Never Get Locked Out Again.

When it comes to security, the Airstream is as good as any trailer I have seen. There is a dead bolt built into the door and there is no picking the lock once you’ve lock the door. To lock the door, you just slide the door handle to the lock position and shut it behind you on your way out. That’s assuming you don’t forget the keys inside. As we start spending more time on the road, I am concerned that one day it is gonna happen. I am gonna step out of the trailer and out of habit, slide that lock across the door and shut it behind me with the keys inside. Imagine being locked out of your house with your 2 year old inside who doesn’t know how to let herself out. Except your house might be in the middle of the desert, deep in a national park or along the long stretches of empty beaches on the Oregon coast.

Climbing into new airstream

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Yoda got chipped… and I am not talking about Doritos.

Ava and Yoda at the vet

We took Yoda to the vet a few days ago to prepare her for traveling with us around the country. We had a long list of Yoda To-Do’s that needed crossing off, which included yearly blood work, vaccine boosters, microchips, and health certificates.

We actually traveled with Yoda when we took our old T@b to Arizona last January but did not have any documentation with us when we got stopped at the California-Arizona border. It would have been really bad news for Yoda if not for the fact that when asked if we had any pets in the car, Dan answered ‘no’. But he didn’t intentionally lie. You see our first road trip started of like this but ended up like this. We were beyond exhausted and somehow forgot we had a cat in the car with us. Sorry Yoda. 🙁

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The RV Web: Chapter 1 – Extending Your WiFi Range

Getting online while you are on the road is always a challenge. There has been a lot of discussion about this in blogs and forums and everyone has their own favorite methods. But in general, based on today’s wireless technology, there are basically three ways to do it:

  1. Satellite Internet Service Provider (Direcway, HughesNet)
  2. Wireless Broadband from Cell Phone Providers (Verizon, Sprint)
  3. Public WiFi Access Points

Although there may be newer and arguably better options in the works such as WiMax, these 3 are what’s widely available today. I will spend some time talking about them in a few separate posts as I am currently doing research on what is best for our upcoming trips. In this post, I will focus my attention on the third and potentially the most interesting option: getting connected via public WiFi.

working in the airstream

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Silver City Ghost Town

On Sunday, Ava and I were awaken from our long long afternoon nap by the sound of Dan slamming the Airstream door closed. Does anyone else have problem? Not the problem of having a husband that can’t for the life of him shut a door without waking the dead… but the problem with shutting an Airstream door without pulling muscles you didn’t know you had? Well we do and I have the sinking feeling that it’s completely normal and I better stop complaining about it. Whoa is me.

So after giving Dan the evil eye, Ava put on her wild wild west poncho and we drove over to Silver City Ghost Town.

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Our first mini-road trip to Lake Isabella.

Just after taking Ava trick-or-treating for her first time around the neighborhood, we packed ourselves in the van and headed out of town for our VERY FIRST ROAD TRIP in the Airstream. Yeah! We decided to break up the drive into two parts, in order to make the drive more enjoyable for Ava, and therefore… for everyone.

Just around midnight, we arrived at a Walmart that sits on the outskirts of Bakersfield. It’s not the “ideal” place for our very first night in the Airstream, not even close, but it was the most logically place to stop prior to heading up the winding road to Lake Isabella. Walmart is known for letting RVers spend the night in their parking lots. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. RVers get to boondock for free and Walmart usually gets their business… because who doesn’t forget to pack a thing or two for a trip. Not us. We weren’t really sure where we should park when we arrived. A helpful security guard was on the scene and gladly guided us to a private corner of the parking lot. We decided to park just shy of the dirt patch designed for RVs due to the impending storm that was headed our way.

At 6am, we were awoken by a light drizzle. The sound of the rain on the Airstream made waking up just perfect. There’s nothing like sleeping in a warm cozy bed when it is raining outside your window. After a few minutes of drizzle, it started to pour outside. And on the inside? Well, on the inside it sounded like we were being bombarded by machine guns. Rata-tat-tat-tat!

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Rain rain go away.

We finally got the Airstream onto the driveway the other night. Yippee! But no thanks to me. All I did to help was a lot of oohing and ahhing. Dan did most of the work. All that previous sailboat trailering really came in handy. He squeezed that sucker in with room to spare. Well, not much room. The Airstream sits 5 inches from the palm tree and 10 inches from the house. Pretty damn tight. But it works… with one little teeny weeny issue. We can’t open the door. Every other section of the Airstream is accessible from our driveway except for the door. Can you believe it?

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Let’s get hitched!

I did some research before buying the Airstream about what kind of hitch to use to drag it around the country. Since I have only ever towed trailers that I can push around with my hands, the 7000 lb beast is a big change. With an 800 lb tongue weight, it is also 300 lbs more than what my class 3 hitch is rated for. Bad news right? Well, that’s where the weight distribution systems come in. By using a weight distributing system, my class 3 hitch can increase its capacity to accommodate up to 1000 lbs of tongue weight and 10,000 lbs of trailer weight. Magic!

Equalizer
equalizer

Reese
reese

Hensley Arrow
hensley

These hitches essentially use leverage created by solid metal bars that extend from the rear of the hitch to even the weight across all 4 wheels of the vehicle. There are people who will go on and on about how these work but I like to think of it as a wheel barrel. The handles of the wheel barrel are the metal bars and it takes the weight off of the back and moves it to the front. If you want to find out more, do some searches on the wide wide world of web. There are people who will tell you a lot more about it than I am willing to bore you to tears with.

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