The Mother Ship

Some of you may have heard that we had to make a trip to “The Mother Ship”, aka the birthplace of our Airstream in Jackson Center, OH.  We never fully came clean on the reason why, or told the tale of our trip, so hear’s the story.

On arriving home from our last outing with our Bambi to our favorite fall campground in Maine (Recompense Shore Campground at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in South Freeport), we were working on backing into our driveway to deposit the unit in her normal spot alongside our meadow.  This is no easy feat, and is without a doubt the most unpleasant part of each of our Airstream camping adventures.  It’s mostly my fault, since I like a narrow curvy driveway well-planted with lovely lush vegetation, which is apparently a Very Bad Thing when you are trying to back an Airstream and tow vehicle into a small spot.  Fast forward to the point where nothing was lining up properly, wits are frayed, and the “just get it over with” mentality kicks in.  That’s when you haul the unit forward without paying enough attention, and try to take down a substantial tree limb in the process.


The photo above does not show the full extent of the damage, but it does demonstrate substantial panel damage that requires complete replacement, and this is not for the faint of heart.  Bruce does most everything in the way of repairs to our toys; but not this.

The tree didn’t fare much better, but Bruce DID take care of this problem within about 3.5 seconds.

Poor nice tree.

Eventually the wounded Bambi was coaxed into her normal spot (which was much easier without the tree limb in the way).


The next few hours of the story aren’t suitable for prime time.  Needless to say, it all boiled down to the fact that our little Bambi needed to make a trip to either a qualified dealer, or The Mother Ship.  We elected to take her to Jackson Center in The Middle of Nowhere, Ohio.  For this kind of work, we wanted only the best.  Fortunately, our insurance company was happy to comply.

Within two weeks we were on our way.  Bruce and I, the two dogs, the truck and the Bambi.    We took two easy driving days to cover the 800 miles, arriving on a Wednesday afternoon.  The Airstream crew was great.  We spent the first night in the Air-port, and they took the Bambi in at 7:00 am the next morning for surgery.  Bruce hovered like a worried parent.


He shouldn’t have stressed.  Our tech, Vern, was exceptional.  He kept Bruce calm, did excellent work, and the Bambi is really happy once again.

Conferencing with Vern.

One helpful aspect of our visit to The Mother Ship was that we came to appreciate that our own blemish wasn’t all that bad, and that things do get worse.  A lot worse.

Although Airstream couldn’t promise that the work would be completed by the end of the work day on Friday, they said they would try.  We really didn’t want to hang around for the weekend so we kept our fingers crossed.  While we waited, we explored the area and stayed in a dog-friendly hotel in Troy, OH (that’s a whole different post…).

For those of you who end up making the trip to Jackson Center, be assured there’s lots of good stuff to keep you entertained.  First and Foremost, plan to spent a good chunk of time at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Columbus.  It is truly exceptional.  We spent about half a day there, and only saw about 1/3rd of what we wanted to see.  I recommend reviewing the website first, figure out what exhibits would interest you most, then plan your visit accordingly.

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Columbus, OH.

We also spent time wandering around in Piqua.  It’s a lovely little mid-west town, and a great place to walk with the dogs.  We enjoyed the architecture and the people.  We had breakfast at The Lighthouse Cafe where we enjoyed chatting with the locals who gave us all kinds of insight into the area and suggestions about places to go.  The first of their suggestions was right around the corner: Winans Chocolates.  GO THERE.  Need I say more?

Dorsey had to stop and spend time at the local running store, Can’t Stop Running, where she bought some new running shoes and other stuff, and lamented that she wouldn’t be able to participate in the 10K that would take place that weekend.

After more tooling around and exploring the countryside, we returned to Jackson Center on Friday afternoon to find that Vern was finishing up ahead of schedule and we could hitch up and head out.  Great news!

Because we had a few extra days, we decided to get creative with our trip home in order to make a long over-due visit to northern Vermont.  We headed northeast towards Cincinnati.  After spending the night at a Cracker Barrel in Erie, we continued northeast through New York State to Lake Placid, where we stayed in a KOA campground at the foot of Whiteface Mountain.  There were only two or three other campers.  It was a great spot for that time of year.  We woke up to frost in the campground, and fresh snow on the trails on the mountain.  Very pretty.

The campground was essentially empty.

We got under way early and took the charming Essex, NY – Charlotte, VT ferry across Lake Champlain.  It was a cold and blustery but beautiful trip.  We were headed to Vermont to see some old friends for a long-overdue visit, and so Dorsey could re-live her college years in Middlebury, which she has only done one other time in the 35 years since she graduated.  It was a wonderful thing to do.  Vermont is exquisitely beautiful, and friendship is important.  It was a wonderful visit.

Before finalizing the trip, I want to touch on the fact that this little road trip took place exactly one week prior to the election.  We left on Tuesday and returned home on Tuesday/election day.  Our route took us out of Blue New England from Rhode Island and Connecticut, across Blue New York and New Jersey, then straight across the full length of the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Ohio.  On the way home we headed up along the Great Lakes of New York State to Lake Placid, then across Lake Champlain (by ferry!) into Bernie-Blue-Vermont, and home through the battleground of New Hampshire, then across Blue Massachusetts and home.   I have to say that what we saw, and what we did NOT see, was food for thought.  Across about almost 2000 miles, including those Blue Blue states, we saw only a handful of Hillary signs.  In contrast, we saw Trump signs in every state.  Big Trump signs, small Trump signs. Trump signs in cornfields, in barber shops, in law offices and grocery stores.  They weren’t everywhere, but they were certainly more everywhere than the Hillary signs, and this included the Blue states.  Food for thought.  We arrived home on election day afternoon, and the rest, of course, is history.  I’m actually glad that we did that trip, and that we did it when we did it.  Illuminating.

And The Mother Ship is awesome, especially if you don’t need to go there.  But go there anyway.

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