Sunday, March 23, 2008
The media is reporting tonight that 4,000 American servicemen and women have died in Iraq.
Plus tens of thousands physically maimed and no doubt hundreds of thousands emotionally maimed.
Plus thousands of dead American contractors.
And the Iraqis . . . . how many tens of thousands of them are dead?
4,000 plus so much more.
So much went so wrong in this effort to "liberate a people." So much.
Four thousand gone, and so much more.
The answer: "It's down the road Luke, down the road."
The Airstream won over another new fan tonight.
Nate is an outstanding writer. He is also blessed and cursed with a fertile mind. Check out natespeak.com for an outward manifestation of his inner space.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Saying I'm trailer trash, while true, is generally offered as a tongue in cheek declaration.
Today I left Tucson and returned to Phoenix. The place I chose to set up the Airstream for five days, Pioneer RV Park, is trailer trash central.
There's a line that separates RV parks from trailer parks. Some places are both, but if they're both then in my book they're firmly on the trailer park side of the line. This place is a trailer park. There's a combination of RVs and "park homes" which are mobile homes of the type that aren't mobile.
Pioneer RV Park is nice enough, but it's big and crowded. It's exactly the kind of place I've avoided since becoming an Airstreamer. Yet as I truly embrace my inner trailer trash I find myself accepting this type of place more readily. The full hookups and the ability to be in my "own" space are appealing.
I arrived today and set up. This is a process that involves unhitching, plugging in to electric, hooking up water and sewer, unloading extra items, stashing them below the Airstream, and straightening up on the inside.
This "RV park" has almost 600 spaces. It's just huge. When I took Jake on his evening walk we walked around the outside perimeter of the property. It took us a full 45 minutes to complete the circle. Inside the circle: trailer park hell. Outside: the Sonoran Desert in all of its finest glory. The sun was setting, the moon approaching full, the desert shockingly green and fresh.
I am continuing my focus on "office work" including taxes, my schedule, marketing, phone calls, and so forth. With the Internet and my cell phone at hand I can do this work just about anywhere. I now use Verizon Broadband--which accesses the Internet via the cell phone system.
And I am back in Phoenix, Arizona and the Valley of the Sun where this whole adventure was launched last year.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
2. Bluff, Utah--one of my few Colorado Plateau stops. That region, especially the southern Utah portion remains my favorite place on earth.
3. Fox Hollow--our family farm in Ohio. There's still no place like home.
4. Red Barn Stables, Aiken, South Carolina--Nothing can match a southern hostess. Gina was one of the greats of the past year in welcoming me and showing me a good time.
5. Missoula, Montana--A true gem of the Rockies. I loved this town.
6. Windrock Farm, Dutchess County, New York--the place my sister Cari has called home for over a decade. It was nice to be somewhere so familiar and so gorgeous.
7. GSM Vehicles, Plattsburgh, New York--A focal point in the movement to restore and celebrate Airstreams as icons of stylish living and fun.
8. Perry, Georgia--Host town of the International Airsteam Rally of 2007 and the site of my baptism in to the cult.
9. Whiskey Creek West, Kuna, Idaho--The western location of my sister Elise's farm. Home to one of my self-produced and self-promoted shows.
10. KOA in Salinas, Kansas--The third RV park I visited after becoming an Airstreamer and a nice stop along the road as I headed east last year.
11. 200 East, Salt Lake City--Pippa and Kirk's urban residence.
12. Detroit--Sven and Kristen's urban residence.
13. Sandstone Farm, Mansfield, Ohio--Where I spent a cozy fall evening with my friend Francis on her amazing Ohio property.
14. Nez Perce County Fairgrounds, Lewiston, Idaho--This was the furthest in to the Northwest that the Airstream made it (I continued throughout Oregon and Washington without it). Lewiston is right on the state line separating Idaho and Washington. Nez Perce's was just one of the many fairgrounds I stayed in be they county, state, or private.
15. Quartzsite! The small Arizona town I fell in love with and spent 50 days in, by far a record. There is, after all, something to be said about being in one place.
It's a little crazy because there are over 20 other places I've parked my traveling home in the past year. That's a lot of places. Many traveling businessmen and women (or performers) could easily match this number of places they've stayed. But unless they have an RV, they had to endure them without the comforts of home. And especially if they don't have an Airstream, well, just imagine the hardship . . . .
Sunday, March 16, 2008
As referenced below the notion that I was entering a new realm became abundantly clear the moment I arrived. I had to provide proof of registration (for my truck and Airstream) and insurance prior to being admitted. These are basic things. They are also things that nobody else has checked anywhere I've been. This was just the first step.
In order to come on base I had to be vouched for by a full-on member of the tribe. Not only that, the individuals (in my case a married couple) vouching for me, are responsible for my actions. If I break the rules, and there are more rules in here than outside the gates, they are personally accountable. Once inside the bubble, you have less "liberty" than outside, but you're also safer. The people here are people who either directly put their lives on the line carrying out the missions of the U.S. military, or support those who do. Each time I come and go my ID is checked and I must also show my visitor pass. Those documents must be with me at all times I am out and about while inside the base--though there is nothing I can do away from my Airstream, unless I am with my hosts.
It must not be forgotten, and can not be when you are here, that this is a place at war. From Wikipedia: "Davis-Monthan's primary operational mission is to train A-10 pilots to provide close air support and forward air control to ground forces worldwide." The A in A-10 stands for attack. These are attack aircraft used to directly support ground forces in battle. This is serious business that is happening right now. When I enter the gates here, places like Iraq all of the sudden become much closer.
I get to enjoy the luxury of my own home, as I do everywhere I bring my Airstream. The RV park here is very nice, and very affordable--only $20 a night and I have electric, water, and sewer for my traveling home. I also get the company of close friends, who just happen to be living here now.
Big military bases like this one are cities unto themselves. Davis-Monthan has a post office, gas station, movie theater, bowling alley, Burger King, fitness center, a military version of Walmart (called the BX--Base Exchange), department of motor vehicles, and on and on. Those who live here do not have to leave for much of anything.
The impression I get is that our military folks are well cared for. They don't have to pay sales tax, they get nice housing as part of their pay package, health care, good retirement, etc. They also give a lot. They have to move frequently. Many put their lives on the line for us, and some of the jobs are especially hazardous--an understatement if there ever was one.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Slowly and steadily, I am making progress on dozens of neglected things. At the top of that list is my show schedule (paying sales taxes is second). I screwed up and failed to book an important show on time in Cincinnati. It looks like I'll get in after all, however, I'll be in an area off the main show floor.
Running your own business poses many challenges, especially when it's mainly a one man (and one dog) show like mine is. There are a lot of hats to wear. Some are easier and more natural to put on. Some you just plain forget to put on. All are important. Keeping the revenue coming in is critical, but planning the direction of your business and handling important details (like taxes) are just as important--and much easier to neglect.
I am enjoying my time in Tucson. I've spent time with my friends here at the Air Force base as well as many hours in the Airstream just working. I've also seen Rich, Eleanor, and Emma Luhr--the family behind the wonderful magazine Airsream Life. Rich gave me 15 copies of the magazine tonight which I'll be passing out to other Airstreamers I meet on the road.
Also tonight I completed my third session of Bikram Yoga. I am getting addicted. I already started searching the web to see if it's available on future stops along the road. I look pretty safe for at least the next few weeks. Maintaining a consistent routine can be tough, especially when you're constantly in a different place. It's possible though, and critical. For me doing something physical daily, or almost daily, is a key ingredient to sanity--or as close to sanity as I ever get!
My itinerary is shaping up a bit more each day. I'll head to Phoenix next Wednesday. Sometime in late March (date unknown) I'll head back to Salt Lake City. Around April 8th it's on to Albuquerque. After that I'll point the Dodge and Airstream east. I am in the middle of booking shows right now. Just like last year, Ohio will become my basecamp in late April or early May and will remain so well in to June. I am optimistic that April and May will be booked every weekend or almost every weekend. In fact there are possibilities through Sunday June 8th, at which point I'll need another break for some catch-up. Last year July and August were tougher to book so we'll see what I come up with this go around.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Will Rogers was an actor, cowboy, and beloved social commentator of the early 20th century. He died in a plane crash in 1935, an event that left the nation reeling. Rogers was something of a Mark Twain of his day. His home is beautifully preserved for posterity. It was an honor and thrill to tour the property with Taylor who spent years painstakingly restoring it. Today the Rogers' home is presented as it was in 1935 at the time of his death. It's filled with beautiful sporting art collected by one of the greatest horsemen of all time.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Jake, our Airstream, and I arrived in Tucson today. We're set up at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in their RV park. Some of my friends currently live on the base. I'm here to see them and get caught up with planning and paperwork.
Tonight I did my first session of Bikram yoga and loved it. This is the yoga you do in a very hot room. You sweat like a pig and work pretty hard as you attempt many different yoga poses. It was my first yoga of any type in many years, and just what the doctor ordered after all the recent travel.
It's so great to be reunited with Jake. He was well cared for in Phoenix, though he put on a lot of weight in a short period of time. His Phoenix caretaker equates food with love and loved Jake a lot with a crazy diet of expensive beef, and whatever else he would eat. Jake packed on at least ten extra pounds.
It's also nice to have a safe place to settle in to for a bit. I arrived here feeling unorganized. The feeling was immediately validated when I realized my truck's registration had expired at the end of February. You can't get on base without current registration and proof of insurance. It was in the back of my mind as something I needed to do, however, I wasn't aware that the tags had already expired! Good thing I had to check before some highway patrolman noticed--though the Airstream (with current registration) obscures the views of the plates. It's good to be legal all the same.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The new moon was setting as well.
Earlier in the evening I completed my second California show this month.
Tomorrow I head back to Arizona to reunite with Jake.