When I was growing up in southern Missouri, in our family, staying home was just not something we did much. Although I do not remember the white and red VW Microbus very well, I distinctly remember the deep brown (turd brown) 12-passenger, inline six cylinder, five speed van we traveled all over the country in. We camped out of this van, not so much in it. My parents slept in a platform in the back and I slept on the one bench seat left in the van. In this van we stayed in a lot of campgrounds all over the lower 48 United States.

In many of these campgrounds there were quite a few RV's of all shapes and sizes. Most of the time we made fun of them, especially the huge ones with a yappy little dog on the dashboard snarling at us as we walked by.

I distinctly remember the campground at Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park right on the border with Mexico. While Big Bend is not the end of the earth, you can see the end of the earth from there. Big Bend has been a favorite of retired snow-birders for as long as I can remember.

There was one old man with a military baseball cap on. It had some sort of embroidered pattern on the top of the bill and a ship's name on the front. I will confess to not knowing what this ship's name was or what the scrambled eggs on the bill even meant. He was a nice guy to me as a eight year old, and he had this really shiny, and cool camper. Later I learned this was an Airstream. Thinking back, his Airstream likely was around the 25 foot mark.

Fast forward about 20 years and I find myself sitting in front of my house in a 16 foot Airstream. After spending all those years making fun of people in RV's, I never thought I would have one. Still, I have to confess to really appreciating some of the conveniences.

Airstream in mid-Washtington

We just returned from a week of family rafting in Idaho on the Lochsa and Payette watersheds. Rafting and kayaking every day with my wife, Gina, and our 15-month old son, Jesse, was a lot easier with our portable shelter. Especially with a young son, the dual propane and electric fridge is a lifesaver when trying to keep milk from going bad.

The Boy

Now, after a week on the road, I am tweaking a few things. First of all, why a small little 16 foot travel trailer has an armoire with a hanger is completely beyond me. This week I am in the process of putting shelves in here so this space can become a pantry for things we actually use like food, utensils, and diapers. Right now I have managed to get the first two shelves solidly into this extremely odd shaped space. It is obvious why I am not a carpenter. Thankfully the door closes so you likely will not have to see how rough my carpentry skills are. You can even see the huge gap between the shelf and the wall in the picture below.

The first two shelves

Already I am looking forward to the fall, winter, and spring in the Pacific Northwest. It rains here a lot during this time of year, and it is absolutely beautiful during this time. This is a large part of why we decided on an Airstrem. By and large, Airstreams do not leak. While we got out periodically during this time of year, we are really looking forward to being able to really capitalize on it with our new waterproof mini-house on wheels!