st-clair
blog

St. Clair Winery

On Sunday we met up with a few RVers at St. Clair Winery in Deming, NM.

snowmads

Kristen and Jason, also known as The Snowmads, used to have an Airstream, but recently moved into a Trek. The bed in their new RV actually raises up to the ceiling during the day and their bedroom turns into an office!

robin-jeremy

We also met Robin and Jeremy from Live, Breathe, Move. I asked them if they were full or part time and Robin responded that they’re “most of the time.”

After enjoying some pinot grigio on the patio, Robin and Jeremy had us all over for a fantastic pasta salad and sweet potato and kale soup. Love that!

Dinner Last Night:
Roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth. I roasted extra carrots, and added spinach, avocado and white beans to this dish. The Tumeric broth was delicious.

2015 Cost of Camping:
31 night paid camping
37 nights free camping
68 days this year
Total spent: $490
Daily average cost: $7.21

national-parks-dude
blog

National Parks Dude

Our dear friend Tim keeps track of the National Parks he visits by buying a pin from each park. He used to keep the pins on a strip of fabric in his van, but after visiting 61 National Parks, he ran out of room. In a stroke of luck, his mother sent him this vest that was just begging for some flair.

np-pass

Years ago we bought the National Parks Passport book and have had a good time adding stamps and stickers to it. It turns out, the small passport doesn’t have enough blank pages in the book to visit all of the parks in the US. As a result, we have sections in our book that are full and have since stopped using it.

For those just starting out, Passport To Your National ParksĀ® Explorer Edition is a binder and you can add more pages as needed. I don’t think it existed in 2006 when we got the smaller National Parks Passport.

The pins on the vest are an impressive fashion statement that only the most serious explorer can pull off, how do you keep track of the National Parks you’ve visited?

Dinner Last Night:
Dinosaur Dill Crunch Salad. I made this salad to share with the gang last night, but we ended up not having dinner with everyone because Brian wasn’t feeling well. He blamed lack of caffeine and a trip up to 8k feet. The salad was really good. The roasted chickpeas were soaked in vinegar prior to cooking and the flavor was really subtle and delicious.

2015 Cost of Camping:
29 night paid camping
35 nights free camping
64 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $7.34

thedemocratictravelers
Airstream Blog

John & Laura

quiltJohn & Laura are also known as The Democratic Travelers because they used to crowd-source their itinerary. Nowadays, they’re doing they’re own thing and this week it’s camping with us at Indian Bread Rocks.

Laura recently started a quilting business from the road. I love that this quilt was made in Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Dinner Last Night:
I made Chickpea Lentil Quinoa Spinach Stew and Kerri made her mom’s beer bread (scroll down to the comments for her recipe). All was tasty!

2015 Cost of Camping:
29 night paid camping
34 nights free camping
63 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $7.46

dominic
blog

Dominic

BOWIE, AZ: Last night Dominic drove by our campsite 3 times while scouting for a place to pitch his tent. I gave a wave as he drove by the first time, which he later told me made him feel comfortable setting up near us.

Tim went over to welcome him with a beer and reported back that we might enjoy his company and should consider having him over for dinner.

Kerri, Laura and I had more than enough food to share, so we sent Tim back with an invite.

Dominic is returning to the US from a motorcycle trip to Panama. A recent graduate from the San Diego State School of Nursing, he’s on his way back to San Diego to look for a job.

Dinner Last Night:
Kerri made French Lentil Salad, I made Revamped Potato Salad (I added a little white vinegar to the dressing) and Laura brought tofu sofritas. Everything was fantastic.

2015 Cost of Camping:
29 night paid camping
33 nights free camping
62 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $7.58

indian-bread-rocks
Arizona

Indian Bread Rocks

This week we’re boondocking on BLM land in Bowie, AZ called Indian Bread Rocks.

When we first arrived it was packed. All the spots near the entrance were taken and farther down the road, a couple in an Airstream told us that even farther down the road there were two spots that were just vacated.

bread-rocks

This worked out perfectly considering that we needed space for 2 Airstreams and a van.

Indian Bread Rocks is our favorite spot so far this year. It’s beautiful and remote, though it seems to be pretty popular and has a limited number of campsites.

Dinner Last Night:
Last night Kerri made a delicious Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado and I brought Vegan Cornbread.

2015 Cost of Camping:
29 night paid camping
32 nights free camping
61 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $7.70

fort-bowie
blog

Fort Bowie National Historic Site

BOWIE, AZ: On Sunday we took a hike to Fort Bowie.

fort

Fort Bowie was a military outpost where the US battled the Chiricahua Apaches for more than 30 years.

pioneers

At the visitor center, we tried on some period costumes. The ranger told us that normally only children try on the clothes, but sometimes the “young adults” do as well.

Anyone remember when Brian and Dan tried on chain mail at Coronado National Monument?

horny-lizard

On our return back to the trailhead Kerri almost stepped on this camouflaged little guy.

Dinner Last Night:
I made Sweet Potato Curry and Kerri made Shirataki Sesame Noodle Salad With Cucumber, she used both shirataki and kelp noodles. Everything was fantastic.

2015 Cost of Camping:
29 night paid camping
31 nights free camping
60 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $7.83

white-water-draw
Arizona

Whitewater Draw

Last year when we were in the area, I wanted to come to Whitewater Draw to see the more than 20,000 sandhill cranes, but the 3 day camping limit kept us away.

parking

Yesterday, we met up with Kerri and Tim on our way east. Lucky for us, they got there before the camping area filled up and Tim saved us a spot with his van.

owl

In addition to the cranes, one of the highlights for me was seeing this owl in the rafters of the nearby pavilion.

mama-owl

We didn’t see just one owl, there was also a mama owl (we think) hiding in a box.

This morning we went out to see the cranes before dawn. Even though the camping area was packed, we were the only ones at the viewing area. As the sun rose, the noise level of the birds increased and then in groups they all flew away. I posted a very short video on Instagram.

Shortly after sunrise we headed back to the trailer and passed a woman on her way to see the cranes. She didn’t realize that you have go out before sunrise to see them take off. I don’t think anyone else camping there knew that. Fortunately for us, Tim had previously visited Whitewater Draw so we had the inside scoop.

Dinner Last Night:
Roasted Veggies & Pasta
Adapted from an old recipe from when we got a CSA box:

1 romanesco broccoli (or regular broccoli, or asparagus)
1 medium onion halved and thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb sliced
2 garlic cloves
2 T olive oil
8 oz penne pasta
1 can diced tomatoes
12 pitted greek olives

dressing:

1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
2 garlic minced
1/2 t dijon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Toss romanesco, onion, fennel and garlic in olive oil. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

Cook pasta, drain, toss with tomatoes, olives, parsley, roasted vegetables, and dressing.

Enjoy!

2015 Cost of Camping:
29 night paid camping
30 nights free camping
59 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $7.97

tire-change
Airstream Blog

Size Matters

Until today, we still had 2 of the original tires from when we bought our trailer in 2011. We replaced 2 in 2013, one due to a flat caused by a nail and the other for uneven wear.

Brian’s been wanting to upgrade to Michelins, but it seemed a little soon to do all four in 2013.

Did you know that you can tell the age of your tire by looking at the 4 digit DOT code on the sidewall? Our oldest tire had a DOT code of 0611 which means it was made in the 6th week of 2011, so we were finally feeling like it was time to make the upgrade.

airstream-jack-tire

We put the trailer up on blocks so Brian can take the back tires off and bring them over to Discount Tire. When he got there, they wouldn’t swap them out. Initially, the reason was because it was a truck tire and not a trailer tire. After some back and forth, they agreed to do it and told him to come back in an hour.

A little while later, Discount Tire called and said they did some research and they were concerned that we would be losing a significant amount of load that the tires could bear by switching to the 15 inch Michelins and it would be a downgrade.

We have a few Airstream friends who love that tire, so I called Dan who has them, to see what he thought. He pointed out that they have a much smaller trailer than we do, so they can safely use those tires.

Brian had been considering the 16 inch Michelin’s all along, but we thought it would be a hassle to order the rims. When the guys at Discount Tire said they could get them in by Thursday, Brian happily pulled the trigger.

Marathon 15 inch, max load: 2540 x 4 = 10,160
Michelin 15 inch, max load 2205 x 4 = 8,820
Michelin 16 inch, max load 3417 x 4 = 13,668

GVWR 2012 27 FB Airstream Flying Cloud: 7,600

Big thanks to Iain and Taylor for helping Brian get the new tires on and the guys at Discount Tire for looking out for our safety.

grandpa-cartoon

When I was telling my parents about all of this, it reminded them of a cartoon my grandfather drew when he worked at Disney. It appeared in newspapers on April 17, 1939.

2015 Cost of Camping:
$110.00 thru 2/28
29 night paid camping
29 nights free camping
58 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $8.10

catalina-overflow
blog

Catalina Overflow/Ringtail Loop

In a spontaneous change of plans, we decided to spend this week at Catalina State Park in Tucson, AZ.

Since the decision was last minute, the only spots available were in the overflow section, also known as the Ringtail Loop. Even though it’s dry camping in a dirt parking lot, it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.

showers

We haven’t used a campground shower since our old trailer, so when I read on the Watson’s blog how fantastic the showers were next to overflow, we had to give them a try.

I think maybe only those who take military showers every other day would appreciate them the way we have, but I must admit, they’re pretty glorious.

I did hear from other campers that the showers in their loops aren’t so great, they’re push button without temperature control.

Dinner Last Night:
Butternut Squash, Kale & Sorghum Salad. Sorguhm is a new grain to me, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it.

We had some new friends over for dinner last night and I didn’t realize they were gluten-free. Lucky for all of us, two years ago, sorghum was the next big gluten free grain. The salad was yummy and sorghum tastes like pearled cous cous.

popped-sorghun

It turns out sorghum can also be popped, so today I gave it a try. It took forever for the kernels to pop, though I think I may have had too many in my pan. It tastes a lot like popcorn, just smaller.

2015 Cost of Camping:
$110.00 thru 2/28
29 night paid camping
29 nights free camping
58 days this year
Total spent: $470
Daily average cost: $8.10