The Airstream is happy. It traveled about 2,000 miles from Tucson to Jackson Center OH without incident. Being a bit rushed, the trip didn’t encompass a lot of great overnight spots, but we did manage to take in two state parks (Twin Bridges in OK, and Onondaga Cave in MO) … and two Cracker Barrels and a Wal-Mart. So overall, it was successful.
We landed in Jackson Center a day earlier than planned, Friday, and most of the key staff also were in early, so pre-event work has been reasonably light. Just the usual stuff: marking & flagging the field, pre-inspection of the water and electric, organizing, etc. In between actual work, the Terra Port has been busy with maintenance and socializing. Most people are socializing and enjoying the spectacularly nice weather. People are trying out Jackson Center’s new restaurant (replacing the Verandah, which closed a while back), or buying baked goods from the Amish couple across the street. E&E and I walked downtown for ice cream one night, and I see Matt & Beth scooting around on their folding bikes, Emma and Kathryn are zooming around doing young teenager things, there’s a lot of chit-chat under the awnings, etc. But Brett and I have also been spending time ticking off items on our accumulated “bug lists,” with the assistance of Super Terry.
Our Airstream’s list included replacing the leaking toilet bowl seal, fixing a couple of latches, cleaning and adjusting the water heater, and inspecting the disc brakes. Nothing too major, but the toilet bowl seal isn’t really an appetizing job and of course we had to work around loss of the bathroom and hot water while those things were being serviced. As always, I learned a few things watching, er, “assisting” Super Terry on those jobs. Doing the water heater in particular was useful because I afterward I was able to finally finalize that section of my Maintenance Guide with first-hand knowledge.
Upon inspection we found the disc brakes to be in perfect condition, and the Michelin LTX tires are also looking good. The tires don’t show much wear compared to last year’s inspection about 10,500 miles ago, but they should probably be replaced later this year just on the basis of age.
Brett’s motorhome needed some new radiator hoses (and because they run all the way to the water heater in the back, there’s a LOT of hose), and a few other tweaks, so he was underneath it for the better part of a day, and then with Super Terry he replaced the main awning fabric too.
There are two things you can be sure of when Airstream maintenance is happening at a rally: (1) There will be a lot of tool-swapping, as people borrow what they need from neighbors; (2) A crowd will gather for any interesting mechanical procedure. At this point we are all used to it, so it’s completely expected and fine when people show up and make themselves at home on a chair to watch you work. At least six people got a good look at my toilet once it was out on the bench for the seal replacement. (It’s amazing what we find interesting.) It’s actually very nice because at any point if you need a tool or supply, someone in the group will get it from their truck for you. Saves trips to the hardware store. But I did think that we are some sort of weird people who want to spend Memorial Day weekend working on our trailers in a parking lot.
Now it’s Monday, Memorial Day, and the pre-Alumapalooza vibe is gelling. As this writing the Terra Port is full with event staff and Airstream service customers, and there are another seven Airstreams with attendees boondocking in the Service Center parking lot. Another 15-20 will show up later today, and we’re going to have a cookout (courtesy of Airstream) on the grass this evening. Tomorrow at 9 a.m., we’ll open the main field for parking, weather permitting.
Right now conditions are excellent. We’ve had temperatures in the low 80s daily, nice light breezes, cool evenings, and hardly even a cloud much less rain. This means the field is dry and ready to hold 100+ Airstreams on Tuesday, even if we do a get some rain during the day tomorrow. This is a far cry from a couple of years ago when it rained for weeks prior to the event and the ground was so wet we had to park trailers on asphalt while we were waiting for the mud to settle, and for days afterward some spots were still flooded.
So our luck is holding. All the signs are in place for a very successful Alumapalooza 5. Check Twitter for @alumaevents or #APZ5 for updates and photos, and also the Alumapalooza Facebook page. We should have regular postings all week there.