Bucket List

April 2nd, 2013 by Forrest McClure

Some people have skydiving or climbing mountains on their bucket list. You know what that is. If not, a bucket list is all those great things you want to do before you die. I only have one thing on mine – grow a beard. No, it’s not dangerous or exciting, but I’m kind of over those things. Nope, I just want to grow a beard and it’s because I’ve never, ever, in my entire life had one. So, here’s how I’m doing.

I think this growth is about three weeks - not particularly impressive.

I think this growth is about three weeks – not particularly impressive.


I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep at it. I went for a bicycle ride last week and because it is just now Spring there were few insects out flying about. But there were some gnats and they got caught in my beard. I think that will be the end of it when more flying insects hatch out. I’m pretty sure I don’t want my beard to be a bug catcher. That’s when I’ll shave it off.

In the meantime, I have been doing a few things on my 32′ Airstream Excella. There is a cabinet in the galley that houses a microwave oven and has drawers below and storage above. Between it and the triple wardrobe down the ‘hall’ was a vinyl folding door. I haven’t liked where it is positioned. When we have guests camping with us, the door provides privacy for the bedroom in back, but it closes off the bathroom from the front where the guests sleep. So, I move the door between the bathroom and bedroom. It restricts the ‘hall’ a little, but then the corner of the bed sticks out anyway so it doesn’t make too much difference.

However, that left an unsightly gap between the microwave cabinet and the wardrobes. What to do with that? I thought about putting a rollout pantry there, but the gap was not uniform in width or depth. Installation would have been problematic. Plus, the right side of the microwave cabinet wasn’t attached to anything. The bottom of the panel simply rested on top of the wheel well cover (and was sawing through it). I decided to keep it simple (KISS). Since the gap had to be filled with custom cut pieces, I wanted to keep the number of pieces to a minimum. So, I simply installed two simple shelves. I already know of one item I’ll store there – my laptop computer (in its travel case).

No longe a wardrobe, it is now a utility closet. One shelf filling the gap is seen lower left.

No longe a wardrobe, it is now a utility closet. One shelf filling the gap is seen lower left.


We have never filled the triple-length wardrobe with clothing. Not that we haven’t tried, and we discovered that many of the clothes we didn’t wear. In fact, we forgot about some altogether. Later, we’d find an item and say, “so that’s where we put it!” Because of this, I decided a double-length wardrobe was sufficient, and would partition off the third for use as a utility closet.

 Another item that annoyed me was the all-plastic toilet. I recently replaced it with one made of ceramic.

 My most recent eBay find is a lighted period (circa 1988) world globe. It is going to take the place of a table lamp in the bedroom. The table lamp is rusty, the brass coating falling off and because it is 120 volt AC we hardly ever use it.

That’s what I’ve done so far this year.

Lighted world globe with cool Lucite stand.

Lighted world globe with cool Lucite stand.


More Balloons

August 9th, 2012 by Forrest McClure


Fire in the sky.

Last weekend we attended a hot air balloon rally in Loveland, Colorado. Dubbed the Sweetheart Balloon Festival Rally there were about twenty Airstreams parked in the traditional Wally Byam circle. The hosts are balloonists themselves. They call theirs Serenity.

This was the first time they had ever organized and hosted a rally. By the end, I suspect they were disappointed with the results and even apologized to me and I imagine to others, but there was no need for that. I told them that all the great annual rallies have a less than perfect beginning and that we have to accept that some things are simply beyond our control.

Like the weather. Colorado’s is unpredictable and sudden. One moment the wind can be a gentle breeze and the next can be a microburst. And that’s how it happened. The hosts hoped for all of us to gather in the middle of the circle for happy hour and socializing. They erected some shelters and tables there all weighted down with bricks and big containers filled with water.

It came at siesta time. I’d just laid down for a nap when the microburst hit the campsite. Tables flew into the tents, which then collapsed and bent the frames. The tents acted like kites in the wind and in my mind I pictured them lifting off, bricks in tow, flying across the campground into the surrounding Airstreams.


Half the circle in panorama

It is in times like that when people come together. Men, women, and children sprinted from their trailers to the center of the circle to hold everything down, collapse the tents, pin down the tables. Most of those items were damaged beyond use, but the trailers were saved.

The punishment continued that night. A weather front moved into the area with seventy-five mile-per-hour winds just as hundreds of cars were being driven away from the fairgrounds to the north. All that traffic moving through the dirt parking lots kicked up a tremendous amount of dust and the wind drove it through the campsite and into the trailers.


Two of my grandsons watching Serenity being filled.

Mercifully, once the front passed us, the temperature dropped and the air calmed. The next morning was perfect flying weather and about twenty balloons lifted off. It was the highlight of the event. At the end of day, we were treated to a magnificent sunset – courtesy of smoke from the forest fires in Montana. Then that night, we were treated to a very entertaining fireworks show.

This was the first outing for my son, his wife and their two children in their new-to-them 1966 Globe Trotter. It was sink or swim in a dry camping situation but together we pulled it off and the best part is that our grandchildren all said they had a great time. I got to visit with old friends, see a really nice and very original, rare, 1961 single-axle Trade Wind and have quality time with my family. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Serenity ready to lift off.


My thanks to the hosts, Susan and Von Campbell, for all their hard work – keep your chins up you two, this rally goes down in the books as a success!

Serenity airborne.



July 29th, 2012 by Forrest McClure

We’ve decided what to do about having “two” many Airstreams. We should have done it three or four years ago. We’ve given our ’66 Globe Trotter to my son, Brian. With two children under the age of ten it will be a good fit for his family. We’re looking forward to our grandchildren having that kind of experience.

One couple I know are continuing their Airstream family tradition. Randy & Margie have two children and a ’64 Globe Trotter that Margie inherited from her parents. When she was a baby they used the little bath tub as a crib for her to sleep in. Many of her childhood memories are from that trailer and the annual vacations taken with it. Several years ago at the Denver Modernism Show they were offered $20,000 for it. They couldn’t sell it no more than they could sell a member of their family. It’s their heirloom.

We feel good about passing ours on to my son now instead of selling it or waiting for him to inherit it. This way, we get to share in the start of a family tradition.

Keeping in the family.


One Too Many

June 24th, 2012 by Forrest McClure

Last year, I decided that we should either start using our ’66 Globe Trotter or sell it. It sat for three years with very little use and I thought that was a waste. So, we’ve been out in it several times this year. The downside is that we’ve not used our bigger, ’86 Excella, but once. Now it is the trailer sitting idle.

I keep thinking that I’ve got to sell one or the other. I really don’t have the time or energy to keep or use both. Each has things I want to fix, fine tune, polish, clean or improve. But when I give one attention, the other languishes. I’m not good at multi-tasking.

Which one should I sell? That’s the question. I like them both and each has advantages over the other. As a result, I haven’t been able to make a decision. My wife is no help either. She’s partial to one, but admits the other is more suitable.


The GT at sunset in Mueller State Park

I don’t have this problem with any other piece of property and certainly not with cars. I’ve had so many different cars in my lifetime that I recently decided to make a list. There are currently twenty-two on it. I think that is accurate, but I’ve thought that before, only to then find an old registration or photo of one I’d forgotten.

My favorite was a 1970 Ford Ranch Wagon. It was dependable, powerful, comfortable, could haul and tow yet got 19 mpg. Unfortunately, it rusted from the inside out. By the time I realized how extensive the rust was the cost of fixing it would have exceeded the value of the car. So, I sold it.

The one car I kept the longest was a 1987 Ford Aerostar. That was a love/hate relationship. Its best feature was its flexibility and though it was a minivan it could haul just about anything. Despite spending plenty of money on maintenance, the brakes were its worst feature as they were always marginal under the best of conditions and downright scary otherwise. I sold it when the brakes failed completely coming down Guanella Pass into Georgetown, CO.

Only two cars were ever involved in accidents while I was driving. We were rear-ended while stopped for a red light in my Ford Thunderbird. Amazingly, we were not hurt and even though the car that hit us was totaled (it nosedived under us) our car only needed a new muffler.

My ’71 VW Super Beetle was an odd duck. I hit a pedestrian with it while going 60 mph on the interstate at four in the morning. He was dressed all in black and I didn’t see him. I knew I’d hit something of course, but didn’t know it was a man until I walked back along the highway to find what I hit. I heard him talking to himself before I saw him. The horrible feeling I had at that moment is indescribable but once I found him with my flashlight and saw that his only injury was a broken leg I was so relieved that I nearly laughed. He was drunk and I learned later that he’d been hitchhiking in the middle of the roadway.

Other than a very shallow dent in the front bumper, the VW wasn’t damaged. Its particular shape saved the man’s life. It popped him up in the air and he went completely over the car. My other car at the time was a VW bus. If I’d been driving that, the outcome would have been much different. As it was, he spent a couple days in the hospital and was released. A year later, he was drunk again, this time in Yosemite National Park, and walked off a cliff in the middle of the night. He didn’t survive that.

Anyway, I’ve never longed for any car, but the Airstreams are different. Regardless of which one I keep, I know I’ll miss the one I let go.

Happy Place

May 26th, 2012 by Forrest McClure


This Memorial Day weekend is not a good time to go camping in Colorado. Every tent and RV site in the state is booked. That is why we did our camping last weekend instead.

We took along Patrice’s best friend, Paula, to Mueller State Park. It’s a special place for Patrice and she wanted to share it with her. When Patrice was recovering from her stroke and consequent pneumonia and other problems, she had to undergo some unpleasant, even painful, “procedures.” To endure these, the nurses told her to imagine a place that was peaceful and pleasant and go there in her mind. She always went to Mueller. She calls it her “happy place.”

The trip was uneventful until we got to Woodland Park. From there all the way to Mueller we towed our Airstream through gropple – a hail-like snow. It quickly piled up to around six inches south of Divide, elevation 9,165’, and traffic slowed to a crawl. However, with the added tongue weight, our 2-wheel drive Suburban never lost traction.


Site #67 in Mueller State Park

Back when I was a boy, hardly anyone had four-wheel drive vehicles. I’ve never owned one and the times I thought I should I can count on one hand. So, I only want two wheel drive. It sits lower, has a lower center of gravity, is easier to get in and out of, and cargo is easier to load. I remember when pickup truck manufacturers touted those features as selling points. But today, you almost cannot buy a pickup or SUV in Colorado that isn’t four wheel drive. Dealerships tell me if I don’t want that feature I’d have to shop in Texas or Arizona.

It’s said that if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait five minutes and it will change. No sooner did we arrive at Mueller the gropple became a light rain. Not long after that, the sky cleared.

The next day was glorious, partly cloudy, highs in the low seventies and crystal clear air. Patrice took Paula to her favorite viewing point, with Pikes Peak to the east of the campground and a long ninety-mile view south to the 14,000’ mountains in the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Paula & Pat self-portrait


Around 5:30 p.m., I scouted in vain for a clear view of the eclipse. The sky was too cloudy. But I saw a funny phenomenon. The clouds on the horizons all turned pink. Not just to the west, but south and north as well.

After two relaxing nights at Mueller we headed back to Denver, but I was reluctant to go home. We dropped Paula off at her house and spent two nights in Cherry Creek State Park, a couple of miles from our home. I pretended we were camped somewhere else, far, far away.

When we pulled in, I spotted Rich and Eleanor’s Airstream. As luck would have it, being Monday, we got a site across the road from them. It was nice to visit, even though too short as they had a lot of work to do, meeting with Brett Hall of Timeless Trailers and checking out the venue for Alumafandango. It will be a great rally. We are really looking forward to it.

At Cherry Creek SP with Airstreamlife.com


Tick, Tock Clock

May 18th, 2012 by Forrest McClure

Last month the weather was so nice that we took the Globe Trotter over to Cherry Creek State Park for a night of camping. The park is only two miles away so it wasn’t exactly an adventure, but camping in April is always a little iffy in Colorado. Mostly, I just needed to get out and wanted to de-winterize the trailer.

I never sleep well the first night out. Sometime around four a.m. when everything is especially quiet, I woke because of the clock. Perhaps I was only partly awake because my mind was a bit foggy. I laid there listening to the clock tick, tick, ticking. It seemed so loud in the dead quiet. The tick, tick, ticks seemed to be speeding up though. I thought, what is wrong with that clock?

I don’t know how long I laid there listening. Was it 10 minutes, 20 or 60? At home, I can look at the clock by my bedside and tell myself I should get up. Next thing I know I open my eyes again and it’s an hour later. Time passes unnoticed.

It slowly dawned on me though that our electric clock didn’t make any noise and certainly didn’t tick. That made me sit upright and listen more intently. Where was the sound coming from? Patrice felt me getting up and woke wanting to know what I was doing.

“Do you hear a ticking sound?” I asked.

“Come back to bed. It’s just the clock.”

“Here’s the clock. See, it doesn’t make any sound.”

“Then what is it?” She wondered.

“Oh, no.” I opened a little compartment under the bed where the water pressure regulator and some valves are located. “Damn, it’s leaking.” The tick, tick, tick was a drip, drip, drip.

I ran outside in just my shorts to turn off the water and disconnect the hose. Then I hurried back inside to stuff towels into the tiny compartment hoping to soak up as much water as possible. Fortunately, there is an opening in the floor for a drain tube in the compartment and that let most of the water out. So, we didn’t have a flood.

Still, it puzzles me why the water pressure regulator chose to leak in the middle of the night. I checked it first thing after hooking up and there wasn’t a problem. In fact, I always check it after hooking up because I’ve had problems with it before. It is made of ABS plastic (it’s a popular brand that Airstream currently uses) and I can only guess that sometimes the O-rings don’t seal properly or that sometimes the plastic body just isn’t quite up to the task of handling the pressure.

I returned to bed and we slept in until about nine a.m. Then we wanted some water for washing and cooking. So, I hooked up the water and checked the regulator. It didn’t leak. I don’t understand why, but if I ever hear the clock ticking again I won’t be fooled (and from now on I’m turning the water off at bedtime).

Blogs, Death and Grandchildren

March 30th, 2012 by Forrest McClure

Okay, I’ve learned a lesson – I shouldn’t ignore my blog for months on end. I have some excuses, but you know, excuses are like… and everyone has one. When my trailers went into winter hibernation, so did I. There were other distractions. The biggest was my father-in-law dying. He was the patriarch of the family and left a big hole in our hearts.

He died in hospice, March 15th after struggling for years with lung, blood and heart problems, but it was cancer that finally got him.

He lived a long fulfilling life though and at the end, he had his wife and daughters at his bedside. That has to count for something.

There is still a lot to do but I’m beginning to catch up. This blog is one of those things. I knew the site had a big upgrade a while ago, but the big surprise was the 6,600+ spam comments attached to my postings. I was only able to delete a 150 at a time without getting an error message from the server. So, it took some time to trash them.

I apologize to those of you who posted legitimate comments. I just couldn’t handle sorting them out. As a result, everyone’s comments, even my own, are now gone.

Isn’t it sad that we have to put up with the vultures of the world? That’s what spammers are – scavengers. Of course, they forage in other ways too.

Several days ago, my mother-in-law received a note in the mail. It appeared to be hand written and said, “My wife and I are interested in buying your house… Please call us at 720-xxx-xxxx… thanks, John & Jane Doe.” (I changed the names because a complaint with the BBB is pending.)

The note really upset my mom. She didn’t know these people and didn’t understand how they knew her husband had died or how they got her address. She’s unlisted in the phone book. It especially frightened her because she is alone for the first time in her life and feels vulnerable. She even worried that someone might be watching her house.

My complaint to the BBB was that this kind of unsolicited inquiry is unscrupulous because it did not list the name of the business. A close inspection of the note revealed it was computer generated. The return address on the envelope and phone number in the note belongs to a realtor. Obviously, they scour the obituaries for leads. They might call that fishing, but it’s really just another kind of spam.

On a lighter note, my grandchildren were on their way to the funeral. They asked where they were going and my daughter told them, “to the cemetery to bury greatpa.” My four-year-old grandson said, “Oh, no, that means we have to dig.” My six-year-old grandson replied, “yeah, and dig a lot.” As Art Linkletter would say, “Children say the darndest things.”

Death of an Oasis

November 19th, 2011 by Forrest McClure

Water laws are complex and seem to trump all other laws. I’m pretty sure there are lawyers who specialize in water law and nothing else. In the case of Bonny Lake State Park, situated on the high eastern plains of Colorado, the law, in all of its unyielding wisdom, has killed an oasis.

I have a special affinity for Bonny. It was the destination of our very first outing in an Airstream. That, in turn, resulted in the very first article I wrote about traveling with an Airstream, titled Oasis On the High Desert Plain of Colorado, published in The Vintage Advantage, the newsletter of the Vintage Airstream Club. We love Bonny. It was created by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1951, the year I was born, for flood control of the south fork of the Republican River.

It is a 150-mile drive from our home. So, I can’t say we’ve been there every year, but almost. It is a great place for RV’ers to stop for a night or two prior to pushing on west to Denver, or east some place in Kansas. This year Patrice and I wanted to stay there for a couple of days on our way back from Texas.

The death notice came suddenly. Once the decision was made, there was little warning. Bonny Lake is a reservoir and the state began draining it on September 22, and closed it on October 1. This happened while we were traveling out of state.

I only sensed something was wrong when we got off I-70 and drove north on Highway 385. Bonny is 25 miles north of the town of Burlington. It was late in the day and one RV after another passed us going the opposite direction. I even noticed one motor home driver point us out to his wife, shake his head and laugh. I remember wondering why anyone with an RV would head away from the only state park in the area at what normally is the end of the driving day.

But we were tired from driving 417 miles, from our previous stop in Winfield, Kansas and arrived at dusk. So, perhaps I should be excused for not seeing the notice at the entrance to Bonny, but there was no ignoring the padlocked gate at the Wagon Wheel Campground. It was a puzzle though. I could see one RV parked there, so after meandering about for a few minutes I parked and walked over to knock on the door.

I didn’t need to. It was the sole remaining Park Ranger camped there with his wife. He saw me coming and came out to meet me. That’s when I got the bad news. He told me about Kansas demanding water and that the only way Colorado could give it to them was by draining the lake. Even worse, he said, was that the state actually planned to bulldoze the campgrounds – visitor center, marina, roads, RV sites, sewer, water – everything into a big hole and bury it – except for the picnic tables. Those would be saved so that they could be used in other parks.

The Ranger took pity on us and let us spend the night in the marina parking lot.

If I felt stunned, imagine how the locals felt about it. It will be devastating to their economy. Currently, the plan to bulldoze is on hold to give the county time to figure out if they have the resources to take over the campgrounds. The park though, is history. It is now officially part of the South Republican Wildlife Area and is designated a State Wildlife Area. Sounds environmentally correct, doesn’t it?

Except that, when the lake is gone, so too will everything in and around it. The surrounding forest will die. The trees were dependent on it. When they die, and they will die, the habitat that the wildlife depends on will go too. It might take a few years or maybe a decade or so, but much of the flow of the south fork of the Republican River is going to be diverted by pipeline to Kansas. At some not too distant point in the future, the river will be a dry gulch.

No longer will Snow Geese, cranes and herons and other waterfowl have this place for a rest. Eagles, hawks and owls will suffer because small game, not to mention large game, will be decimated. A letter from the State Wildlife officials dryly understated that, “The result will most likely be the loss of the entire fishery.” A fish salvage – all legal means of fishing, without limits – has been authorized in anticipation of the coming mud flats.

Just a few of the camping sites scheduled for destruction.

Rivers on the high desert plains are not like rivers say in Ohio, or any of the states east of the Mississippi. Our rivers here might not even rate a name in an eastern state, and the name would be creek, not river. The truth, I fear, is that the area in and around Bonny will return to its “natural” state – that of a desert. Sage brush, buffalo grass, cactus, and rattle snakes. I know that is what today’s environmentalist wants, but it is not without great cost and I know that I’d much rather have the man made oasis.

Luck Not Skill

October 18th, 2011 by Forrest McClure

October 11, 2011

We left Denton, Texas around 10 a.m. – an hour later than I wanted, but traffic was moderate to heavy on northbound I-35. Our destination was anywhere there might be autumn foliage.

In heavy Interstate traffic, I tow at 55 mph. I know that seems really slow, but I’m comfortable at that speed because I like keeping a generous following distance between me and the car ahead. Being vintage, none of my brakes are disk except for the front wheels of my tow vehicle. So, my breaking distance isn’t exactly exceptional. Coming to a stop from 55 is a lot easier than 60 or 65. Then there are the ST tires on my trailer that are rated for 65 mph. That maximum is only good under ideal conditions. My viewpoint is that I am never towing under ideal conditions, and though I’ve not had any problems with my tires that is likely because I keep my speed down, watch the tire pressures and temperature, and trailer weight.

I also like to drive with no music playing and, weather permitting, with the windows down. That is not what most drivers do. They drive with the stereo blasting away, texting or talking on their cell phone, windows rolled up, air conditioner blowing cold. Not only are they driving distracted, but insulated from the sounds of the road.

I used to drive like that when I was young, but when I became a police officer, I was instructed to not play music and always keep the windows cracked open a little, even in the dead of winter.  In the early Seventies, police cars only came with an AM radio anyway and that was supposed to be used to listen to news and weather reports during blizzards or other emergencies. Not that cops didn’t listen to Rock n’Roll, but really the radio was only for official use. In other words, we were supposed to listen to the police radio and for sounds of traffic and the city.

People have complained about cops being insulated by their cars for quite some time. It’s hard sometimes to flag down a passing police car because officers are going down the road in air conditioned comfort (they have to because of the body armor they wear today), sometimes typing on or reading off a computer laptop, and with the FM radio playing their favorite station. It might sound like I’m being critical of them, but I’m not. I’m just acknowledging that it’s a different time.

But I had the driving techniques I learned and used for so long serve me well. A lot of arrests resulted from my hearing a scream, a gunshot, a window breaking, or tires squealing, and I saved myself from collisions with other police cars, ambulances, or fire trucks running red lights or stop signs when we were responding to the same emergency situations.

So, my driving habits are the result of a couple of decades of experience, and I’m so used to driving that way that I’m not comfortable driving the way, “civilians” do.

That paid off for me today on I-35. A semi-tractor trailer passed us with its left inner dual rear tire making a “whump-whump-whump-whump,” sound. As he went by, I saw the tire was low on air, and remarked to Patrice that it wouldn’t be long before it would blow out. I no sooner said that and we heard a remarkably loud explosion. Not only had the inner tire disintegrated, but it blew out the outer tire as well. The carcass from one spun from one side of the road to the other in front of us. I changed lanes to avoid it, and cars behind us impatiently passed us on the right, only to have to brake hard to avoid chunks of rubber coming off the truck. One of those drivers, talking on his cell phone, nearly ran off the road. It’s amazing how much less control you have steering with only one hand.

We avoided an accident or at least kept our truck or trailer from being damaged by the tire carcass because I heard, then saw what was going to happen. That is what defensive driving is all about.

Not just good driving habits keep us out of trouble though. Right after we crossed the border from Texas into Oklahoma, we stopped for a few minutes at the visitor’s center. When we came out traffic on the interstate was backing up. Four or five miles up the road, there had been a bad accident – a man driving a pickup truck fell asleep at the wheel and rear-ended a semi-tractor trailer that had slowed for traffic. It took the fire department an hour and a half just to extricate him because his truck was crushed and trapped under the semi. Amazingly, he lived, but the accident closed down the Interstate for hours. Other vehicles were off the road, on the median or shoulder from taking evasive maneuvers. All other traffic was detoured onto side roads and it took us an hour just to go six miles.

Afterward, I wondered if our taking a short break at the visitor’s center had prevented us from being involved. Our break had only been for maybe five minutes. Time and travel speed would have put us in very close proximity if we had not taken a break. That’s a matter of luck, not skill.

Fall Travel

October 8th, 2011 by Forrest McClure
This year, we stayed home for the Summer and instead saved traveling for the Fall. So, we’re on the road now.
Our first stop was Camping World in Fountain, CO, to join with our friend, Barb Wool in a little caravan to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We again decided to get out of Denver late at night to avoid heavy traffic. That worked pretty well, but just like last time, we ran into a cone zone (line painting) and had some cars zoom ahead of us only to slam on their brakes when the lanes went from five to one. That was the only really tense moment  though, and from there it was smooth sailing.
We slept the remainder of the night at Camping World, did some shopping in the morning, and then with Barb, continued on to Trinidad Lake State Park. We’ve used this park in the past as an overnight stop. It’s not too far off the Interstate and is a pleasant, quiet place.
From there came the climb over Raton Pass and into New Mexico. We had a tail wind nearly all the way to Albuquerque that gave us a little better miles per gallon and easy driving.
Apparently, Denver doesn’t have a monopoly on heavy traffic. The last time I was in Albuquerque was 1971 when the Draft Board bused me and some other 18 year olds there from Durango, CO (where I was going to college) for our physicals. It was a much different town back then. Like Denver, it has grown dramatically.
Fortunately, we made it to Enchanted Trails RV Park on the west side of town without a problem. There we linked up with over a hundred other Airstreamers and caravanned to the Balloon Fiesta the next morning.

Airstreams lined up at Camping World for the Caravan to the Fiesta

The Fiesta was wonderful. After awhile I realized that my face hurt from smiling so much. I went crazy taking pictures (only around 850 or so), and my back and neck ached from looking up. We hope to return next year with two of our grandkids.
Unfortunately, for the Fiesta, the Airstream group only stayed four days, and we took the good weather with us when we left. The rain and wind pretty much shut everything down afterward.
From Albuquerque, Patrice and I went to Roswell. We’ve never been there before, and I really didn’t have a clue what it was like. In my mind’s eye, I thought it would be some little community with a main street a few blocks long, eking out a living from tourists wanting to see flying saucers and little green men. The reality is there is a population of around 55,000 people and tourism is just a small part of the economy. But we did get to see a few little “grey” men.

"It's true, they do exist!"

Having now seen Roswell first hand, I doubt we’ll ever return. It was kind of disappointing. We did enjoy Carlsbad Caverns though. The only time I’ve ever been there was when I was a child. I mostly remember eating in the cafeteria deep down in the cavern, and told Patrice that was something we’d do. Now there is only a small snack bar by the elevators. Apparently, the cafeteria attracted unwanted wild life (mice?) and it was closed about two years ago. I also remember the place was much more lit with lights of various colors, but now the lighting has been greatly reduced. It’s all in the name of conservation of course.
Even the drive there was significantly different because there was a fire last June that left much of the surrounding area scorched.  In all, it made me feel like I’d waited too long to visit. Things change dramatically sometimes.
Our drive across west Texas was dusty, with a 30 to 40 mph cross wind all the way to Dallas. Today, it is overcast with a possibility of rain here in Denton, but we didn’t come here to see the sights. We’re here to visit my sister for the first time in about a decade. Other than visit with her, I really just want some down time to recover, catch up on emails, write and process some of the hundreds of photos I’ve taken.
We don’t know where we’ll go from here. It might be back home, but I’d also like Patrice to see the Autumn foliage. So, we might head for Arkansas.

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.