaching mixed with angst feelings of personal failure and mediocrity. I believe that each and every day, yoga makes my life better, whether it be through a physical practice, or on a subtler scale, returning to my mental thought and breath. This inner journey is a celebration of all that I live for, with joy and spontaneity, celebrating freedom of flight and travel. Truly blessed!

And so with the crowning of a New Year, I want to springboard in to the unknown with a feeling of lightness and letting go. Turning the page so to speak, releasing any unhealthy fears, sadness, disappointments, resentments or whatever else I don’t want to carry forward. No resolutions specifically. I don’t have a game plan. I just want to live in the moment, enjoying the time I have on this planet with joyous abandon. January 1: just another day. But a whole new opportunity to be present with who I am, loving me without the need or desire for subliminal societal change that often comes with the new year resolution psychobabble.

On that note, here’s wishing you all a year of self-love that manifests itself into peace, both within and without.

Southward Bound to Florida

I’m finding it challenging to find expediency in packing up after settling in at a place for longer than 3 days. It’s at this stage where we’ve settled in and found homes for our ‘stuff’. But in order to travel efficiently and without movement of the Airstream’s innards, everything needs to have a place and semi-permanent home. So in leaving Kitty Hawk today, it took us a good 3 hours of battening up the hatches, tucking the bikes and wood in under the tonneau cover. With a wistful goodbye to our wonderful new friends, we started our trek south through Hatteras National Seashore and Island crossing via 40 minute ferry to Ocracoke. What a beautiful trip, with a plethora of birdlife spiralling patterns of whimsy as they forged through the strong south winds (which wreaked havoc on our gas mileage). This was our second ferry crossing with both the truck and trailer, and with slaDE~s skilled maneuvering in to the tight ships parking bay, we breezed of and off without event or worry.

I think my favourite aspect of today’s venture was visiting the world-famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which so happens to be the tallest brick beacon in the USA, standing 208 feet in height. This spiral-striped black and white landmark served to warn mariners of the submerged and shifting sandbars which extend almost twenty miles off Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic (known as the Diamond Shoals). Although impressive in stature, the most magnificent facet about this sandstone lighthouse is that in 1999, when threatened by beach erosion, it was moved off the shoreline by 2,900 feet. The participants didn’t take it apart and put it back together. Instead, the Lighthouse was (diamond) cut from its original base, hydraulically lifted on to steel roll-beams and moved along railroad tracks inch by inch to its present position. This outstanding Civil Engineering achievement took 23 days. The Outer Banks Lighthouse Society engraved the keepers’ names, at the original site, on the foundation stones in their memory. The vantage point from this original location is a stunning sight to witness — what a vast distance this structure was painstakingly moved (the photo of the truck in the parking lot with the Lighthouse to the far right in the background is the approximate distance of 2,900 feet in which the Lighthouse was moved over 23 days)!

At the other end of the free ferry crossing lies Ocracoke. A very quaint little Island … with it being off-season, only a handful of stores, restaurant cafes and campgrounds were open. Teeters RV Park proved to be a quick stopping point (a bit overpriced for supplying electric only, but with such cold temperatures, we were needy of a place to plug in) before setting off early in the morning for our ferry crossing to the mainland.

Holiday Lights

I love the simple joys of having a home that provides solace and comfort when the weather outside is blustery and cold. Today was a perfect day to read, write and catch up on internet surfing within the warm confines of our Airstream. The Arctic blast continues to cast its reaches beyond the Outer Banks, sinking down as far as Florida with its icy outstretched fingers and chill. I get shivers even thinking and writing about it! But after a day of stagnant mobility, my body was in need of a good stretch, even if for a short distance. I’ve come to listen to my body more carefully, trusting in the experience of my injuries and yoga education, and tonight was no exception. So with camera in hand, I slowly and cautiously circled the pitch dark neighbourhood block several times, admiring the brilliant holiday decorations in the dark cloudy night chill, bundled from head to toe, hoping to capture the essence of Christmas with our new DSLR camera.

Lifted by the Wings of Grace

Feeling frustrated today. Willing and wanting my blog to be up-to-date. Lapsing further and deeper behind. So much to say, lots of lovely photographs to portray the events and good times. Not feeling the motivation to ink my thoughts so vividly, longing for my fingers to meander across the keyboard. Slowly, slowly. With patience and gratitude, a new day is before me and I WILL accomplish a few steps forward with my goals, my plans. Learning to forgive both myself and others is the first step, sometimes the hardest. It’s been a tough day of lacking in faith and letting go.

Chin up. Knowing I can be better. Will myself to be better, especially when I’m not soulfully feeling the much-needed inspiration. Deep breath and relinquish the control beyond my means, my abilities. There is no such thing as control. Something to remember. Always.

Return to the breath. The heart and soul of my being. This is the only truth I know, and perhaps the closest thing to goD that will ever be known. Until my last breath, forgiveness with each inhale and exhale. Knowing that greatness belongs and exists within each and every one of uS. Believe, act and I will fly and succeed, lifted by the wings of grace.

I love this poem, written by Alicia, as discovered on Facebook.

RV There Yet?You were born with potential,
You were born with goodness and trust,
You were born with ideals and dreams,
You were born with greatness,
You were born with wings,
You are not meant for crawling, SO DON’T
You have wings
Learn to use them and fly!!!!!

RV There Yet??