Airstream Travels

There’s just so much out there…..

The blog has moved

Hey there everyone.

We’ve made some big improvements to the blog and moved to a new platform, changing our name in the process.  The e-mails that go out to everyone will include the new web address so just follow the link as you have always done.  If you happened onto us any other way just go here and you’ll be in.

http://airstreamtalesandtrails.blogspot.com/

December 28, 2013 Posted by | Kevin's posts | Leave a comment

Puffin’ and Pickin’

I felt everyone needed a two for one – buy one get one – a freebie – so I wrestled the laptop from Margo and decided to send up another post this week.  That and it’s Christmas break and I have a lot of time on my hands – which brings me to the topic of today.

I quit smoking 7 years ago.  Not on the first try, far from it.  Over the years I tried many times just to fail miserably.  Sometimes I made it a few months and sometimes only a few hours.  On that day 7 years ago I told myself that if I wasn’t going to do it that time it wasn’t going to be done and so far so good.

I’ve had the same relationship with the guitar. I started to teach myself many times only to quit and put it down.  Sometimes to collect dust for a few months  and sometimes a few years.  It’s not like I’ve aspired to be a rock star though.  I just want to be able to strum a few Buffett tunes while sitting Indian style by the campfire.  Well, I can’t sit that way anymore without a painfully protracted process to extricate myself but at least I can attempt again the six string and maybe learn a few chords.

Now think about this for a moment.  We live in an Airstream.  It’s been particularly cold outside of late, even too cold for campfires.  Poor Margo is subjected to my practicing which at this point consists of buzzing strings and my very poor rendition of “He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” (I’ve only made it to the third string in my book).  Since I don’t have a natural talent for making music it’s going to be a long haul but haul I must because again, if I don’t do it now I never will.

Besides, living here in Nashville has inspired me. The honky-tonks on Broad Street.  The Gibson Guitar factory I drive by almost every day on the way to the gas company.  I have a co-worker who is a musician and jams with his friends.  I mean really…  I gotta do this.  I’m thinking that one day I’ll be ready for the Airstream guitar but for now I’m going to stick with my el cheapo acoustic and hopefully soon won’t sound like a pair of cats in a pillowcase.

Broad Street, Nashville

Broad Street, Nashville

Photo courtesy of "The Man in the Maze" Link to the right in my blogroll.  All Airstream goodness - give it a read.

Photo courtesy of “The Man in the Maze.” Link to the right in my blogroll. All Airstream goodness – give it a read.

December 24, 2013 Posted by | Kevin's posts | 2 Comments

Christmas in Dixie

Hello everyone. Margo here.

Christmas finds us still in Nashville. Today is the official start of winter but we have been battening down the hatches. We are expecting some bad weather—lots of rain and potential for tornadoes–due to a weather system coming through. We will keep the weather radio tuned in for sure.

Stormy weather brewing....

Stormy weather brewing….

We took cover in the campground shelter when this came through.  Tornado warning was sounded.

We took cover in the campground shelter when this came through. Tornado warning was sounded.

While it is rather balmy and unseasonably warm as I write this, I have been busy bringing a little ” Christmas cheer”into our little LuLu home.

DSCN1682 I had Kevin get the holiday bin out of the “storage shed” ( Hank’s cargo bed) and proceeded to decorate away! In the past it would have taken me days and days to accomplish that but I had it all done, start to finish, in about 30 minutes…more time to enjoy another glass of eggnog I say.

...the stockings were hung with care

…the stockings were hung with care

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...with visions of sugared Milk-Bones dancing in their heads

…with visions of sugared Milk-Bones dancing in their heads

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...in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

…in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

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New LED  "accent lighting"

New LED “accent lighting”

Earlier in the week when it was cold and dreary outside, I thought I should warm things up inside by doing a little baking. So in the spirit of making merry, I fired up LuLu’s “Easy Bake Oven” ( just kidding, it’s almost full-sized), put on some Christmas carols, tied the apron on and proceeded to measure, mix, chop and pour. I made several dozen Oatmeal Raisin cookies and Peanut Butter Blossom cookies, as well as my mom’s Cranberry Orange Bread. I have to say it was  challenging with such limited counter space but the end result was worth the effort. Even though  Kevin wanted  to keep all the cookies for himself, I thought he should take some to share with the guys at work. He told me it was like throwing a handful of corn out to a barnyard full of chickens.  I think the lure of homemade cookies might have had something to do with the extra quick response by the crew when Kevin found some hazardous leaks too.

My workspace

My workspace

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Cranberry Orange loaves cooling under "The Tree"

Cranberry Orange loaves cooling under “The Tree”

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Cookies for the crew

The cookie monsters

I did finish the monk’s cloth afghan I was making for Kevin–just in time for Christmas. I really enjoyed making it and will start on another one soon, this one will be for me.

Monk's cloth afghan - Kevin's Christmas gift - Shhhh....

Monk’s cloth afghan – Kevin’s Christmas gift – Shhhh….

It is 72°  right now which is more like a Florida Christmas than what you might expect to find in Tennessee at this time of year.  We have had some roller coaster winter type weather though. Earlier in the week it was 18° and icy.  We are managing to stay warm with extra sweaters, scarves and jackets and I have to say I am enjoying the colder temperatures…just seems more like holiday weather to me.

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Kevin and I hope all of you will be making happy Christmas memories with family and friends and I’ll close this post with a little help from one of Nashville’s favorite groups, Alabama….

“By now in New York City, there’s snow on the ground

 And out in California, the sunshine’s falling down
And, maybe down in Memphis, Graceland’s all in lights
And in Atlanta, Georgia, there’s peace on earth tonight

Christmas in Dixie, it’s snowin’ in the pines
Merry Christmas from Dixie, to everyone tonight

It’s windy in Chicago the kids are out of school
There’s magic in Motown the city’s on the move
In Jackson, Mississippi, to Charlotte, Caroline
And all across the nation, it’s the peaceful Christmas time

And from Nashville,Tennessee
God bless y’all, we love ya
Happy New Year, good night
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas tonight

In-Joy,

Margo

December 22, 2013 Posted by | Margo's posts | 4 Comments

The Heat Is On

Glenn Fry was referring to a certain Beverly Hills Cop when he sang it.  We’re talking the more literal sense.  We’re burning as many fossil fuels as we can get our hands on.  Granted, LuLu’s dead dinosaur consumption is small compared to the average house but when the mercury hits the 20s it’s time to crank up the thermostat and even our carbon footprint grows a size or two.  Nashville is experiencing some “arctic air” as the weatherman calls it and it’s downright COLD!!!!  Tomorrow we may get sleet and snow, though it isn’t expected to stick anywhere.

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Flo and Mingo sporting their winter gear

Yes I said Nashville.  We arrived back last Thursday evening.  No nighttime back in by flashlight this time though.  We left Bessemer City early and pulled into the Nashville Country RV Park with plenty of daylight to spare.  It’s a far cry from the gorgeous spot we had on the lake in North Carolina but as far as RV parks go it’s okay.  It has all we need in the form of places to plug things into, laundry, WiFi, etc. It’s about 15 miles north of Nashville. We were on the east side before so we have some new little towns to check out now.  The surrounding area here actually is rural but not far from the suburban sprawl. I guess we got spoiled the past few weeks in North Carolina where it was so “country” you rarely saw anything except pick-up trucks and cows.

Nashville Country RV Park

Nashville Country RV Park

There’s nothing like being at home for Thanksgiving – spending time with family, friends, and great food.  We’re somewhat comforted by the fact that we bring our “home” with us wherever we go but must rely on our thoughts for the rest.  Those thoughts are with you and yours. We wish all of our family, friends and those we’ve met on our journey so far a happy Thanksgiving.DSCN1578 DSCN1579

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Carolina In My Mind

Hello everyone, Margo here.

“In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina.  Can’t you just see the sunshine.  Can’t you just feel the moonshine.  Ain’t it just like a friend of mine….”

Wait a minute…. I AM in Carolina – small towns – country roads –  Bessemer City to be exact.  Proud home of the Bessemer City High School Yellow Jackets and the Bessemer City Primary School Honey Bees.

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City truck displaying their pride.

City truck displaying their pride.

Downtown Bessemer City

Downtown Bessemer City

Central Drug  - since 1927

Central Drug – since 1927

On this job Kevin has a guide provided by the utilities department who takes him out on an ATV Gator to check the gas lines.  Since Kevin does not need Hank (the truck) for this job he has been all mine and we go exploring.

Fall colors ablaze

Fall colors ablaze

This is Fall in North Carolina

This is Fall in North Carolina

Fall colors are spectacular here.  I take it all in as I drive these North Carolina foothills with no particular place to be and not sure where I will end up.  I usually follow the signs to “historic uptown” and look for a Mom and Pop coffee shop.

Lily Beam, another coffee haunt in Shelby.

Lily Beam, another coffee shop haunt in Shelby.

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Inside the Copper Rock in Shelby.  Next door to the laundromat - lucky me.

Inside the Copper Rock in Shelby. Next door to the laundromat – lucky me.

After a day of enjoyable wandering it’s time to pick up Kevin and we often stop by Angel’s – our go-to coffee shop in Bessemer City where as was walk in Angel says, “Welcome back.  I just put on a fresh pot for you guys.”

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Our home from across the lake

Our home from across the lake

We’ve also really loved our campsite.  Moss Lake is a beautiful place to stay as the pictures show.  It’s like we’re on vacation but we still have the mundane every day things to take care of like laundry at the laundromat and washing the dogs.  It was too cold for Kevin to do that outside but we lucked upon a self-service dog wash in Bessemer City.  It’s just like a coin operated car wash except inside a little building.  Shiloh and Pepper were very surprised to see this place.

Inside "Shakers"

Inside “Shakers”

What a great business idea.

What a great business idea

Whether it’s Cherryville, Shelby or Bessemer City everyone is so genuine and friendly – makes me think small town living may be the best way to live life.

Kings Mountain mural

Kings Mountain mural

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Time well spent at the laundromat.  Still working on the afghan.  Half way through.

Time well spent at the laundromat. Still working on the afghan. Half way through.

Country road

Country road

On the road again

On the road again

I have truly enjoyed and embraced our time here in North Carolina and am surely not wanting to leave just yet but duty calls and we are headed back to Nashville at the end of this week.  Kevin  is needed there and will be training a new hire.  I expect we’ll be there through Thanksgiving then onto the next assignment. We’re not sure where that will be but I’m pretty sure our time here in Carolina will be on our minds.

In-Joy!

Margo

November 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Train Kept A Rollin’

Hey Folks,

Remember the Aerosmith song with the above title?  We were reminded of it this week but not because we saw the “Bad Boys From Boston” in concert.  Let me explain.   As you know we were assigned to Bessemer City, NC and left Nashville last week for said little town just west of Charlotte.  As soon as I heard we were going I started my research on RV parks and things to see and do.  I’ve mentioned this in other posts.  I check the area for the best RV park especially paying attention to the surrounding area on Goggle Maps.  I want to know about that neighboring nuclear plant, old earthen dam or the always feared nearby clown college.  The problem in this case was the fact that there was only one RV park near Bessemer City and it was so new it wasn’t on Google Maps, or anyone’s map for that matter. We thought okay, we’ll just go for it.  I mean you really can’t have an adventure like this without a little livin’ on the fly.  It couldn’t be that bad could it?

We had an uneventful trip over the mountains, through Asheville and arrived at the campground after dark.  We checked in and paid for the week.  No problem finding the site, well okay a little problem backing in by flashlight but once we were in all was well.  I tended to my chores outside with unhooking things and connecting wires and hoses and such and Margo tended to hers with getting the inside back to living condition.  By now it was close to bedtime and we relaxed.  Then we heard it.  A far off rumble getting closer.  The dog water bowl started vibrating just a little bit (remember Jurassic Park). The rumble got louder and the screeching sounds began.  We looked at each other just as the whistle went off.  TRAIN!

My first thought was who would build an RV park right next to an active train track? Margo’s first thought was how many more would come through during the night? During the following week my question was never really answered.  Margo’s question was answered as the week went on. About 4 to 6 depending on the night.

This is the view from our front door at daybreak.

This was the view from our front door at daybreak.

We have a happy ending here though.  It always pays off to check with the locals so that’s what I did when I went to work on Monday with the Bessemer City Gas Department.  I hit the jackpot again ending up in this little town.  Everyone is down home country nice and willing to help especially the guy they have guiding me around.  He knows all the local spots and told me to check out the campground at nearby Moss Lake.  As I write this on Friday night, after a week of listening to trains, we are now listening to the sound of water over the Moss Lake spillway and the occasional Mallard duck.

Moss Lake from the front door.... much better.

Moss Lake from the front door…. much better.

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Fall is here and the colors are spectacular.  Next time we’ll show you around these parts; the little towns of Kings Mountain, Shelby as well as Bessemer City.  This area deserves a post all it’s own and I’ll leave that one to Margo.  Stay tuned and look for it down the line.

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hit The Road Jack

…but you may just be coming back. Here’s the deal folks. We’ll be hitting the road at the end of the week. The company is sending us to Bessemer City, North Carolina. It’s a little bitty place about 25 miles west of Charlotte, population 5,300. It’ll be a small job, just 2 to 3 weeks, then the plan is for us to come back to Nashville and winter over here. There’s plenty of work left here in the Music City but Bessemer City needs a little attention too. We’re going to miss it here but at the same time we’re looking forward to a little small town atmosphere and change of scenery.

As I mentioned in the last post we planned to take in Oktoberfest and in fact did go last Saturday, along with half of Nashville and then some it seemed. The polka band was jammin’ and the beer was flowing but I have a beef with Mr. Samual Adams. Sam – $15.00 for a mug of beer! Really? We actually drew the line there and didn’t drink, just wandered around. Margo found the cat adoption tent and almost brought a little Tabby home but was informed that it was the shelter mascot and she could not have that particular kitty.

The streets were packed.

The streets were packed.

More cowbell!!!!

More cowbell!!!!

"Precious" certainly fit her name.

“Precious” certainly fit her name.

As you can see it was a shorts and flip flops kind of day last Saturday but as I write this a week later old man winter is knocking. He blew in a few days ago so we’ve transitioned to unpacking the winter clothes and sitting around the fire. Margo started a new craft project just in time for the season. She got turned onto making a Monk’s cloth afghan, aka Swedish weaving, from my brother’s wife Teresa back when we were together in late July at Mom’s. It’s in the early stages but I asked her to get going on it – brrrrr!DSCN1484

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All in all we’ve enjoyed our stay here at Countryside RV Resort. It really is very quiet and peaceful as well as convenient to the big city. The Boys really enjoyed the meadows but are itchin’ to put on their road hound badges and get moving. It’s all about new sights and smells for them. Us too, although we’ll leave the sniffing to them.  We leave you with some scenes from the trailer park.

Each row has a theme.  We were sheep.

Each row has a theme. We were sheep.

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Margo and "The Boys" in the meadow.

Margo and “The Boys” in the meadow.

October 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Rock the Boat

Things have been pretty mundane at work of late.  Get up, clock in and walk the gas line.  Get up, clock in and walk the gas line.  Get up, clock in, launch the boat and cruise all morning up and down the Cumberland River. WAIT A MINUTE!!!!  WHAT!!!!  Launch the boat?

The Cumberland River snakes it’s way through Nashville quite majestically.  The gas lines do as well, although I can’t say they’re as majestic.  When the two cross each other we have a dilemma, although a good dilemma for me. So yeah, last Thursday I got paid to do some motorboatin’ on the river most of the morning.

A large gas line crosses the river at a place called Clarksville Pike.  It came due to be inspected so the company gave me and one of my co-workers, Warren, the task of surveying it.  Warren has a bass boat so the company made arrangements to rent his boat for the survey.  Keeping it all in the family is always the best way.

Early Thursday was a bit chilly at about 50 degrees but the sun was coming up and warming things up quite well.  The nearest boat ramp to the site of our target gas line was a couple of miles upriver so a cruise was in order.  The water was like glass when Warren pushed the throttle forward and we planed out.  It’s times like this when you have to ask yourself, “ I get paid to do this?”

After a while we arrived at the crossing.  Warren used the trolling motor to make a few passes and I held out the detection instrument we use to find leaks normally; the theory being if it was leaking, since it was a gas, it would rise to the surface and be detected just as any other leak is detected.  Yes, I know, it’s complicated but we had figured it out before launching with complicated mathematical calculations and physics and stuff.

All was well and that’s good since I have no idea how they would fix it if it weren’t.  By lunch time we were back on terra firma and I was walking the line as usual but not a bad day.

The SS. Minnow

The SS. Minnow

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

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Railroad Bridge

Railroad Bridge

Full throttle!

Full throttle!

Nashville's skyline from the Cumberland River.

Nashville’s skyline from the Cumberland River.

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The weekend is here and we’re headed out to the Nashville Oktoberfest.  It’s a big deal here with an attendance of about 30,000 beer loving Nashvillians and this year, two thirsty Floridians. Chances are good we’ll find a beer vendor somewhere.  No guarantees on pics that aren’t a bit blurry – jus’ sayin’.

Till then keep it between the buoys and Auf Wiedersehen!

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Everybody’s Working For The Weekend…….

Hey folks,

Lots to fill you in on.  First off, to fulfill one of the purposes of the blog, to let family, friends and enemies know where we are and where we’ll be.  We’re in….. ready…. drum roll…. Nashville.  Yeah, still here but that’s not a bad thing because there’s still lots to see and do.  The company decided to keep me here for another month to help the permanent crew catch things up.  We’re not complaining and oh, this will give me more time to get my recording contract all sewn up….

So what have we been up to?  Well, as the group Loverboy said back in ‘81, we’re “working for the weekend.”  After working through the week we make it a point to explore the area each Saturday or Sunday.  Last weekend we went to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in South Nashville, the 55 acre estate of the Maxwell House Coffee fortune.  It’s a sight in itself in the daytime with the immaculate gardens but starting back in May and running through November they commissioned an artist by the name of Bruce Munro to do his magic with light.  Using hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable and over 20,000 lighted spheres he’s transformed the gardens into (using his words) an “iridescent landscape”.  My pictures here by no means capture it but at least give you an idea.  Their web site does a better job here.  We took it in with a few hundred other like minded art aficionados on an absolutely perfectly crisp and cool evening.

The white bulbs in the background are actually lights, turned off in the daytime.

The white bulbs in the background are actually lights, turned off in the daytime.

The whole landscape changes color.  Quite a sight.

The whole landscape changes color. Quite a sight.

The loggia "light shower".  Note the size of the doors compared to Margo.

The loggia “light shower”. Note the size of the doors compared to Margo.

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This weekend we took a ride to Franklin.  A sleepy little town south of Nashville that seems to be well liked by a few celebs who have made it home including Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman as well as NASCAR’s Darryl Waltrip to name a few.  They were all busy so we instead just checked out the downtown area.  Margo was in heaven with all the quaint shops and of course we found a cool local coffee shop, The Frothy Monkey.  I people watched and took pictures, my idea of heaven.  This was mainly a trip to get the lay of the land as we’ll be going back to check out the memorials and old southern mansions associated with the Battle of Franklin, a major civil war battle that occurred here in November 1864, also called the “five bloodiest hours” of the war.  We’ll report on that in a future post.

Until then we know you’ll be working for your weekend and hope you are enjoy them as much as we do ours.

The Frothy Monkey.  Great coffee.

The Frothy Monkey. Great coffee.

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I HAD to take a shot of this little shop.  Nice choice of names. It also turned out to be Margo's favorite.

I HAD to take a shot of this little shop. Nice choice of names. It also turned out to be Margo’s favorite.

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Downtown Franklin

Downtown Franklin

September 29, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Bicycle, Bicycle……

…..I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride it where I like…..

Remember the rock group Queen?  Freddie Mercury.  What a voice.  They had a playful song called “Bicycle Race.”  It was on their “Jazz” album which did not contain any jazz per se but did contain a good collection of 70’s rock.  If you’re my age I’m sure you’ve heard the song.  For you whippersnappers here’s a link to YouTube, “Bicycle Race.”

This Saturday morning the sun hadn’t quite made it above the horizon and I was wide awake because our two dogs have no concept of what a weekend is.  I was listening to the I-Pod on scramble or snafu or shuffle, whatever it’s called, and the song came up.  I thought, yeah.  That’s a great idea.  So I did.IMGP6058 IMGP6059

Nashville has a fantastic Greenway with over 190 miles of bike trails in Davidson County, 50 of it paved.  You can get on your bike near the Grand Ole Opry and ride all the way into downtown if you want to, most of it along the Cumberland River.  I decided to start my ride near the J. Percy Priest Dam (the same one LuLu drove over in the last post) and rode toward town.  It was actually quite busy.  Everyone was taking advantage of the cool morning, in the 60s.  I had a sweatshirt on to keep comfortable.  Margo had opted out and until I warmed up I thought that she probably had the right idea but after a while it was perfect.

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The pictures don’t do it justice but there are plenty of hills, some quite steep, so it was a good workout.  Oh, and to a certain blog-reading, mountain bike riding Dalton Georgia gas company supervisor; I didn’t wimp out and stay on the pavement.  I rode plenty of gravel –  and stayed upright.  How’s that arm healin’ there sport…..

So everybody, get out there and ride your bike and ride it where you like.

September 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments