August 5, 2013



seems you're looking at our old blog. our VERY OLD BLOG. you can now find us at

see you there!

March 6, 2011

Laundry day at the Oasis

Laundry day. Not usually a laugh-a-minute kind of day. However, I did get a chuckle or two with what I found near the laundry room.

There’s a space right next to the laundry facilities, but for some reason, it was occupied by a near new Monaco RV. Now, the Monaco is an expensive piece of kit. So I would assume that the person occupying such a high-end RV would have at least the knowledge of hooking and unhooking utilities.

The Monaco is a Class A type RV, which means it’s built on one of those huge, 40 feet long busses. You know, the ones with luggage storage under where the passengers sit. Well, with Class A RV’s of this caliber, the passenger seats aren’t put in, and they build it up for living area, and the luggage storage is kept mostly for luggage storage, but at least two of the locations are used for access to the shore water (fresh water for bathing/cleaning/drinking), the black and gray water tanks (where the runoff from the shower and toilets go) and electricity. Now, most of the time with these class of RV’s, all of these connections can be made on the underside of the RV, which most people do, and it makes it look a lot cleaner than what this guy did.

He opened the locations, plugged in the shore water and his sewer tube, and then closed the locations on top of it. Apparently, he either didn’t have the time to properly connect, or it must have been his first time out. I wouldn’t think the way he had it would have caused a problem, however, the copious amount of what appeared to be clear water was running out of the storage locations.

This is a problem. Where is it coming from, and what type of ‘liquid’ is it? Fresh water, gray, or even possibly black? It didn’t smell, and wasn’t of the appropriate color, so I was guessing that someone was taking a shower when all this happened.

So I did what anyone else probably would do. I went in the laundry room and started doing my laundry. After a couple of minutes, another man came into the room and started folding his clothes. “Ok, so which one of us is going to tell the Monaco he’s leaking so much he’s creating his own pond?” He looks, and says “Wow. He’s really leaking, isn’t he?” That’s all I needed. I walked up to the Monaco.

Right next to the front door they had a sign, “Beware of Dog.” This is going to be interesting. I knock, and was greeting by loud barking, the kind of barking a small, harmless wire-haired terrier could bark. I was greeted by an older woman, dressed in plaid pajamas, with furry slippers to top off the outfit.


“Hey, you are leaking very badly.”


I point to what is now a small pond underneath her RV. Her response can’t be adequately summed up in words. It was a kind of response like “I fear you are speaking some sort of foreign language that I can’t understand. Thanks for stopping by!”. However, after I pointed to Lake Monaco, gave her the ‘you need to look at it now’ look did it dawn on her that maybe she should look at it.

She walked to where the hookups were, and looked at it quizzically. I guessed that maybe she knew what was going on. I did feel a little badly that her furry slippers were now soaked. Not a pleasant way to start the day. I went back into the laundry room to finish what I started, thinking she was going to be ok. What greeted me on my exit was a bit shocking, but not wholly unexpected.

It was an entire family on a trip. Grandma, son, grandson were all removed from the relative comfort of their RV, and were now staring at the waterfall coming out from under the RV, as well as springing from other storage locations on the bottom. It was a beautifully horrific sight. Now, here’s the thing that I didn’t think about until much later. What was in those other storage locations? I’m hoping it wasn’t too important, or would at least dry out quickly. And hopefully, they took the time to dry out the locations.

I assume they didn’t. When I went back to put the laundry in the dryer, they were long gone. However, the pond remained for a while. Just goes to show you that more expensive sure doesn’t mean a smarter owner.

see you down the road!

February 13, 2011


seems we've got some catching up to we're going to pick up where we left off with the crazy city of new orleans, which we visited back in mid-october 2010. {is it possible that five months have gone by? wow.}

where to even start: we immensely enjoyed our time here, in the city that's still enduring katrina's wrath but refuses to go down. being both of our first visits here, i think we had some idea of what to expect based off of the tried-and-true cliches. yes, everyone knows of voodoo and bourbon street, the french quarter and the delights of cafe du monde (of which, yes, we became familiar) but there's so much more to new orleans than mardi gras madness. personally, it's like no other city i have ever visited. funky, eclectic, proud, dirty, traditional, beautiful, soulful. it's a city of contrasts. elegant fine cajun dining just down the block from 3-feet-long $5 margaritas. beautiful, ornate iron work overlooking streets littered with trash. the smell of fresh baked beignets next door to the smell of bourbon street. the stunning st. louis cathedral with fortune tellers perched outside its hundreds-of-years-old steps. (speaking of, we had our fortunes told and would like to request our money back.)

a classic, and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

a quiet courtyard awaiting mid-day patrons

iconic new orleans ironwork in the french quarter

moon over the crescent city

looks like a perfect lunch spot. bloody mary's all around?

st. louis cathedral in jackson square

altar inside st. louis cathedral

there's no shortage of cajun classics to enjoy like shrimp etouffee, crawfish, jambalaya and po' boys, and boy, oh boy, we sampled all of them. places like mother's are the real deal. nothing fancy but good down-home food. we savored beignets covered in powdered sugar with cafe au lait from the legendary cafe du monde, split a muffaletta from central grocery (supposedly the inventor of the famed deli sandwich), and indulged in adventurous ice cream from the creole creamery. (no really, check out their flavors!) let's just say that it's a good thing that MUCH walking was involved during our stay in new orleans.

beignets and cafe au lait at cafe du monde

old school.

muffaletta from central grocery. the original.

the walls inside central grocery filled with italian imported goodies

sinful sampler. and worth every calorie.

po' boy and crawfish etouffee from mother's.

we decided to stay at ponchartrain landing rv resort. it's worth sharing that it's in a really weird location; but try not to be put off by it, because we truly thought it was the best place to stay. it's towards the very back of some port authority property off of lake ponchartrain (yes, some sites are waterfront) and you'd never know it's there, which is truly a bit of an advantage when it comes to safety. it was clean, quiet, well-run, had a great open air bar/lounging space for guests, and we found the sites (gravel) to be just fine. there is another resort (french quarter rv resort) right in the french quarter, but it's quite expensive and pretty much in the thick of it, which means all of the good AND bad that comes with the territory. i don't know about you, but i'd rather visit the french quarter than stay there.

voodoo window in the french quarter

no caption needed. bourbon street.

who's the man behind the mask?

mardi gras masks EVERYWHERE.

we took a drive around the infamous ninth ward to witness this hardest-hit-by-katrina neighborhood. wow. sobering. years later, there are still homes with X's on the doors, listing body counts. roofs were collapsed. windows broken. yards overgrown with weeds. debris everywhere. i thought to myself, "why isn't this stuff cleaned up by the city? why are the people that still live in this neighborhood living amidst this sad rubble?" i don't have the answers. even just a mile or so from the RV resort were large derelict tracts of land that i assume belonged to the city. there was a texaco station that had all windows blown out and gas pumps overcome by weeds. if you have seen the movie "i am legend" or "dawn of the dead" then you know exactly what i am talking about. it literally looked like a zombie wasteland.

the things i think we loved most about the city were the smaller, quieter pleasures. taking the st. charles streetcar, with windows open, down to rue de la course on carrolton street (my favorite location, better than magazine street) for iced mochas and fresh almond croissants. the oddly beautiful chipped paint and antique fixtures on old buildings weathered from summer's brutal heat and humidity. walking through the french market vendors, selling everything from produce, hot sauce, alligator heads and sno-cones. wandering through the "city of the dead" above-ground tombs in st. louis cemetery no. 1 on a sunday morning. perhaps one of the biggest treats was seeing the paulin bros. brass band perform at preservation hall. talk about authentic new orleans. this place is standing room only, barely bigger than a garage, and has steeped in raw new orleans flavor since it opened in the 60's. the band played dixieland the way it was meant to be played – with heart, soul and sweat. lots of it. hats off to them.

great for walking around. reminds me of the market in charleston.

sweet treats at the market.

produce and pumpkins!

outside pat o'brien's. one of my favorite photos from new orleans.

this ain't no faux finish.

bizarre goods for sale at the market. any takers? no?

worn by time.

new orleans street cars.

on the st. charles streetcar. wheeeeee!

the real deal. loved this place.

the inside of preservation hall

behold: the paulin bros. brass band

how great is this guy? a smile for everyone.

the tomb of infamous voodoo priestess marie laveau, at
st. louis cemetery no 1. the custom is to leave"wordly treats"
in exchange for favors from the great beyond.

aforementioned "treats". hmmm. aveda lotion and a crab claw? really?

eerie st. louis cemetery no 1 ironwork

there is nothing left of some tombs but rubble.

regal tombs amidst decaying tombs. a stark contrast.

speaking of brass bands, we spotted the algiers brass band (from just across the river) marching down bourbon street one afternoon for a celebratory wedding procession. nevermind that the bride's white dress was black at the hem from the dirty streets; she could not have been happier, and it showed. loved that moment; there's no where else in the world to see that. bourbon street itself was a big disappointment. not that we had high hopes; it's one of those places that is what it is: touristy, tacky, in-your-face smut, filthy and smelling of urine and stale beer. yep. that about sums it up. there are much cooler parts of new orleans.

algiers brass band wedding procession

bourbon street bride.

we ended our time in the big easy with a meal at cochon. richard was so-so on it. i thought it was pretty good, although i think in retrospect we played it too safe with our choices and should have ordered some of the more unusual dishes. one thing worthy of note was probably the best cocktail i have ever had: the boss hogg. oh my. made with moonshine, it only takes one. refreshing, different, tasty and potent. i'll definitely be trying to recreate this concoction at home.

cochon, french for "pig"

the boss hog is boss.

am i right or am i right?

thanks for a great time, new orleans. we'll remember you as one of the highlights of our airstream adventure. laissez les bons temps rouler!


January 22, 2011


"life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans" – john lennon

i can't think of a single phrase that sums up our past few weeks more perfectly. if you've noticed it's been quiet 'round these parts for some time you would be correct. our las vegas christmas adventure started pleasantly enough; we won $100 on a $1 slot machine, we had some great eats at mon ami gabi in the paris casino; we even saw an old school classic vegas-showgirl-esque show called "jubilee" – and boy, did it deliver, with glittered and bejeweled bodies everywhere complete with campy dance numbers. ahhh

the grand adventure we did not expect was a trip to the ER on christmas day. the day started well enough – opening christmas goodies via video on skype (god bless skype) with family back in atlanta. about mid-afternoon, richard started complaining of shortness of breath and some odd heart palpitations. once we got to the hospital and ran through some tests, it was determined that he would be admitted for some follow-up tests the next day. ugh. great. merry christmas! the next three days ran pretty much like this:

test 1: EKG - a few odd findings, but not in panic mode.

test 2: echocardiogram - no real significant findings. whew! when do we go home?

test 3: chemical stress test - a few more odd findings. starting to get in panic mode. not going home.

test 4: cardiac catheter/angiogram - major blockages found – some 100% – in multiple heart arteries. the bottom drops out.

the news that followed from the cardiologist was that richard would need to have a quadruple bypass. like, pretty much immediately. QUADRUPLE. as in four bypasses. i cannot truly express the shock that i felt standing in that hospital atrium, by myself, in las vegas, with no family or friends around to soften that blow. all i could do in that very moment was find a quiet corner away from the strangers in the lobby chairs and quietly fall apart. one day you're exploring the vegas strip, free as a bird, and the next you are in a hospital with your 41-year-old husband who's about to undergo major heart surgery. it wasn't fair. our young marriage wasn't supposed to endure this sort of thing. i was scared. he was scared. despite this, it wasn't a time for me to express fear; it was a time to pull myself together, wipe the tears and walk into the cardiac testing unit and confidently tell my husband that it was all going to be OK. the tears could wait until i was in the car, in the airstream, somewhere. anywhere. but not in that hospital room.

after some phone calls to atlanta, my sweet mom went into "supermom" status and left on a jet plane to vegas almost immediately. anyone that knows my mom well knows that woman can pack a suitcase like no other. and i don't mean in an efficient, minimalist way. more like a "ma'am, you have overweight baggage" kind of way. i digress. as my dear aunt bec says, "when the ox is in the ditch, you gotta pull him out." {say what? i know. it took me a minute, too. but now i love it and it's one of my favorite southernisms.} it simply means that you do what must be done when it's got to be done. and i needed some emotional back-up out here STAT. that's guessed it. i was the ox. and i was most definitely in the ditch.

later that evening, i returned home alone to the airstream for a few hours of much-needed sleep. when i walked in, i was met at the door by our dog, trixie {aka miss pickles}. hmm. that's odd. trixie always stays in her crate when we're away and OH MY GAAAAAAAA heyyyy waaaaiit a minuuute whhhaatttt??? there were chocolate wrappers everywhere! not only had she hound-ini'ed {that's right, she's the canine houdini} out of her crate {that little $%#*&! stinker} but she had also gorged herself on the e-n-t-i-r-e contents of my chocolate bar-filled santa stocking that was sent from atlanta. any of you that have dogs know what this means. chocolate is extremely toxic (even lethal) to dogs and she had plowed through about five various chocolate bars. i completely lost it. LOST. IT. it was just too much for one day. not only was my sweet husband in the hospital about to have heart surgery, but our 11 year-old dog had just ingested a potentially lethal amount of chocolate and needed to get to an animal ER immediately, and i was in a completely foreign city with no knowledge of vets or animal resources. {sidebar: big thanks to ashley and giles - with animal ER experience - who really helped me get through that ordeal with 3AM pet ER googling.} luckily, a 24-hour pet ER was just three minutes down the road. a blessing amidst chaos.

of course, i couldn't burden richard with the stress that our dog was in the pet hospital with vomiting, diarrhea and on IV fluids. it turned into the lie that was okay to tell. in fact, he didn't know about the entire ordeal until the day he was discharged almost a week and a half later. again, when the ox is in the ditch, you pull that sucker out.

the bypass surgery was on december 30. happy new year! mom and i arrived at the hospital at 6AM. surgery started at 7:30AM. he was out four hours later. those were the longest four hours. ever. again, major blessings amidst chaos: we landed at the best hospital in vegas and the head of the cardiac dept was his surgeon – we were told by many nurses that he was the best heart surgeon in the hospital. the surgery was successful and richard made it through with no complications. when they allowed me into the ICU just after the surgery, i have never felt such a flood of relief in my life. yes, he had tubes coming and going every which way. he had a ventilator down his throat to help him breathe. he was connected to a million IVs and wires. there were machines beeping and sucking and whirring and he had an incision in his chest eight and a half inches long. but he was out of the OR and alive and was going to be OK...ohh thanks beeee to god! although he was still under anesthesia, i squeezed his hand and asked if he could hear me. he wiggled his eyebrows groucho marx style up and down {no doubt, trying to open his eyes} and softly squeezed my hand. a small and utterly sweet victory. tears of joy.

the next few days were a blur of hospital visits, phone calls to the vet to check on ol' sweet-toothed hound-ini, cold, crappy fast food meals eaten on the go and a new complication – acute bronchitis for me, and then an upper respiratory infection for my mom. WOW. really, universe? really. this kept me away from the hospital for about two days, because frankly, i was sick as a dog and just could not go. more importantly, i also could not risk spreading any germs to richard post-surgery. that was pretty tough. although he was on some serious pain med cocktails, he no doubt felt alone and scared in the hospital by himself for those few days. ugh. heartbreaking.

after about a week here with me, my mom flew back to atlanta even though she was not totally well {what a trooper}, but richard was going to be discharged and needed to be able to rest and recover without a crowd in the airstream and exposure to her cold. i went into "airstream sick ward" detox mode. lysol, anti-bac wipes on every surface, all linens to the fluff-n-fold laundry, air purifiers, you name it. i stole a box of surgical masks from the hospital {that's right, i stole them and i ain't apologizing for it either} because i was terrified i would spread my coughy-coughy germs. he was discharged two weeks ago and we are continuing the recovery process day-by-day. i am so, so proud of him. while we still have some recovery ahead of us, his physical healing has been fast and he's doing what it takes to get better. i guess that's the advantage of heart surgery at 41 – the body heals faster than it does at 71. what you don't probably expect is the emotional and mental toll that a surgery like this brings. all very new and scary territory. we'll be staying in vegas for about 4-6 weeks while he gets back to a better version of his normal self {now improved with all-new heart plumbing! yay!} and we'll be enrolling into a cardiac physical rehab and this will be really helpful on so many levels. the plans are to continue our airstream adventure once he's up for it. we have nowhere we need to be, and can stay here as long as we need to.

we certainly never saw this coming, and most definitely not while we were on the road, away from everything that would have been familiar and comforting. it's been an incredibly challenging few weeks and not the beginnings of 2011 we would have hoped for. i suppose the moral to the story is that you never know what life has in store, and for this reason, we feel even more strongly about picking up where we left off. there are still many places to see and we intend on seeing them. we've found the silver lining to this black cloud and that lining is filled with thankfulness.

thankful for being a city with top-notch medical care {believe me, we have traveled through some podunk towns along the way}.

thankful for a talented, easy-going surgeon who made us feel confident about such a scary surgery.

thankful for every ICU nurse that made me feel like my husband was in the best hands possible.

thankful for a mom who flew across the country to offer love, support and a warm body to sit next to in the hospital waiting room.

thankful for family and friends who have offered continued support and well-wishes from afar.

thankful that those blockages were caught early in life before any heart damage was done or a heart attack occurred. i feel sure this outcome would have happened if not for this life-changing surgery.

and one more...on a personal note...thankful for a husband with a heart of gold {really! the surgeon confirmed it! amazing!} that is the best friend and partner that every woman deserves.

everyone wants to get lucky when they come to vegas, and as odd and counter-intuitive as it sounds...we were. while we'd prefer the winning-thousands-of-dollars variety, we were blessed nonetheless. life isn't so much about what happens to you, but how you handle those circumstances and what you make of it. we debated about keeping this off of the airstream blog because, well, it's incredibly personal and even talking about it is kind of like reliving it again. but this blog is supposed to be a chronicle of our life on the road, and we felt like not including this would somehow rob authenticity from this experience.

we'll be off exploring again in just a few weeks, and until then, we'll use this time to get caught up on all of the great places we've been and just haven't had the time to blog about. until then...happy trails to you, friends. take care of yourselves and hug your loved ones. really. go do it. now!


p.s. miss pickles is fine. $700 later. little stinker.

November 25, 2010


ahhh nashville. city of cowboy swagger. the grand ole opry. the neon signs of broadway. the ryman auditorium. the legendary letterpress shop, hatch show print. the loveless cafe. (OH THE LOVELESS CAFE!) what can we say – we loved our time here in early september! ( i know, it's november. we're playing catch-up on the blog and trying to post cities in order of visit.)

we had the good fortune to grab a last minute spot at a corps of engineers campground (and those places are always such treats) on lake percy priest. wow. did i mention we got lucky? not only was the campground pretty much full, but the spot we were able to snag was right across from the water. love those water sites. our drive into town was only about 10 minutes to the heart of broadway.

love us some percy priest!

sunset just across from our site.

we had so many great recommendations from friends about must-visit places that it was nearly impossible to fit everything in, but we definitely managed to have a full week. i think my absolute favorite stop was at the awesome hatch show print, the country's oldest letterpress print shop. kind of a mecca for me – and it did not disappoint. these folks are the real deal of letterpress and have been cranking out posters for everyone from johnny cash to modern day alternative rock giants. the studio is filled to the brim (literally, the ceiling) with old wooden type, plates and posters. i could have spent hours in there just shuffling through the magic.

all hail hatch show print.

a treasure in every corner.

a feast for the eyes!

floor to ceiling. i do not kid.

hatch show print security patrol.

old posters cover the walls.

wooden type.

classic circus type.

american trailer prints drying on the line.

a letterpress plate for the grand ole opry.

a vandercook printing press, ready for action.

i know. lots of pictures from hatch. i couldn't help myself. on to other things...

you can't visit nashville without taking in some of the neon from broadway, and let me tell you, there were some really fantastic signs. after having some tasty BBQ from jack's (another legendary BBQ joint) it's fun to walk up and down broadway and take in the honky tonk bars and tacky souvenir shops.

pigs fly at jack's.

magoo takes down some ribs at jack's.

love that neon.

betty boots! one of my faves.

ya dern tootin'.

when in rome...

hunka hunka hubs.

not only is elvis alive, but he lives in this
fortune-telling machine on broadway. who knew?

you can't come to nashville without taking in some good eats. having no shortage of places to choose from, we settled on a no-frills visit to rotier's, which has been in business since 1945. it ain't for fancy folks, and it's a classic. 

get the burger on french bread. trust us on this.

our absolute favorite place to eat was the loveless cafe. good gracious, where do i start? this gem is a little bit of a drive out from town, but it is well worth the drive AND the wait you will likely encounter once you get there. in fact, we ate two meals here and it is HANDS DOWN the best southern meal we've ever had. the loveless cafe is known for many culinary treats, but the most famous is probably their biscuits. praise the lard and pass those biscuits around, people. 

love the loveless.

stars lines the walls of the loveless.


little circles of heaven.

the cafe itself sits on a few acres of land which also houses a "hams and jam" shop where you can buy their famous country ham, bacon, jellies, jams, t-shirts, cookbooks...just about anything branded with their iconic loveless logo. there's also an old motel that used to house road-weary travelers, but nowadays, it houses some artist galleries and a bicycle shop. we absolutely loved this place. it's the real deal, y'all.

carol fay, the biscuit lady.

love the folk art at loveless.

we were fortunate to be around while the tennessee state fair was in town, and while it was a little disappointing, it's always fun to walk the fairgrounds and take in the sights. and sights there were. hot beef sundae booths (no, that is not a typo), a bluebell ice-cream eating contest, agriculture and livestock shows and the expected midway rides. 

sweet little cows.

the yoyo!

carousel horses.

lights on the carousel.

we had a full week and still didn't get to see every single sight...the opryland hotel was still under some renovation from the floods, but i have a feeling we'll be passing through again. thanks for a great week, nashville!