Jul 03, 2017 04:36AM ● Published by Robyn Lawrence
She’ll likely outlive me. Airstream estimates that 60 to 70 percent of all the coaches it has made since 1935 are still on the road.
Airstreams have been everywhere since Wally Byam invented them and spawned a cult-like on-the-road following, the Wally Byam Caravan Club, in the mid-nineteenth century. President John F. Kennedy used one as an office when he visited the White Sands missile site. Vice President Joe Biden rode inside an Airstream in the cargo plane that carried him on frequent visits to Iraq. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Ed Aldrin were quarantined in an Airstream after they landed on the moon in 1969, and today shuttle astronauts ride to their launches in one.
Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and Sheryl Crow own Airstreams. I can’t believe I own one, too.
I can feel pretty badass about this dream coming true, even though all I did to make it happen was sell my real estate in Boulder—which isn’t even smart in this rapidly elevating market. I don’t care, though. After decades of being a homeowner and dealing with foundation cracks, leaky roofs, and crumbling plumbing, I own a home that I don’t have to beg husbands or handymen to help me maintain—because you try to find a handyman in Boulder who sticks around when the sun’s shining, the snow’s flying, or the rivers are running.
For now, my Airstream is more house than coach because I have to learn how to haul her—and I’m not badass when it comes to driving. In high school, my driving caused the kids in the backseat of our driver’s ed car to literally yell out for help from Jesus. (It was Iowa.) I’ve gotten a lot better, but I need a little help to carry off the Great Big Airstream Dream, the one where we drive down to Baja and hang out for a couple months or tour around the country visiting friends. Taking corners and backing up with 5,000 pounds behind me scares me as much as my getting behind the wheel terrified my high school mates.
I’ve never driven anything larger than a Toyota 4Runner. I’m shopping—out of my comfort zone—for a truck big enough to haul my coach. Then I can hire Tim, a patient man who used to train truck drivers, to teach me to how to do it. Tim backed all 27 gleaming feet of my baby down the hill and nestled into her clearing in the pines, and he assured me I can learn how to do that, too. He teaches people how to haul trailers for a living, so I was probably being paranoid when I thought he looked a little doubtful as he said that.
It might be a while before I drive to Baja, and that’s disappointing but okay. I have a solid, cozy retreat parked in a sunny spot in the pines behind the house, with my own test kitchen for developing cannabis food recipes, fantastic storage, two TVs (that I know how to use), a snug bedroom, and an office looking out and over the pines at the panorama of Arkansas Mountain beyond. I have an ideal place to work, meditate, sleep, and enjoy cocktails or cannabis.
ME and MATTHEW McConaughey, CHILLING IN OUR AIRSTREAMS
I do, because waking up in that bed tucked into the front of the egg is my favorite. The first thing I see is rich green pines against bold blue sky through my round, generous bedroom window. (I haven’t seen snow since I got her, but I imagine that view will be spectacular.) The bedroom is cozy and efficient, with nightstands on both sides, maneuverable space, and lots of storage. I could lie there all morning, smelling the mountain breeze through the window and meditating (okay, dozing), but I’d rather have coffee and check email on the front porch.
I make coffee in the kitchen, which is compact but has more storage than the house I live in. (I can alphabetize my spices and make popcorn in the microwave, a guilty pleasure that tucks into a drawer.) When I chop fruit, vegetables, and cannabis at the counter, I look out over the pines sloping toward the gulch and listen to the water gurgle—when the symphony of birds doesn’t drown it out. (The Steller’s Jays can be obnoxiously loud, but they’re stunning to watch.)
A lot of nights, though, my Airstream is lonely. She could use a little attention from fans and curiosity seekers who appreciate her sleek comfort. I think she feels slightly neglected, and I feel bad about that. So this month I made her available on Airbnb.com (420 friendly), BudandBreakfast.com, and Glamping.com.
It feels like a nice exchange. Until I can safely take my Airstream out to meet the world, the world can come to her. I think she’ll attract great people. She’s a very social bean.