We headed out to Caesar Creek State Park this weekend to meet Alan and Carie. There was a rumor that a new-to-Airstream-couple would be there with their new-to-them 22’ 2014 Airstream. That’s all it takes to get us on the road..
Actually, we met new Airstreamers Chris and Lauren at the Bangin’ 4th where they came out for a day-visit sample of an Airstream rally -- before they even had an Airstream. Since that time they have jumped into the Airstream world and this weekend is their first time out camping in it!
Here are pictures as they arrived Friday evening and set up camp:
Caesar Creek is a favorite destination of ours . . . nice green grass, lots of shade trees, and the great little town of Waynesville to shop and browse around in. I'll let the few pictures I took tell the rest of the story; I was without my traditional camera as it had been sent in to the factory for a good cleaning and adjustment.
On a day trip into Waynesville we found a new place to eat lunch -- The Stone Tavern! It proclaimed the "2nd Best Wings in the USA" . . . and I would agree! It was so good, we came back again the next day!
There was more to the weekend -- doggie walks, campfires, grill-outs, a gourmet breakfast. But, without my camera I didn't get many pictures! I'll leave you with a picture of a beautiful field of sunflowers that we passed!
Next up: a trip to Galax, VA for the "Old Fiddlers Convention" . . . with 45 other Airstreams!
It’s time to introduce the newest member of our camping entourage -- a GMC 2500 HD Sierra Denali Duramax – with the Allison Transmission and a 6.2L diesel engine! It’s a mouthful of a label that lives up to the name in every way . . . they tell us she is good for at least ½ million miles! She has power to spare pulling the 25’ Silvermine, plus a much more comfy road ride, and some little upgrades in the bells and whistles department that make her lots of fun! She is a pretty red with two-tone brown interior, and her name is “The Rubymine . . . and Hers!”
It only took us a couple day-drives to put the required 500 slow and easy break-in miles on her, and minimal adjustment was needed to hook up the hitch. Our initial tow was just 40 miles to check out the whole system, and then we waited for our first trip . . . destination: Potato Creek State Park, just south of South Bend, Indiana. This trip was instigated by John and Suzie to meet up with AirFriends from previous Urban Air encounters
Thursday, July 19, John and Suzie passed right through Van Wert to pick us up . . . pulling in at the Airport across the street for a doggie play-break and a quick lunch. They had Penelope (Penny) and Rupert with them, and we added Charlie, Jasper and our houseguest Annie to the mix – 4 people/5 dogs!
A two-hour drive, with Tom leading the way and John/Suzie following, took us West across Indiana and a bit North to Potato Creek State Park. Already settled in at the campsites were Ann & Jim and Jayle & Bob, and by 4:30 we were well established for the next 3 nights!
Supper was complements of Ann & Jim – foil wrapped chicken, potatoes, beets, carrots, brussels, cooked over the fire. . . real camping-inspired chow. The dinner fire was revived for the evening as the sun went down, and Tom and I enjoyed it . . . until the mosquitoes came out.
I didn’t tumble out of bed Friday morning until 8:30 when Tom casually mentioned everything was set up for breakfast: the usual grand feast cooked outdoors by John and Tom. It took awhile to get the three dogs fed and walked and settled in the Silvermine, and by that time breakfast was in full swing. Nothing is as splendid as bacon, eggs, hash brown, sausage . . . in the morning.
Late morning slid into early afternoon with the great campground pursuit of just messing around the campsites. A glance at the weather showed a band of thunderstorms and possible high winds passing through the area, and by 1:30 we were all put away and prepared to take refuge in the trailers if it happened . . it did! It was a pleasant way to spend two hours!
Friday night was build-your-own-pizza, made possible by John and his new Blackstone griddle/oven. Every topping possible was available, and John was on duty to pop the pizza in the oven and pull it out when done. The rain continued off and on, but there was a large awning to sit under, and the occasional raindrop did not slow down the pizza progress.
It took awhile Saturday morning, but by 11:00 a.m. we were all set for an excursion into South Bend/Notre Dame – 8 people in 3 trucks. A quaint downtown district near the campus showcased O'Rourke's Irish Pub Restaurant, which seemed a fitting place for lunch. . . we all posed for a picture in front of the Pub. (Remember Notre Dame's Touchdown Jesus? This restaurant offered a Touchdown Cheesus!
After lunch, a tour of the Studebaker National Museum was the afternoon diversion. Oh those beauties! Above the Studebaker Museum was a showcase of 10 iconic cars that changed the automotive industry in the USA. No words needed . . .
We returned to the Airstream and were a little surprised to find everything in tip-top shape, considering we had left 3 dogs (one of them a puppy and one a first-timer to this Airstream) loose for 4 hours. In between the storms that passed in and out of the area, we walked the dogs; at one point Suzie and I took off our shoes, grabbed our umbrellas (me, a glass of wine) and walked barefoot up and down the campground roads, splashing in the puddles. Just how old are we???
Supper was hosted by Bob and Jayle with all 8 of us settling inside their Eddie Bauer with the back hatch wide open! Jayle had made an amazing beef stroganoff with grilled veggies, salad, some wonderful breads, and a fine red wine. I’m thinking there could be another realty foodie-show on TV – just follow the Airstreams!
After supper we cleaned up our campsite and prepared to hitch up in the a.m. In the morning we pulled out with John and Suzie following, and had a fast-food lunch stop before going our separate ways.
Next weekend is Caesar Creek -- camping with a couple that we met at The Bangin' Fourth that has just bought an Airstream . . . time to break them in RIGHT!
Alan always has the bright ideas, and this time he outdid himself. He organized a rally for the 4th of July – the Bangin’ Fourth! So, where’s a great place to hold a Bangin’ Fourth? At the Cardinal Shooting Center and Campground, of course!
The Fourth hit smack dab in the middle of the week this year, and that made working schedules a mixed bag: some had just Wednesday off, and some had other combination of days off, taking precious vacation days to add to the weekend. Those of us who are retired didn’t give the mid-week schedule a second thought!
Tom and I left home at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 4th and landed at the campground at 11:30. Alan and Carie were there and very shortly others pulled in: Mike and Sue, John and Suzie, Georgia and Rick, Lou and Larry, Mike and Loren (and CJ & El), Chris and Randy. Chris and Lauren, a young couple getting ready to buy their first Airstream showed up to see what an Airstream rally was all about. And, our son Micah drove up for an afternoon visit and to eat hot dogs with us.
Temperatures in the 90’s combined with high humidity to create a drippy, sweaty, afternoon. . . and for awhile it rained and got worse! Nonetheless we cranked out the grills for hamburgers and hot dogs and a variety of traditional July 4th eats, and by the time we were eating the rain was gone. I can’t say the same for the heat and humidity. It was great to have Micah with us, but after his last bite he headed for home. When I went in to the Airstream for the evening I am sure the whole campground could hear the whimpers of pleasure as I pealed off my clothes and stood under a cool shower.
Thursday morning started with breakfast at 9:00 – French toast, potatoes, bacon, eggs, peaches . . . . the usual camping breakfast assembly line. At 10:00 seven of us were off to the pistol-shooting range – it was already 89 degrees and muggy. We had the compound and two instructors all to ourselves. In no time a wide variety of pistols showed up on our tables and we were given basic instructions on safety and procedure. Neither Tom nor I had ever shot a revolver before, and it was fun to pick and choose our first-time discharge. Fun, too, to stand back and get pictures of it all.
A little behind schedule, we made a road-trip into Red Robin for burgers, followed by a stop at Field & Stream for more ammo and other necessities. We didn’t get back to the camper until 4:00. The rest of our squad arrived – Karen and Dorrie, and later Dan and Dawn. Caleb and Halie also showed up at took over a cabin just down the road from us. Totals for the weekend: 10 Airstreams, 20 campers, 5 day-trip visitors, and 2 in a cabin!
John had a new pizza-oven-stone topper for his grill/griddle set-up and by 7:30 he was pulling pizza pies out. Suzie was in the trailer creating the masterpieces and delivering them to the oven. I think we went through 8 pizzas during the course of the evening.
Friday morning we woke to delightfully cool weather with a nice breeze and predictions to stay in the 70’s throughout the day. To celebrate, we started with another big breakfast . . . a close repeat of yesterday, except we had a lot more people here!
At 9:30 Karen and Dorrie came down to give the group some advance instruction for archery . . . they are experienced coaches, especially with children, and offered to take on the NOVA group! They taught us all the ins and outs of the archery trade, and had a lot of equipment to back them up and demonstrate with. Then, they left to set up the archery range, and we followed along within 30 minutes to try it all out.
After a lunch-break at the Airstreams, we headed out for round 2 – pistols. So different from the day before with temps in the 70’s! Caleb showed some special talent with squeezing off multiple rounds and lining them up all around the bulls eye on his target.
A taco fest was set up at the campground – I won’t even try to list the bonanza of mexi-food that came out of the Airstreams! It lasted on into the evening and morphed into a fire ring circle.
Saturday, for the 3rd day in a row, we started with a big breakfast – fuel for a day of shooting. A large group went down to the shot-gun range for a first shoot at the clays. It took awhile to cycle through everyone and some pretty good shooters stood out during the process. Father/son duo Tom/Caleb were excellent for as little experience as they both had.
The men-folk brought their hand guns out in force again, and Caleb and Halie both enjoyed popping off some rounds. Thanks to all you guys that took the time to coach my kids at this fabulous sport.
Shooting took a front seat to eating again, and lunch didn’t happen until 2:00 in the afternoon . . . followed by another round of shot-guns. I opted for the recliner chair in the shade, and enjoyed two hours of total relaxation (except for the times my dogs felt the need to sound a warning – frequently!)
Supper was an open grill, and we finally got around to thawing and eating some BBQ chicken that I had brought. Afterwards, Alan had a raffle draw for some prizes – Caleb and Halie won matching bullet necklaces – and Tom had made some trophies that were presented to Karen and Caleb for spectacular shooting. WOW! What a weekend.
There was a wind-down during the evening as awnings came down and outdoor equipment disappeared. Our goal, which we nailed, was to leave for home Sunday morning by 8:00 with a stop for a Waffle House breakfast! Our next trip isn't planned yet, but there is something else new in the works that will change our camping game tremendously . . . stay tuned for more details!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown