Tough driving day

Impossible to walk on. Very bad to drive on. Nr. Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas

I knew things were getting interesting when I tried to exit I-40 somewhere west of Little Rock and started sliding on the exit ramp. That’s bad with a 7,600 lb. trailer. Rain on ice. A lot of vehicles off the road.

Our goal was to get to Lake Fort Smith State Park. Getting up the mountain it was clearly dicey so we sent the scout vehicle up ahead before proceeding.

Impossible to walk on. Very bad to drive on. Nr. Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas

Streamer_j had to abort after sliding to an uncontrolled stop on black ice. After traveling over 200 miles today, we came unstuck in the last mile. That seems to happen often.

Streamer_a then unhitched the Airstream by the roadside in order to retrieve streamer_j from the side of the road and the abandoned Audi from the middle-ish of it.

Impossible to walk on. Very bad to drive on. Nr. Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas

With all people, cars and dog regrouped it was decided to attempt to backtrack down the mountain to the KOA in Alma for the night. The Ford F150 did an outstanding job in 4 wheel drive. Takeoff on black ice, with Airstream, was firm and the descent was controlled. Another gushing review of this truck.

The KOA in Alma has no running water. Incredulous — we are blizzard survivors! — I assaulted the spigot with the heat gun, but to no avail. Lots of exciting steam but no running water. This is why we always travel with a full fresh water tank.

The weather in Arkansas has once again prompted a change to our route plan. A previous ice storm in December had us trapped in Petit Jean State Park much longer than planned.

This time we will depart sooner. Rather than stay until Sunday at beautiful Lake Fort Smith Park, which we cannot get to, we’re going to press on instead and try to get to Tulsa tomorrow.

The video doesn’t do it justice. I need to invest in a Go Pro (please streamer_j can I have one?).

– Anthony, Alma, Arkansas


Blog 2.5 Tinkerer Edition


As much of the country freezes in the “polar vortex” (sounds like an anti-perspirant) we are hunkered down in relatively balmy Dauphin Island.

Tonight we’ll be in for a chill with temperatures forecast to reach 19F. Heated water hose plugged in. Heat tape and insulation on the faucet. Can’t complain, it’s better than -AnythingF.

I’ve updated the blog theme. It’s boring. Deliberately so. Why? Because I’m a tinkerer? Mainly, yes. The old theme was beautiful to look at (#humble) but hard to navigate. Life’s hard enough. I hope the new site’s easy.

– Anthony, Dauphin Island, Alabama

Egypt to Sardinia


I sometimes wonder what the scale of our overland travel is in these United States relative to other parts of the world. So to help visualize that thought I found (stole) this map from Radical Cartography.


I like this map because not only does it overlay Europe and North America but it does so true to latitude, with some surprising results that highlight the importance of ocean currents and landmass on climate. Short story: south isn’t necessarily better.

For example you can see that Des Moines, Iowa, is about as far south as Rome, Italy. Des Moines’ average low in January is 14F while Rome’s is 37F. Manchester, England is further north than Edmonton, Alberta. Yet Manchester’s average low in January is 35F, compared with Edmonton’s 5.4F.

What about distances? In 2013 we drove from New Jersey, to Rapid City to Denver and ultimately down to Dauphin Island, Alabama, and a lot in between. That’s equivalent to driving from eastern Turkey to the romantic city of Florence to the beautiful island of Sardinia and then to somewhere in the Egyptian desert.

Next week we will drive, over four days, from Dauphin Island to Denver. Equivalent to Egypt to Sardinia. We’d happily take the Sardinian cuisine and beaches!

The featured image (the one at the top) shows plant hardiness zones globally and was taken from The Plant Encyclopedia. As a general goal in winter, we try to spend as much time as possible above 32F to avoid having to deal with things like frozen water lines. For that application the USDA plant hardiness zone map is the perfect guide since the zones are based on low temperatures.

Our goal would be to spend all of winter in zone 10b or higher. In the US that’s basically South East Florida and the coast of Southern California.


Unfortunately this isn’t possible for us, yet. The best we can consistently do for now is get to zone 8a which puts us in the southern half of Arkansas and lows of 10F. Right now, on Dauphin Island, we’re in zone 9a, with lows of 20F.

It’s important to point out that plant hardiness zones are based on lowest expected temperatures, not averages. Averages are generally well above that. For example in Little Rock, Arkansas, we can expect an average temperature of 39F in January with an average high of 49F and an average low of 29F. That’s good enough.

We’d still take Sardinia.

– Anthony, Dauphin Island, Alabama



One of the top reasons we changed our suburb lifestyle was for health. So now that we are really underway with Airstreaming, I wanted to share one of my favorite healthy things.

Every morning (or at least try for everyday!) I enjoy what is called a Glowing Green Smoothie. I take no credit for it’s creation. I first heard about it from my lovely sister, who also strives for a healthy lifestyle. I bought the book The Beauty Detox Solution, by Kimberly Snyder.

In the book she talks about all the benefits from fruits and vegetables. She also has the GGS recipe in the book as a morning meal. You would be amazed at how many fruits and veggies you can pack into a blender and have it come out tasting delicious!

I personally find I have more energy and become more alert just by having one of these a day.

A problem with making the smoothie in an Airstream is that you need a lot of counter space for all the ingredients. It can also be troublesome to find good quality fruits and veggies on the road. So my newest plan (which I only tried out this morning) is to make a HUGE batch and freeze it.

I bought a dozen 12oz canning jars and they are currently filled up and in my freezer. I used to just fill a big plastic jug and refrigerate it. But Kimberly states in the book that after about 2.5 days of refrigeration it starts to go bad. By freezing it we will just have the perfect size jar of GGS every time. I also won’t ever have to find myself dumping leftovers down the drain. Since it does take quite a bit of time and energy to make in my small kitchen.

If anyone has a New Years resolution to be a bit more healthy, I really recommend trying this! Yes it is GREEN, but so good! Your body will thank you!

– Julie, Dauphin Island, Alabama

Happy New Year!!

White Rocket Burst

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year! This year we conquered a major mile stone. We used to have New Years’ resolutions of downsizing and traveling. That has been officially checked off the list this year.

Now we will have to come up with places we would like to see in 2014 with our Airstream.

Here is to 2014 and many more!

– Julie, Dauphin Island, Alabama