Drift and the land yacht

Seagulls and pelicans sailed by on the continuous updraft of air over the bluff at South Carlsbad State Beach where our Safari land yacht was carefully positioned last week for a direct view of the ocean.  Relaxing sounds of the surf could be heard even at night with the windows closed.  Our land yacht, with its two factory installed solar panels that generate amperes from the sun’s energy even through the early morning marine layer, is a self-contained vessel that thrives at this non-hook-up location.

“Calling travel trailers ‘land yachts’ was an old industry tradition dating back to the 1930s,” wrote Fred Coldwell in his article, “Wally Byam’s Last Caravan,” which tells about the sea yacht Caravan built for a retiring Wally Byam by Scheepswerf Westhaven of Zaandam, Holland.  (See the article in the Summer 2012 issue of Airstream Life.)

Most days were sunny and we hoisted our main sail (the awning that was recently attacked by a dust devil and repaired) and hung festive banners (papel picado, Mexican paper cutout banners) and a sun screen curtain.

Larry had sewn a striped butterfly fish appliqué (that he had made) to an old sheet, which was clipped to the top edge of the awning valance.  Homegrown bamboo poles were inserted in each side casing.  This in progress project provided a pleasant, shaded reading area.  He also made removable noren curtains with the Chinese Double Happiness symbol and a removable dog gate, both held in place by adjustable tension curtain rods. These provided sun screening, privacy, easy access, and ventilation while keeping the main door and screen door open.

We easily went in and out of the Safari by stepping over the dog gate and holding onto the side handle and door frame.

The curtains could also be used inside to separate the galley and bedroom areas.

Sounds of crashing waves below became appropriate ambiance for my afternoon riveting readings of Rachel Maddow’s Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, Crown Publishers, New York, 2012.  The dust jacket proclaims, “Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow’s Drift argues that we’ve drifted away from America’s original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails.”  Rachel talks about her book in this YouTube video: “Rachel Maddow’s ‘Drift’ … Premier Book Launch in NYC.”

Besides seagulls and pelicans, military helicopters also flew by occasionally, just as in the desert while we were camping.

Thoughts also drifted by, especially at sunset as I looked up the coast at the smokestack of the old Encina Power Plant.  A plan to build a new power plant nearby is opposed by the City of Carlsbad.  I had thoughts about the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant just 30 miles up the coast, which was shut down last January due to a tube leaking radioactive water and since then hundreds of other tubes were found to be wearing out more quickly than expected.

As the days grow longer and hotter, we will suspend our camping trips until the fall, and yet still enjoy day trips… and follow the sun, but not bake in it.

Catfish by the sea

The Easter tulips were still opening their purple blossoms as we made our way to the sea to spend 5 nights camping at South Carlsbad State Beach Park while a heat wave was peaking in sunny San Diego.  Cool sights, sounds of the surf, and delicious food and drinks made for a relaxing and enjoyable time.

Our Safari trailer was parked on a bluff 50 feet above the beach within 15 feet of a sheer drop-off.  The nearby chain-link fence does not look pretty, but it is a safety feature that keeps tipsy people and dogs and other objects from tumbling over and reduces the incidence of costly beach rescues.  Some people place chairs on the picnic tables when viewing the sunsets.  The fence also plays a role as a makeshift tripod, keeping the Nikon camera steady while capturing squirrels gazing at the Pacific Ocean.

Long lines of pelicans, sometimes in a V formation, were seen gliding by our campsite throughout the day.  Once considered an endangered species by the federal government, the brown pelican population is now on the rise in California.

Pelicans were also seen gliding along breaking waves for the opportunity to scoop up fish for a tasty meal.  (In the morning we also observed pods of dolphins doing their herding maneuver of squeezing schools of fish into bait balls for a fish-eating frenzy.)

As the sunset approached with cooling late afternoon breezes, Larry was in his element as he prepared to deep-fry catfish nuggets, steam corn, and reheat sabzi polow (pilaf, a herb rice dish) that he made ahead of time at home.

In making Mediterranean-style Deep-fried Catfish Nuggets, Larry used one cup of flour mixed with 1/2 tsp. turmeric (provides a beautiful golden crust), 1 tsp. crushed dried fenugreek leaf, salt and pepper, and coated the catfish nuggets while the pilaf and corn were steaming in the Chinese stacked steamer on the Volcano stove.  When the pilaf and corn were done, Larry deep-fried the nuggets for 1-2 minutes (until golden), which were served with pilaf, corn on the cob, chilled champagne and a golden sunset.

After dinner, we settled back in our folding chairs and gazed at the glowing, peaceful horizon.  After the myriad sights, sounds, activities and strollers that flowed by our campsite each day, we welcomed the lulling and ever-constant rhythmic sound of the surf.

Addendum: This article first appeared one week ago, but vanished in thin air while our blogging software (WordPress) was being updated.  It took a few days to work out the bugs, but now it seems to be working, and it feels nice to spread my wings again and relearn how to fly… and feel the good vibrations!

 

World Oceans Day 2010

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According to The Ocean Project, the concept for “World Ocean Day” was first proposed in 1992 by Canada at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.  Listen to a very moving speech by 12-year old Severn Cullis-Suzuki given at this summit as she presented environmental issues from a youth perspective.

The Ocean Project, working with the World Ocean Network, has been promoting World Oceans Day since 2003.  World Oceans Day was officially declared by the United Nations as June 8th each year beginning in 2009.

The purpose of World Oceans Day is to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean has in our lives, inform the public of the dangers threatening the ocean and of the impact of human activities, and to encourage everyone to take action to protect and preserve the ocean and its riches.

Wear Blue and Tell Two” is The Ocean Project’s slogan to encourage people to celebrate the worlds oceans by associating the color blue with the oceans and by taking personal action to help.

I was aware of this and of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as we camped above the beach at South Carlsbad State Beach, so I curiously descended the wooden stairway to the beach below with a new perspective.  Even before I got down to the beach, I could see something that did not belong there, a tire.

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Why was this vintage B.F. Goodrich Silvertown tire there?

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I looked up the beach and noticed that it is losing sand, and Carlsbad’s sand is like gold for the city.

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Signs on the bluff warn that the cliffs are unstable.  Cliff erosion can be seen below our campsite.

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As I walked the beach, more questions came to mind, such as why was this snack package here?

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Would the person who carelessly discarded it be strolling here if everyone else did the same and the beach was covered with litter?  More questions arose.  What comes out of the two large drainage pipes sticking out of the cliff?

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What killed the plants nearby the pipes?  “Think Blue” is the City of San Diego’s campaign to prevent pollution from entering the storm drains, which drain untreated water into our creeks, bays, lagoons, and ultimately, the ocean.

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What caused the death of this seagull?

So I am motivated to “Wear Blue and Tell Two” ways one can take personal action to help:  1. Make smart choices when eating seafood (see list).   2. Reduce our reliance on plastics, use a reusable shopping bag (See “Dr. Dre  – World Ocean Day – Project Kaisei“)

This year World Oceans Day falls on a Tuesday, so many events are taking place on the weekend before, June 5th – 6th, such as beach walks and cleanups, tidal pool explorations, aquarium festivities, and readings of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,  by Dr. Seuss.  Find an event near you here.

The health of our oceans is in our hands. (See “The Ocean in the Drop“)

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Tiki, beach, and a volcano

On the edge of a bluff 50 feet above our favorite beach, we and our dogs relaxed to the continuous sounds of crashing ocean waves and effervescing sea foam for 5 days.  A continuous breeze flows up and over the 3-mile stretch of bluffs as pelicans and seagulls soar in search of food. At times the breeze becomes gusty, so we secured the sun umbrella canopy to the nearby fence with small bungee cords and clips.

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This year we brought along a hand-carved tiki, bought last August at the Tiki Oasis 2009 event held at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego.  This year the event, Tiki Oasis 10 Extravaganza, will be held August 19 – 22.  In Polynesian mythology tiki is considered the first man.

Our campsite is one of 222 sites at South Carlsbad State Beach (all are non-hookup sites).  Our two Airstream factory installed solar panels performed superbly, bringing our two Lifeline AGM Glass Mat batteries back from an early morning low of 80 – 85% to 100% each day by 10 a.m., even though there was a heavy marine layer most mornings.  We conserve electricity by turning off the water pump and refrigerator fan at night.

An Asian steamer was used to cook fresh zucchini and corn and to reheat homemade kalua pork in tomatillo sauce.

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The kalua pork was served over a sliced telera roll.

Fresh salsa was made in our Vortex Hand Crank Blender attached to the trailer’s lobster sink counter top by the supplied C-clamp.

The two speed gear system crushes ice…

or works as a food processor.

We got ours from REI

It is also available from GSI Outdoors.

This blender can be handy in making margaritas

Which could be enjoyed while listening to “A Touch of Honey“.

We also brought along our Volcano II Collapsible StoveOn our last outing we used the propane option to deep fry spring rolls.  This time we used charcoal to grill carne asada

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And jumbo shrimp on the barbie

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Seen on our tiki table setting is an immature green fruit of the Buddha’s hand citron, which had broken off from our tree at home.  The fruit is often used for its zest in Western cooking.

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Four wooden stairways provide access to the beach.

In my next article we’ll take a walk down those stairs…

and take a look at the ocean and the condition of the beach.

Recent images of the Gulf oil spill were fresh in my mind…

as I strolled along and contemplated World Oceans Day, officially declared by the United Nations as June 8th each year beginning in 2009.

The beautiful sunsets and relaxing sounds of the surf were soothing…

Time seemed to slow down…

Like a slow dance.

Wash, wax and treat

Cooling off while camping at the beach is a treat that is followed by our annual big wash and wax job. We have learned the importance of washing off salt deposits to prevent or control corrosion. We will probably limit our beach-side camping to once a year, not only to limit the exposure of salt to our trailer, but also to cope with the reality of mandatory water rationing that is about to begin due to California’s third year of drought conditions.

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Notice that I’m using an extended scrub brush compared to flooding the top of the trailer with our precious fresh water as seen in this photo from last year’s washing.  We are following many of the tips to conserve water seen here.

Before washing the trailer, I needed to tend to a few minor details…

dsc_0060-smashed-marker.jpg On our return home from our last beach outing I successfully negotiated the busy Interstate 5 freeway and was driving up our neighborhood hill. A car was coming down the street so I moved over to the right and, when the car passed, I pulled back toward the center of the street as I accelerated up the hill. I heard a barely audible “boom” which sounded like something had shifted in the truck’s cargo area. An hour after unhitching I noticed a slight dent in the rock guard and a smashed amber marker light. I must have hit one of the large plastic city trash cans that were out that day.

dsc_0069-new-marker-lt.jpg This gave me an opportunity to learn how certain parts for the Airstream are obtained. Airstream, Inc. was helpful in giving me the correct part number (511750, Marker Light, Amber Teardrop) and the two closest Airstream service centers. I chose C & G Trailer Service, an Airstream Certified Service Center that has had an association with Airstream since 1946. They had the part and could ship it via UPS, but we drove 113 miles up the coast to get it so that we could see their service center and become familiar with driving there when our trailer needs servicing (San Diego no longer has an Airstream dealer or service center). I installed the light fixture at home and substituted a flat #6S brass washer and added a #60 rubber O-ring to reduce the incidence of moisture getting into the light. Another LED bulb (67-A15) has been ordered to match our other marker lights which Larry had switched to LED.

I was now ready to wash the trailer and used Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Car Wash (See Meguiar’s over 100 year legacy and family history).  San Diego has hard water and water spots are prominent after washing. I added a cup of vinegar to a bucket of water and used a chamois to remove the water spots. Then I inspected the trailer for filiform corrosion which is showing up in newer Airstream trailers and extensively documented in the Airforums.com thread, “Corrosion problems with new Airstreams“. Last year I treated my filiform corrosion with Boeshield T-9. The label on its 12 ounce spray can indicates that T-9 was developed by The Boeing Co. for lubrication and protection of aircraft components and contains solvents, lubricants and waxes designed for penetration, moisture displacement, lubrication and protection. It dries to a thin, clear waxy film that clings to metal. One year ago I applied T-9 to my filiform and I am glad to report that I saw no expansion of the filiform. Compare the current filiform image below with the one taken last year.

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(Whitish circular areas surrounding the rivets are actually incompletely removed waxy residue from Mequiar’s Mirror Glaze sealant.)

The following day was the wax job and, as indicated above, I used Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Professional Polymer Sealant #20 that can be obtained from a good automotive body shop supply store. (Thank you, 2airishuman of Airforums.com for sharing your wisdom and insights on protecting trailer exteriors.)  I bought the 64 ounce size jug and used it to refill the 16 ounce size squeeze bottle which is easier to handle while on the step ladder. (The roof also gets a protective waxing.) This is my third year using this product and I can report that it is durable and withstands washings throughout the year. I also believe that using the above two products goes a long way in preventing and/or controlling filiform corrosion.

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Also note that I observed Sun safety while out in the sun by wearing a broad-brimmed hat, long sleeve white shirt (Columbia Titanium), sun glasses that protect on three sides, and sunscreen.

So by the end of two days the trailer was washed, waxed and treated for this season.

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(Larry made the covers for both the Super Jack and the wheels.)

So now it’s time to relax and enjoy summer and our own back yard.

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(Red Trumpet vine that our hummingbirds love.)