Becalmed

Good news for those who are only interested in Airstream travels … we will resume our Airstream explorations sometime next week, with a three month voyage down the east coast and then westward back toward Arizona.

I have re-settled in Vermont, joining Eleanor and Emma in the Airstream, currently parked in my parents’ driveway along the shores of Lake Champlain.  The Airstream seems to have survived its very wet summer fairly well, with only a dozen or so major spider webs strung along the wheels, hitch, and roof vents. It rarely sits in one place so long.  I am sure there will be some maintenance items before we can head out again, but hopefully nothing worse than greasing the hitch and adding air to the tires.

Likewise, the Mercedes has survived.  You might think that was a no-brainer, but I was receiving regular reports that made me a little nervous.  The car’s parking space is drastically humid, with daily bird overflights that result in frequent acidic attacks on the paint.  But Eleanor has tried to clean up the messes promptly, and I will forgive her for letting Emma eat Cheez-Its in the back seat.  The car had its 30,000 mile service last week, which shows how much we’ve been using it.  It is only 16 months old. We’ll need a new set of tires, and possibly brakes, before we get back to home base in November.

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Coming from Arizona, where hot “summer” weather will continue well into October, to Vermont where summer is already winding down, is quite an adjustment.  Everyone is grabbing the last moments of beautiful weather and outdoor activity here.  Last night a gang of friends showed up to race the Hobie Cats on the lake, but the wind was light and it turned into more of a leisurely sail.

hobie-cat-2-lake-champlain.jpgEleanor and I invited our friends Guy & Katie to come over as well, and we watched the Hobies depart while we had grilled dinner on the deck.  Due to their slow speeds, there was plenty of time to eat dinner and hop in the Boston Whaler to intercept them as they came back across the broad section of Lake Champlain (about 3 miles).  There wasn’t a lot of white-water action, but it was a good night to enjoy the blue-green view of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains as the sun set.

In the picture above, you can see Steve and Carolyn puttering along with the distinctive shape of Camel’s Hump in the background.  Camel’s Hump is a regular summer climb most years, about 4,000 feet in elevation.  There’s some wreckage from a WW II era plane crash near the summit, and spectacular views.  I may see if I can recruit someone to do that hike this weekend.

becalmed-lake-champlain.jpgI hustled at work last week so that this week would be relatively easy.   This is just past the peak of summer in Vermont, and in some ways it is the very best time of year.  The bugs are signing out for the season, the humidity is gone, temperatures are in the 70s most days, thunderstorms are less frequent, the lake is perfect for any activity, and the sunset is still late enough for a quick boat ride after dinner.  This is the season of county fairs and chicken suppers.  There’s still fresh corn on the cob to be had, the gardens are still producing, and ripe apples are just around the corner.

In late August, the frantic rush-rush of summer is over.   Vermonters have done their bike rides, scenic walks, farmer’s markets, historic house tours, swimming, boating, fishing, and dinners out on the patio.  Late summer comes with a feeling of satisfaction, if you’ve played it right.  Anything after this point is bonus time.  You can get becalmed on the lake at sunset, and it doesn’t seem like any big deal to have to paddle the last few hundred yards back to port.

This is probably the last really quiet week we’ll have for a while.  The travel plan calls for numerous stops in September and October.  We’ll be on the move every few days.  I can see half a dozen visits just between Cape Cod and New Jersey, and we’ve got about ten stops planned in Florida during October.  This next week will be about getting mentally re-charged and prepared for an extended trip, and it looks like I’ve timed my return perfectly, because it looks like the perfect week to do it.

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Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine