Archive for July, 2009


Sunday, July 12th, 2009

I’m always a little melancholy at the end of a rally. We are, after all, travelers, not settlers. Our destination is the journey. Still, seeing the occupants of “Silver City” evacuate is sobering.

Exhibition Neighborhood

This part of Silver City was just the little neighborhood parked in front of Exhibition Hall. Around 900 Airstream trailers made up the city in total.

Every time we go on a road trip, or attend a rally I tell myself not to do so much. It’s not possible to see everything, or do everything, and can be frustrating to try. I much as I realize this, I always fail. I never give myself the opportunity to do absolutely nothing.

Every moment is filled with activity and priorities. Patrice makes her list of to do’s, as if that would actually help, but then I always end up running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It’s not a pretty sight.

Yet, we both managed to have a good time and I have quite a few highlights to remember and backup onto the computer in case I forget.

In the next few posts I’ll mention some of them, but will start with a big thanks to Dave Schumann, General Manager Customer Relations of Airstream in Jackson Center. He made Wally Byam’s gold-anodized trailer available to me to photograph, measure and generally poke, prod, and crawl over and under. I was told that this was the first time in the last two years that it has even been opened. Airstream has kept it parked in a fenced lot south of the main factory. This kind of access was a real privilege. I proposed a floor plan review of it. Unfortunately, the interior was refurbished, not restored, and is not how Wally and Stella had it. Still, it was exciting and a real privilege to have that kind of access.

Simonton Lake Drive-In, when I was a boy, my grandfather treated me to ice cold root beer here. It is little changed and is a genuine blast from the past. The root beer and hamburgers are just the way I remember them.
Drive In
Mackinac Bridge and Mackinaw Island – the bridge is easily one of the most beautiful and elegant in the world.
The bridge
Mackinaw Island blew me away with its lilac bushes. Never in my life have I seen bushes of such size and bloom. They were everywhere. I often tell Patrice that lilac is what Heaven must smell like. It is intoxicating. The flowers on the island ranged from white to royal deep purple and each color had its own subtle, but distinctive sweet scent.

The scent of lilac is heavenly.

Safe Travels

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Our one-month summer road trip is over. We’ve returned reluctantly, but quickly. The irony of this always puzzles me. We don’t want the journey to end, yet when it is indeed coming to a close we rush home. We covered a little over a thousand miles in two days.

In the past, I’ve said I wouldn’t do that. It’s particularly hard on Patrice, but we’ve discovered something that many of you probably already know – naps in the afternoon. By pulling over when we get groggy, just about when lunch has digested, when the day is warmest, and fatigue sets in, pull over for a nap in the trailer. We’ve found, well I’ve found – since Patrice isn’t quite as convinced – that when I wake I’m refreshed enough to drive until it is good and dark. In the summer that is around 9:30 p.m. Then we pull over for the night; get a good sleep and an early start the following morning. I think this can be repeated for quite some time and seems to me to be a safe way to cover 500 or 600 miles each day.

Or so I think, after we left Madison and were driving southwest on Highway 151, about 30 miles from Dubuque, where we came upon the aftermath of an accident. At the bottom of a long steep hill, a tow truck was pulling a trailer up onto its wheels. The mangled shiny mess wasn’t immediately recognizable, but as we went by, we saw that it was an Airstream. It had rolled like Kick the Can down the embankment. A sobering reminder that safety can’t be taken for granted.

NE Roadside Rest
Out of all the roadside rests we used our vote for the best were Nebraska’s. They were often well off the Interstate and usually segregated RV parking away from trucks. They were also well kept and as pretty as the ones in Missouri which we gave second place to.

About the Author

Hi, my name is Forrest McClure. I've been writing for the magazine since its inception. My wife and I travel with our 1966 20' Globe Trotter or our 1986 32' Excella. So, my primary interest is vintage travel trailers.