Shopping for a new Airstream

2015-Sport-Lifestyle-Campfire-CropHere we go again! After spending several months in a camping lull, I’m looking forward to getting back on the road. Before I can do that, though, I’ll need to spend lots of quality time with my favorite Texas Airstream dealers while I shop for just the right model. I’m also keeping a close eye on the site. You never know when something tempting will pop up!

Flying-Cloud-27FB-Cashew-Ultraleather-Mica-530461-B2F-FLATTENEDMy dream Airstream? It’s a 27-foot Flying Cloud travel trailer, and it’s less than two years old. It’s got two AC units, a power awning, a queen bed, and ultra leather upholstery. I’ve had a 27-footer before, and it’s perfect.

BUT, in the end, it’s really all about the adventure, right? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call my family and grab a map…

I’ll keep you posted!

G. Elaine Acker

Airstream Interstate Best Selling Touring Coach


Jackson Center, Ohio (February 19, 2013) – Airstream announced today the brand’s popular Interstate is the #1 selling Type B motorhome in the U.S. for the third year in a row, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.


In 2013, Airstream Interstate unit sales increased 48 percent over 2012 – nearly three times the overall segment growth which was up 15.9 percent year over year. The Interstate now has nearly 23 percent market share in the touring coach segment.

“The momentum we gained in 2011 and 2012 has carried us for another year,” said Airstream CEO and President Bob Wheeler. “To keep things rolling, we unveiled a new Interstate model at the end of 2013 in an effort to enhance the product and experience for our buyers. We think these changes will only magnify interest as we move into 2014.”

The Airstream Interstate motorhome continues the tradition of extraordinary design and handcrafted quality that has made Airstream a style classic for 82 years. It serves as a fuel-efficient, luxurious and safe way for travelers to explore the open road and includes nearly two dozen “Best in Class” Mercedes-Benz features, enhancements and a renewed commitment to safety and refined luxury. The Interstate has a MSRP of $146,300, and $149,006 for the EXT model.

Our dealers are also very instrumental to the success of the Interstate, and we appreciate their hard work over the last three years in helping Airstream maintain the top retail spot for B Vans,” said Wheeler. Camper Clinic II is proud to be one of those dealers, and among the top dealers in the nation.

Airstream had a record-setting 2013, making it the best-selling year in the company’s 82-year history. The demand for Airstream’s design-driven products led to the company’s largest backlog in more than 30 years.

How to Prep your RV for Spring

Here’s a 13-Point Checklist for Preparing your RV for Spring

StabilizerBelieve it or not, the first day of spring is just eight days away! Which means it’s time for a little travel trailer spring preparation. I made a quick checklist of the items on my to-do list. Let me know if you think of anything else I’ve missed!

  1. Did you winterize your RV? If so, you’ll need to de-winterize it, drain any antifreeze from the tanks and lines, and flush and sanitize the entire system. (You really do not want leftover antifreeze in your drinking water.) I could spend an entire blog post on this process, but you should be able to find the best recommendations for your RV in your owner’s manual.
  2. Inspect the water system by checking the water faucets for leaks and checking the operation of the toilet.
  3. Give your camper a good scrub.  This does two things. First, you’ll look good rolling down the road, and second, you’ll be able to check for little details like leaks around window seals and doors, and leaks in the roof around any roof vents.
  4. Lubricate everything that needs lubricating. This includes window seals, stabilizers, jacks, hinges, steps, etc.
  5. Open the awning and clean it and inspect it for any wear and tear.
  6. Check out the tires. How’s the tread? Any signs of rot? How’s the tire pressure?
  7. Consider greasing the wheel bearings now. If you don’t want to do it yourself, schedule service with Camper Clinic II.
  8. How are the batteries holding up? Do they keep a good charge? Or is it time to replace them?
  9. Give the interior a good, detailed cleaning.
  10. Test the appliances.
  11. Test your heat pump and air conditioner. Clean or change the filters.
  12. Test any smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, and check out your fire extinguisher? Is it out of date?
  13. If your state requires an inspection sticker, is yours up to date? (Hint: Texas does require an inspection!AwningAlternatively, you can take the easy way out on your RV maintenance checklist for spring, as I sometimes do. The good folks in the Camper Clinic II service department are always standing by to help. Every so often, I have them do a full inspection on my Airstream so I can keep it in tip top shape. Their experienced eyes can always detect little minor repairs before they become big issues out on the road, and I figure that’s money well spent!

Here’s to a fun-filled Spring! And be sure to let me know of anything else you’d recommend including on the checklist!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Three New Books for the RV Library

I love books. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, how-to or RV travel, hardback, paperback, Kindle, or audiobooks, I’m always on the lookout for great books to add to my road trip reading list.

This morning, I spent some quality time on Amazon, because I want a few new books that will not only keep me entertained on the road, but books that would inspire me with ideas about new places to visit.

Here are three of the books I found. Let me know if you have titles I should add!

This first book, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, includes several out-of-the-way suggestions I never would have thought of visiting, and also includes information on selected National Parks and campgrounds. With a little planning, I can cover several of these on each road trip!

If you’re crazy about stargazing while camping in your travel trailer, you might pick up a copy of Anton’s Night Sky guide 2013. It’s only $2.99, and Anton lets you know when to look for planets, shooting stars, eclipses, stars, the moon phases as well as detailing other night sky events. The guide also lets you know which events are predicted to be the most spectacular, and which ones aren’t worth losing sleep over.

And if you want to virtually visit places few people will ever go, you can follow scientist and author Bill Streever as he leads readers across glaciers on a search for the extreme, “cold.” In July he finds it while taking a dip in a 35-degree Arctic swimming hole; in September while excavating our planet’s ancient and not so ancient ice ages; and in October while exploring hibernation habits in animals, from humans to wood frogs to bears.

Now, I’m going to go take a peek at the fiction bestsellers and see what I might want to hear when I head out in my Airstream this weekend. Send me your suggestions!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

1-Tomato Soup in snowIt’s been so cold out, I couldn’t think of anything that sounded better after a brisk afternoon hike than a roasted tomato basil soup. But none of the recipes I found were making me completely happy. So I’ve been working on a new recipe for the past few weeks, and I think it’s finally ready to share with my fellow RV chefs!

½ med onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ stalk celery, diced (about ¼ cup)
½ carrot chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 tsp fresh thyme (can substitute 1/4 tsp dried and add more to taste. A little goes a long way!)
1 cup fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp garlic powder (optional; use to adjust garlic flavor if needed)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth (or 1 cup of water + vegetable paste)
1 cup tomato juice
8-10 med tomatoes roasted at 400 degrees for 40-45 min
Salt & pepper

1-IMG_0175Saute the onions, garlic, celery and carrot in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the carrots are tender and the onions are clear. Add the vegetable broth and tomato juice and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, thyme, basil, garlic powder. Let simmer another 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust other seasonings to suit your preference. Use a hand-held blender (the “boat motor”) to smooth the texture of the soup but still leave some rustic chunks of tomato.

Garnishes and other options: add milk and/or sour cream to create a creamy tomato soup; garnish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Soups are flavorful, easy RV meals, especially if you do some prep work before you leave home! I have an oven in my Airstream, so I could just as easily roast the tomatoes on the road, but if you’re playing outside most of the day, it would be nice to have all the ingredients ready to go. (I’m guessing this recipe would work really well by just dumping everything in a crock pot, too. I’ll have to try that.)

This time, I’m definitely going to freeze some and take it with me on my road trip through Texas next week!

Do you have any favorite soup recipes to share? Let me know!

~ G. Elaine Acker

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

RV Camping at one of the World’s Most Spectacular Events!

Balloon FiestaThis October, you can feel like a kid all over again at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  I’ve been three times, gone up in a balloon at the Fiesta once, and this year, I’ll be camping in my Airstream right there at the balloon field. I can’t wait! (And yes, I’ll be blogging about the Fiesta and posting pictures right here!)


Imagine 54 football fields put together and covered with 600 colorful hot air balloons. Oooooh! Ahhhhhh!.

If you’re thinking about bringing your travel trailer to the Balloon Fiesta, you need to make plans now. Here’s what you need to know.

Dates: October 6-14, 2012

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

RV Sites: There are four types of sites – STANDARD (dry camping), PREMIUM (electricity with 20 Amps minimum and water provided), VIP (dry camping adjacent to the Launch Field with entry passes included) and PRESIDENT’S COMPOUND (premier sites on a bluff overlooking the Launch Field with city water pressure and 30 Amp minimum electricity).

Elaine Acker with Fiesta Balloon

I’m hanging out waiting for the official Fiesta balloon to take off ahead of the special shapes balloons during the Special Shapes Rodeo!

Availability: I just checked, and it looks like there’s still space available in the STANDARD camping areas, and the VIP area, which is the one I chose. Both accommodate rigs up to 55 feet long. And even though there are no hookups, a water vendor will be around to refill your tanks and on-site pump outs are also available for a fee.

Pig hot air balloon

The Special Shapes Rodeos feature witches, bees, stagecoaches, Darth Vader, and this little pink pig!

Check In: You’ll be able to check in between 12 noon and 7 pm on the day you arrive, but the Fiesta staff strongly recommends that you arrive before 3 pm on days other than Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to avoid the heavy traffic congestion.

Weather: The weather is usually incredible in October, but be sure and bring a heavy jacket for those early morning events. It’s chilly! Expect spectacular sunrises over the Sandia Mountains and memorable sunsets to the west.

Events: Where do I start??? There are mass ascensions at sunrise, special shapes rodeos, balloon glows after dark, and fireworks. Check out the full event schedule for a list!

Happy Face BalloonBalloon Rides: If going up on a balloon intrigues you, do it! Even if you’re a little skittish about heights, I’d still say go for it! It’s a memorable experience and everyone I’ve known who’s tried it loved it. I believe I may have to go up again, too! Get the details on Balloon Rides here!

Bring your camera!

What do you think? Are you coming? If so, let me know so I can look for you!

~ G. Elaine Acker



Airstream Turns 80

Austin is a time capsule for Airstream history

Bambi AirstreamThis week, I’ve been camping at one of my favorite parks in Austin. Nope. I’m not telling you the name of it, because it’s already hard enough to get a spot! I(But it’s easy enough to find it if you’re really determined…)

International AirstreamLast week, I got my Airstream set up in a nice, shady spot, and took a walk around. The park – and Austin itself, now that I think about it – is something of a time capsule for Airstreams. From aging Bambis to food trucks to my own late-model International, Austin’s got it all.

The Huffington Post recently shared an article that captures Airstream nostalgia with 21 photos that pay tribute to this little slice of Americana, including a shot of one Austin’s very own “Hey Cupcake” trailers.

Food truck Airstream

As Airstream turns 80, we thought you might like to take a quick road trip down memory lane with us!

Check out the Huffington Post.




~G. Elaine Acker

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How to Thank a Veteran on Memorial Day

American Flag and Ferris Wheel

Enjoy summer, but remember the veterans whose sacrifices made our classic American Summer possible.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but more important, it honors the people who have made it possible for us to enjoy our American summer to the fullest.

My family and I recently camped in Branson, MO, and we went to three excellent shows that had one thing in common: American patriotism that literally brought us to our feet. We stood, clapped, put our hands over our hearts, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and sang America the Beautiful with one voice. For a few special moments, we were united as Americans, and remembered the veterans who gave us the freedoms we enjoy today.

National Cemetery

National Cemeteries across the country are decorated with flags in a special Memorial Day tribute.

So, on Memorial Day, I want to salute every veteran who has served this country.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to drive around the country towing my shiny new Airstream.Thank you for giving me leisure time to hang out with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for the chance to whine about religion and politics, because no matter what side of which aisle you sit on, the freedom to whine is a gift in and of itself.

The Knudsen brothers, who perform the show SIX (an amazing show – if you’re going to Branson, don’t miss it) asked each generation’s active and retired military to stand, in turn, and be recognized. Freedom was no longer a vague patriotic concept. Freedom had a face, and a heart, and a proud family.

If you’d like to hear the Knudsen’s beautiful harmonies,  listen to them singing the Star Spangled Banner.

My family’s most famous veteran is my mother in law, Josephine. And I thought of her that night in the theater as the World War II veterans in the audience stood.Josephine was recently interviewed by the Admiral Nimitz museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, which is preserving the history of the World War II generation, and honoring all veterans, past and present.

The Nimitz staff was especially interested in Josephine’s stories, because as an Army nurse, she was one of very few women working close to the front lines. She waited in the channel on D-Day, then six days later, helped set up the evac hospital on Omaha Beach. In fact, she helped move and re-establish the evac hospital 20 times as the war came to and end.

After talking with Josephine again after the trip to Branson, I tried to think of a few good ways to say Thank You to our military heroes, past and present. Here are three suggestions:

1. Acknowledge them. When you see someone in uniform, make it a point to stop and shake their hand.  A smile and the words, “thank you for your service,” go a long way.

2. Send a care package. Here’s a blog post from a military wife with some helpful hints about what to include.

3. Welcome them home. Every soldier returning home deserves a hero’s welcome. Join with your community and meet them at the airport. Wear the red, white, and blue, and show them they’re not forgotten.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Solder in Washington, DC ensures that we never forget the sacrifices that keep Americans free.

Who are the veterans in your life? We invite you to share their names and their stories here, and be sure to tell them how much we appreciate their service!

To all our Veterans, from everyone at Camper Clinic II, we’re thinking of you this Memorial Day.

~ Elaine Acker