Tuesday, July 24, 2012


ALERT, ALERT from Rosie!  My humans don't seem to realize it, but we are being invaded by chipmunks.  They are everywhere here in Breckenridge.  Here I was minding my own business (and a lot of other dogs' business) when these supposedly cute little critters come running by me, playing tag and chasing one another.  Don't they know they are in the presence of the Great White Hunter.  They stay just far enough away so I can't reach them because of my leash, but they taunt me.  One of these days........  I don't think Debbie and Frank would be very happy if I caught one, but I feel it is my duty to stop this invasion.  Well, I don't know if I could actually eat one anyway, but I could at least scare them away.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

Then, to top things off, last night about one in the morning I was sleeping in my bed in the window, doing my sentry thing, when all of the sudden I hear a big crash.  OMG, I look out and see a BEAR about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.  He was scoping out the area and found our little cooler under Diva.  He opened it right up looking for goodies and then tossed it behind him when he found it empty.  I, of course, barked, and barked, and barked and scared him away.  My humans woke up and saw the whole thing.  It is a good thing they have me, or that bear may have opened the door and emptied out our refrigerator.  I have a feeling he makes his nightly rounds at this beautiful campground to see what the humans may have left him.  He knows right where to look.  But don't worry, faithful readers, I am here to protect and defend.  Of course, I am not getting much sleep lately.  In fact, I think I'll take a little nap right now....

Bark, Bark

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Airstream Bicycle Rack

When we were in Jackson Center, Ohio, home of the Airstream, we bought and had installed the new Airstream bicycle rack.  I want to show some pictures and give some opinions about it.

The rack sits just above the back bumper. It is attached by brackets to the back wall of the  Airstream.

Each bike is seated in its' own cradle with heavy duty straps to secure the wheels.

The rack allows access to the rear storage area.

...and to the bumper storage.

These gizmos hold the frame of each bike.

The bikes are seated on the rack. My accessory bag had to be hanged from the frame as it wouldn't fit in its'  normal position behind the seat.

The wheels secured to the cradles.

The frame is held securely to the rack.

Even with the bikes on you have access to the storage and bumper areas. But the access is somewhat difficult.

Add caption

A word of caution. This brace broke. You can see a stress fracture on the lower segment of the brace.
It is easy to use.
The bikes are very secure on the rack.
It looks like it is part of the trailer.
There is still access to storage.
The rear awning can still be opened with the bikes in place.

Very expensive, about $625 installed.
One of the braces broke soon after purchase. I assume that this was a defect and that Airstream will replace this brace ASAP.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heat! Heat! Heat!

Dear Family & Friends,

We are definitely a hot couple! That is sweltering hot. Temps in the upper 90's and low 100's in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. I think it has been cooler in South Carolina. The air conditioner in our Airstream works, and thank God for it, but is barely able to get us to the low 80's inside.

Some statistics. Since leaving Aiken, SC on July 7, 2012:
Odometer 90382
Trip mileage 1883 miles
Fuel used 148 gal (thank you for all those fuel gift cards)
Average 12.7 mpg.

After leaving the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio we drove to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I had the opportunity to drive the camper through rush hour traffic in Chicago. Such fun! We had a great time seeing Steve, Jenny & the boys. We visited the Bookworm Gardens, a wonderful park that takes children stories and creates small vignettes with statues and gardens.
Bookworm Gardens. I hope this bus driver knows what he is doing.

Bookworm Gardens

Bookworm Gardens. I can't believe they have a framed picture of Matthew and Daniel.

Bookworm Gardens. Da Boys

Bookworm Gardens

Bookworm Gardens. Who is knocking at my door?

Bookworm Gardens. From left, Matthew, Daniel, Derek

Bookworm Gardens. Daniel took over as bus driver.

We left Sheboygan early Sunday morning and drove to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We camped at the Pleasant Creek Recreation Area. This is a very nice park with 3 campgrounds and a pleasant lake and sandy beach. Nice large partially shaded campsites. Electric hookups but no water at site. About the only problem we had was with the Reserve America reservation system. when we went online to get a spot it said none were available but that there were 20 first come sites. On the day of arrival it said there was only one first come site. So we hurried. No stop at the grocery store, just b-line to the camp. When we got there we found dozens of spots both for reservation and first come basis.
Pleasant Creek Recreation Area
I love the fields of prairie grasses and flowers.

Pleasant Creek Recreation Area

Pleasant Creek Recreation Area

Pleasant Creek Recreation Area

We are now in Lincoln, Nebraska. Still hot! Will post again when it cools down (maybe never).


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We're Off / On the Green Road

Saturday July 7, 2012

We left Aiken, SC this morning about 11 AM, Debbie, Rosie and I, with our Airstream and truck packed to the gills. First stop was our log cabin in Tryon, NC. James and Kelley met us there with Galen and Peyton. With all of us working together we quickly emptied the UHall.

Frank & Debbie about to leave Aiken

Frank, Stacey and Debbie

We spent two nights in Tryon. Sunday we went to Gigi's nursing home and brought her to Kelley's to see everyone including Sean. Monday morning we went to visit Jessica and Schuyler in Milford OH. Pam and James joined us there and later Sean Boland and Emily Boland also arrived.

Jessica has a kitten named Rosie. Our Rosie was not impressed.

Colin is a budding comedian.

Nick and Rosie

On Tuesday we drove to Jackson Center, OH home of the Airstream. For Airstream nuts this is like a visit to Mecca for Muslims or to the Vatican for Catholics. We took the factory tour which started out a little boring but when we actually went into the working factory and watched as the Airstreams were assembled it was quite interesting. Rosie didn't like the tour, the loud noise, or any of the workers one bit, however. We placed some foam ear-plugs in Rosie's ears. Later we could not find them. Hopefully, they are laying on the factory floor.

A line-up of classic Airstreams outside of the visitors center

A very nice store full of Airstream parts and accessories

Our tour leader

A 1939 version

A shinny new 2012 just out of the factory. Airstreams are made to order. Most are ordered by dealers for their inventory but some are ordered for a specific customer.

We ran into Cece Reinhardt at the visitor's center

Cece Rinehardt and Brenda Daughtery are full time Airstreamers. Their blog features their travels but also their dedication to eco-friendly travel. Their Dodge diesel truck runs on both regular diesel fuel as well as used cooking oil (yes, cooking oil!). They have made many modifications to their Airstream to lower the impact to the environment. They are meeting with some of the big cheeses at Airstream tomorrow to discuss the possibility of incorporating some of their ideas in future Airstreams. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Cece, to the right, and Brenda joined Debbie, Rosie and me for some libations and  philosophy.

Airstream has a full campground at the factory site which is $10 per night or free if you are having any service done, which we were. Full hook-ups and WiFi included.

Ciao, Frank

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Getting Ready To Go

July 4th and we are not at a picnic. No plans for fireworks tonight. Not at the pool or lake. We are getting ready to go on our full-timeAirstream adventure! Lot's of work to do. The temperature has cooled some to only 98 F. The humidity is somewhere between heavy air and soup. We do not have a 30 amp outlet at our home so no AC in Diva today.

Clutter everywhere. What goes in Diva (the Airstream)? What goes in the truck? What goes to Salvation Army?

Our walk in closet is about the size of our Airstream. So what do we take? I'm embarrassed by how much clothing I have and Debbie has twice as much as I do.  We need to be ready for hot weather, cold weather, rain but, hopefully, no snow this trip. Everyone says to not bring too much but how much is enough?

This is a small desk in our kitchen. Most of this stuff needs to come with us. But where do we put it? Our 28' AS weighs about 5700 lbs and can hold about 1800 lbs in addition. I think we are up to about 3000 lbs. so far.

I think our toiletries, make-up, toothpaste and medications alone add about a hundred pounds.

But at least we will have a nice place to sleep when day is done.

Here is our itinerary to start. We plan to leave South Carolina on Saturday 7/7/12 if all is done. First we will stop at our Tryon NC cabin for one or two nights. Then a visit with James, Kelley and the grand kids in Asheville. Next stop Jackson, OH, Mecca to us Airstreamers. Then off to visit Steve and Jenny and the 4 boys in Wisconsin for a few days. Next stop Aspen CO. We will be going to a friend's wedding in Denver August 10. We then have a month to get to Ashland OR. After that no plans. Except to be somewhere near home for Christmas.

See you all soon.


Sunday, July 1, 2012


My Countdown App now says Zero hours minutes and seconds to retirement.

For the past 43 years, since graduation for medical school, I have never had one day of unemployment. Until today!  No job.  No need to get up early  (even though I did get up at 5 am as usual). No hospital rounds, no office visits. No one dependent on me for their medical care, all safely turned over to my very competent partners. Feels strange. I don't yet believe it.

 We are at Hilton Head Island with our good friends Karla and Michael for the next few days.I will be posting on this wonderful place soon.

Debbie, Rosie and I take off next Saturday, 7/7/12, on our Airstream adventure. See you on the road!