1966 Airstream

Restoring aluminum on an iron chassis

Archive for the 'Camping Trips' Category

July 23 Fed Dub to Coeur D’ Alene

All good trips must come to a beginning, so we left home around 11 AM for a 5 hour and 40 minute drive across I-90. Airstream. Check. Passports. Check. Two children. Check. We were taking the long/scenic way to Sicamous, British Columbia, Canada. It was raining hard when we left, and continued to rain until we were headed down Snoqualmie Pass. We stopped in Ellensberg, WA for fruit: doughnut peaches and apricots. I encountered my first can of Cougar Gold, a cheese made at Washington State University that is stored in a can. I really wanted to buy it. According to the sign, it could last 10 days at temperatures under 70 degrees, and then needed to be refrigerated. I wasn’t sure that the Cougar Gold tin can would survive our Airstream tin can, so I left without it. Next time. As we passed Moses Lake, the rain started again and also brought it’s fine friends: lightening, wind and more wind. We enjoyed watching giant tumbleweeds that looked like hedgehogs racing across the desert attempt to cross the road in front of us. They were fanatastic. I wanted to collect one, with visions of hanging lights on it at Christmas. But I didn’t have space for a large, wet tumbleweed and wasn’t sure about attempting to get it through US-Canada customs twice (My apricots wound up confiscated and in a freezer at the Port , Idaho border crossing. The freezer was large, but not large enough for the tumbleweed) And the winds were blowing like crazy, so it would have been hard to catch a tumbleweed. We continued to watch them blow by while we waited out the storm in Ritzville, Washington.


The next scheduled stop was a Wal Mart. Since this is a blog about restoring our 1966 Airstream, I must mention that the toilet/sewer/bathroom system is not restored. We normally use the campground restrooms/outhouses, so it is not a problem. Our destination in Sicamous is a ranch owned by my husband’s cousin, so the Canadian felt like we should equip ourselves. He made his first recreational, legal pot purchase. At Wal Mart, none the less.



We arrived at Blackwell Island RV Park near downtown Coeur D’ Alene. We were in site # 180. It was a very large rv park with all the hookups, laundry, and showers/restrooms. There was a play structure, the kind you would have been jealous of if it had been in your friend’s backyard. The RV park was near a highway, so not exactly peaceful, but the traffic continued at such a pace overnight that it was almost white noise.

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Heading Home

On our long drive back from Prosser, we stopped at the Market.


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Bill’s Berry Farm and Goldendale Observatory

Bill’s Berry Farm is located in Grandview, WA. July 5, 2014 was the Blueberry Festival, and you can’t beat a good Blueberry Festival (Though they do try. The previous weekend they held a Cherry Festival, and I also believe that there is an Apple Festival and perhaps even a Pumpkin Festival in the fall. ) The drive from Wine Country RV Park to Bill’s was very scenic, through orchards and vineyards, though I would be amiss if I did not mention that Bill’s is located next to all the olfactory wonder that is a dairy farm. You don’t notice the smell anymore after a while. The scent of homemade blueberry doughnuts just takes over and transports you to..well, a blueberry farm wonderland. There was a five dollar parking charge at the farm, but no charge to enter, per say. The farm was very family friendly. They had a playground with the most awesome swings overlooking a vineyard. Here is my attempt to take a picture of the beautiful view as I swung at the highest point:


The playground also had a fantastic caterpillar made out of old tractor tires. We spent a good bit of time swinging, playing, climbing on an old tractor and then put the kids on the barrel train that pulled them through the blueberry (fields? Orchard? What do you call the place where blueberries grow?) . We were the only parents that jogged down another row of blueberries to catch up with the train. My daughter then gleefully took her first pony ride. She was placed on a petite pony. My son was placed on the biggest horse. After the rides, we did some u-picking. We picked about 4 pounds of blueberries and five pounds of cherries. Which turned out to be the perfect amount for eating and bringing home without having to do any baking. If the sun is hot, go pick cherries. The trees make excellent shade.

We went back for a hot nap in the airstream. It was time to store up some energy for the hour and a half drive to and late night at the Goldendale Observatory in Goldendale, WA. We left around 7:30 and drove through the mint fields of Toppenish, WA. (Previously, I took a trip to one of the best places on earth:The Ritter Sport Factory in Germany. They had a world map. You could push a button and the place on a map where they sourced a certain ingredient showed up…There mint came from Washington. I have smelled it. I believe). We drove up a windy road and reached the observatory. It is easy to imagine a childhood hero running through the forest that surrounds the observatory to send a message to E.T or another friendly alien (though I don’t think that is actually a service they offer). The observatory is a state park open to the public. It has an excellent view, one of those round domes with a sliding window, and a very large telescope. I felt very scientific and kind of important as I climbed a ladder up about 5 feet to look into the viewfinder at the moon. My son actually was kind of important, because he was chosen to operate the lap top computer that moved the telescope and aimed it at Saturn. A few years have passed since I looked at anything astronomical through any telescope, and technology seems to have made finding the celestial objects a bit easier. It was unmistakably Saturn (he found it!), with glorious rings. The helpful park rangers also had smaller telescopes outside. We saw craters on the moon, and Mars. We saw a binary system and a double double. As it got darker, they aimed telescopes deeper and deeper into space, and Shay and I saw a stellar nursery where new stars are born. At 11 PM, my family was tired. I plan to return to the observatory in the winter, when it is dark at 6:00 PM.

View from the Goldendale Observatory at Sunset:



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Wine Country RV Park


Fourth of July Weekend was time for another Eastern Washington adventure. I was excited to find a spot at Wine Country RV Park, because I neglected to plan ahead and was looking around for a space at the last minute. I had seen this park (from the highway) and was excited to give it a try. It was actually rather peaceful for a place visible from the highway. The neighboring property, under construction (my husband thinks that it is a tasting room in progress), was continuously watering their large pile of top soil with the kind of sprinkler that inspired the dance move, so the sprinkler sound kind of drowned out (pun intended) the highway noise. Add the running sprinkler to the evening chirping of crickets, and the hum of the portable fan that we could plug in due to electrical hookups, and these are the sounds of summer for this Oklahoma girl.

To celebrate the Fourth, we joined to the Prosser, WA kiddie parade. Ella was pulled along on her scooter by me, the patriotic hunchback, because it involved some hunching to keep her two year old body upright, and Shay rode his bike. Some candy was thrown and all was right in the world. After the parade, we played Bingo in the city park. It was Shay’s first experience with Bingo. It was actually great game. I am not sure he would have had the number recognition skills a year ago, but away he went covering the correct numbers. First grade was good to him. Luck was good to me, I won twice, and walked away with $7.75 in my pocket (minus $5.00 total at 50 cents per card. Net winnings/wine fund=$2.25)

Three family members napped in the airstream. July naps in the desert in the Airstream are rather warm. Wine Country RV Park is within walking distance of several tasting rooms, so I may have visited a few. Sit down tastings are all the rage now, instead of standing up at the bar, you sit at a table and they bring you the wine. (I visited 3 wineries, two were offering “sit down tastings” 2 out of a non-random sample size=all the RAGE to this statistician). Anyway, I needed a friend! I didn’t know what to do with all the quiet and alone time. So I drank the wine. I regret not trying the chicken salad with peaches and jalepeno on a cucumber slice at Milbrandt Vineyards. I also visited Gamache Vintners and Bunnel Vineyards. I spent my wine fund, and returned to join the family for a swim in the RV park pool. It is rare to find water warm enough for my tastes in Pacific Northwest Summers, but this one was just right.

Somehow, the family managed to stay awake for the fireworks in Prosser, Washington. I did start to wonder about fireworks shows. There are a lot of small towns. There just can’t be enough “professional” fireworks people to go around on the Fourth of July. It seems there is some skill involved with selecting fireworks, lighting them, and safety. I guess every town needs a pyromanic, and that person should probably join the Rotary Club since they put on the fireworks presentation. My civic recommendation of the day.

Here we are at Wine Country RV Park. The very moist dirt pile is visible in the lower right.


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2013 Roslyn Vintage Trailer Rally

For Mother’s Day, my husband took me camping. For Father’s Day, it was only fair to return the favor. Besides, my destiny was calling: the 2013 Roslyn Vintage Trailer Rally. If you happen to know my age and my last name, you will understand why this was my destiny. A family reunion of sorts. Not knowing exactly what to expect, we packed for a weekend of hanging out in a park and walks through a small town. There was a competition in numerous-categories for the best-outfitted trailers. I had several ideas for trailer themes but in the end, I kind of gave up on it. I decided my theme was family fun with my 2 kids also known as “survival”. I packed a pair of overalls that I wore as a toddler (size 24 months) for my daughter to keep with the vintage theme. They were denim and she was constantly mistook for a boy. I threw in my son’s lemonade stand supplies (two failed attempts last summer,,,but I keep the supplies at the ready). I packed some mid-century silver wear that my in-laws gave us imagining that I could set the table for a little ambiance, but it never left the rubbermaid crate of supplies. All packed up, We were on our way Friday after work

Roslyn, Washington is a lovely small town on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. Not too far east, tt has more trees than most of Eastern Washington and a bit of altitude. The city allowed the trailers to converge in their city park. We arrived around 8:30 PM, and there were trailers everywhere, somewhat haphazardly scattered all over the park. A nice guy walking a dog told us we could park wherever we wanted, and mentioned something about a lot of beer. We drove straight in and parked in the middle of the park, next to a 1968 Airstream. After wandering around, we determined that per vintage trailer rally etiquette we probably parked too close to this family but they were very nice about it. Our trailer did create some shade that thankfully they took full advantage of. My son also took full advantage of the two brothers in that trailer as new playmates. We took a bit of a walk (to the bathrooms), and then it was time to put my daughter to bed. I fell asleep, too. Which was good because she was up before 6 AM. We still managed to diddle the morning away:making oatmeal, changing diapers, reading. Most folks were up early anyway, since the sun rises at 4 AM. So, we packed things away in our trailer like never before. We did the dishes. We UNCOVERED the upholstery. And then we opened up the door, and people come in, and vice verse, we got to peek in other trailers. Here is what I learned: 1. Airstreams are like fingerprints, no two are exactly alike. 2. There are many cute vintage trailers that I can’t name but the Shastas were particularly adorable. 3. People bring all manner of vintage items to sell “swap meet” style..I resisted but I like old lanterns and there was the cutest set of metal play dishes that I passed up. 4. Some people go all out with their trailers. I saw a working pot-belly stove in one, an Oklahoma themed one, lots of pink, yellow, lavender, and turquoise, and lots of polished aluminum. I got our key stuck in the doorknob, and Derek had to pull out the whole cylinder. This lead to a conversation with a guy  who was practically a co-worker that lead to my husband the finding a new Airstream doorknob at a lock shop a few blocks from our house for 200 dollars less than it goes for on the internet. Whew!

Let the family fun begin: Afternoon arrived, and my son set up his lemonade stand and had a record breaking day of sales! We were in close proximity to a playground. It had some old-school monkey bars that I will spend more time writing about soon.  We spent a lot of time on that playground. My daughter likes to sit in camping chairs! Anyway, the day ended with a potluck. There were lots of yummy salads which upped my normal camping veggie intake. I fell asleep early and again missed an opportunity to see the moon and the stars.

People started packing up on Sunday, in fact, we were one of the last trailers to leave. We took a walk to Ronald, WA on the Coal Trail…a path that was a former coal railway line. We went to the Sunday farmer’s market and back for some more ice cream. Incidentally, I got the best photo of our camper to date as it was uncovered and uncluttered and bright due to the appearance of the sun…probably why I can’t stop gushing.All dressed up...the interiorRoslyn 2013 Vintage Trailer Rally

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Spring Thaw

We kicked off the camping season a bit early in March 2013. By a bit early, I mean that we did not fill the water tank with water for fear it might freeze.  We added to the list of places that I have visited in Washington State that I can’t pronounce: Dosewallips State Park. When we left the park on Sunday aftenoon, it was forty-something degrees. We have temporarily replaced the 1966 propane fridge with a small dorm-sized electric fridge bolted to the ground. By temporarily, I mean that we may get this fridge unbolted and replaced just in time for my 6 year old son to take it to college. With an electrical hookup, it works pretty well, especially compared to the propane fridge that didn’t work at all. A few weekends later, we visited Ike Kinswa State Park (#2 on the list of places in WA state I can’t pronounce), which was on a lake and considerably warmer. We even saw the sun! It was heret hat we broke the lock on the door. Something that should have been a square mechanism had gone round…This proved to be a difficult problem to solve. Parts are not longer available, but you can replace it with something that is expensive and doesn’t actually fit. This culminated in my husband spending a lot of time in the basement with a dremmel tool. ( Lists to start: Tools I can’t spell), and wa-la! The lock works. I was involved in a critical decision: what color to paint the doorknob. I should have said silver, but if you see an old Airstream with a robin’s egg blue doorknob cruising down the road, know that it is mine.

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