Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘New Hampshire’ category

Profile Stateline Superstore

Friday, July 12, 2019

I wasn’t sure when Tom and Dickey were going to be able to patch my Airstream. Could be today, tomorrow or next week. I didn’t know whether to rebook campgrounds or cancel more, and I didn’t know where to stay tonight. I just knew it wasn’t here.

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I was hungry and needed coffee. A google search took me to Little Miss Sophie’s in Rochester, NH. Like Magrilla’s, this is a happening. The parking lot was full, there are plenty of regulars who know everyone and the staff of ladies are classic waitresses, quick with the comments and very efficient. I sat at the bar and watched the ladies work. I had some excellent corned beef hash, eggs, grits and pancakes. I couldn’t eat it all. What a great place! I asked who Sophie is, and the lady pointed to the wall of pictures. I still don’t know.

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There is a great carwash close to Profile, so I washed the truck. Then I looked to see if it was big enough to wash the trailer, but it wasn’t.

I talked to Martha, and she had found several acceptable hotels in the area. I drove over to Stateline and peeked in the workshop door. Someone had bashed the back window of their Airstream, and probably felt as bad as I did. They were just pulling it into the shop. It’s the busy season. Lots of people are on the road, and stuff happens. We all want to get back on the road. After staying a night in that miserable cabin, I really wanted to sleep in the Airstream tonight.

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I went in and took a propane tank to be refilled, trying not to bother them. There wasn’t much else I could do, so I went into the showroom and went through all the new Airstreams. They had some pretty decent prices, and I think there was room for negotiating. I got some ideas for ours – little things like a little white board and a unique storage hammock that I couldn’t find the name for.

Then I walked around the parts department. I needed to replace an awning hook, but they didn’t have one. There were no white boards or storage hammocks. I’m sure there will be something I need later, but I couldn’t think of it. I went in the back door of the shop and fixed a sandwich. Tom walked by so I asked if I could fix him one. “No”, he said, “but we’re getting ready to start working on yours next.” I quickly finished up and got out of the way. 

I snuck in an hour or so later. Tom was working on the roof while Dickey was working inside. These are all good people at Profile. A couple of hours later I peeked in again. Tom said they were finishing up. I climbed a ladder next to the trailer and took a look. “Wonderful”, I said. Very few shops want you in there. There are also regulations and insurance issues, so I felt very fortunate to be able to come and go. Besides, it is so much fun to see how skilled people work. 

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I went into Paul’s office to pay the bill, but he hadn’t gotten all the details. I offered to get out of the way, as I saw how busy he had been all day, but he said, “No, no. You can stay.” Then he told me they were trying to finish up by 3:00 today. One of their technicians of 17 years had died at 59 years old. The funeral was today. GEEZ! Suddenly it put things in perspective. I had a damaged Airstream while they had lost a valuable colleague. 

I happily paid the bill, as I didn’t want to charge the insurance for this. I wanted to get on the road, but it was a long-day’s drive to Halifax. Maybe I could get in a couple of hours, but Paul recommended I stay here and get a good night’s sleep. They could put the trailer next to the shop where I could plug in and run the fans. He was right, so I took him up on the offer. Again, these are just really good people! I thanked them profusely.

Sitting next to the shop in the sun, it was hot. I took all the clean laundry out of the truck and put it away. I put the clean sheets on the beds, and sorted out things in the truck. It was hot, very hot, and the sun was pouring in through the skylight. After the accident, I had taken the shade off to push the plastic skylight back up, and put it in the truck. Now I needed it, so I retrieved it and tried it in, but it didn’t fit any more. 

For an hour I sliced it, cut it and finally was able to refit it into its distorted space. Finally pulling it closed, the solar heater was damped. I took a cold shower in the trailer, fixed a vodka and orange juice, had dinner and went to my comfortable, clean bed. 

Then the thunderstorm came. All this heat and humidity had to produce a storm. I guess it made a good leak test, so I kept looking for one. Wonderful, there was no leak. Tom said he was 95% sure it would be leak-free. In the middle of the night I heard a small stream of water fall onto the floor. I quickly got up to sop it up in a towel. There was a low area beside the skylight that apparently collected a pool of water. After sitting there for a couple of hours, it found a way through all the caulk. I would have to see to that at some point. 

A Mess in New Hampshire

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I didn’t sleep well and got up at 3:30 after being awake for a half hour. My head was spinning with the events. I tried not to let my mind go back to the accident. It was just too painful. I read an email from my friend, Ed, that helped put it in perspective, but it was still difficult. I tried to focus on what to do next. “The cheese had moved. Move with the cheese.”

We were staying at Lake Francis State Park in New Hampshire, right on the Canadian border. My phone said I was in Canada and charging me accordingly. I would later learn that’s where the nearest tower is. I went down to the very nice bath house and showered. As daylight came, I walked around to help clear my mind. It’s a gorgeous spot where the Connecticut River runs into Lake Francis. We were here to fish the river. All the write-ups described miles of river to fish, most of which are tailwaters from three lakes that keep the water cool. The people population isn’t so great, and it feels more like Canada.

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The campground is very pretty and well-maintained. Several guys in their 20’s came down with rods in hand, two spinning and one fly rod. They had been catching fish, mostly Brook Trout 10-12 inches and one 16″ Rainbow. The guy with the fly rod had caught the most fish. I asked what fly he was using, and he said, “A brown wet fly with white wings.” Had I felt better, I might have smiled. I wished them luck.

At the top of the hill, a young man was rigging up his fly rod. His 5-year old girl asked, “Daddy can you….”, but he said, “Wait a minute dear. Daddy has to get his fishing rod ready.” His cute wife had just come back from a one-hour bike ride at 7:00. 

I spent the morning talking and emailing Chris Burch, Airstream service advisor at Jackson Center in Ohio. I sent him all the pictures, including ones after Kelly and I had cleaned everything up. It took a long time because we are surely not the only ones that needed help. I have had service there before with our 2005 30’ Classic, and they did a great job. I think he would also go and talk with his service people and managers and ask what would need to be done. 

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It was about 11:00 when Chris said it would be a lot of work. The roof would have to be replaced, so everything on the roof has to come off. Then three of the ribs need to be replaced, which means they have to take the inside shell off and take the cabinets out. It would be expensive, but they couldn’t do it until the fall. 

I was about to throw up when Sue(?) came up in her golf cart. She is the campground supervisor and had seen the air conditioner sitting by the dumpster. “Have you reported this to the police?” We thought a guy behind us had done that, but she gave me the number of the Pittsburg police chief. I called him while she watched. John, the chief, said he would go and look, then come and talk with us.

It was a long morning of waiting. Kelly was beginning to think how he might get back home, if he could cancel his flight out of Bangor, Maine and what towns or cities we might be passing. There was no sense in driving all the way to Jackson Center, so I called Paul at Profile State Line Superstore in Lebanon, Maine. He was very nice, and said they were happy to help get us back on the road. They couldn’t do the work for three weeks though. They were four hours away, so it just made more sense to go there, and leave it to be repaired. Martha and I would have to go to Newfoundland and stay in B&B’s or something.

Where was that sheriff? We hooked up the trailer and got ready to travel. Finally John came. Big and strong, in his 30’s, John introduced himself. I told him the story as he checked my driver’s license and registrations. He took some pictures and I gave him mine. I was liable for the bridge damage. Apparently that liability falls on the truck insurance while the trailer damage is covered by a different company, but that’s another story.

Then John said I needed to pay for hauling the air conditioner away and should go down to the office and settle with Sue. Sheez! I went down and told Sue (?) we were leaving, hoping to get two nights refund to pay for removing the air conditioner, but she said she didn’t know if it could be refunded on such short notice. I was about to lose it as John left. She said I needed to contact a recommended service to pick it up. “OK, can I use your phone to call them?” “No, you have to send them a letter.” Are you kidding me? John had suggested $40 to remove it, so I put it on the counter and left. I had really liked this campground, but now I was ready to get the hell out of there.

We set the truck GPS for Lebanon, Maine and started out. It told us to turn left on a gravel road and we did. In a short distance we saw it was not a good idea. It took 15 minutes to turn the trailer around. I tried to keep calming myself, afraid I might make another mistake and damage something else. Finally back on the road, we stopped at a Y. The GPS told us to go left, but that is where the covered bridge is. There was one in front of us, but it was just a decoration now. I began thinking about suing the state for keeping these cute, but outdated bridges.

An attractive lady drove up in a golf cart pulling a lawn tractor behind. She stopped and asked if we were lost. I told her we didn’t like where the GPS was sending us. “Oh, GPS doesn’t work up here. Go straight down this road and you will get to route 3. Thanking her, we drove down the gravel road to Rt 3, turned left and saw a gas station where we refueled yesterday. Are you kidding me?! All we had to do yesterday was drive a half mile from the station, turn right on a good gravel road and go 3/4 mile to the park. The GPS couldn’t have taken us on a more convoluted route! Now I wanted to sue the GPS. I understand phones not working, and I understand GPS not working, but this was crazy, like some demonic spirit in control just to have a little fun!

Driving New Hampshire roads while pulling a trailer is not fun. Someone told us Newfoundland roads are terrible. They can’t be worse than New Hampshire roads. The countryside is gorgeous though, and driving through the White Mountains is very pretty. The adrenaline was fading now, and I was getting tired, so I asked Kelly to drive. There are few people I would let drive and he is one of them. Still, it makes me nervous.

We arrived at Profile Stateline Superstore at 4:15. Tom came out to greet us. He is the technician and pulled out a ladder, climbing up to assess the damage. I waited for the “Oh my God” to come out, or the head shaking, but neither happened. He just looked, pointed and calculated. Then he went inside. Again, no muttering or comments, just calculating. Then we went inside to see Paul. They did some talking and quick calculations, and Paul thought it might cost $10,000. The parts are expensive. Shipping from Jackson Center is expensive. Big sheets and panels, packed and shipped carefully would surely be costly. “OK, go ahead” I said.

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Kelly was eying this little 14.5′ Airstream for Rhonda

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Kelly packing up

We had no place to stay and we hadn’t had lunch today. They said we could park beside the service building. There is even a power hookup there. Well, I wasn’t going to run the air conditioner. We stayed there. It was just easier. It was hot sitting in the sun, but we opened all the windows and turned the fans on high, and soon it cooled down. Kelly searched ways to get home by plane or train. We had just bought all this food. What were we going to do with it? How would I put all this stuff in the truck? There were things I didn’t need, and thought about renting a little storage unit. We cooked a steak in the frying pan, corn on the cob and some mixed vegetables.

Kelly finally found a train to Richmond leaving from Back Bay in Boston, an hour and a half away. I didn’t like it, but the plan was now to leave the trailer here, go to Newfoundland and come back to pick up the Airstream after the trip. We probably wouldn’t stay as long, as it would be a lot more expensive, staying in hotels and eating all our meals out, but that was it. It had been a very long day and we were tired. Martha was coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia Tuesday night. I made a list of things I needed to do.

The Covered Bridge

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Driving north for 4.5 hours put us in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. We drove through gorgeous country all day, but the more north we drove, the more remote it became. It started to look like Canada, and in fact, we ended up right on the border. 

We drove some back roads looking for the only fly shop in the area. It was a shack in the front of a house. No one was there. Now entering our destination, Lake Francis State Park, took us up rough, gravel roads. The GPS didn’t know we were pulling a trailer. We came to a covered bridge with a 3-ton limit. I stupidly drove across. The bridge took out my air conditioner and damaged the roof.

After checking into the campground, it took us two hours of cutting wires and sawing screws to get the busted unit off the Airstream. I was sick at my stomach for what I had done. Then we cleaned up the mess, cut out a piece of plastic from the top of the air conditioner and attached it over the hole with duct tape. The plastic skylight was also badly damaged, so we pushed it out the best we could and taped it.

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I called National General Insurance, talking to a very nice lady in North Carolina, who took all the information. She told me Jaime would be calling me to get the details. My head was spinning, readjusting to the conditions. Curtis Jansen had a quote on his mirror at his house in California. It was from a book by Spencer Johnson about adapting to changing events in life. “You have to move with the cheese. The cheese moves.” It helped me in this terrible time. If I let myself focus on my stupidity and what happened to my beautiful Airstream, I just wanted to scream and throw up. I had to move with the cheese.

The closest Airstream dealer was in Lebanon, Maine, about four hours away. Kelly called Paul at Profile State Line Superstore. He was helpful and very nice, but said it would be three weeks before they could get to it. Head still spinning, I thought of Martha coming in less than a week for two months in Newfoundland. I just couldn’t compute. One step at a time. Fix the Airstream takes first priority. 

I called Martha and told her the story. She took it pretty well, but I knew she was sick too. We finally fixed a drink and tried to sort out what to do next. Move with the cheese.