Sunday, January 22, 2012

2011 Wrap Up: Thoughts on First 6 Months of Airstreaming

Written While Home in Dallas for the Holidays
12/28/11    8:30 pm
(Just forgot to publish it until now)

My Camper Santa for my Yard

Nice quiet Christmas spent with friends and my folks - full of nostalgia and simplicity and hope for better times for all in 2012. This was a fairly turbulent year for a lot of people - my family included - and I am hopeful that things will smooth out next year.

This is my Motto for 2012

Haven't blogged about my travels in a while - just got caught up in reality and work and flat out forgot to make notes. So here's where we have been since October or so.

Finally got a couple of chances to use the trailer on location for a few back to back jobs. Haven't gotten to cast out of it yet - but did get to work within driving range and could tow the trailer with us. It was so great to be able to come back to our own space at the end of crazy long casting days. My hope was that the camper would be a comfy piece of "home" that felt like a retreat - and it truly was. Nothing like having your own food in the fridge, a couple of bottles of pinot noir on hand, your own pillow and favorite blanket, and all the music and games and dvds you enjoy right where you can find them. Luckily, Damon travels with me most of the time for work - and he enjoys the perks of the camper as much as I do. That's a huge bonus - if he hated it, things would be a lot less fun work-wise.

Both jobs were for my favorite and best commercial production company client - and the end client is a TX based fast food chain that we are big fans of. We are doing the real people casting for their new campaign all across the country, so we get to hang out in multiple stores a day to scout for employees and customers who have fun things to say in both English and Spanish. 

The days are pretty long and require lots of energy - but fun and rewarding. And we need to curl up at the end of the day in a quiet place so we can edit and upload pictures, video footage and notes on maybe 100 people or so a day. It is so much nicer to come back to your own place, rather than a hotel room that looks like every other hotel room you have stayed in while working on the road for the last 20 years. It was getting so bad that all the hotels started running together on us and we couldn't remember where our rooms were at times. 

Not having to stress about flights and baggage weights and long lines and rental cars and hotel reservations and all the details involved in booking and sometimes canceling all that was just an extra bonus. A bit of internet searching turned up a nice RV park centrally located in the main cities we were to base ourselves in, one phone call to book a site with full hookups - then all we had to do to prep to leave town was get our studio kit together and our personal stuff packed. The bulk of all we needed was already in the camper. A run by the grocery store on the way to pick up the camper and we were off.

The first round of casting was in Houston and we found an odd but charming gated RV Park near Reliant Stadium with a big pond and fountain in the middle of the Park. 

It was just before Halloween when we did that search - so we took some fun decorations with us and some Halloween cartoons to watch while we worked at night. We were there maybe 9 days total - and never felt cramped or like we were on top of each other. 

Between the RV park WiFi and our 4G WiFi card we bought - we were able to do everything we needed to do technically at night from the RV Park.

The second round of casting, luckily, was in San Antonio. I had hoped to link up with two Christmas Airstream Rallies (my first real rally experiences) happening in San Antonio and then Blanco over the first couple of weekends in December. If the job had been anywhere else I would have missed them both. 

As it turns out, we made it for the first bit of the Texas Highland Lakes Unit "Peppermint Rally" held at Travelers World in San Antonio (where I was inducted as a new member) before we had to start working for 5 days.

Here's some pix from there: 

Harvey and Gail Craig
(the nice fella who taught us so much in Santa Fe on our First Trip)

Marque Mooney - new President of THLU Unit.
(She was also lovely to us on our Santa Fe Trip)

San Antonio Riverwalk

Then were able to make it to the Blanco Christmas Rally at Blanco State Park when the job was over. Really enjoyed experiencing both rallies and getting to play some and recharge ourselves before heading home. (And man, the Airstream Rally folks know how to eat! If you have never had a group potluck with a fun crowd of Airstream folks - you are missing out.)

Coffee House in Downtown Blanco

4th Place in Trailer Decorations
Chocolate Bread Pudding in the Crockpot :)

Blanco Rally Hosts

All in all, 2011 was a tricky year - but thanks to the new Airstream, it was also full of fun and the promise of adventures. I made a promise to use it at least twice a month, to connect or reconnect with people I love, to spend more time playing, to meet new camping pals, to learn to cook on the road, to become independent and able to travel alone, to take one or more of my dogs with me when I could, to find new places to explore, and to try to use the silver toy for work when/if I could. I made good on every one of those promises to myself. So THAT is pretty darn good, for a newbie.

I still have a ways to go on the learning curve, but I ended the year able to tow and setup solo - with confidence - and I have some great memories to show for it. Can't wait to see where 2012 takes us.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Solo Trip - Mission Accomplished

Friday 11/4 to Wednesday 11/9/11

Beaver’s Bend State Park
Broken Bow, OK
MON 11/7/11
4:30 pm

I truly don’t think I could find a better spot to be in right now – especially not within 3.5 hours of home. This is a gorgeous state park and a perfect day. It is cloudy and overcast, about 60 degrees. The windows in the trailer are wide open, I have a fresh cup of coffee in my hand, just woke up from a catnap, took a great shower – and now I’m listening to super peaceful music and taking a minute to reflect. The wind is rippling across the river at the front of the trailer, the squirrels are busy rustling in the gorgeous Fall leaves - and everything smells like wood, smoke and campfires. THIS is what it’s all about. If this camper can take me to places that make me this peaceful – then it is worth every bit of effort I put into it.

Had such a fun weekend with my friend Jan Parks and her family and pals – it was like reconnecting with folks that I had seen just recently, but it’s been almost 16 years since I saw her last. She and her whole clan are fun and vibrant and inclusive and full of life – and she just offered them all up to me and wrapped me into their weekend. Got to play with the world’s cutest 8 month old baby boy and his spunky 4 yr old sister. Got to help bathe them both and get them ready for bed last night (which is pretty fun for me since I never got to have little ones of my own and never had any around to practice on.) The best part is this: Jan reminded me this morning that it was a full-circle moment for her to see me do that – since she used to do the same for me when she babysat me. She bathed me as a little kid and here I am bathing her granddaughter 40 years later. Pretty cool indeed.

For 3 days we ate like it was Thanksgiving and played cards and games and told stories and just enjoyed having nowhere to be and nothing specific to do. They all came over to the camper today after they checked out of their cabins and I fed them all my Chicken Tortilla Soup using all my matching trailer plates and containers and accessories – and it felt like I was having a big, fun, grownup tea party in my big silver playhouse (hope that feeling never goes away.)

Gonna miss hanging out with them – but I am thrilled that I am able to have another couple of days here in the park to roam around and take pictures and hike and nap and just relax on my own. Very few people in the park on a Monday – and I seem to be down on an end by myself – which is just fine by me. Met an older, but very fun/sassy lady yesterday on a purple bike with a dog in her bike basket – purple bed and purple harness to match. She was really sweet. Told her it was my first solo trip and she just kept saying how proud she was of me – made me feel proud too. Said she loved to camp and was not sure she would know how to do it all if her husband wasn’t around – just thought it was really cool that I was going it alone.

Given 3 tours of the camper to people in the park already – everybody is intrigued by the back door opening up and the layout. Having to keep the place tidy in case folks drop in :)

Been a LOT of universal synchronistic moments on this trip – it’s all SO meant to be. First - work didn't get in the way of the plans for the weekend. That never happens. Then, I wasn’t sure I wanted to come down into the state park to stay (for some dumb reason) but I had a reservation somewhere in the park. So Saturday morning I go exploring in the truck - left the camper in the ugly RV place I parked in on Friday night (since it was late and dark when I got to town). Drove down into this pretty large state park on Saturday morning just to poke around. Had no clue where my spot would be and didn’t check at the office (because I couldn't find it). Just drove and took random twists and turns – pulled into one of the four campgrounds and drove right up to and pulled into the spot with my name on it! What are the chances of that? And it was a pull thru (so I didn’t have to fight backing in yet) – so that was awesome too.

Next in line for synchronicity: When I went to the park office yesterday to pay - knowing they have cabins reserved here up to a year in advance - I lucked out when someone cancelled for Thanksgiving weekend. I was able to reserve one of the coolest cabins in the park for Mom, Dad and I to come hang out in in a few weeks. No availability for the Airstream, but the cabins were built during the WPA years and are really rustic and cute and take pets.

Another lucky/synchronistic moment: Forgot one spice for my Tortilla Soup – Onion. Went into the tiny, tiny sparsely stocked camp store. What is the one and only single jar of spice they had sitting on a shelf all by itself? Onion Powder. Go figure.

Beaver’s Bend State Park
Broken Bow, OK
TUE 11/8/11         
10:30 am

Woke up to cloudly skies and then the best rainstorm – really gentle at first and then it just opened up with thunder and lightning and all kinds of noise. Pretty great sound in the camper – my first thunderstorm – and the aluminum really amplifies it all. Did find one small window leak by the fridge – so I’m double glad it poured and I was inside to see it. Add that to the warranty list.

Forgot to check the weather for today – so my plans for hiking and taking pictures may just have changed. Plan B calls for making a late breakfast and puttering in the camper, a bit of housekeeping and a drive thru the park in the rain. Then I have to start packing stuff up to head home. Gonna really hate to leave tomorrow. Such a gorgeous, peaceful place. Have seen 8 trillion squirrels – so I’m glad that I didn’t bring Dylan (the squirrel chaser) this trip. He would have busted out a screen to get to them. There are lots of deer and raccoons and possum too. 

I haven’t seen trees this tall in a really long time – and all the leaves are changing for Fall. There is some awfully pretty Fall color up here. Have to start making this an annual trip in October or November – and next time bring my Vespa, a bike, tons of firewood and my iPad (which I can’t believe I forgot – all I wanted to do was swing in my hammock and read books on the iPad). And with no service up here for the internet – the iPhone and the Edge network is my only way to connect. It’s been both good and bad to be semi unplugged. Pretty spoiled, huh?

On a totally shallow note: Did I mention how scary the Walmart is here? Yikes. Very tired old-school Walmart. And after 4+ years of casting in Walmarts around the country – I know my Wally Worlds.


Beaver’s Bend State Park
Broken Bow, OK
TUE 11/8/11         
6:00 pm

Stormed all day – and it got LOUD inside the shiny silver bullet.
The rain died down about an hour ago – and everybody in the park came out to see the sun set and watch the late afternoon light play on all the Fall colors. 

It rained so much that 3 waterfalls erupted across the river from my campsite (I’m in Buckeye #1 – the best campground here it seems, after my drive around earlier). Couldn’t believe how much prettier everything was after the rain – got some gorgeous pictures.

Spent the rainy day updating my iPod for the trailer, reading, cleaning up, munching on leftover Tortilla Soup, and just generally being lazy and enjoying the messy weather.

Gotta pack up and head home tomorrow – hope it’s not too wet to pull myself outta here. But I guess I get to try out my 4x4 capabilities on the truck if that happens. One more skill to master on this new adventure of mine.

Casa de Pinky
Dallas TX
WED 11/9/11
6:30 pm

Got everything unhooked, hitched up, dumped, stowed away and pulled out of the campsite with zero trouble. Made it home in record time without one single adverse incident. And it was not stressful in the least. It was relaxing and fun.




I am so proud of accomplishing this that I can't even put it into words. I didn't let fear of the unknown stand in my way. I researched the living Hell out of every aspect of my truck and trailer and now I have proof that I made the right choices and I CAN DO THIS ALONE!

This trip felt like the true beginning of my adventures - now that I know for sure I can handle myself on the road. Can't wait to see where this takes me next - and look at all the beauty I would have missed if I had continued to let life and fear get in my way :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Thoughts and the Airstream

So what is my take away from 9/11 - on the 10 year anniversary? And how does that fit in with my buying the Airstream now, when I am solo and still working full time?

Life is short.
People helping each other is what it's all about.
Unify, don't divide.
Enjoy every moment.
Stand up for what you believe in.
Find and bring joy where you can.
Gather people who brighten up your world - and have fun with them.
Share with each other (food, knowledge, stories, wine, laughs, that last bit of chocolate)
Leave people and places better than you found them.
Mean people suck. But they only win if you let them.
Seek out people who understand the joy of living in the moment.

Don't wait for tomorrow - it may never come.

That, for me, is the legacy of 9/11. And I intend to use my trailer for good, not evil. Wear it out with happiness. Fill it with people who inspire and delight me. Make new friends. Live fully. Seek simplicity.

On a lighter note - remember when I said I was waiting for Punk'd or someone to take the trailer away? Be careful what you put out there. When I went back to the service department to drop off some linens and stuff in the camper - we couldn't find it. ANYWHERE. 7 passes around the lot and the service manager and I SIMPLY COULD NOT FIND IT. He kept saying: "Never ever had one stolen. Let's hope you are not the first."

Nail biting time for sure. And I fought the old urges to be negative and expect the worst - and kept thinking "it's odd, but it's here." Luckily, I was right. On the 7th pass, we found a tight little corner WAY in the back of the lot behind 3 rows of trailers - and there she was. Safe and sound.

While that's great news for me and the trailer, I'm guessing that means I'm not top of the list to get my service stuff dealt with quickly. So one more lesson for me in all this: patience.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Fun

Just getting back in from almost a week at an RV Park in South Arlington. Wanted a central locale where I could play and have people over and run and grab camper supplies as needed. It was a really fun week, for sure.

Finally settling in with the camper - and really getting to know her - inside and out. Feeling like she's mine now - and that the bubble won't burst and somebody won't come knock on the door and take her away for some dumb reason (like Punk'd - but different.)

Got to sleep in her a few nights by myself - and got to have my folks each stay over a night. All in all - it was a really great week. Keep thinking up all sorts of new ways to use her to gather people, or help pets, or give back in some way. And getting more confident with it all, day by day.

The icing on the cake is this: this morning I got up, tidied her up, packed up all my gear, broke the camper down, dumped the tanks, hooked up the truck and trailer, drove to Mesquite from South Arlington, unhitched at the service department, pulled off the big heavy hitch and threw it into the back of my big ol' truck, got home and got all the gear out of the bed of the truck (thanks tailgate step). ALL BY MYSELF!

(In full disclosure: Damon was sweet enough to come out and supervise my trailer and truck hitching, just to be sure I had it. Because he has been doing so much of that stuff - while I got the hang of other stuff. But he watched only - and I DID IT!!)

That felt so incredibly liberating to know I understand it all - can physically do it - and was pretty darn calm through the whole process. Yay! The next breezy, cool day we get I'm gonna tackle backing up practice in a big empty ghost of a Walmart or Kmart parking lot. That's the only thing now that is standing between me and the more remote and picturesque state and national park campsites that I want to do some Fall and Winter camping in. RV Parks are nice for the convenience, but I am ready for some remoteness, a running mountain stream, a hammock and nothing but time to relax.

Random Thoughts from the Week:

* Men from Idaho that look like Salvador Dali are often not as interesting as the facial hair indicates. Their wives - even more bleh. And they appear to not understand hints in Idaho. You simply have to turn around and walk away from them to make them realize your ice cream is melting and you have to go.

* 8 people can easily hang out in the camper at one time and drink beer and be serenaded nicely by an accomplished singing and ukelele-playing friend.

* Other Airstream campers always come over to say hello.

* A large size Papa Murphy's pizza DOES fit in the oven after all - and the oven is not as hard to light as the book indicates. As long as you can sorta stand on your head, push and turn a stove button with your left hand and operate a child proof fire lighter with your right - all at the same time - while laughing.

* Coffee tastes better in the camper than it does at home.

* RV Sites with little shade are not the ideal spot for a very large silver thing. Stuff starts to smell.

Came home to four very happy doggies and a HUGE box of birthday stuff from my folks - from Camping World, of course. And you know you have gone over the edge when you are just thrilled to pieces to be getting: an aluminum platform step, a folding camp table, a level for the trailer, a new/more hygienic tank dumping system, a locking wall mount for the RV flat screen, fridge and freezer door stays, a silver wall-mounted weather station and a folding camping sink. I am officially a camping dork. And that's just fine by me :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Waiting for the Cold Front

"Roughing" it this weekend at an RV Park in South Arlington. Finally get to have more folks over to see the trailer. Been making Damon play "house on wheels" with me for weeks now - but now I begin to torture others with my matching dishes and towels and tiny coffee maker and tea pot.

My folks are gonna come play, my best girlfriends since high school, and other buddies that I really enjoy are coming out. My aunt came over last night and brought an awesome birthday cake that I now need to share with everybody quickly, to gain space back in the small fridge :)

Spent my first night in the camper alone last night - and it was really peaceful and comfy and perfect for one person. (Once the a/c finally kicked in and beat the heat. So so so so tired of heat BUT NOW A COLD FRONT IS COMING!!! Woohoo!!) Woke up and tidied up the place: used my little shark vacuum, swiffer wet mop and some clorox wipes - and the place was clean in 10 minutes. That is my kind of housework time.

Towed her out to Arlington by myself (nobody died) - but I did cheat and Damon was great about following me out to help with the setup and stuff. Which was good - because the RV fairies had some electrical magic for us and his help (as always) was super appreciated.

Although I spent the last trip in cargo shorts, hiking boots and baseball hats up in the mountains - this weekend is girly. Gonna do some birthday weekend pampering and fun, but still stay in the camper too. Headed out for a manicure and baby shower in a bit - drinks tonight with some pals in the camper. Fridge is full of yummy snacks for entertaining.

I love how versatile this trailer is gonna be. It will match the many sides of my personality. Gonna use it to gather people for games and laughs. Use it as a mobile casting studio. Use it to escape in and get back in touch with nature and my spirit. Have girlfriends over for girls nights. Use it for animal rescue events. Use it as a creative space to journal and make jewelry. Drag it out to Canton and tromp all over that place looking for 50s-60s treasures. Park it on friends' land and just relax and get in some much needed "country" time. Head to Kerville or New Orleans for music festivals. All the while, making new friends along the way. The possibilities of this camper are only limited by the imagination. Give me your ideas, and maybe I'll drag you there with me!

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Thoughts from the Maiden Voyage

Just some random pieces of trip things left floating in my head . . .

* Nothing smells sweeter than mountain air at 60 degrees, with a light rain falling around you.

* Cheating, or cool, to order pizza on your first night in a new town and open up wine and watch DVDs in the trailer you spent an hour and a half organizing?

* Still trying to figure out why the woman with the umbrella was walking a cat on a leash in the RV Park in Taos. I asked if I could pet the cat and she said, "No. She's mean." She then proceeded to try and walk off with her, and the cat bit her 5 times, right in front of me. Go figure.

* The Amarillo KOA had a small dog park with agility training games in it. Dylan was not up for learning agility this trip.

* The 3rd night in the trailer, Dylan finally felt at home and started playing. He raced up and down the hall of the trailer, chasing his stuffed toy. Made about 15 laps, then settled happily on his bed and chewed his bone. He's gonna be a great travel dog. The other 3, not so much.

* The 100 lb. Pyr will bark non-stop and try to eat people. So I will have to pack the citronella bark collar, the wire muzzle and an extra dust buster for his fur when he comes along. I already had a large side hitch custom mounted above the running board of the truck so I could slip in a thing called an "Otto Step" to help the big furball get in and out of the truck easily. (And I will do all that for him - because I am "that woman who does that kind of thing.)

* The old Newfie mix is a bonehead who pees on everything and can't make it in and out of the trailer or truck due to the 5 gajillion dollar knee surgery he had on both legs the last few years. And my really old Aussie female - who is currently staring at walls and wandering the house a bit lost but happy - is not a good traveler, even on a good day. Last and only time I took her on the road, she would not eat or pee for 3 days just to spite me. So Dylan wins the travel game. Or the housesitter does - she's gonna make a fortune on the 5 critters left at home.

* Taos has a lot of hippies. They smell like patchouli. I like hippies. I don't like patchouli. Or B.O.

* Amarillo has the: "Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center." (
New Mexico has a ton of XXX video stores and signs about not driving drunk. It balances out.

* The weigh stations as you enter New Mexico were open and were generating revenue for the state. The weigh stations as you enter Texas were closed. No moolah for Texas. (Could somebody call that flashy guy with the politician hair who's running for President and asking him what's up with that?)

* Last SUN night in the trailer was the first night it felt like "home." The place was finally clean. We had food in the fridge (and it kept it cold.) Damon made us some great pasta for dinner - and we had all the right utensils and dishes and pots and pans that we needed. It felt right - and homey - and full of possibilities. Kinda like a tea party in a shiny playhouse with really cool dishes - and wine.

* The trailer is now in service at the dealership to get some of the kinks worked out - and the list is full of tons of little things we noticed needed tweaking. Hoping to pick it up on THUR - my birthday - and head to an easy access RV Park in the DFW area to just hang out in her and get to know her better. Wanna tinker with stuff and see if I can figure it all out. Wanna spend a day in my pj's eating sunflower seeds and reading and daydreaming about where to go when it's cooler. Wanna see what it feels like to tow her alone and set her up and keep her running for a few days on my own. Wanna see how she and I really feel to each other - I have a hunch we will get along famously.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

Who knew nine days on the road could be so fun and so challenging, all at once? Suffice it to say, we had a crash course (bad word choice) in Airstream 101. But we are definitely better for it. Got our freshman jitters and some solid rookie mistakes out of the way. Next trip - we think less and play more.

Some general thoughts from the road:

* Hitch grease is sneaky and covert and will stain your new couch fabric. Best to travel with your own Martha Stewart type who knows "just how to get that stain out" - especially since he was the one to bring in said grease.

* Dogs who don't normally shed much will suddenly shed like it is their job when stressed by a new truck and a new trailer. French fries and jerky treats and the chance to smell bears and deer and chase jackrabbits will help them settle down nicely.

* Lots of older folks go RVing. No kidding!? But just because they are older, does not mean they are old. We are going to make ourselves some RV calling cards to give to folks we meet along the way. Especially when we run across couples like the pair we met in Taos: in their early 70s,  recently got married, backpacked across Europe for 3 months, lived in an Airstream for a year and have fantastic attitudes, insights and open minds. We'll be visiting them in Denton whenever we get a chance.

* If you are female and you travel with a male - everyone automatically assumes he is your husband. (Note to self: make a travel shirt that says "We both like boys" for us to wear on the road.)    :-)

* Seemingly large fast food parking lots in small towns are not the best places to turn around. That visually large loop you wanted to use for the trailer could just narrow down in back and turn out to be part of the drive thru. (That was really fun, let me tell you - not so much for the poor woman in the small car in said drive thru)

* Those damned motorcycle speed gangs that have been hijacking Dallas freeways find it fun to fly past your Airstream going 110+ mph weaving in and out of traffic.

* Driving within a 20 minute vicinity of Dallas was the most dangerous. Once you get out of town, people are polite and know why you should get out of the way of trailers being towed. They even wave at you in the country still. Makes my small town self happy.

* A big shiny trailer is the talk of the RV park. Everybody comes up and wants to find out what you have and what it does.

* Texas is HOT. New Mexico is not. I hate HOT. So coming home on Friday, late afternoon, sucked. But we did think ahead and stayed at an RV Park near Denton to avoid Friday rush hour traffic and to get ourselves sorted out before we took the trailer back to service some of the stuff that didn't work quite right.

* Water heaters are a great thing. Until they don't work. An ice cold shower in the mountains is no bueno.

* Red River NM looks the same as it did when we went there as kids. Cute and quaint and goofy and touristy - with great camping outside of town - and the go karts are still there.

* Taos Valley RV Park is a great place to spend 4 consecutive nights. Unless you don't get full hookups and you have a fastidious dishwasher person with you. Then, you spend 3 nights in one spot - and have to move to full hookups on the last night so you can dump all that dishwater. (I will now have to find the balance between wasting water and wasting paper. The recycler in me will have to sort that out.)

* RV Park maps don't make sense - even if you have a Bachelors Degree in Communication and English.

* Buy your food BEFORE you get to the campground - or travel with it in a cooler. RV fridges don't stay super cool while you roll, and you will be too tired to go back out after you unhitch and sort it all out. If you have low blood sugar - this is a bad recipe for disaster. You will find yourselves yelling at each other in a Santa Fe RV Park, as if you were a married couple. You will, of course, make it better by having wine and pop tarts and almonds for dinner. And you will laugh about it later. A lot.

* When you stumble across an Airstream Rally of Texans on your first voyage in your Airstream, take full advantage of it. When offered info and wisdom - take it. When offered free dinner or breakfast or hot coffee - take it. When offered time to come to your trailer to show you how stuff works - take it. When offered printouts of what else you need for your rig - take it. When offered an easier way to hook up your sway bar - take it. We learned more and were treated more kindly by a group of strangers than you could imagine. It was like having 30 parents/grandparents who wanted you to succeed. Would have been a MUCH different trip without our lucking into them early on. Filling out my membership papers to their Austin based group as soon as I finish this blog.

I'm sure more details of the trip will come soon - but this is what fell out of my head just now.