Christmas is over and the road was calling! A snowstorm with lake-effect snow complicated a trip to Chicago, so we turned in the other direction towards Detroit and the Henry Ford Museum. It was a much shorter trip, and we hadn’t seen the museum for a long, long time. The plan was: up at 6:00, off by 6:45, arrive at the museum by 9:30!
The first thought that comes to mind when I say Henry Ford Museum is . . . Ford Cars. But, the museum is so much more than that! When we first walked in the front door, people were lined up at the giant-screened IMAX Theater to see The Hobbit! We already saw that last week, so we headed for the entry to the exhibit halls. Everything from “Made in America” to the “Dymaxion.” Here are pictures that show some of our favorites.
The Allegheny 1941 locomotive is one of the largest steam locomotive ever built and was designed for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.
Two easily recognizable planes from the "Heroes of the Sky" exhibit!
Now for those cars! Here is a collection of my favorites!
The display that I remembered the most from our last visit (25 years ago?) was the camping RV of Charles Lindbergh! It was made a canvas fabric, stretched on a frame and painted with many coats of a water-proof paint. Henry Ford gave it to Lindbergh when he wanted to get away from his hurried life and spend time writing! GEEEE -- have you ever known anyone to want to "get away" from life by going camping before????
(After seeing both Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and his camper, we came home and rented the "Spirit of St. Louis" starring Jimmy Stewart. And, I'm hot to read a book about the famous Lindbergh kidnapping.)
After 5 hours in the museum we figured we had gotten our money's worth, and we headed back to Van Wert, taking the river-road drive along the Maumee river outside of Toledo. I might have preferred heading back to a campsite for the evening, but walking into the house at 5:00 had it's own advantages of easy supper and a movie.
Several posts ago I ended by writing “so ends our camping season for 2012”, but remember that I also said “ . . . or maybe not!” I left the door open for another cold-weather outing and this past weekend we made good on it!
The NOVA and Silver Family end of the year Christmas party had been on the books for quite some time and was scheduled to be at Terry and Sue’s home in Dublin, OH. Our plan was that Tom and I would get a hotel room in the area and take advantage of the big-city location to do some seasonal shopping.
However, as the time got closer we began tracking a warming trend, and putting out feelers for a convenient campground close to Dublin. Just 3 weeks ago we were at Alum Creek State Park near Delaware, Oh, and noticed that they were open all winter. On top of that, they advertised that a Fantasy of Lights would be featured in the campground area, with a million lights and 150 displays.
A few hardy other Airstreamers were interested in the plan, and as the weekend approached each began forming a strategy. Yes, Airstreams were winterized, but this did not cause much of a problem. Every couple has a scheme for “dry” camping without water in the holding tanks. Jugs of water would provide limited water for our drinking and sink necessities and another jug of water in the bathroom would allow for use of the toilet and “manual” flushing. All campground services including heated bathhouse, hot showers, electric hook-ups, water and dump station were open and running, and a full-time volunteer host family was present to welcome us!
All week long the predicted temperatures got warmer with even night temperatures well above the freezing mark. However, with that warm front, wet weather also moved in with a certainty of rain. In the end, four Airstream couples chose to brave camping in December to extend the NOVA Christmas party to a full weekend event!
Lou and Larry were first to land Friday afternoon and they chose a location around the bath house where we would all conveniently gather.
Tom and I arrived by 6:15 and managed a very quick disconnect in the dark with light rain and temps in the high 40's!
The four of us drove into Delaware for a great dinner at a well-established Hamburger joint . . . no tables -- just a never ending counter!
After dinner we hit the antique stores that were conveniently next door to walk off the burgers and fries! I often wonder how many times a day the store owner has to listen to the same timeworn comments: "I have a dozen of these in my attic!" "I just sold one of those in my garage sale." "Grandma gave away one just like that because nobody in the family wanted it! "They want how much for that?"
Back at the campground Dan and Dawn and Loren and Michael had arrived completing our gathering with 3 Airstreams and an Argosy. It was still raining very lightly, but we gathered in "the silver pearl" (below right) and chatted for awhile and made plans for breakfast -- back at the Hamburger Inn!
Saturday morning the rain was gone, the temperature had risen, and although it wasn't going to be a sunny day, it was going to be very pleasant for mid-December! In fact, during the afternoon we were able to enjoy a good sit-and-chat around a campfire.
Of course, the reason for the weekend adventure was the NOVA and Silver Family Christmas party, and by 3:30 Saturday afternoon we made the 13 mile trip to Dublin, OH and the home of our Hosts, Terry and Sue. Here are a few pictures from the rally . . . . UHH, I mean PARTY!
And . . . when the party was over, 8 of us set out for the short drive back for the special treat of another overnight in our Airstreams.
Sunday morning, as we said goodby, Lou and I left the door WIDE OPEN for any other last minute, warm weekend get-togethers . . . should the occasion arise!
Here is a poem I wrote last year, Christmas 2011, and continued this year with a Christmas 2012 "sequel"
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and Santa this year
Was excited to start on his holiday cheer.
He was older and slower and ready to try
An easier ride for his fly through the sky.
Something cushy and comfy and easy to tow
Taking advantage of aerodynamic airflow.
Oh, to stop for a rest and to warm his old bones
A break between housetops, and chimney and homes!
One thing he had always wanted to do,
Was include Mrs. Clause, as a passenger, too!
But she wouldn’t ride in his sleigh in the sky,
So he wanted a craft she was willing to try.
He spent all year looking and then found an icon
A trailer -- an Aristream -- a classic – a fawn!
Or was it a Bambi? Who cares what it’s called!
It was perfect for Santa, he was completely enthralled.
And the more that he learned about his new silver camper
The more he was sure he had found the right answer.
The silver, the shape, and the outstanding design
was perfect, not to mention the inside was divine.
Santa’s next worry was about his reindeer,
What would they say ‘bout an Airstream to steer?
They all took one look, and decided to strike!
An Airstream to pull just didn’t seem right.
So Santa invited an Airstream expert
To explain to the reindeer, and to assert
That the Airstream was wondrously simple to tow
Wherever they flew it would easily go.
But the Reindeer stood fast and refused to consider
Such a change from the sleigh, it was oh so much bigger.
Leaving Santa without a team for his flight!
What was the answer? What could make it right?
Then he had an idea that seemed at first glance
Would work for the Airstream, and even enhance
The vision it made as it flew through the night
Drawn by flamingos, it just seemed so right!
And one by one Santa searched till he found
A team of Flamingos with flying profound
He knew they could make the trip Christmas Eve
In this new flying team Santa did truly believe.
So look up in the sky this Christmas Eve night
And hope that you view a remarkable sight.
A Santa-sleigh-Airstream on a round-the-world flight
Visiting every man, woman, child all through the night
Last year you followed as Santa obtained
Sleigh-pulling flamingos, which he had trained
To pull his sled filled with joy and with cheer
‘Round the world to all places far and near.
That worked out just great for Santa’s night trip
Tho’ the birds were worn out by the overnight clip.
But they’d done so well flying all through the night
Santa vowed them a trip to mark the great flight.
Pinkie wanted to go to Hawaii to see
Volcanoes and beaches and a palm tree
But Leggy wanted a Las Vegas casino
And lacking for that, she’d settle for Reno.
Stilt and Twig had another bright notion
A mountain retreat far from the ocean!
With skiing and sledding and fireside bars
As far from the ocean as the moon was from Mars.
Priscilla was a much younger flamingo
Wanting excitement to make herself tingle
Something with action just this side of sin
Preferably with a ton of bird men.
Longneck thought a loud bar would be nifty,
Something risqué and just a bit risky,
Give him a jukebox and country ditty
And to top it off, a pole-dancing kitty!
Then there was Rosy who couldn’t decide
Who thought more travel she could not abide.
Just go home to family, her sweet little nest
To relax for a perfect three-month-long rest.
Cherry thought that New York would be a great fling
To get over the strain and heal her sore wings
Broadway and Macy’s and dinner at the Ritz
And wind it all up at with a seat at the Metz.
They left it up to Santa to elect
Knowing he would select just the best
destination to relax and restock
And rejuvenate the pink, weary, flock.
And rested and ready for Christmas day
Again they were ready to fly into the fray
And when Christmas Eve this year comes neigh
Look to the heavens and here this brave cry:
On Pinky, on Leggy, on Stilt and Longneck
Fly Twig and Pricilla, fly high -- stretch your neck!
On Rosy, on Cherry, follow the flock
Those pink tail-feathers will lead to the spot.
And if they are rested enough, this great team
You’ll see them at the front of the Airstream,
Traveling the world with Santa in tow
Spreading Christmas wishes, to all below.
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