Hudsonville, MI

Whenever we go to Jackson Center it seems there is not enough time to do the fun things.  After half a dozen visits, I have yet to see Neil Armstrong’s museum, the Bicycle Museum, or go to The Spot To Eat.  We came to the Airstream factory for some service, but I ended up meeting up with a bunch of people from management, and the next thing we knew it was 3 pm and too late to start the drive to Grand Rapids.  So we spent another night in the Terra Port.  It has been rather hot the past few days, and a cool shower and relaxing evening in the trailer with the air conditioning on seemed like a better move than five hours in the car, especially since the driver (me) was tired.

The Terra Port was somewhat lonely this time.  We never saw more than four trailers parked there during our visit.  One of them was the folks who sold us our first Airstream, the Caravel.  We seem to run into them every year, since we all travel in similar patterns of rallies and seasons. Despite the quietude of the camping area, the service bays were mostly full with long-term projects, so it’s not quiet inside the shop.

The axle alignment and brake check came to about $350. The axles were indeed off in their camber.  Both left and right sides measured at the extreme ends of the permissible range.  Now they are adjusted right to the middle of the range.  The brakes got a clean bill of health.

This morning we pressed onward, to the area around Grand Rapids MI.  We had two stops, one for business, and the other to see the Caravel undergoing restoration.  The Caravel looks very good although far from complete.  The exterior has been polished and needs just one more buffing to look really great.  The interior is still mostly empty while the guys figure out some wiring problems, but already the replacement bathroom closets that I made last summer have been installed.  We consulted for about half an hour on some decisions, snapped some photos of the work in progress, and that was about it.

Tonight we are courtesy parking in Hudsonville, just outside Grand Rapids.  This town is known as “The Salad Bowl of Michigan,” for the rich black soil that encourages vegetable farming.  From where we are parked, it’s hard to envision fields of anything growing, because we are in an older mixed residential/urban area for the night, on asphalt.  We are parked behind a former car dealership with permission of the owner, who has become a new friend.

We invited him to join us at Steak’n’Shake tonight (I know, big spenders) to share our celebratory dinner. This is our 16th wedding anniversary.  You might think that sleeping in an Airstream behind a former car dealership in Michigan owned by a guy we never met in person before today, and eating dinner at Steak’n’Shake constitutes perhaps the weirdest anniversary celebration ever, but trust me, in our marriage they’re all weird.

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Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine