Living vicariously

 I’m starting to appreciate the feelings of people who have read my blogs for years, living vicariously through us and thinking about the next time they will get to break away for a road trip — because now I’m one of those people. Except for our trip at New Year’s to Anza-Borrego, we haven’t moved the Airstream since October.

It’s not for lack of ideas.  This was a planned pause, specifically so we could take care of things that could best be done while we were parked, but it is mostly behind us now.  All of the routine medical exams are done, Emma’s orthodontics are on auto-pilot, Modernism Week 2011 is done, the Newbies book is done, Alumapalooza is about 90% set, and I can always work on the magazine from the road.  So at this point we are under very little obligation to stay put in Tucson.

It is springtime here, which means lots of days in the 70s and 80s, and believe it or not, plenty of pollen.  I notice it somewhat, but Eleanor is virtually incapacitated, which is a drag anytime but especially tragic in the stunningly beautiful weather we get this time of year. We can’t go hiking up in the mountains to take in the spectacular views and desert blooms. Naturally, the idea has struck us to escape to some part of the country where pollen is less of an issue, and that has led to temptation of the sort that causes us to spend hours browsing maps and weather reports, and reading blogs of fellow travelers who are currently exploring.

All kinds of places are suddenly appealing to me.  It was about this time three years ago that we went to Bahia Kino in Sonora, MX and lazed around on the beach for four days.  If things were a little quieter in Sonora right now I’d be inclined to revisit that trip, just for the chance to stroll a quiet sandy beach and listen to the waves at night.  Or perhaps we could dash off to the foggy Redwood National Park in northern California, where the humpback whales are passing by in their annual migration.

But really, we probably will stay put, with the exception of a quickie weekend here or there.  It is not as interesting as traveling but I feel like we are earning credit somehow.  There’s something to be said for maintaining continuity at least.  This is the longest period we’ve been out of the Airstream since 2004, and I suppose it indicates that we are gradually learning how to be “normal” people.  So far I’m not impressed with the perks of normalcy, but nonetheless we will stay and get our work done, save our pennies, and plan & dream.  When we do finally get back on the road, it will feel like we’ve earned it.

Once we do venture out, the trick will be making the planned trip — a long Interstate slog on roads we’ve seen several times before — into something more than just a 1,900 mile death march. Our primary purpose in May will be to get to Ohio for Alumapalooza 2011.  That’s something we can do in four days if we press hard, seven days if we travel half-days, and two weeks if we do it in our classic “stop and smell the roses” style.  I was initially not feeling very good about being on the road for a long period of time because I was concerned about work I needed to do, but that’s crazy.  Since when is work the most important thing?  I can clear the decks before we go and deal with the little things that pop up as needed, and maybe even take a few days off.  Let’s make it a two week trip and really enjoy it.  I might even use the “v-word” (vacation) but not too loudly because this is supposed to be a business trip.

Speaking of which, I’ve been having some conversations with Marty Shenkman, a tax lawyer who is also behind RV4theCause.org.  Marty uses his Airstream as a business tool, as I do, and both of us have some concerns about the correct way to deduct, document, and depreciate our travel trailers. We’re having a rather spirited debate, since he does it one way and I do it another way, and Marty’s CPA has joined in with his own thoughts on the subject.  The key, of course, is finding a way to bulletproof ourselves against audit challenges, since an Airstream can be viewed both as a home and a business vehicle, and each can be handled differently from a tax standpoint.

The outcome of this has been that Marty will be researching the subject further and presenting at Alumapalooza.  His topic is going to be something like, “Making Your Airstream A Deductible Business Asset,” which I bet will appeal to all the folks who would like to work from the road.  You can bet that I’ll be in the front row to hear what he has to say (and heckle him if needed).

But I’m not mentioning this to push Alumapalooza.  We’re basically sold out — just five spaces left as of today — and as far as I’m concerned, 195 trailers is plenty!  My only wish at this point is that we don’t have the usual Jackson Center summer weather pattern, which includes chilly fog, rain, sun, intense heat, humidity, thunderstorms, and a chance of tornadoes all in the same day.  Given the dramatic mood swings of the local weather, I suppose I should be impressed that 380 people are going to join us in that field next to the manufacturing plant.  Brave souls, every one.

So we are in the same boat as all the frozen northerners now.  We’re at home, waiting for the moment when we can hitch up and head out, and in the meantime we are dreaming of what’s to come. For those of you in the north, hang in there–spring is coming.  For those of you who are on the road right now, take a picture and update your blog for me.

About the Author

Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine