Yes, it’s true. After over a year on the road we are selling our Airstream and settling down in Asheville, NC. We have moved into an apartment, sort of a halfway house to ease our transition from living in our Airstream to our future home.
We are selling our Airstream because:
- After we move into our new home, we plan to stay in Asheville for a while and not travel very much.
- If we do head back out on the road in the future, we plan to do so with a motorized RV instead of by towing a trailer.
We were having brunch with Ed’s family a few weeks ago and asked if anyone was interested in buying our Airstream. Ed’s brother’s reaction was something like: “After your blog descriptions of trailer life, who would want to buy it?” We were surprised by his reaction but we now realize that we may have exaggerated the challenges of trailer life (usually for comic effect). The reality is that the enjoyment we have received from our Airstream adventure far outweighs the few hardships that we have faced over the last year. To help correct the false impression we may have given, here are the top ten positive experiences from our thirteen months of “Livin’ in a Trailer Down by the River”:
10. Visiting microbreweries and wineries. From visiting the wineries of the Finger Lakes region of New York and microbreweries everywhere, we have a much greater appreciation for the making of both beer and wine. As a result of our trip, Patty has become a white wine drinker and even found a stout beer recently that she enjoyed. “Eat Local” has become a big movement around the country, including Asheville, and to that we would add: “Drink Local”.
Ed and Patty at a winery on Kewka Lake
9. Observing wildlife. We never saw any bears (except two crossing a road in New Jersey) but we saw many other animals from the birds of the Everglades to the ponies of Grayson Highlands in Virginia.
8. Enjoying local culture and cuisine. We grew up in northern New Jersey and the Washington, DC suburbs so our cultural upbringings were strictly in modern American suburbia. It was great to experience the local culture, including food, music, and architecture, of unique American cities such as Austin, New Orleans, Tupelo, and Nashville. We also really enjoyed the many small towns we visited which almost all were unique and interesting. Our advice: get off the interstate and take the back roads.
Clockwise from bottom left: Natchitoches, LA; New Orleans, LA; Natchez, MS; and Nashville, TN.
7. Hiking and biking (and zip-lining?). We hiked or biked in almost every place we stayed from Florida to Maine to Texas. This reinforced our decision to move to Asheville from Gainesville, FL for better hiking conditions–cooler weather and more vertical topography (although the vertical topography may make biking a challenge).
Clockwise from bottom left: Lake Sommerville SP, TX; Occoneechee SP, VA; Virginia Creeper Trail; Grayson Highlands, VA
6. Less civilization. Although not having internet, telephone, or TV service was often inconvenient (especially when writing a weekly blog), it was also nice to listen to music, play scrabble, and read. We plan to implement no TV nights when we get into our new home.
5. Kayaking. We kayaked on rivers, lakes and the ocean from Florida to Maine to Texas. We will definitely miss the rivers and coastal areas of Florida (We don’t think that North Carolina even has alligators).
Clockwise from bottom left: Bahia Honda SP, FL; Big Cypress NP, FL; off the Maine coast near Sedgwick; Lake Moomaw, VA
4. Experiencing live music. We heard live blues music in Austin, jazz at Preservation Hall in New Orleans, country at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and bluegrass in Asheville. There is nothing like great live music—go out and support the many great musicians that are often struggling to make a living.
Clockwise from bottom left: New Orleans Jazz Fest; the Peterson Brothers in Austin, TX; 1:00 am break at Preservation Hall in New Orleans; Balsam Range in Asheville.
3. Visiting relatives and friends. Although it occasionally almost exceeded Ed’s limit for human contact, we enjoyed the opportunity that our travels gave us for visiting friends and relatives, several who we had not seen for years. We also met many great people on the road and made new friends.
If you can study this collage and identify all the individuals, you have too much time on your hands.
2. Enjoying wildflowers. We enjoyed wildflowers everywhere but nowhere were they more impressive than east Texas in the spring.
Wildflowers at Lake Sommerville SP, TX
1. Being awed by the majesty of nature. As we have said before, nothing man-made can compare with the beauty of nature.
Clockwise from bottom left: Fort Clinch SP, FL; Enchanted Rock SP, TX; Lake Sommerville SP, TX; Grayson Highlands SP, VA
Because this is our last blog, we want to tie up a few loose ends:
- Last week’s poll on whether to shower from head to toe or vice versa. 95% of responders voted for washing from head to toe (it would have been unanimous but Ed voted). Ed is man enough to admit he was wrong so he has already started implementing a revised showering routine—this could be a transformative moment in his life.
- Our guess-our-house-completion-date contest. Based on our scheduled closing date of September 4th, the winner of the contest is Eleanor Botz, Patty’s sister (relatives were not disqualified from entering). If something happens and our house is not completed as scheduled, we will announce a revised winner, if necessary.
Our Airstream era comes to an end—as we move into our new house next month, we hope that the following Henry David Thoreau quote will not be appropriate:
“Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them.”
[Editor’s Note 1: Considering the housing crisis of recent years, could Thoreau have been more prophetic?]
[Editor’s Note 2: We are late posting our final blog because we had to select photos from the entire trip—a total 4,580.This is a reminder of Ed’s number one photography tip—take a lot of photos and throw away the bad ones. We still need to do a lot of throwing away.]