Never say never is my new mantra! If you had told me 50 years ago, or even 10, that we would travel across the states in a trailer, I’d have belly-laughed. I’ll admit that in the last couple of years we had “entertained” the idea of purchasing an Airstream for our first cross country trip. However, after sticker shock and reality checking, we instead set out in my Prius (really practical, you might say) for our 5-week adventure.
So, who or what is Silver Streak? She is the vintage (as in 1972) Airstream “Land Yacht” we purchased sight unseen from friends of our daughter, Emily, and son-in-law, Andy in Seattle. In late June, we got a call from Emily saying, “we know you’ve given up on the Airstream idea, but our friends are moving to London and have to sell their Airstream and the car that tows it – just thought I’d mention it…” Of course she sent a video, inside and out and from all angles and we were hooked. Andy spent several hours with the owner going over her personality, the ins and outs; for good measure, they took it camping for a weekend with baby Connor followed by another eager tester, older daughter, Carrie, her husband, Phil, and 2-year-old Greg. All proclaimed she would be a great buy and loving new member of the family. So, what could innocent loving parents do but make an offer!
We haven’t looked back! Labor Day found us flying to Denver for our annual visit to Steamboat Springs with two other couples, driving to Ketchum, Idaho via Jackson, Wyoming for Ron’s annual “men’s outing”. That left me to fly to Seattle to spend 5 days both babysitting for Greg (mom and dad took an anniversary weekend away) and to help with baby Connor whose mom was traveling for a few days. Ron appeared the day before we needed to begin our travels home (time sensitive because of a business dinner in Aspen and opening night of our wonderful Portland Symphony Orchestra). Andy met Ron at the airport and drove him directly to the storage unit for the Airstream – total emersion was the best way to commit! After learning the ropes of hooking up and feeling for the first time the impact of towing (and making wide right-hand turns), Andy and Ron sent word they were about to arrive in front of Carrie and Phil’s house so we could go out there and stand in 3 adjacent car spaces! The rest of the afternoon was spent going over again the pre-tow, the tow, and the post-tow procedures, equipping and provisioning, and then just mustering up courage for our early morning departure. The kids were great, very helpful and loving as we pulled of North 48th Street, Seattle, on Monday, September 15, 2014! Ron at the wheel, Sally almost immediately warning of a wider turn onto Meridian – alas, not soon enough and over the curb we went. However, nothing damaged other than our egos and off we lumbered to 50th and then on to I-5 South. Our adventure had begun!!!
“So, I want to blog”, says Ron as we were reflecting on our anticipated road trip. No problem, I think, wondering how he thinks this might happen. Then I realize, of course, that’s his way of asking me to do the research on how to set up a blog site! Thus begins our road trip prep…
Road trip – what does that mean? I guess a lot of different things depending on who you ask. For me, it means getting in the car and heading West, off main highways, with no particular agenda but being open to whatever inspires us. “You’re headed to Colorado, Idaho and Montana? Why don’t you fly to Denver and rent a car there!” is the oft heard comment when describing our plans to drive cross country. Others have volunteered that RV’s are the way to go – we even considered that approach, but AirStream was the only trailer my traveling buddy would consider -the equivalent to buying a condo – so we’re back to the car idea.
This will be my fourth road trip actually and although Ron has been on one with me, it wasn’t in his bucket list for sure. I kept thinking there must be a way to make it fun for him, so I tried out a couple of themes: “blue highways and green fairways” was one that began to get his attention. In the end, however, it was the “lure” of fly fishing that captured his imagination and his commitment to a 5-week adventure.
Here’s the plan, such as it is: we will head to Steamboat Springs to spend 4 days with longtime friends before heading on to Ketchum, ID where Ron will meet his buddies for their annual “spike, hike and strike” outing. This gives me the perfect excuse to fly on to Seattle to get my grand baby fix before rejoining Ron in Ketchum. From there it is on to Stanley, ID to stay with my first cousin Ann and her husband. After that, we begin more of the “traveler” vs. tourist mode.
We agreed to focus on just Idaho and Montana this time; even then, I am sure there won’t be enough days. Ron’s has a request in for 3 days at a fishing ranch; I would like to revisit the West entrance of Yellowstone, having worked one summer during college years at Lake Hotel in Yellowstone. Other than that, we hope to catch a few mountain golf courses, hike some trails in one of the many scenic areas, and fish a stream here and there, picnic by some amazing rivers, or be surprised by something that catches our eye.
Although I am posting this first entry as establisher of the blog site, Ron will be drawn to reflect on a more regular basis than I…we’ll see how it goes. I expect we will learn a lot about what it means to be on a road trip and may have some insights after the fact or along the way. So, please come along for the ride or stop in occasionally, whatever suits you…and, keep the home fires burning! Sally