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Old 07-31-2012, 07:33 PM   #43
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From Panel Truck to Airstream in 40 years

AND LIFE MOVES ON

GT1963: You certainly set the bar high. As I stated near the first of the month I was leery of submitting anything mainly b/c I can’t put my thoughts to paper and it seem cohesive. Never been good at writing and at this point in my life, probably never will. However you did plant that seed (and thus reap what you sow). I thought about your theme, then put it on the back burner as an excuse not to participate this month. Well yesterday morning, after a long hard night (I work graveyard) I sat on the porch swing on the patio taking in the natural setting we enjoy in the country; watching the raccoons scurrying off into the woods, the wild turkeys returning for their morning feast....., and various other wildlife carry on with the start of a new day. As I slug down a cold brew (it’s in the mid to high 80’s already) I look in a distant corner of the property and there sits the rusted out remnants of a 1950’s panel truck. The memories it brings back on this particular day are bittersweet to say the least, it was the 6th anniversary of my dad’s passing. The seed you planted GT1963...., well I guess it’s sprouted. My musings are not intended to win anything, but rather just a matter of my purging. So I ask that everyone bear with me as the following discourse is really nothing more than soliloquy, and my attempt to put random scraps or “snapshots” so to speak, of my life to “paper”.

It is April, 1967. Even at 10 I knew something was up. It was still raining that late spring in the Sonoma wine country and yet dad was busy with construction of some sort in his 1950ish panel truck. Building a raised platform using as much scrap lumber he could get his hands on, that was set just above the wheel wells. Plywood laid on top, not nailed down for easy access to that area created below. Then in a matter of days we were living the high-life (from the eyes of a kid, anyway)... Yeehaw! Yanked from school without reason and on the road, to go camping....., CAMPING! What could be a better combination, my favorite activity and NOT being in school. Could life get any better? Our destinations were usually known, but again, this was different. Packed like sardines in a tin can, along with my six siblings (each with our own sleeping bags, and bundles of clothes) and no knowledge as to our destination. Our only link to the outside world was the two smallish windows in the back double doors, and no explanation as to why or where we were going. To pass time we took turns looking out those windows trying to guess where we were going. At long last our foremost questions were answered about three hours later. As we poured out of the back of the panel truck we began to look at our snow covered surroundings in the El Dorado National Forest. At that time, we probably looked like the modern version of a family straight out of the pages from the novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Of course as kids we didn’t know any better, or cared less. I immediately noticed something right out of a sci-fi book. A trailer, all shiny and silver. I had never seen anything like it before. It was hard to get a good look, because of its distance and blockage of pines, however, it was my mission to discover this anomaly, but mom said to leave “THOSE” people alone. After a few days of “making it my business”, I knew it was an Airstream, however the couple that owned it wasn’t overly friendly (looking at us..., go figure), and I never got a good look at the inside. However from that moment in time, like a shot from the doctor, I was inoculated with a bad case of aluminumitis..... (it was decades later we learned that trip was because dad was on the lam, owed too much and made too little)...... (sorry, no pictures from this, all were few and far between and when pictures were taken, they were slides, which are packed away in a box in one of six other states, and who knows where)....., and life moved on.

In August of 1985: I introduced my new bride to the adventures of camping. A three week primitive camping honeymoon excursion; a two man pup tent out of the back of a 1983 Ford Ranger, from Austin, TX to the Grand Canyon, the four corner states and back. Yeah....., my new bride was a real trouper........, probably thinking “Yeehaw my A$$”! However “will and determination” were with her, she was not to be shown up by my sense of adventure. Camping became a permanent part of our lives...., and life moved on.

It was May, 2004. At the onset of this family trip, we didn’t know it would be our last camping adventure in a tent. In a campground near Fall Creek Falls, TN. My girls never knew camping to be anything other than in a tent. Of course they were not as naive as I was, and they knew there were a plethora of travel trailers out there, but.... in a tent, that was camping. Over that weekend our tent and site were destroyed by a close encounter with a tornado, and thus closed the book on camping as we knew it....., and life moved on.

We never had a trailer as I grew up, nor as an adult. No pop up, no SOB, nothing but tents, however after our last camping disaster, I began a campaign to buy a travel trailer, but not just any, an Airstream. After two years of endless debates and searches, in May of 2006 following what seemed to be an endless discussion on SOB’s, pop-ups, etc. my “will and determination” prevailed. I had never forgot that first sighting in 1967, and aluminumitis had been festering in me for years, and Little Bride reluctantly gave in to the Airstream idea (her objection was mainly because we had never had a trailer, her concerns about our liking/adjusting to trailer life, and of course the huge amount of money for a new one) and suggested I choose wisely, because it would be the only one we would ever own, (gee, does that sound familiar to anyone?) Well we bought a 2005 31’ Classic. We had to have it towed from Ohio to Cleveland, as in TN, as we didn’t have a tow vehicle. Geez, talk about buying the cart before the horse. Well, it sat in our driveway about six weeks before I decided on a tow vehicle. We did “camp” in it as it set in the driveway while searching for the T/V. Sidenote, the dealership gave us little (read as none-what-so-ever!) information regarding towing and/or hitches. Shortly after buying the truck, our first official trip was planned, and we arrived pretty much unannounced at a WBCCI rally just outside of Knoxville. We arrived, and as I got out of the truck like the cock of the walk, we were literally immediately swarmed by the members of that unit, sternly reprimanding us about our towing... basically b/c we arrived with the Airstream hitched right up to the ball on the truck bumper. I don’t know of any other time I was more embarrassed, no more "the cock of the walk".... rather the one who wanted to crawl under a rock. Seriously, I knew nothing regarding towing, and knew no one that did. The unit members, giving us volumes of information and advice on all things Airstream, including but not limited to proper towing (we got a Hensley before trip #2). On that first trip, one of our daughters said that “this isn’t camping, it’s a hotel room on wheels!”. I offered to let her use her sleeping bag and sleep outside, however she declined...., and life moved on.

Presently: Little Bride loves and embraces Airstreaming (of course I always knew she would, and it sure beats primitive pup tent camping). We had made many friends that first weekend and joined that unit, and affirm all who educated us. Albeit I still have a lot to learn, although I am glad to say I’ve even helped “newbies”. I can’t get a current picture with the entire family, as one daughter lives in Knoxville embarked on her own life, having just graduated from UT Knoxville (with occasional visits to hotel M & D), and the other living in Johnson City - halfway through her BS RN (and taking quite a course load this summer). We haven’t made too many changes to the Airstream except fill it with several lifetimes of memories. Enjoying it the way it is. We’ve (properly) towed to many unit rallies and a multitude of places spanning 18 states across the US, and have made many new friends with Airstreams since that first trip. We are also looking forward to many more adventures to come...... As I sat there on the patio and poped the top off another brew, reminiscing, I finally smiled, raise the bottle to toast, and I quietly said “thanks dad, for the transition from that panel truck (200 feet away in the weeds and 40 years later) to an iconic aluminum trailer in the driveway.....”, and life moves on!

Pictures 1 & 2: The Panel Truck.
Picture 3: Little Bride in '85 on mustang island with the two man pup tent.
Picture 4: The Trailer just delivered to us from Ohio.
Pictures 5,6 & 7. Our first real camping trip. Note picture 7, no hitch (what was I thinking?)
Pictures 8,9 & 10. Current picture of Little Bride and I, and the most current pictures of our girls. (our dog, Rex Millenium - dog of the century (the girls named him b/c he was born in 2000), is no longer with us either .

GT1963: I hope this at least helps ease your pain, and hope it isn't too long.

Terry.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:45 PM   #44
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Bravo!!!

Oh WOW I'm thrilled to see a few more entries - and I will leave this contest open till Midnight for those in different time zones. (have been on a deadline myself these last few days and will get to reading the last entries later tonight...)

I will check in first thing in the morning and take the day to concentrate on all the submissions....

Thanks again for those stepping unto the challenge....

For those who are still in the hum and ha stage - YOU CAN DO IT! - there is STILL time...remember you don't have to write your first novel - even if you start with your photos and then put context for your photos into words - it can be that simple.

PS F.A.N - that was a brilliant attempt at a cool bribe - I love your contest topics!!!
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:35 PM   #45
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New York City is My Home

Not quite at my flat, but this is pretty darn close.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:28 AM   #46
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hee

ballooThe first time I can remember camping I was about 4. Daddy put bows and a tarp on the cotton trailer so we could spend a few days camping with friends at a lake near Lawton OK.. I loved it. A few years later I saw my first travel trailer. It belonged to a neighbors son that traveled with a circus. I loved it

I didn't camp any more for about 20 years,Then we got a tent and had great fun camping and sightseeing. We tent camped in Ok,TX, NM, AZ, NV and CA. Cooked over campfire and everything was fun. I loved it.

Life got busy with raising a family and being busy with kids activities.As I began to get close to retirement age, I began to dream about travel again. I thought about a trailer and possibly working part time to be able to afford to go see this beautiful country.

Roy was hurt and disabled in 1994. In 1995 we bought a cabover camper for our pick up. we went to WY to the hole in the wall hideout, Little Bighorn Battleground and Yellowstone. I was hooked . I loved it.

I retired in Feb 1996. We began to look for a RV, I wanted a motorhome and Roy wanted a trailer. We had a 3/4 ton Chevolet so we had plenty of pull power. We got a 25 ft Nomad. We went to Pikes Peak Palo Duro Canyon and lots of short weekend trips. I loved it.

In 1999 we sold the nomad to my daughter and bought a 1985 38 ft Hitchhiker fifth wheel. In 2000 we spent 5 weeks with 3 greatgrand kids 4, 5, and 8. we saw Land of Oz in Liberal KS, Mt Evans near Denver, Dinasour digs at Vernal UT, Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, Crazy Horse Monument, Mount Rushmore and a Mamouth digs in SD. They had a wonderful time and were so excited to see the animals, I loved it.

In 2005 Roy insisted we get a 1983 turbo diesel 300 classic Airstream Motorhome that was for sale 30 mi away. I was hard to convince as I was happy with what we had. He just couldnt live another minute till I went to see it. Needless to say I fell in love with it. Put new tires all aound. 3 new batteries and got ready to go to AR. Stopped a few miles from home to fuel. Fuel poured out the fill tube so home we went unloaded our clothes and went to AR in the Pickup. Couldnt miss ggd singing in rotunda of AR capital bldg. I didnt love it.

We fixed a number of small things Remember Roy is disabled, so he issued instructions as I did the labor on adjusting and fixing the seats, replacing a ruptured brakeline on the front driver wheel. I didnt love that either.

Roy passed away in 2007. Thinking back ,I believe he wanted the motorhome so I could still go places. He knew I would not be comfortable pulling and parking the fifth wheel. I have been to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuqueque 2 times. I have been to the Blanco Christmas Rally 5 times.The Highlands Vintage Rally 2 times. in addition to a number of short trips. I LOVE IT.

Her name is dimples as she has lots of dimples from a hailstorm before we got her. She got a ding from a piece of tin during Ike.After the worst of Ike went thru, I pulled up to the back of the house and used the gen to keep ref and freezer running.Power was out for 6 days. we stayed in the MH and watched all the tv coverage of the damage in Galveston area.
I Love her.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:40 AM   #47
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The first time I can remember camping I was about 4. Daddy put bows and a tarp on the cotton trailer so we could spend a few days camping with friends at a lake near Lawton OK.. I loved it. A few years later I saw my first travel trailer. It belonged to a neighbors son that traveled with a circus. I loved it

I didn't camp any more for about 20 years,Then we got a tent and had great fun camping and sightseeing. We tent camped in Ok,TX, NM, AZ, NV and CA. Cooked over campfire and everything was fun. I loved it.

Life got busy with raising a family and being busy with kids activities.As I began to get close to retirement age, I began to dream about travel again. I thought about a trailer and possibly working part time to be able to afford to go see this beautiful country.

Roy was hurt and disabled in 1994. In 1995 we bought a cabover camper for our pick up. we went to WY to the hole in the wall hideout, Little Bighorn Battleground and Yellowstone. I was hooked . I loved it.

I retired in Feb 1996. We began to look for a RV, I wanted a motorhome and Roy wanted a trailer. We had a 3/4 ton Chevolet so we had plenty of pull power. We got a 25 ft Nomad. We went to Pikes Peak Palo Duro Canyon and lots of short weekend trips. I loved it.

In 1999 we sold the nomad to my daughter and bought a 1985 38 ft Hitchhiker fifth wheel. In 2000 we spent 5 weeks with 3 greatgrand kids 4, 5, and 8. we saw Land of Oz in Liberal KS, Mt Evans near Denver, Dinasour digs at Vernal UT, Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, Crazy Horse Monument, Mount Rushmore and a Mamouth digs in SD. They had a wonderful time and were so excited to see the animals, I loved it.

In 2005 Roy insisted we get a 1983 turbo diesel 300 classic Airstream Motorhome that was for sale 30 mi away. I was hard to convince as I was happy with what we had. He just couldnt live another minute till I went to see it. Needless to say I fell in love with it. Put new tires all aound. 3 new batteries and got ready to go to AR. Stopped a few miles from home to fuel. Fuel poured out the fill tube so home we went unloaded our clothes and went to AR in the Pickup. Couldnt miss ggd singing in rotunda of AR capital bldg. I didnt love it.

We fixed a number of small things Remember Roy is disabled, so he issued instructions as I did the labor on adjusting and fixing the seats, replacing a ruptured brakeline on the front driver wheel. I didnt love that either.

Roy passed away in 2007. Thinking back ,I believe he wanted the motorhome so I could still go places. He knew I would not be comfortable pulling and parking the fifth wheel. I have been to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuqueque 2 times. I have been to the Blanco Christmas Rally 5 times.The Highlands Vintage Rally 2 times. in addition to a number of short trips. I LOVE IT.

Her name is dimples as she has lots of dimples from a hailstorm before we got her. She got a ding from a piece of tin during Ike.After the worst of Ike went thru, I pulled up to the back of the house and used the gen to keep ref and freezer running.Power was out for 6 days. we stayed in the MH and watched all the tv coverage of the damage in Galveston area.
I Love her.

I dont Know if my pics attached or not Having a hard time gettig them,

Dimples and I are both getting lots of miles but We both refuse to get old . HAPPY CAMPING

Kay
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:14 AM   #48
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Sorry about posting twice I was having problems with posting photos.
I had put off this until I could find pics of our old campers. July has been too busy for me to find pics

# 1 is at vintage rally in Conroe
# 2 is behind house after Ike to power ref and freezer
# 3 is Baloon fiesta 2010
# 4 is Blanco SP
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:44 AM   #49
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Quote:
PS F.A.N - that was a brilliant attempt at a cool bribe ....
p.s. Ladybug.....envelope enroute via FedEx. It should be there tomorrow - early. Make sure you open before choosing the winer. You should have no problem cashing -
it's certified.



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Old 08-01-2012, 11:53 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Fly at Night

p.s. Ladybug.....envelope enroute via FedEx. It should be there tomorrow - early. Make sure you open before choosing the winer. You should have no problem cashing -
it's certified.


Love the humor, LOL
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:33 PM   #51
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and... drum roll....

Well not announcing quite yet - just wanted to pop in and say that the July Photo-journalism Contest is officially CLOSED!

With a grand total of TEN entries. Which no matter how you look at it - with a contest that offers a first, second and third entries - WE have met the requirement

So now the big challenge for me - to come up with a fair and equitable judging process in which to assist me doing this contest complete justice...

FaN thanks cashed the cheque no problem and the new 23 ft CCD is on its way - I owe you a huge debt of gratitude - look out Yellow Line here I come

Now before I start the judging - I don't want anyone pouting, or making any sinister accusations or crying foul play..

So lets rule out a few things.

I am both a lover of female and male populations I get along with them all...so I would never play favorites

I love both vintage and the newer models and have amazing experiences and also those nightmares made mention of throughout all my stories here on the forums...

Lets not rule out the potential bias between the "Trailer" and the "MOHO" I am sure you will read somewhere here of my almost so very close acquisition of a little 20' Argosy whom I spent hours on the phone with a gentlemen whose son happened to live in the city right next door to me almost 15000 miles away from where that little green and white baby was looked up in a chain link compound....and just waiting on a good excuse for Father to drive it all the way to me but to see his son.....Alas not being the most mechanically astute and well Peter was not born with a notion of gaskets or the need for oil in mechanical parts - I felt at the time as we already had 3 airstreams on the driveway - it might have put us both in the blue room at the psych ward!

With all that said I'm off to re-read and score the entries and will be back with the winners, and runners up and all those honourable mentions that for no real reason other than someone has to float to the top and others have to pad the contest

And if I hear wind of any feathers flying later in the day I will hunt you down and drip mice poop from Stephs underbelly all over you - or I could drag you out and let you be a security guard for a night baby sitting ITisIT's Bambi
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:41 PM   #52
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Haha! And I have plenty of mice poop left so watch out! (free shipping
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:51 PM   #53
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Spooky - before you've even made your selections I already have some deep inner sense that I'm in the top 10 .......


Jay
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:03 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerJay View Post
Spooky - before you've even made your selections I already have some deep inner sense that I'm in the top 10 .......


Jay
OMG!! Thank you for that YOU made me LOL!!! have not had a good smile or chuckle for a while!!!!
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:08 PM   #55
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K- so I have come up with a point system....

Why- 5
Search - 5
Hoops to get - 5
Repair - or major trip - 5
Humour - 5
Photo submission - 10
Journalism - 10
Overall - 5

For a grand total of 50 points...

So I will just hack through the entries in a non-comparison manner and see how the points pan out...

Sound Fair?

Now if I have a tie in points - I will need to come up with a tie breaker. Any suggestions - besides a blind auction to pay out my retirement savings...

Get that mouse poop packaged up and ready Steph

OH Ps FaN - you forgot the cheque for the new Tow Vehicle
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:19 PM   #56
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Right...

I would like to thank all those who have submitted entries.

A few things to make note of...

The variety of Airstreams in just 10 entries is quite impressive.

2010 Flying Cloud - Special Edition
2008 Bambi
2005 31' Classic
2002 Bambi
1983 Airstream 300
1977 23 Safari
1970 31 Sovereign
1968 28 Ambassador
1966 Caravel
1964 Overlander

You just can't get such a wide spread diversity than that!!!

Special notations as I read through your stories and reviewed your photos....

Carnegie - your courage to continue airstreaming is to be commended and an inspiration to all the women out there!! I'm sure all the "Silver Sisters" on the forums will jump in and.....

Overlander 64 (Kevin) - as Mentioned I don't think I have ever seen a fellow with such an endearing and loving smile - she is a very lucky lady!

FaN you take the cu-pie doll in the most unorthodox shopping trip I have ever read about - mattress to a 2010 Flying Cloud!!!

ITisIT - I have been waiting for the before and after shot, visioning what a 2008 Bambi would look like sporting a superb grafitti attack!

Steelegood - I absolutely roared at you towing that behemoth on your bumper ball - that took a lot of kohonas to admit to the world - good on ya. As well if you are the eye behind the camera - you have a nice eye in several of your photos...

AldeanFan - your internal nods during negotiations to your wife was priceless - how many have gone through those motions - the rolling eyes, the shocked eyes the dismayed or delighted eyes - a truly hidden language between couples!!!

Purman - you definitely take top marks in the renovation aspect - what a fantastic job you have done - and a long process to boot...would love to see your final photos when she is all said and done..

RangerJay - ohhlala - you have put some serious black top under that sweetie!! Yep the surprise phrase from the better half - was the closer for sure I would think!

Aceflys - surrounded by Airstreams - Oh my - you did not have a hope in heck to walk the path you did any other way! and totally agree on the "big and ugly" compared to your final selection - but wow talk about down sizing

SeasideSteph - if there was one photo posted throughout this contest that does speak a 1000 words it is yours - you must for the sake of all those curious at least tell us - why an airstream and how you came about acquiring your work in progress! and a little of your future dreams - You go girl

Right then....here we go people.

So the point system worked perfectly and even surprised my self - I was able to systematically point each component so there was no bias involved. Purely and simply the points add up and the results are as follows:

I'm going to go one step further and give the top 5! so that when we toast we wont know if we are toasting with our glasses half full or half empty

Fifth Place - Carnegie1935 Post #46 (36pts)
Fourth Place - Purman Post#42 (37pts)
Third Place - FaN Post# 14 (38pts)
Second Place - Overlander64 - Post#5 (39pts)


And Congratulations to Steelegood (40pts)

No word of a lie that is how the points came out - I have an ethical duty bound by my newly acquired photojournalism accreditation - only one point separating each placement tells you that everyone's story is amazing in its own right. Each scored higher in different areas than each other....all had unique and interesting twists that made this contest extremely enjoyable - even if it scared the death out of those point and shooters...There was even a tie for 6th also only one point behind 5th place as well as one point behind 7th place....

Looking very much forward to Augusts contest - and I promise if I win again I will bless you all With a KISS - Keep it simple silly!!!
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