When you ask, “How are things?” some people respond after measuring how much stability they’ve had in their lives lately. If things have been predictable, safe, and settled, they say, “Not bad” or something to that effect.
Another group of people disregard the predictable and measure the “delta” — in other words, how much things have changed in their lives lately. They say, “Not bad” if life has been interesting, challenging, or if they have some sort of new & different project going on. My friends tend to be mostly this type. It’s not because of any conscious choice, it’s just that I like things to change and there is often a mutual attraction between people who like to mix it up a little from time to time.
When things are happening, I’ve got stuff to blog about, and when things are not happening I start thinking about going somewhere to find something new. The recent dry spell in this blog tells you that either (a) not much is happening in my life, or (b) things are happening that I just can’t talk about. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not (a). Life continues to be interesting, but in a sort of home-bound soap opera way instead of fun travel stories that make readable public blog fodder. I have often thought that I should offer a “subscription” blog with the really juicy stuff, but upon reflection I’ve decided you probably don’t want to read it. Whatever you are imagining right now is probably about as interesting as the reality anyway.
The biggest news is that as of today my new book, “The Newbies Guide to Airstreaming” is officially complete and off to the printer. Wow, that was a lot of work. It should be ready for distribution sometime in April, but if you have a Kindle you should be able to download and read it by Monday, March 21. I’m also working on an edition for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch and hope to have that ready in a week or two, if Apple cooperates.
The folks at Airstream have read preview copies and they seem to like it. They tell me they will include a copy with every new Airstream, which I hope helps smooth the way into our community for lots of people. Getting feedback from reader for a revised second edition should be interesting, but I’m looking forward more to the chance to start work on the next book, which will be completely different. I don’t know for sure what I’m going to say, but I do have a general idea of the theme, and I’ll talk about that more in a future blog. Getting going on that project is something I’m looking forward to doing this summer.
Lately I find myself in the role of Airstream advisor to many people. I don’t know how I got this job, but I’m a sucker for it. I never seem to be able to say No, even when things are fantastically busy. It’s probably because I meet the most interesting people this way. In the past few weeks I have been approached by a well-known author, and a semi-famous soap opera actor, both of whom have found themselves needing an Airstream for very specific purposes. There have been several other folks as well. I wish I had a fleet of Airstream to sell and/or lend out, but I don’t have the time or space, so instead I’ve been just offering advice and directing them to people who can help. Finding “just the right one” is a time-consuming process, like finding the ideal mate. Ye gods, I’ve become a matchmaker. Call me Shadchen.
The other major activity in life has been to finalize Alumapalooza. There’s another labor of love. I am truly glad that we are approaching our limit of 200 trailers (we have just 8 spaces left as of today). It has been a fun process to try to make APZ 2011 better than the original, but also a bit exhausting. At this point I’m not even trying to sell the last few spaces — I’m sure they will sell themselves soon enough. The entertainment is arranged, the speakers are about 80% set, we’ve got the tents, catering, signs, t-shirts, A/V setup, tiki torches, door prizes, mud boots (whoops, forget I mentioned that last one) … you name it, we’ve got it. There are only about two dozen things left to do before I can comfortably say that the job is done … and by then I’m sure it will be time to head off to Ohio.
A lot of people have asked me what we plan to do to deal with higher fuel prices this summer. I tend to just shrug. We can’t make our rig significantly more fuel efficient than already is, and we already tow at a fairly moderate 62 MPH (except in west Texas). If I need to spend less on fuel, we delete miles — simple as that. Two years ago, when we were facing $5/gallon gasoline in remote parts of Utah, we simply spent more time at each stop and towed no more than 70 miles per travel day. This year we have to go to Vermont and I can’t make Vermont come any closer, so the only fix is to optimize the routing as best we can.
If things work out well, we’ll be traveling with or meeting friends at various points of the trip, and that will probably make the fuel prices seem less painful, as the bigger significance of having fun and adventures becomes apparent. As I’ve said many times, it’s not about the towing — it’s about the stopping. A trip to the northeast will cost about $700-800 in fuel each way, but it’s still a bargain. We’ll be out for nearly a month, visiting at least ten states. I’m not going to complain about the extra $300 or so it costs for an experience like that. It’s “delta-making” stuff; the stuff I thrive on, and the reason we own that big shiny thing in the carport. They’ll have to raise the price quite a lot before I decide to stay home.