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2019-05-13 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Cumberland Falls, Corbin, KY – Day #19

Today we once again traveled into the green hills of Kentucky; all around us is the Daniel Boone National Forest.  We are headed to the State Park to see the Cumberland Falls and the Dupont Lodge…

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It was a lovely lodge.  Not as nice as the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge, but still nice…

But before we could enjoy the lodge we walked 3/4 mile to the falls.  The path was wet, but fairly easy; there is a 270′ elevation change walking down to the falls…

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We could see the highway bridge over the Cumberland River far below…

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The raging river was lapping over this walkway…  There is about 10 times the normal water flow today due to melting snow up north and the recent rains locally… (thus, the muddy appearance…)

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We finally arrived at the falls… They were great!

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We went down below for a closer view…

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Did you know that over 280 people die each year taking selfies in dangerous locations?

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Further downstream we got a wider view…

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And then it was time to walk back up… But by now we were even further down.  We walked up 66 steps, then up the 270′ rise on the 3/4 mile path back up to the lodge…

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And then we sat down…

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Soon it was time for lunch…

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The food was decent and the view was great!

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We returned to the campground.  We stopped along the way for Lynda to get her hair cut, and we took the truck to the local Chevy dealer for an oil change.

We had an “Open House” so that we could peak into all the other Airstreams; this gave way to Happy Hours…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-19 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Columbia, SC to Asheville, NC…

We had a little unexpected excitement this morning when I went out to start to prepare to hitch up:

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The rear window/hatch of my camper shell had shattered.  There were no signs of foul play, no rocks, nothing missing out of the truck.  The most valuable thing in the truck are extra bottles of bourbon, and they were all fine.

The nearest SnugTop dealer is in Oklahoma City – we will not be getting this replaced any time soon…

But we had plastic sheeting and duct tape; a few minutes later, with a lot of help from the VanZanens, we are ready to go:

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We are driving today from Columbia, SC to Asheville, NC.  This is somewhat northwest, and it is a fine interstate highway all the way.  Frankly, I’m getting a little bored with these interstates here in the south – they look like they just cut a giant swath through hundreds of miles of forest; and they all look alike – like this:

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In any case, we were traveling along all nice and comfortable and some time around noon, somewhere south of Spartanburg, it started to rain.  Hard.  Very hard!

But the roads were good and the traffic kept moving most of the time.  Eventually we came to the North Carolina border:  (Trust me on this…)

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By 3:00 pm or so we had arrived in Asheville; we backed into our spot, hooked up electricity, and huddled inside while the rain pounded on the roof and the skylights…

Finally around 5:00 pm the rain started to slow a bit; We checked out the RV park, and bought some coax cable so we could reach the cable connection…

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We added one more sticker…

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The vistas around the park are lovely.  This is the first time we have been in hills and mountains…  (Sunday we will drive through the Great Smokies!)

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The cherry trees and the dogwood trees are in bloom, although the rain has washed off all the cherry blossoms onto the ground…

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Happy hours and dinner of several days’ worth of left-overs ensued.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-10-12 – Arizona – Day 55 – Arcosanti and Taliesin West

We packed up early, left Camp Verde, and headed south.  Our first stop was at Arcosanti:

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Arcosanti is a planned experimental town with a molten bronze bell casting business 70 miles north of Phoenix, at an elevation of 3,732 feet.  Its “arcology” concept was posited by the Italian-American architect, Paolo Soleri, a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright.  He began construction in 1970 to demonstrate how urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the destructive impact on the earth.  He taught and influenced generations of architects and urban designers who studied and worked with him there to build the proposed ‘town.’

We arrived in time for the 10:00 am tour.  After a brief video presentation we toured the various buildings of this “urban experiment”.  We saw the “students” making their signature clay bells, then we moved on to the Foundry.  Today we watched as they poured molten bronze (2,100 degrees F) into dies (forms) to become bronze bells…

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We were shown performance areas, living quarters, and lounge spaces.

The place is a little strange… Sort of like a hippie commune with high academic credentials.  And we didn’t even see any of the architects living and working there…

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We continued on into Phoenix, or Sun City, to be exact.  We checked into our RV park, then I took the truck into the Chevrolet dealer; we are about 1,000 miles overdue for an oil change, and I don’t want to risk driving home across the desert with bad oil…

The big event today is an evening tour of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio and school in Scottsdale…

Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school in the desert on the outskirts of Scottsdale, AZ, from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today it is the main campus of the School of Architecture at Taliesin and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship began to “trek” to Arizona each winter in 1935. In 1937 Wright purchased the plot of desert land that would soon become Taliesin West. He paid about $7,000 for over 600 acres on the southern slope of the McDowell Range overlooking Paradise Valley outside Scottsdale.  In 1937 is was 4 miles past the last paved road in Scottsdale, a hamlet of about 200 people.  Today it is about a 45 minute drive from the RV park in Sun City… It is almost totally surrounded by the sprawl of Scottsdale…  We arrived just before dark…

The tour was fabulous, but, since it was at night, we took few pictures.  We will come back tomorrow and do it in the rain, so pictures might be better…

This is the main drafting room…

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This is the Breezeway…

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We arrived home at about 10:00 pm – very late for us…

Tomorrow we come back to Taliesin West and have a three hour “In Depth” tour…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2017-10-16 Westbound; Home!

We left the Visalia WalMart at about 8:15 this morning.  We pulled the Villa over the Grapevine, and arrived in Irvine:

 

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Our intrepid crew was waiting to greet us:

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Happy Hours and a home cooked meal ensued; an enjoyable time was had by all…

June 10-October 16

128 Nights

Over 15,000 miles, including about 1,000 miles as part of the WBCCI Nor’ by Nor’east Caravan

28 States, 5 Canadian Provinces, all 5 Great Lakes, 10 border crossings between US and Canada

Public transportation:  7 Train trips, 4 bus trips, and 3 Uber rides (not counting excursions as part of the Nor’ by Nor’east Caravan)

8 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings

5 Laura Ingalls Wilder sites and museums

Visited by our grandchildren:  2

12 Visits to friends and/or family

3 Visits for service on the Chevrolet Silverado truck

5 visits for service on the Airstream

143 Airstreams seen along the road or in RV parks ( plus 24 on the Nor’ by Nor’east Caravan, 31 at the Carson City Rally, 98 at the Jackson Rally, and many, many more at the various Airstream dealers we visited along the way…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-13 Westbound; Leaving Thunder Bay!

Today is the day!  We are finally leaving Thunder Bay, a full two weeks after we arrived…

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Our destination today is Shorewood RV, just outside Minneapolis; we are scheduled to get out refrigerator replaced.  (You recall our refer failed in PEI about one month ago…)

It was an uneventful trip, traveling southwest from Thunder Bay, continuing southwest to Minneapolis, then west to Anoka and Shorewood RV.

We stopped about every 1 1/2 hours or so to break up the trip.  We try to walk a bit and keep out Apple watches happy.  This rest stop was about one hour south of Duluth:

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The truck once again performed flawlessly, and we easily rolled along.  We arrived at Shorewood RV at about 3:30, and checked in to the Service department to make sure everything was on schedule.  They told us where to park, so we pulled in and set up for the night:

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A few minutes later they called to tell us the refer was here and they would be picking up the Villa at 6:00 am tomorrow morning…

We have good power, good internet access, good satellite TV, and air conditioning – it is 88 degrees and very humid!  We did add a sticker to our map:

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Happy Hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-12 Westbound; Released from Thunder Bay on Day 12…!

We have been released!  Almost 24 hours after the arrival of the parts, the truck is finished.  They replaced all sorts of things on one side of the engine: push rods, injectors, just about everything they had – GM sent a giant box of parts…

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They did an oil change, then a test drive; we took back the rental car, then headed out on a long drive to see that everything is OK.  I have no doubt about the engine, but it always seems like  other things go wacky when major work is performed.  We checked the radio, the navigation system, the trip odometers, the clock, the tire pressure monitoring system, the front and side cameras, everything we could think of.  Everything seemed fine.

We drove about 50 miles, then we went for a celebratory lunch:

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Lynda went shopping to try to spend our last Canadian cash; I returned to the GMC waiting room to catch up on computer work; we will hitch up the rig tonight or tomorrow morning and leave before 9:00.

We walked over to Bistro One for our standing every Tuesday reservation:

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We had to tell them we will not be returning… unfortunately, Jean, the owner, and Brittany, best waitress ever, were both off sick.  But I still had a great Old Fashioned, we enjoyed a nice bottle of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, the Duck Confit was as good as ever, and braised short ribs were a real treat.  We left at about 8:30 and it was still light, making our walk home easy.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-11 Westbound; Stranded in Thunder Bay, Day 11…

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Monday; the GMC dealer is open again, so we get great internet access.

I was able to catch up on the blog; Lynda could read the paper and her book; the waiting room inside the GMC dealer is comfortable, and the stock market is up.  What more could we want?

At noon we received the news:  The parts necessary to repair the truck have arrived!  If nothing goes wrong it should be complete tomorrow!

I immediately started finalizing our itinerary; we will have our refrigerator replaced on Thursday in Minneapolis; we plan to be at Mt. Rushmore on Saturday…

We hung out for awhile, and then we went for an early dinner at Thunder Bay’s newest Sports Bar: Shoeless Joe’s:

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It was very nice.  It was opening day, so everyone was super friendly and happy.  Food was even good.  Happy Hours were many and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-05 Westbound; Stranded in Thunder Bay, Day 5…

Stranded, Day 5:

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Tuesday; Labor Day is over and the world resumes its normal activities.  The happy merry workers at Dominion Motors GMC return to work and we get to sit in their waiting room, drink their coffee, watch their TV, use their internet, and use their restrooms (washrooms here in Canada…).

There is no word on the truck.  They have run their diagnostics and sent the data to technical support in Detroit.  Maybe they will hear back today or tomorrow; for now it looks like a blown engine; the normal fix for this is a complete engine replacement.  We might be here for awhile…

So we did some sight-seeing and checked out the local artisans; first, we went to Thunder Oak Cheese Farm:

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The Thunder Oak Cheese Farm specializes in Gouda cheese, and all things Dutch:

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We tasted their cheeses and even cheese curds; Lynda wanted some Komijne Kaas, and they have it!  Also some dropjes…

Around mid-day we visited The Persian Man; “he” or “it” is located within Bennett’s Bakery.  Apparently Persians are a “Thunder Bay Specialty”.  But I’m all, “What’s a Persian?”

A Persian is an oval-shaped, cinnamon-bun-like sweet roll with a sweet, pink icing made of either raspberries or strawberries.  It is credited to have originated at Bennett’s Bakery in, and remains particular to, Thunder Bay.  It is sometimes confused with a Pershing or a Persian bun which are regional items in parts of the United States but are a completely different baked good made with doughnut batter as opposed to being a sweet roll.  So there!

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It happens that we are “camped” right around the corner from Bennett’s Bakery; also, Syd, an employee of the GMC dealer where we are camped, stopped by on Saturday and gave us a gift certificate to have Persians at The Persian Man at Bennett’s Bakery. Around the corner.

So we  walked around the corner to The Persian Man at Bennett’s Bakery, and had coffee and Persians.  It was interesting…

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Later in the afternoon we walked around the corner to Dawson Trail Craft Brewery. We tasted 4 very nice craft beers and chatted with the owner about what it’s like to be a craft brewery in Thunder Bay.  While it is a small town (108,000), there is only one other brewery, no distilleries, and there are no wineries or wine tasting rooms… So while this sort of craft/artisanal business hasn’t really caught on here on the north shore, it is an up and coming thing, and they are optimistic…

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Since we still haven’t heard anything about the truck’s prognosis, and since our time here is seemingly endless, we did two things:

  1. We planned to go to Wisconsin in our rental car to see the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that had always been on our itinerary for this week…
  2. We went to dinner at our favorite Thunder Bay restaurant, Bistro One. The fact that we have a favorite restaurant tells us we have already been here way too long; we have a standing reservation for every Tuesday night…

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After dinner we turned in early; tomorrow is a 10 hour drive across the border and through Minnesota, into Wisconsin, down to the town of Spring Green.

And a not too awful time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-02 Westbound; Stranded in Thunder Bay, Day 2…

It rained all night.  Sometime in the early morning I awoke and noticed that the power had gone out.  (Most things in the Villa run on batteries, but we still need shore power if we are staying for an extended period of time…)

I dressed and went out in the rain. I found that the outlet we were plugged into is a GFI, which is extremely sensitive to water. Obviously the outlet had gotten wet, and had shut itself off.  I detached everything and decided to wait until morning to see if this could be resolved.  I went back to bed…

In the morning I surveyed the situation again. I dried off everything, reset the GFI, and plugged in again. All good. Then I arranged a plastic bag over the outlet to keep rain off. I added a little Gorilla tape to keep it all from blowing away, and we were good.

We did a little shopping:  we need ice (remember our dead refrigerator?), and we always need milk and cream.  We needed to do some computer work, but internet in the Villa is weak; we went to Starbucks and spent a few hours catching up…

Today is Saturday.  It is the first Saturday of the College football season.  But, because the Villa is located directly next to the tall GMC building, we get no satellite TV service.  We tried Sling Box, but, as I said, our internet service in the Villa is weak.  What to do?  We headed out to a sports bar, Kelsey’s.  We enjoyed a light dinner and watched a few games.

We returned to the Villa.  I was able to get the UCLA-Texas A&M game on my iPhone via Sling Box, but it is not much fun to watch football on an iPhone, especially considering how horribly UCLA was playing.  UCLA was a lost cause, so I turned off the game shortly after half-time and went to bed…

A not-too-awful time was had by all…

 

PS:

Since we have no pictures, I will post pictures of my grandkids at the beach in Malibu:

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THEY look like they are all having an enjoyable time…

 

 

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