It has been a while since I wrote in this blog space, and the reasons are many. I’ve been extremely busy managing the business during the pandemic (as has been everyone in the RV business) but more importantly I’ve been learning how to Airstream differently.
That may seem to be a non-sequitur but bear with me. Airstreaming is not one style. Some people are primarily “hub and spoke” travelers, making short trips from their home base and then returning. Others, like I have been, are long-distance travelers who depart for extended trips and only return to home after visiting many destinations.
This blog was organized around my preferred form of travel—at least in my mind. But life has changed, as it always does. For the past two years I’ve been exploring Airstreaming as “regular people” do it. With Tothie and a little dog in our new Airstream Globetrotter I’ve been taking monthly weekend trips to places nearby: Prescott, Cottonwood, Patagonia, Silver City (New Mexico), and Apache Junction.
For me, this has been a revelation. Taking the Airstream out for just 3-4 days? Packing only what I need for a weekend? Relaxing and leaving the computer behind? Spending less than $100 on gas—and making reservations instead of just winging it? It’s all entirely foreign to me, but I’ve been really enjoying it.
Like the cobbler’s children who have no shoes, for the last 15 years or so the publisher of Airstream Life magazine has rarely enjoyed a simple weekend getaway in his own Airstream. There has almost always been a work agenda or a faraway destination.
It feels almost criminal to set up the Airstream, put out the chairs, and just relax with a cold drink or a book or a pair of binoculars. I was nearly at loose ends trying to get used to the idea of waking up in the morning with plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely tea and breakfast while mellow jazz plays on the stereo, then settle in with a book instead of a laptop computer.
I found myself thinking, “Is this what other people have been doing for so long? No wonder they love their Airstreams!” And it wasn’t long before I loved mine too. We planned a trip for every month from delivery (in August 2020) to May 2021.
And then I went back to the old shtick. I allowed myself to get sucked into a bunch of obligations all over the country, starting with rallies in Wyoming and Tennessee followed by mandatory stops in Vermont, Maine, Ohio, and Michigan.
As I write this I’m four weeks into a 12 week trip that will cover more than 8,000 miles. We’ve already been to 11 states and camped in 12 different campgrounds plus two fairgrounds for the rallies, and a couple nights of courtesy parking. The bulk of July has been nothing but work and driving, and I miss those slow Saturday mornings when Tothie and I could just sit and talk over a hot beverage with no obligations calling us out of the trailer.
Our all-American road trip may sound glamorous, but let me tell you honestly that it can also be grueling. I’ve driven across this country countless times (I literally lost count after 30) and I can tell you that the romance of the road fades pretty quickly when you’re hustling to make 400 miles for the third day in a row.
So this is the last time I’ll do this. I’m putting it in writing so everyone can call me out on it if I backslide. No more cross-country trips. With Tothie and Mickey (aka little dog) I’m going to focus on short, entirely work-free, relaxing trips in the southwest. In other words, I’m at long last going to roam like most Airstreamers do: short and sweet trips at regular intervals instead of the massive expeditions of my past.
For me, Airstreaming is changing and it’s only getting better. I like the idea that this lifestyle can enter an entirely new phase and stay interesting after all the years and miles. How that impacts this blog is yet to become clear to me, but I do hope to keep documenting thoughts about the Airstream experience through this new lens of less-frenetic and ambitious travel.