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While we are not traveling…

As many of you know Chris & I bought another fixer-upper we refer to as “The Money Pit”. For the past year we have been diligently working to rehab the interior, spending much time at the local Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware stores which seem to have taken the place of date nights!


March entered as a lamb along with covid-19 and our new norm of Social Distancing. As nature lovers we are grateful to have some good outdoor space to roam around on. We moved our projects to the outdoors.

We now have a garden shed that is painted on all 4 sides, not just the side we
look at!
We added flower boxes and grow bags to get ready for summer beauty.

The multiple perennial beds around the house had been neglected for many years and were out of control. They were far too close to the foundation of the house and needed to be disassemble.

We have been building bird friendly habitats throughout the yard using
the lilies, peonies, bleeding hearts etc. that needed a new location.

We have placed nesting houses around the property. Built a shaded garden for the hummingbirds and orioles who migrate back in May.
Chris built additional raised-bed boxes for the garden area which is now bursting with garlic planted last November!
The cold-snap came and stopped our progress, giving us a chance to rest our gardening muscles that have been dormant all winter!

With our new norm of Social Distancing Chris & I can’t say that we have been bored. Our new home adventure has given us a lifetime of projects. What we miss most is the Freedom of coming and going at our own leisure, Freedom to be with our friends and family without the burden of worry and masks.


As Airstreamers we all have an interest in the nature around us. We have learned to become minimalists
doing with only our bare necessities, which has also made us survivors. We will survive this with positivity,
patience and supportiveness.

KEEP   🙂    SMILING

 

What A Long Strange Trip This Is…

Who knew that our March brunch would be our last get together for quite a while?  It is strange to look back on that fun, heart-warming day as the only time to see our camping family for a while.  As a fairly new member to the Watchung Club (3 seasons) it was my first time hosting a luncheon event.  It was so much fun!  Our club really does have some of the coolest people.  

 

 

 

 

So, what are we doing to pass the time and stay healthy?  Here are just a few of our members and what they have been up to. I thought I would share some of the news with you…

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Angie and Mark are moving into a new house. Yes, we all know they are a brave couple, and this proves it! Through all this craziness they have added moving along with working and keeping the family safe.  Good luck to your family in your new home!

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Joanne has been busy doing what Joanne does, helping others.  According to her Facebook page she has MADE and delivered approximately 46 face masks for the medical staff at Hunterdon Medical Center.  This of course is in addition to taking care of Rosie (aka Princess).

Rosie is of course getting used to having her “people” home with her.  I can only imagine how all of our pets are going to react once we (people) get back to our typical, busy lives away from home.  Stayla quotes Rosie as saying “I get to spend a lot of time outside now that my people are home- I am usually stuck inside”. LOL.

 

 

Linda K. is spending much of her time caring for her new kids.  LOL!!  By “kids” I mean goats!  Adorable, frisky, goats!

Linda was kind enough to share this info about her kids.   She even did the write up- how cool is that?!

We, (Freckles and Speckles), were born on January 22, 2020, and were two of five male siblings. Our mom is friends with Gigi of Carvango Farm, and was present when Speckles was born. We were amongst 23 babies born in a three week period at the farm. Carvango Farm produces goat milk soaps and lotions for sale here in White Haven, Pennsylvania. We came to our new home with our mom and dad at five weeks old. We still take a morning bottle of  formula, down from three times per day, and will not like when that stops in another week. Weaning is between eight and twelve weeks old. We are ruminants, and according to Wikipedia, this means that we acquire nutrients from plant- based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, so when you meet us, we will often be chewing. We have an awesome house and fenced in yard, and from there we can see our chicken sisters, Henny and Buttercup. We are kids and like to run and play, but our favorite activity is chewing on EVERYTHING!

Mom says we should have been called Chewy and Louie instead. She has set up a “litterbox” for us to do our business in one place because she saw something on the internet, (so it must be true), but it is not working so well for her. Cats we are not! We love people and look forward to meeting all of our Airstream friends.

Here is some “Goat Love” to share.  

As we go through these crazy times remember to be kind, and patient with each other.     Cheers!     Lois

******* If you have some news that you would like to share, please email me at  airstreaminglois@gmail.com

SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD- stay safe

Member Spotlight

This month we are featuring a few more of the Watchung Airstream Club members.

Here is Lea. Lea is currently towing a beautiful 2019 Sport Bambi 22’.
This is Lea’s second Airstream. Her first was a 1976 Globetrotter. Lea is a former Past President of the Watchung Airstream Club. She originally joined in 1998. Her favorite place to camp is Wharton State Forest, located in Hammonton, New Jersey. Wharton is New Jersey’s largest State Forest. Lea enjoys “dry camping” or boondocking as it is sometimes called. Her favorite things to do while camping are fishing and reading. Each year as The Hillbilly comes out Lea starts her planning for the following season. Lea is a seasoned Airstreamer with many fun stories to share.


Roger and Martine Carroll are two of our newest members. This is the first Airstream they have owned. It is also a 2019 Sport Bambi. The Carroll’s favorite place to camp is Tybee Island, Georgia. Here they were very close to the beach and near Savahanna. The Carroll family uses the Good Sam catalog, maps and websites to help them with camping. We look forward to seeing them at many more Airstream Club functions.


Rich & Kathi Short are our final couple in this month’s spotlight. Rich is our new  President, Region 2 of the WBCCI and Kathi is our new First Lady!  This veteran couple has been camping with their Airstream for 9 years! They have owned two models THUS far… a 2009 23’ Flying Cloud and currently are camping in a 2014 25’ Flying Cloud. In case you are interested they tow with their 2006 Silverado 2500 diesel.  🙂   This couple has been adventurous and are quite seasoned. Their favorite places to camp include Camp Sherman located in Jefferson County, Oregon, and SW Area of Santa Fe. They say in Santa Fe there is much Native American culture, picturesque scenery, and snow capped mountains. It is simple beautiful!  Kathi and Rich travel often so they are continuously planning new trips. Their travel is mostly destination based and guided by RV Park Reviews.

 

For questions please email airstreaminglois@gmail.com

 

 

 

Meet Our Members

I thought it would be fun to get to know some of the members of the WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) Watchung Region (NJ). I will periodically spotlight some of them in the blog.

Bill & BettyLou

This month we are featuring 3 couples.  The first here are Bill and BettyLou Walker.  This couple owns a 1992 Sovereign (21′) Airstream.  That is NOT a typo- 1992.   BettyLou and Bill have been on the road (part time) with their airstream since 1992.  I consider them the couple to “go to” with questions regarding airstream travel.  They are each knowledgeable, kind, and friendly.  BettyLou says their favorite places to camp have been the Travelers Rest RV Resort in Florida, where it is warm and you can see great shows and have good dinners.  The other is Liberty Harbor RV Park (NJ)- this is a great Urban Camping experience.  In April Bill and MaryLou start planning their trips for the following season.

Laura Meg

Meet Laura and Meg Riley.  They currently own a 2019 Globetrotter (27′).  In the 4 years that they have been camping with an Airstream they have owned 2 different models.  Starting with a 2014 Sport to get their feet wet, they added space by changing to the 2019 Globetrotter.  Meg is currently  2nd Vice President of the Watchung Region Airstream Club, and Laura is a Director.  Both help to keep the club running smoothly and they are both very active.  The ladies very much enjoy outdoor adventures.  Their two favorite places to camp are Army Corps of Engineers campground in Nashville, Tenn.  and Airstream Haven in Virginia.   According to this couple “Nashville is nothing but beautiful, roomy and low key. ”  Perfect for their style. Meg and Laura plan their trips by starting with the Airstream Club calendar of events and then move to life events which gives them destinations to consider.  Their favorite app to use for Airstreaming is Google maps.

Maria and Robert

Our final couple for this month are Maria and Robert Dolan.  This couple is from NJ and are new to camping with the Airstream.  They have recently purchased a 2018 International Serenity (27′).  Robert’s favorite place to camp was at the beach overnight so that they could share the amazing sunsets.  For Maria, her favorite was Assateague Island. She loved the wild horses and other animals, plus the bike riding, and history of the area.  This couple likes to plan ahead and uses many apps to help plan their Airstream adventures, such as YouTube, Capendium, and Facebook Groups.   Maria and Robert are very active and you can usually spot them riding their bicycles around!

We welcome ALL Airstream owners to the club.  If you are interested or have any questions please reach out.  Safe travels!

Cheers!  Lois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Solar

Well, it’s winter. Yes we are missing our Airstream adventures. Although we are “newbies” we have grown very attached to our little home on wheels! 🙂

#16003 in snow

Our first season “glamping” we stayed close to home. This season we are planning to venture out a little farther and boondock which means no hook-ups. So what do we do for power? Neither my husband or I are fans of the generator. Seeking the peace and quiet that comes along with the off-grid camping experience has spurred much talk and research about alternate means of power. Our conclusion… trying solar! So, we believe that we are ALMOST ready to take the plunge into the solar world. I thought we would share some of our research with you…
**A word of caution! This is ONLY a description of our experience and not meant to be a recommendation for others. **

Last season we had a few problems with our lead-acid battery. (Our Airstream only has one.) Although the battery was just 2 years old, we had found it dead a few times during our camping season. This made for some inconvenient and unhappy times 🙁 Please remember, we are newbies!! We have learned that when the Airstream is parked, or in storage there is still a draw on the battery. Why you may ask? Well, our quality airstream is equipped with a propane leak detector that does NOT shut off. So even though our battery cut off was in the off position, there was still demand for power from this detector. Sadly, even that small amount of draw was enough to run down/kill our battery after non usage for just a few weeks. This resulted in charging the battery by connecting the rig to our home power for many hours. Once we charged it again we were lucky and it held the charge thru our trip. We did plug into the campground’s shore power. This was fine for that week long trip. This happened a few times to us- each time the battery was discharging sooner and sooner while stored. During the off season we brought the Airstream in for winterization (NJ gets COLD). At this time we had them check out the battery only to learn that it was a goner! Now what? Well here is what we are thinking…

First, we are going to purchase a small – maybe 10V solar “trickle” charger. This we plan to hook up and use when in storage, and in between outings. Our research indicates that this should keep the battery topped off to avoid the issues we had this past year with non usage discharging.

Next, we are going to convert from the lead-acid battery to an AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery. According to our research from the internet, AS dealers, and people using them, this is a better battery type when used with solar: less maintenance and holds a charge better. They are more expensive, but not terribly so. The next question we have is will one 12V battery be enough? From what we can tell the answer to this question is a very personal one. Why? Well, it depends what you want/need to run off of your battery. Some may need to use an electric coffee maker, hair dryer, computer, etc. All of these items draw a different amount of energy. We are pretty basic people. No hair dryer, and we use the stove for coffee or tea making, so for us the battery powers the lights, the propane appliances, and the water pump. Hopefully this new battery type will hold a charge better and run longer than the lead-acid battery that we currently have.

Finally, we are planning to purchase a portable solar kit. This will include the solar panels, controller and an extension cable. Why portable? Most of the time when we camp, we try to park in shade. Our thinking is that with the extension cable we should be able to move the unit around to get the full benefit of the sun whenever possible. This allows us to stay a bit cooler in the shade, but take advantage of the suns energy. If we have only roof panels then we will always be looking to park in the sun. That seems like a less than ideal way to camp for us. Another reason for us to try the portable unit is an optimistic one. Someday we may decide to “trade up” to a slightly larger Airstream. This seems to be what so many Airstream owners do; start small then go bigger. Having the portable unit will allow us to take our purchase with us to the next trailer. 🙂 Our Airstream dealer has told us that if we ever decide to put the solar panels on the roof permanently, they could mount them for us. Seems like the portable is the first step to deciding how efficient it may be for us to use. Then if we want to mount them we can can just do it!

Now that we know we would like a portable unit, on to the next question-what size? Hmm. So the manufacturer suggest a 140 Watt unit. That is based on the trailer size. Seems reasonable. In chatting with other owners of solar it has been suggested to go slightly bigger- we have been told that it will charge faster and maybe it will increase the number of days that we could boondock? Not sure. The price difference is not much so we are now thinking of maybe a 180-200 W unit. Different companies offer different sizes so what will get will depend on the brand that we decide to go with. Here’s where the biggest question comes into play. Do we go with Zamp or Renology or some other brand? All of our research has told us that the Zamp is the best quality, but also the most expensive. A less expensive brand would be Renology. Everything I have read states that this brand is also good quality for less cost. If we were more experienced in the electronics field I would seriously consider this brand. Since we are not, were are thinking that it may be too costly to hire someone to change the wiring connection for the panel to the new brand. Zamp is the easiest to connect because our Airstream is pre-wired with a Zamp connector. If we buy the Zamp product all we need to do is “plug and play”! Of course that comes at a higher price. So, we continue to research. We continue to debate, at least for a little longer.

Our goal is to be up and running with solar by April. I’ll report back after we have a few months of solar experience under our belt 🙂

Cheers!  Lois Wagner

 

 

Watchungers 2018 Installation Luncheon

I realize one of the many things that I enjoy about our Watchung Airstream Club is that there is a great blend of contemporary and traditional.

The December meeting was the epitome of these two styles blending together.

The main event that day was the installation of the club’s new officers and directors. It was done with style and solemnity. Fred Brugmans did a marvelous job of presiding over the ceremony. The traditional service made you feel the responsibility of the officers and all that they represent. On the other side was the lightheartedness of a few jokes tossed out by some of the inductees. Our club is inclusive, and fun! Our officers are again a blend of long-time members and new members who jumped in with gusto! Each of them accepting their role with commitment and grace. During the ceremony we also said “goodbye and thank you” to the officers that had served us for the past few years.

I understand many changes to the club took place this past year and each and every officer was involved in helping these changes come about. From my point of view these changes are positive and will help to keep the club moving forward. Since this was my first year in the club I would like to personally thank the former officers for helping to make my first year a truly memorable one.

Part of the mission of the club is to give back to the community. Our December luncheon showed generosity in abundance. Monetary donations were collected through a raffle for prizes: beautiful, handmade Christmas centerpieces and wreaths created by the incoming 1st Lady, Kim Sheppard. These centerpieces helped to contribute to the festive atmosphere of the luncheon. Members were also asked to donate toys to charity for the holidays, and the Watchung Club did not disappoint! A large table overflowed with toys large and small to help put smiles on the faces many children Christmas morning.

By the meeting’s end oaths had been taken, candles lit, members had socialized,and an excellent lunch was had by all!

As I stood, somewhat in the middle of the room with my camera, I felt an enormous sense of pride to be part of such a wonderful, generous group of people. My husband and I look forward to sharing many more of these experiences with the club in 2019!

Cheers!    Lois Wagner

The Purr-fect Vacation

My husband and I have only been “Airstreamers” for a short time, but we learned very quickly that many people take their beloved dogs with them on their adventures. It seems those that bring them really enjoy the company of their loyal friends. Although we do not own a dog ourselves, we do have a furry pet.  This past July our kitty had some oral surgery and could not be left home with a cat sitter. So we decided to be bold (or crazy perhaps?) and take her with us for nearly two weeks in the Airstream. This involved a little extra travel back and forth from North Jersey to South Jersey.  Surprisingly, it turned out to be fun!

We stayed at the Long Beach RV Resort in Barnegat, NJ. This was a planned vacation for us. In fact, we booked it seven months prior to the event. The facility is run by Sun Resorts, and well run at that. They seem to have about 12 transient sites for visitors like us, and the rest were seasonal and tent sites.

 

We are beach lovers and this campsite is about 15-20 minutes from a variety of beaches. There were lots of things to do at the site, and so much to do off site. On site they have a swimming pool, free mini golf and a fun “air pillow”.  We annually rent a house directly on Long Beach Island, near the light house, so we were familiar with the area. The weather was mostly cooperative and so it was a lovely visit.

For those of you who may not know, we own a 22FB Sport Bambi. It’s a small, but very well laid out airstream. We were so pleasantly surprised that our kitty adjusted right away to the new, small surroundings. She made her home in the storage compartment under the dinette cushion area or under the bed. We just left the door open for her and she would go in and curl up for her naps. During the day we would keep her kitty litter box outside (bringing it in for her to use occasionally between cat-naps.) At night her litter box was kept in the shower for easy clean up 🙂 She is about 14 years old and an INDOOR cat only. The first night Anya, our kitty, boldly escaped from the AS. She ran out the door and immediately under the AS. Panic ensued – only to have her come out immediately as we called her name. 🙂  At this point we decided to experiment by buying her a harness so that she could sit outside with us. Although she did come out wearing her harness a couple of times, she mostly sat under one of our chairs and looked around. We think she did enjoy the great outdoors and we certainly enjoyed having her with us.

I was amazed at how wonderful and easy it was to have our kitty with us!!

Barnegat Lighthouse on LBI

Cheers!  Lois

 

Peaceful Valley 2018

This year’s August buddy rally was held at Peaceful Valley Campground in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

The Ratliff family headed to the campground after work on Wednesday.  Unfortunately we left the house a little later than planned.  We decided to follow Google Maps directions via Scranton PA.  Between Scranton and the campsite, the scenery was beautiful, but the roads were very hilly and curvy.  And then … it rained … hard.  The Dark Sky app on my iPhone told us that the rains would last an hour.  We pulled over to wait out the rain rather than drive.  By the time the rain stopped it was dark.  And some roads were flooded.  Given that we were not familiar with the area, we decided to spend the night at the Hancock House Hotel.  I slept in the trailer in the parking lot.  The rest of the family, including Margaret (the dog), slept in the hotel.

The next morning we arrived at Peaceful Valley.  We were greeted by the proprietor.  Not well organized.  Not exactly a warm welcome.  But, … he had marked out our spots so … we drove to the end of the mile long campground and set up.  After the long drive Margaret was ready for some exercise.  Here’s the ball …

The next day others began to arrive. One of our new buddies accompanied us to Roscoe Beer Co.  The beers were good, but the conversation was even better.  And what a fantastic ’68 Globetrotter he had.  Truly a work of art, or maybe better described as a “work of love”.

That night the sky was so clear that we got the best view of the Milky Way I have seen in a long time.  You could clearly see the diffuse light from the stars above and below the darker, dusty middle of the galactic disk.

After spending the night in the tent with Margaret, I awoke to beautiful misty views of the surrounding mountains.

Later that morning it began to rain, … and rain, … and rain, … and rain.  So we set up our popup shelters and had a breakfast of pancakes and omelettes.  That day I hung out at the campground, watching it rain, repairing the tent, and trying to keep the dog dry.  That evening we had the Cincinnati chili.  I felt like I was home again.  Just as good, or better, than the Skyline Chili I grew up with.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the 5-way:  spaghetti, chili, onions, beans, cheese.  Comfort food for sure.

We had another couple of buddies join us for chili too!  They were a welcome addition to the group.

Altogether an excellent rally.  Relatively small group, challenging weather, but an opportunity to meet new friends and strengthen bonds with old friends.  And that’s what this is all about, right?!

— Mark

New Paltz, NY- Region #2 Rally

The skies were grey but not our spirits!  The Region 2 Rally “crew” welcomed us with open arms and very helpful hand signals for parking.   With almost 70 rigs attending, the field was nothing but shiny aluminum.

Thursday was a day of arrivals, set up, and getting friendly with our neighbors. During the rally we were given 2 breakfasts (one yummy one served by our group!), a delicious catered dinner, and ice cream every night!!  It was not a rally to attend while on a diet 😉

Just as good as the food was the entertainment.  One night was a solo act and the other a 60’s band.  Many cool prizes were awarded at the costume ball! Many of us danced and sang until quite late into the evening.  I believe a good time was had by all.

This weekend also offered a number of fun and educational workshops.  The choices included Airstream Maintenance, Social Media, Cast Iron Cooking and A Caravan Leaders meeting.  I attended the Social Media workshop to help us with this blog 🙂

During free time there were many options for site seeing. The town of New Paltz has a 60’s vibe with a few “hippie” shops and many great eateries.  People were friendly and helpful.  At the very beginning of town is the historic Huguenot Street.  Here I toured a number of homes from around 1894.  Huguenot Street was home to a diverse group of people including French, Dutch, African, English and Indian.  The street is lined with beautiful homes filled with  many artifacts and rich with history of the area.

For those who ventured out of town, the Hudson Valley offered much to see and do.  Some went to the Vanderbilt Mansion, or FDR’s home and library,  Eleanor Roosevelt’s home; Val-Kill, the Walkway Over The Hudson, and the “Gunks” just to name a few.  The scenery was beautiful no matter where you went.

This was a weekend with many options to choose.  I believe many of us did a little of everything.  I very much enjoyed relaxing, site seeing, and meeting so many new people.  I am already looking forward to the next streaming adventure!