The End of the Road

Airstream

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:

  1. After we move into our new home, we plan to stay in Asheville for a while and not travel very much.
  2. 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”.

Watkins Glen Week 4 031

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.

Wildlife collage

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.

Culture Collage

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).

Hiking Collage

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).

Kayaking Collage

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.

Music Collage

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.

Family Collage 2

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 Collage

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.

Nature Collage

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.

Week 30 Alafia_2 015

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.]

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18 thoughts on “The End of the Road

  1. Very interesting comments about RV vs. Airstream. Exactly the opposite of your comments before heading out on the trip (homeless adventure). Rick would love to know, why the change of heart?

    • The debate over the best way to travel with an RV or trailer is an endless one and we would be glad to discuss the pros and cons of the many options available. In the future we will probably be taking longer trips out West and feel that having a self-contained vehicle will simplify life on the road.

      • One additional thought to the endless RV debate… As we get older the ease of a Class C is not a bad idea… Better fuel economy and easier to maneuver … There are also smaller Class A ‘s … Again an RV show is a good way to get to see them all! With new tires and brakes, think we will keep ours for a while!

    • Hi Kristen! As you know we have had our RV for 8 years now… Must say I love the open feeling of the RV on the open road for the view and the airiness when camped! The trailers seemed confining to me… You should tour RV’s and trailers at the large RV shows, they have a great one in January every year. We tow a honda CRV with the kayaks and it is great!

  2. Wow, I can’t believe we won’t be getting your blogs anymore. I have really enjoyed them. Another Wow, you are selling your Airstream. What a shock, but I guess I can understand you wanting something that you don’t have to pull in the future. You created some wonderful memories from you travels in your Airstream. Great times, but I am sure you are anxiously awaiting to get into your new home. I think you should keep doing your blog for a while to keep us posted on your
    Asheville adventures…..such as places around Asheville to see, eat, etc. and showing us pictures of your new home too. Anyway, just a thought.

    The people that bought your house are very nice. Marsha is very friendly. I have walked with her several times. She is getting ready to renovate the kitchen. The Cook’s got the garage added on and it looks nice. New people on the other side of you, but have not met them. Marjorie Chow sold her house and is moving back to Taiwan. The house in Huntington West, as you make a left turn it will be on the curve on the right…….. I think it is the smallest house in Huntington. Anyway, it was being rented, which we didn’t like, be she finally sold it and the new people are adding on two rooms, which will make the house 2400 sq. ft. This is in line more with the neighborhood and will be a nice addition. The new couple are very nice. Just a few updates on the old stomping grounds.

    I hope you will keep us posted for a little while longer. Enjoy your apt. and getting ready to move into your new place. Fun and exciting times ahead. Take care, Linda

  3. I agree with Thoreau. I have been working from home for a good part of the Summer and I definitely felt like a prisoner at times, however it did put me on a good walking routine. There are downsides to home ownership for sure. Just one day before Anne and Varg arrived from Norway the dryer broke. The day Teresa and the kids were scheduled to arrive to visit with Anne and Varg, the septic backed up into our house. It has been quite an adventurous summer:-) Enjoy your down time (if there is such a thing).Love, Nancy

  4. We have so much enjoyed your wonderful photos and descriptive tour! We hope to experience many of these spots one day soon! As for RV verses travel trail or I have always loved the open feeling of the RV… You really experience the view of the open road and the airy feeling of more space… And pull a small vehicle … But everyone has their preference … The trailers make me feel too confinded ….on to the next adventure and enjoy your new home!

  5. A funny thing happened this morning after posting our final “End of the Road” blog last night. Our Toyota Sequoia would not start because the battery was dead–and we were starting out on a 6-hour trip. I guess our Toyota assumed it was the end of the road for it also.

  6. I suffer from the same photo malady. I still have 4,353 photos from our 2013 trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe — but at least I have a large hard drive.

  7. Ed and Patty, so sorry this is your last blog. I have so enjoyed your humor and blogging over the past year.

    I did not have time to respond to last weeks pole. And I would have to say my vote would go with Ed. For those of us who have dry skin I don’t even wash my face. I start in the middle and then go to the armpits and that’s it -it ends there. Some might call that bad hygiene as I call it avoiding dry skin. Unless I’ve gone camping and I’m extremely dirty there’s really no need to lather up all the extremities.😱

  8. Patty and Ed, thank you for the wonderful adventures. I will miss hearing from you on a regular basis. You have been a bright spot in my life and I am sure many others. God Bless you and your new home.

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