I left Picacho Peak on a Tuesday to go to Alumafiesta, a five day Airstream rally in Tucson. On the way I had an appointment to have my inverter checked…remember it didn’t work on my shake down trip. It turns out that the inverter was not wired to the new batteries that I had installed at the dealership. It wasn’t an expensive repair but it also wasn’t covered under warranty. I’m in discussion with the dealer to be compensated for the expense…we’ll see how that goes.
The appointment took most of the day. I arrived at 10am and it was ready at 4pm. The actual work, wash and propane refill probably only took two or three hours…the rest was idle time…with me waiting in the customer lounge. Not all bad though, while I was there I met a woman who was having her RV serviced…her name was Betty Prange and she’s been full timing for a little over twenty years. She works summers as a naturalist in either Yellowstone or Ketchikan, AK and spends the remainder of the year on the road. She had a lot of great advice and I was motivated talking to her. She has a blog if you’re interested:
So I arrive at Alumafiesta a little later in the day…most of the other attendees had already arrived…about one hundred and twenty Airstreams all up…very impressive to see all lined up throughout the RV park. There were all kinds of people there…I was sandwiched between two retired couples, John and Cindy from Ohio on one side and Joe and Nancy from Olympia, WA on the other, both couples spend a good four to six months of the year travelling in their trailers.
While most of the attendees were retired couples, there were some surprises like two Dutch guys who live in Holland and purchased an Airstream which they store in Las Vegas and use about three times a year for holiday’s in the states. They were heading to Death Valley after the rally. Numerio and Carolyn were also new to full timing…we shared our experiences as “newbies” and they were remarkably similar. I’m sure I’ll see them here and there from time to time.
The rally was all about getting Airstreamers together and there was a variety of activities including tech seminars, a sort of Airstream “state of the union address” from the home office in Jackson Center, OH and sightseeing in the Tucson area.
I went to the Botanical Gardens…this is something new for me…I’m not a huge botanical kind of guy, but now that I’m moving around to different parts of the country, I feel like I should know a little something about the flora and fauna in the area. I can’t say that the Tucson Botanic Gardens did much for me-I felt like I broke into someone’s herb garden, but it was a nice day out anyway.
I also went to the Pima Air and Space Museum and AMARG (a military aircraft bone yard) and they exceeded my expectations by far. The museum had indoor displays, which included a Blackbird spy plane, B-29, and B-17 aircraft but I loved the aircraft on display outdoors one of which was a TWA Lockheed Constellation and Air Force One used by President Kennedy and Johnson. So cool…I took way too many photos.
AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group) was not so much of a bone yard as it was a storage facility for military aircraft. About half of the over four thousand aircraft there can be ready to fly in less than a week.
I met a great couple, Jim and Jon, on the PIMA tour. We car pooled together and had a great conversation on the short fifteen minute drive to Pima. Afterwards I invited them over for a beer and followed that with a few drinks on a roving happy hour after which they invited me to dinner and then I invited them for dessert. We talked for about eight hours with hardly a lull…so nice when you connect so easily…and also very rare.
My last full day in Tucson was spent running errands…laundry, gym, groceries and diesel…interesting being in new places and having to suss out all of these things when you arrive.
Heading next to the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa/Tempe area…it’s like one big sprawling city.