Project Vintage Thunder

The latest on Project Vintage Thunder, by Airstream Life magazine. Sponsored by George M Sutton RV, Reese hitch, Dometic USA, PPG Paint, Axis Products, GSM Vehicles, and Zip-Dee. Vintage Thunder is an "honest" RV refurbishment and travelogue. We tell you what really happens ...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Oh! Canada!

We've decided to postpone our departure to the Region 1 Rally until the official rally start date, August 25. We had planned on going a day or two early, to have more time to browse Quebec. The reason for the delay is that I've been checking into our telecommunications lifelines (wireless phone and wireless Internet) and found that working in Canada with US systems is a problem.

We have two mobile phones, one on Verizon and the other on Sprint, on the theory that perhaps at least one will work most places we go. But both will charge us $0.59 or $0.69 per minute when used in Canada! That would make a horrific phone bill, considering that we typically use up 40 minutes per weekday for business reasons. And our "free nights, weekends, and IN-network calling" program doesn't apply in Canada.

Also, our Internet-in-Motion box does not currently have service in Canada. I've talked to the guys about that and they think we can get set up for service in Canada, but it won't make sense for only a five-day trip. So I'll be relying on wifi cafes instead.

With these challenges, we'll basically have to shut down the Airstream Life Corporate Headquarters for the duration of our trip to Canada and take a real vacation. So, we'll do what working people do: arrive later to the Rally, perhaps Thursday night.

The lack of Internet also means it will be tough to provide updates from the road, but I'll try to get at least one posted during the trip, with pictures of the rally site and all that gleaming aluminum parked together.

So now, with our change in departure date, the count is 15 days to go ...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gearing Up, part II

Full-timing and sitting in a campground for weeks on end is not NEARLY as interesting as traveling. When we get on the road this winter our plan is to spend a week or two in each location, explore the area, and then move on. But for now, we have more prep work to do before we are ready to head out again.

Fortunately, it's mostly good stuff. For example, after several debacles on the road during our trip to MO in July, we decided to get a GPS. I re-read the reviews Rich Charpentier wrote (online at www.airstreamlife.com/extra) and selected the Garmin c330 Street Pilot. It's sweet. Hopefully it will prevent us from ending up in Tennessee instead of Kentucky, as happened on our way back from Missouri.

We're also repacking our clothes. After sixty nights or so in Vintage Thunder, we've found what we really need and what we don't. So we made a trip to the storage unit to exchange clothing and misc. items, this weekend. '

I finally replaced that dead battery, too. Here at a full-hookup campground it doesn't matter, but when we get out on the road we'll need the battery to actually produce power once in a while. I popped in the used 105 aH battery from our 68 Caravel, since that one is getting replaced by an Optima battery anyway.

And as I've said before, the little things matter. We bought a pile of rechargeable AA batteries at Wally World. Why? Because we have two headlamps, three flashlights, a digital camera, and a beard trimmer that all use AAs. We run through them pretty quickly. We used to buy the monster pack of AA's and throw them away after use, but rechargeables make good economic sense and perform well. I have enough so that I have about eight spares ready for use at any time.

And here's one you didn't think of: we went through our Netflix list and added a bunch of movies to our queue. If you don't have Netflix that's probably Greek to you. Basically it means we have a couple of dozen DVDs selected in advance. They'll be mailed to us along the road, as we mail back the ones we've watched. I find Netflix much more convenient than trying to find the local Blockbuster video in a strange town, and with Netflix we always have three discs on hand to choose from if we feel like staying in for "movie night".

15 days to departure ...