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 ...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Amsterdam NY (Camping World)

Since we got a late start today (6 pm), we planned to drive only three hours, and stop near Albany NY. We're just off I-90 (I can hear it from our parking spot here at Camping World) and so it will be a quick overnight and back onto the highway tomorrow morning.

Except for one thing: I need a few items at Camping World, and they don't open until 10 a.m. on Sunday. Oh well, I guess it's an excuse for a leisurely breakfast before we depart.

The Voyage of 7 Months Begins!

We're off! The trailer has been re-packed with a few things added and a few things removed, we've finalized things with the post office, the dentist, the state dept of education (homeschooling), the insurance companies, and a thousand other details. We've even sent in our $10 dues to be members of the WBCCI Full-Timers' Intraclub.

First stop is somewhere in the Adirondacks tonight. We won't be leaving our campground in Vermont until late this afternoon, so I expect to drive less than three hours. We hope to arrive in Ohio by Monday sometime, but I'll have to post later and update that because we really don't have a firm itinerary. We're just going to wing it, with the goal of being in Jackson Center by Tuesday or so.

Today, we just need to get things hitched up, pack a few last-minute items, and go to a final family luncheon at 2 pm. Everyone thinks that just because we are heading off (and don't plan to be back for at least six months, except for Christmas) that we're falling off the edge of the Earth. Really, we're as close as our mobile phones and email, and anytime we need to come back to Vermont we can hop a plane and be there in a few hours. But it's nice to have a send-off.

If you stay tuned into this blog you'll hear more about the final trip of Vintage Thunder, and I'll post some pictures of the new Tour of America trailer later next week. In about two weeks, this blog will come to an end, and I'll switch over to the new Tour of America blogsite (to be announced)!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Fifth Avenue on Wheels

I'm sitting in JFK airport as I type this ... awaiting yet another connection on a food-less, cramped, noisy, and illness-inducing commercial flight.

Traveling via air is not as much fun as it used to be, at least for me. Sitting in coach with a bag wedged between my feet, trying to find a moment of peace between endless interruptions "from the cockpit" and a well-meaning crew of flight attendants, well, it's not much fun. I have come to dread every step of the process: check-in lines, removing my shoes, struggling with the overhead bin, having the operation of a seat belt explained to me, baggage claim ...

Even though air is faster (usually), traveling by road is more enriching. Traveling by road, I get to spend time with my wife and daughter, which I like. I get to stop and see new things. And I travel like a king: with all the comforts of home beside me, or handily stashed in the rolling yacht behind me.

Saved on my computer I have a radio interview with Wally Byam from 1954. In it, Wally is asked why he would want to travel by trailer, and he replies, "Oh my goodness, it's the finest way in the world to travel. You see, with a trailer you have all your things with you. Why, there's my long distance radio, and there's my record player, and we have wonderful beds, and we have a good shower and toilet and bath. My wife has a wonderful little kitchen with a refrigerator, and gas heat, and gas cooking ... and we have everything with us. We call it traveling with 'Fifth Avenue on Wheels'."

Fast-forward to today, and Wally would be talking about his laptop, his mobile Internet connection, his CD changer, and undoubtedly other little bits of gadgetry that caught his fancy. (Wally was a gadget man, by all accounts.) But even with modern devices, he'd still extoll the comfort afforded by having "all your things with you."

Wally knew what he was talking about. Some things never change. Seeing America on your own terms, free to "move about the cabin", sharing the experience, the thrill of the unknown -- it all has an appeal and mystique that has been relentlessly pounded out of air travel. It's still the finest way in the world to travel, Wally. If I don't need to get there today, I'll take my Airstream.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Prepping for the Final Trip

Uh, by the headline I don't mean "final trip" as in a trip across the River Styx, but just the last trip of the Project Vintage Thunder blog. Don't get worried.

We had some technical problems with the blog this week, which caused the blog to revert to our September 1 posting. I finally got a chance to get online and fix it today. Just another one of those Internet glitches. It had to do with our recent switchover to a new web host, which is part of the necessary preparation for the upcoming Tour of America.

I'm posting this from Florida, where I flew down to attend an unofficial rally being held by some friends. We revisited the Sunshine Skyway, where you might recall Vintage Thunder spent a night last March (see blog archives for pictures and details), and Fort Desoto -- a favorite camping spot.

We've got less than a week to prepare for the trip to Jackson Center. Many things to do, so I'll hit the ground running when I get home tomorrow. Vintage Thunder is nearly ready. On Wednesday I ran around town doing a few errands to complete our prep.

One thing still on the glitch list was the battery box lock. The metal tongue on the lock was a bit short, so occasionally the battery box door would fall open. I rigged up a temporary fix with a piece of a plastic knife and some blue tape, when we were on the road to Missouri, and it worked, but obviously wasn't too professional. A visit to the locksmith gave us a better fix, and while I was at it I had the lock re-keyed so now the battery box and the water fill can be opened with one key. Fewer keys on the keyring is always a good thing...

I'll post a few more entries in the next two weeks. I've got another minor fix to do on the front window gasket, which I plan to document this week. Then we'll post from the road.