Nostalgia-On-Wheels at Airstream-Only RV park

An RV park near St. Cloud in central Minnesota looks like most other campgrounds.

Nostalgia-On-Wheels at Airstream-Only RV park

Nostalgia-On-Wheels at Airstream-Only RV park (Source: airstreampark.com)

There’s a club house, heated swimming pool, a tennis court, golf course, sauna, horseshoes, tennis and bocce ball courts, shuffleboard, and fully serviced RV sites with all the usual amenities including free Wi-Fi access.

But this campground 53 miles northwest of the Minneapolis is different.

A slice of retro heaven, the Minnesota Airstream Park is a reflective sea of silver bullet trailers. Freshly polished aluminum skins shines like a mirror on wheels. This is an Airstream-only RV park—one of 11 in the U.S.

For decades, Airstream owners have been seduced by the sleek, aerodynamic, aluminum-skinned travel trailer created by Wally Byam in 1936. He named it the Clipper and the brand, Airstream, was placed onto the map.

The Clipper was of similar design to the Road Chief, a trailer previously designed by former aircraft designer chief builder of The Spirit of St. LouisHawley Bowlus. However, the Clipper had one distinct difference—the door was positioned on the side.

When Airstream began, there were less than 48 trailer manufacturers that were registered for business. Five years later, nearly 400 companies squared off against each other. Today of those 400 companies, only Airstream remains.

Nostalgia-On-Wheels at Airstream-Only RV park

Nostalgia-On-Wheels at Airstream-Only RV park (Source: airstreampark.com)

Back in 1970, a group of Airstream enthusiasts who lived in Minnesota wanted a place to call their own near the Twin Cities, founded the 80-acre park in Clear Lake.

The resort was organized as a cooperative by several families, all of whom were Airstream trailer owners and members of the Minnesota unit WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) seeking a good place for rallies. With pooled funds, they purchased the land and did much of the work of building the Airstream Park themselves.

Today there are 125 sites, with lots priced from $4,000 to $22,000, depending on the location, landscaping, and amenities, such as screened gazebos.

Now, people come from all across the country—even across the pond—to enjoy the Land of 10,000 lakes.

The Minnesota Airstream Park has lots available for both short-term and seasonal guests.

Airstream club members also can rent a camping site for the daily rate of $27 or a three-night weekend for $54; weekly and monthly rates are $162 and $600 respectively.

Rates include a lot with a gazebo or screen room, full water, sewer, and electrical hook-ups and free access to all resort amenities, including the golf course (no greens fee), tennis court, swimming pool (and pool house with a sauna and soft-water showers), laundry room, picnic areas, fire pits, bocce ball court, shuffleboard court, and park-wide wi-fi access.

This is a co-op campground, so you have to buy a share in order to get a lot. Shares run anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000.

Nostalgia-On-Wheels at Airstream-Only RV park

Nostalgia-On-Wheels at Airstream-Only RV park (Source: airstreampark.com)

But Airstream Park culture isn’t just about the “silver bullet” trailers and memories of family vacations. Airstreamers also form friendships at social activities such as potlucks, bingo, campfires, and karaoke.

Details

Minnesota Airstream Park

Minnesota Airstream Park is an Airstream-only RV resort situated on 80 beautiful acres in central Minnesota. There are 125 member-owned lots, and all members of the resort are shareholders of Land Yacht Caravaners Club, Inc., a non-profit corporation.

Each owner’s share entitles them to the exclusive use of a specific site in the resort, along with the unlimited use of all shared resort amenities, including a 9 hole, par 28 golf course with no greens fees. If you have an Airstream-manufactured RV, you are eligible for the truly unique opportunity of owning a slice of the Airstream-only RV resort.

Address: 8795 82nd Street, Clear Lake, MN 55319

Phone: (320) 743-2771

Website: www.airstreampark.com

Worth Pondering…

I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band,
I saw a needle that winked its eye.
But I think I will have seen everything
When I see an Airstream fly.

—music and lyrics by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington, in Dumbo

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Pleasure-Way Introduces Sprinter-Based Wide-Body Class B

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. previously introduced a wide-body Prestige Class B motorhome built on the Ford E350 dual rear wheel cutaway chassis with a 176-inch wheelbase.

Pleasure-Way Plateau-XL

Pleasure-Way Plateau-XL on Sprinter based chassis back to front

Pleasure-Way Industries follows up by announcing the launch of its first Sprinter-based wide-body motorhome, the Pleasure-Way Plateau-XL.

The Pleasure-Way Plateau-XL motorhome is built on the Mercedes-Benz dual rear wheel cab chassis and features the first non-slideout Sprinter to feature a queen-sized Murphy bed, according to a company news release.

“Our design team developed an open concept floor plan with a very spacious interior feeling,” said CEO Dean Rumpel.

“The queen-sized (60-inch-by-74-inch) Murphy bed neatly folds up into the living room wall creating a large living and dining space.”

At 22 feet in length, the Plateau-XL is “going to meet the needs of the consumer who wants a fuel efficient motorhome that is more maneuverable than a 25-foot coach while offering a little more space and a larger bathroom than a traditional Class B,” Rumpel noted.

Other key features include:

Large rear bathroom with a  32-inch corian-and-glass shower.

Multiplex wiring.

Power 13-foot awning.

Onan 2.5 Kw LP generator.

13,500 BTU roof-top air conditioner.

Ultraleather upholstery.

Solid maple cabinetry.

32-inch interior LED LCD TV and Blu-Ray player.

In-dash navigation system.

Fully bonded fiberglass body construction.

Optional outdoor living entertainment center.

Optional solar panel.

The Plateau-XL offers a five-year limited coach warranty and boasts an estimated 16-18 miles per gallon highway.

Base MSRP: $131,170.

Details

Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd.

logo-pleasure-wayWith a dealership network of over 60 dealers in North America, Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

This family-owned and operated company began manufacturing Class B van motorhomes 25 years ago and has grown into the second largest Class B motorhome manufacturer in North America. Pleasure-Way Industries believes in a customer first and foremost approach combined with an old-fashioned work ethic.

Pleasure-Way is the recipient of the Recreational Vehicle Dealer Association Quality Circle Award in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Address: 302 Portage Avenue, Saskatoon, SK S7J 4C6

Phone: (306) 934-6578 or (800) 364-0189 (toll free)

Website: pleasureway.com

Worth Pondering…

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.”

—Alan Ashley-Pitt

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Canadian Rockies: Jasper National Park

Picture yourself in a mountain getaway surrounded by towering peaks, untouched wilderness, and turquoise lakes tucked into alpine valleys.

Jasper National Park combines some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies with ease of access

Jasper National Park combines some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies with ease of access and less crowded conditions than Banff © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The town of Jasper, nestled amid the serene mountain setting of Jasper National Park, offers first-class accommodations, dining, recreational activities, festivals, and other fun and convenient services.

Jasper National Park combines some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies with ease of access and less crowded conditions than Banff, its sister park to the south.

Wildlife is abundant, even right in town. Where else will you find a herd of elk grazing on the lawn?

The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) joins the two parks of Jasper and Banff in one of the most breathtaking, beautiful drives that anyone can travel in the world. A series of massive glaciers line the entire length of the Icefield Parkway, with the Columbia Icefield lying along the parkway at the southern end of Jasper National Park.

Massive ice explorers, specially designed for glacial travel, take passengers on a remarkable excursion onto the surface of the Athabasca Glacier where passengers can safely step out onto the glacier and stand on this powerful ancient ice. The newly opened Glacial Skywalk over the Athabasca Glacier lets you experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils, and more on an exciting cliff-edge walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop.

Wildlife is abundant, even right in town. Where else will you find a herd of wapati (elk) grazing on the lawn?

Wildlife is abundant, even right in town. Where else will you find a herd of wapati (elk) grazing on the lawn? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Jasper SkyTram whisks you up Whistler’s Mountain to an elevation of 7,472 feet for stunning vistas over mountain ranges stretching up to 50 miles away. Interpretive exhibits explain the high alpine environment. Explore unlimited hiking and backcountry terrain in the high alpine country including a trail to the summit of the mountain.

Witness the towering waterfalls at Maligne Canyon. The whirling and tumultuous water has worn the canyon, only six feet wide in some places to a depth of over 165 feet.

Enjoy the natural beauty along the self-guided interpretive trail along the canyon. There are signs that describe the geological history of the region. Four bridges spanning the gorge and each offer a particular view. A short loop achieves the upstream edge of the canyon, and a longer trail follows the gorge to finish fifth and sixth bridges downstream.

The Athabasca Falls are among the most powerful and breathtaking falls in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The Upper Athabasca River thunders through a narrow gorge where the walls have been smoothed and potholed by the sheer force of the rushing water carrying sand and rock.

A picturesque waterfall, Athabasca Falls is not known so much for the height of the falls (75 feet), as it is known for its force due to the large quantity of water falling into the gorge.

A winding road leads to Patricia and Pyramid lakes where fishing, picnicking, boating, and hiking are  popular.

A winding road leads to Patricia and Pyramid lakes where fishing, picnicking, boating, and hiking are popular. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The falls can be safely viewed and photographed from various viewing platforms and walking trails around the falls.

Maligne Lake is famed for the color of its water, the surrounding peaks, the three glaciers visible from the lake and Spirit Island, one of the most photographed locations in the world.

Few summits in the park can match Mt. Edith Cavell’s craggy beauty. A small, powder blue Angel Glacier are easily reached by a short self-guiding trail that winds its way along the shores of the lake.

Don’t miss a visit to Miette Hot Springs, the hottest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies. These natural springs are cooled from 129ºF to a soothing 102ºF. Located in the scenic Fiddle Valley, the facility includes two hot pools (one pool is wheelchair accessible), a cool pool, and poolside cafe. There’s also fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities and great mountain views.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep lamb.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep lamb. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Jasper Park Lodge, one of Canada’s luxury railway hotels, is a 700 acre year-round luxury mountain resort which wraps around the shores of Lac Beauvert and Canada’s #1 Resort Golf Course. The resort’s village of cedar chalets and luxury cabins, all connected by picturesque paths, offer guests unique access to explore the natural environment surrounding the resort.

Enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities including golf, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, and mountain biking in the summer and ice skating, snowshoeing, and skiing in the winter.

A winding road leads to Patricia and Pyramid lakes where fishing, picnicking, boating, and hiking are  popular. Rental facilities include horse-back riding, boating, canoeing, windsurfing, and sailing.

Worth Pondering…

Think I’ll go out to Alberta

Weather’s good there in the fall

Got some friends there I can go to.

—sung by Ian Tyson

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Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey enjoys relaxing in the same way we do—in a recreational vehicle.

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey has enjoyed a stellar year with three screen stealing roles: a comical turn as sleazy trader Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street; his AIDS-gaunt and critically acclaimed rodeo cowboy in Dallas Buyers Club, and a continuing friendship with Woody Harrelson, a team on the hunt for a serial killer in HBO’s True Detective.

But the Texan actor has not let Hollywood go to his head.

Like many of us, McConaughey enjoys spending time seeing the open road through the windshield of an RV—for McConaughey, it’s an Airstream.

A road warrior, McConaughey is the proud owner of several Airstream trailers, which he enjoys customizing to his own specifications.

The Oscar winning actor bought his first Airstream in 2004. He’d been traveling around the previous three years in a GMC Savana van he called Cosmo, sleeping in the back. He could afford the upgrade.

Wally Byam, the creator of the Airstream, has long been one of McConaughey’s heroes.

McConaughey worked and lived in his tricked-out International CCD 28 Airstream trailer, nicknamed the Canoe, which he kept on a Malibu lot near prime surfing terrain.

Those 28 feet include a living area with a banquette and a dining table/desk, a streamlined kitchen, a toilet and shower, and a snug bedroom that the actor refers to as the Honeycomb on account of its rounded ceiling and golden hues.

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

“I named the Airstream the Canoe. I mean, the highways are like river ways, they’re just concrete,” he explained.

Over the years he’s personalized the Canoe with a satellite dish on the roof; a barbecue in back; book racks and ceiling netting to hold travel literature, journals, and scripts; and a custom banquette and table to accommodate his six-foot frame.

One of the things he really likes of his place is “It’s two seconds from making your bed to putting your coffee on the stove.”

“It’s got a great window right above your pillow, so when you wake up in the morning, you’re looking right at the ocean or wherever your backyard is that day,” he says.

The Airstream became multi-functional for McConaughey. For two years he managed his production company, j.k. livin, from it. He also took it out on the road for a month, when promoting his film Sahara in 2005.

It’s not a coincidence that McConaughey’s Airstream period runs concurrent with his coming into his own professionally. He’s eased into a life of starring in romantic comedies that women love—films such as The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

Best of all, they fund a vagabond lifestyle. After McConaughey bought the Airstream, he took it to a trailer park near Golden, Colorado. He drove from there to the Squamish Indian Reservation, near Vancouver, where he filmed Two for the Money.

Soon after, he moved the Airstream into a trailer park near downtown Austin.

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

Life on the Road in an Airstream with Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey has simple plans for his retirement that involve his passion for Airstreams: “One day I’ll have either an Airstream hotel or an Airstream compound. I don’t know where it’ll be yet, but the thing about Airstreams is you feel a little bad for ‘em if you got ‘em parked too long and the axles aren’t spinning, you know, because they’re built for the road.”

McConaughey explained the many reasons behind his love for the Airstreams: “I’ve always loved driving. Driving is, number one, where I get some time with myself. Number two, it’s the main place I catch up on music. And number three, it’s the best way to see the country.”

I think we can all relate to these reasons.

Worth Pondering…

I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band, I saw a needle that winked its eye. But I think I will have seen everything When I see an Airstream fly.

—music and lyrics by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington, in Dumbo

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Canadian Rockies: Banff National Park

In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled across a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.

Nestled amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is known as a traveler’s mecca for good reason.

Nestled amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is known as a traveler’s mecca for good reason. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From that humble beginning was born Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and the world’s third. Spanning 2,564 square miles of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows, and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world’s premier destination spots.

Banff National Park combines some of the most spectacular scenery in the Canadian Rockies with ease of access and a long tradition of catering to visitors.

The park is a Rocky Mountain wonder, a place of blue glacial lakes and alpine meadows, massive mountains and glaciers, canyons and waterfalls, mineral hot springs and abundant wildlife (from elk to bighorn sheep to black and grizzly bears), and breathtaking grandeur.

A popular activity in the town of Banff is to stroll the streets, shopping, seeing and being seen, all against the backdrop of fabulous mountain scenery. But Banff’s main role is as a starting point for the scenic drives and trails that bring visitors into immediate contact with the mountains.

Mt. Rundle, a prominent wedge-shaped peak, overlooks the townsite of Banff

Mt. Rundle, a prominent wedge-shaped peak, overlooks the townsite of Banff © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lake Louise is a glacial lake named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta and is famous for its stunning emerald water that reflects the surrounding glaciers that formed it. The eastern shore of the lake is home to Chateau Lake Louise, one of Canada’s luxury railway hotels. Few scenes are more photogenic than the one from the lawns in front of the Chateau. A dark green forest, the emerald lake, and its backdrops of white-capped mountains combine to make an irresistible composition for the million or so visitors who come here every year.

Of all lakes in the Canadian Rockies, few can match the beauty of Moraine Lake. Located near Lake Louise this glacial-fed lake is a must-visit destination when you RV in the Canadian Rockies. Moraine Lake is set below the Valley of Ten Peaks and it rivals Lake Louise in beautiful and in fame.

The scenery is spectacular, especially when viewed from the top of the Rockpile to the left of the parking lot. There is a trail that takes you to the top of the Rockpile, follow it to the top and be “awed” by the view! You can also walk along the trail following the lake or rent a canoe to see everything up close.

Moraine Lake received its name from of the pile of rock which dammed the valley, creating this beautiful lake. First it was thought to be a terminal moraine (rock pushed along by a glacier), but now believed to be a landslide down the Tower of Babel peak to the south—or both.

The Vermilion Lakes are a series of three lakes located in the Bow River Valley immediately west of Banff © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Vermilion Lakes are a series of three lakes located in the Bow River Valley immediately west of Banff © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The first time I saw this gorgeous lake, I was stunned by its amazing color. The scenic mountains surrounding this lake make it a perfect scene.

See more mountains in a moment than most see in a lifetime! Ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain to experience a bird’s eye view of six mountain ranges. The Banff Gondola is located just five minutes from the Town of Banff, on the shoulder of Sulphur Mountain. The 360-degree view from the upper gondola terminal, view-decks, and Summit Ridge Interpretive Boardwalk offer the very best vantage point in the area.

Alternatively, the gondola at the Lake Louise Ski Resort provides exquisite views of the surrounding peaks and Lake Louise itself. Cruise for fourteen glorious minutes, in an open chair or a fully enclosed gondola, to one of the Banff National Park’s greatest views. From 6,850 feet the spectacular scenery is yours to explore at will—there are ambitious hikes to the summit of Mt. Whitehorn for the hardy and equally lovely short, leisurely strolls for those with more modest exercise goals.

Be sure to bring your camera to save your own special memories of soaring peaks, stunning glaciers, lush carpets of alpine wildflowers fed by clear bubbling springs, and-often-delightful glimpses of wildlife surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of summer.

Located in the Town of Banff, the Banff Upper Hot Springs has all the amenities of a modern facility in a splendid historic spa and bathhouse. You can relax in the comfort of soothing natural hot springs where travelers have come for more than a century.

The combination of connected waterways, the wildlife and the wetland environment makes the Vermillion Lakes a popular destination in the spring, summer and early fall months for many activities like kayaking, canoeing, wildlife watching and birdwatching.

The combination of connected waterways, the wildlife and the wetland environment makes the Vermillion Lakes a popular destination in the spring, summer and early fall months for many activities like kayaking, canoeing, wildlife watching and birdwatching. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Banff Upper Hot Springs is one of Banff’s most famous attractions, discovered in 1884, the hot springs were included in Banff National Park, the first National Park in Canada.

Banff Upper Hot Springs is featured on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Water Temperature is kept between 98- and 104-degrees Fahrenheit.

Other major attractions include Upper Hot Springs, Bow River Loop, Johnston Canyon, Banff Park Museum, and Icefields Parkway.

Worth Pondering…

Alberta Bound
This piece of heaven that I’ve found
Rocky Mountains and black fertile ground
Everything I need beneath that big blue sky
Doesn’t matter where I go
This place will always be my home
Yeah I’ve been Alberta Bound for all my life
And I’ll be Alberta Bound until I die.
—Lyrics and recording by Alberta born Country Music singer, Paul Brandt, 2004

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RV Dealer Sentenced in RV Lease-Ownership Scam

Another day and another RV scam to report.

scamIn a recent post, I reported on an Internet scam that targets would-be RV buyers.

In today’s post the owner/operator of an RV dealership was sentenced to a jail term for defraud in an elaborate RV lease-ownership scam.

A Court of Queen’s Bench Justice sentenced Arnold Donszelmann to seven years in prison for defrauding 36 Albertans in a scam dating back a number of years.

Donszelmann, who used to own and operate Leisure RV in Millet, Alberta, sold dozens of RVs to people as part of an elaborate scheme, according to an Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) news release.

Many customers entered his so-called management program where he promised to lease the owners’ RVs out for them and pay the owners part of the proceeds as an investment of sorts.

The problem was, Donszelmann did not have clear ownership of the RVs meaning he did not have the right to sell them. However, many purchasers got the payments they expected so the scam carried on for years without them realizing they were actually victims, not owners.

Eventually the payments were late or infrequent. Many of the owners got tired of hearing excuses as to why they could not see or access their RVs. Suspicions grew, AMVIC was alerted and launched an investigation and canceled Donszelmann’s business license in 2007.

scam-acronym“AMVIC shut him down, we put an end to this scam,” John Bachinski, executive director of Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council said.

AMVIC also charged Donszelmann with fraud in 2012.

On April 26th of this year, an 11-person jury convicted Donszelmann of 31 counts of fraud over $5,000 under Section 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.

“Our investigators worked long and hard to bring Donszelmann to justice,” Bachinski said.

In addition to seven years in prison, Donszelmann has been ordered to pay more than $2.3 million in restitution to the victims.

“He has hurt a lot people who have lost significant amounts of money. I hope the victims will be able to recoup at least some of their financial losses,” Bachinski said.

“AMVIC, as the Regulator for the RV industry, works to protect Albertans. I can assure you we will continue to put a stop to any other scammer who tries to set-up shop here.”

Worth Pondering…
Where there are sales, there are scam artists.

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Vintage Trailers Retrofitted As Mobile Storefronts

Mobile retailers are popping up in trailers across the country.

The Airstream trailer store of Door Number Two is ready for business at the recent Love of Junk event. (Courtesy: Re:Fresh)

The Airstream trailer store of Door Number Two is ready for business at the recent Love of Junk event. (Courtesy: Re:Fresh)

This growing group of entrepreneurs who refuse to toe the traditional retail line have turned their retrofitted vintage trailers into mobile storefronts. The businesses are dedicated to selling everything from flowers and clothing to cigars and records. The model offers a chance to introduce a product or build a market without the same upfront investment as a traditional store.

This new trend in shopping has taken Walla Walla, Washington, by storm. The low overhead, flexibility, and overall fun of it have drawn merchants behind the wheels of Walla Walla’s roving retail establishments.

Owners in Walla Walla’s caravan of commerce say it may be possible to make a sustainable living with this business model. But so far all of them keep it extremely part time, which is part of the draw, according to a Walla Walla Union‑Bulletin news report.

This southeastern Washington community has seen pizzas, burgers, and even poutine sold from the windows of food trucks. Now comes candles, coasters, clothing, jewelry, home décor, and much more as the stable of mobile businesses grows.

With social media posts of their whereabouts fueling their following, they travel to events throughout the Walla Walla Valley — Love of Junk, Cottage on the Hill, the Country Store’s yearly parking lot sale, winery events, Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend — to set up and sell their wares.

The new kid on the block to Walla Walla’s store-on-wheels sect is Amanda Ewoniuk. She takes her traveling store, Re:Fresh, which she operates in a 1979 Nomad camper, wherever she wants it to go.

The wares for sale at Haulin’ Sass sprawl across the grass at Love of Junk. (Courtesy: Haulin’ Sass)

The wares for sale at Haulin’ Sass sprawl across the grass at Love of Junk. (Courtesy: Haulin’ Sass)

“It was the perfect opportunity for me,” Ewoniuk told the Walla Walla Union‑Bulletin, who transitioned from being a stay-at-home mom for 14 years to re-enter the work force.

“Having the trailer, I can go out and I can meet people and have fun doing it. But it’s not a brick-and-mortar store that I have to put in a certain number of hours a day. It allows me to do something creative and it also allows me to get out.”

A longtime refurbisher of furniture who finds creative pieces, Ewoniuk’s family history in construction and a love of antiques created an inlet to the business. In addition to furniture, she fills it with frilly tutus, a plethora of pink, intricate jewelry and Etsy creations — a reflection of herself as a mother of three girls.

Conversely, fellow seller Jessica Valentine Whiteside found the mobile retail model to be a way to expand her existing brick-and-mortar business. Whiteside, owner of downtown Walla Walla vintage and secondhand store Door Number Two, is able to bring her inventory to the masses, wherever they may travel.

About a half-dozen times a year, she converts her family Airstream into a showroom for her curated collections of dresses, blouses, pants, shoes, accessories, and more at various vendor gatherings.

For Shannon Smith McKeown and Catie McIntyre Walker — partners in a 1967 Fireball that houses Haulin’ Sass — the business fuels their shared passion for retail without requiring more commitment.

“To me, at this point, it’s just fun, and an escape.” said McIntyre Walker, who also owns the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman shop and is in the midst of writing a book.

She refers to the business in a 17 1/2-foot camper as “a food truck without the calories.” It had been a longtime dream of hers and McKeown’s when a mutual friend found the camper.

With some cabinetry work from a cousin of McKeown’s in Dayton, a paint job from another friend and some additional work by McKeown’s husband, the camper was quickly ready for the road.

She figures she makes about half the inventory — scarves, coasters, her signature cookbook “Eat Eat Walla Walla” and more — and purchases the other half — signs, squeaky shoes for children, etc. McIntyre Walker adds her own selections of collectibles and fun wine memorabilia.

Another pair of vendors, Kimberly Miner and Tami Arias, are credited with bringing the urban mobile shopping experience to the Valley in its current form, reports the Walla Walla Union‑Bulletin. The longtime friends purchased their campers just days apart, then paired up in 2012 to set up their businesses in parking lots and at events with the required mobile vending permitting needed to get started.

The businesses are set up just like regular stores. They have bags. They provide receipts. They pay taxes. Still, it’s hard for people to always see them as such.

The mobile retailers have learned there is power in numbers. When the group of vendors — which includes Leanna Yenney Taylor’s Unhitched Boutique — moves in a pack, they draw bigger crowds.

No longer reserved for the ice cream vendor — or food trucks in general, campers and trailers are the new storefront for those who prefer a nontraditional approach.

Worth Pondering…

If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.

—Fay Weldon

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Fleetwood RV Introduces New Floor Plan for 2015 Expedition Diesel Pusher

Decatur, Indiana-based Fleetwood RV announced a new floor plan for its spacious Class A diesel pusher, the Expedition.

Expedition 38K shown in Tuscany Sun décor with Cinnabar wood cabinetry

2015 Fleetwood Expedition 38K shown in Tuscany Sun décor with Cinnabar wood cabinetry

Designed to provide the ultimate in convenience, the Expedition 38K floor plan offers the flexibility and function around every corner.

The Expedition 38K floor plan offers innovative features like a free-standing dinette/computer workstation, front galley layout, and a bath and a half.

Comfort is merely steps away with a mid-ship living area with a transformer sofa and a hide-a-bed air mattress to accommodate extra guests.

A standard king bed with Dream Easy memory foam mattress in the bedroom ensure supremely restful nights while the optional electric fireplace provides a welcoming atmosphere inside.

“More than ever, motorhomes are seen as an extension of an owner’s home and for many RVers, they want their motorhome to feel like home,” said Steven Hileman, Director of Marketing for Fleetwood RV.

“We offer floor plans that provide convenience, functionality, comfort, and beauty, just like you’d expect in your home.”

Entertainment in the Expedition 38K is provided by a Sony 5.1 Home Theater System with built-in AM/FM/DVD and surround sound speakers and a large 40-inch Sony LED TV Blu-ray ready in the living area, which includes an L-shaped sofa for comfortable lounging.

The 38-foot floor plan offers generous storage space so owners can take along what they need for the adventures ahead.

Expedition 38K shown in Tuscany Sun décor with Cinnabar wood cabinetry

2015 Fleetwood Expedition 38K shown in Tuscany Sun décor with Cinnabar wood cabinetry

An optional stacked washer/dryer means owners have the convenience of doing laundry along their journeys.

Enhancing the exterior look of the Expedition are flush mount windows adding a seamless, premium look.

“The success we have had with the Bounder 35K led us to develop the Expedition 38K,” said Lenny Razo, Fleetwood RV Director of Sales for the Eastern Region.

“Some of our loyal customers who purchased 35Ks now have an option to move up to a diesel model in the Expedition 38K without giving up the floor plan they fell in love with.”

2015 Fleetwood Expedition 38K specifications include:

Chassis: Freightliner XCM Series

Engine: Cummins ISB 6.7L

Transmission: Allison 3000 MH 6-Speed w/ Electronic Shifter

Alternator: Delco Remy 160 Amp

Torque: 800 lb-ft @ 1,800 RPM

Horsepower: 360HP

GVWR: 32,400 pounds

GCWR: 42,400 pounds

Overall Exterior Length: 38 feet 7.5 inches

Overall Exterior Height w/AC: 12 feet 10 inches

Fuel Capacity: 100 gallons

Fresh Water Holding Tank Capacity: 105 gallons

Grey Water Holding Tank Capacity: 75 gallons

Black Water Holding Tank Capacity: 50 gallons

2015 Fleetwood Expedition 38K floor plan

2015 Fleetwood Expedition 38K floor plan

Details

Fleetwood RV, Inc

Fleetwood RV, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles.

The Company has one of the best and longest standing distribution networks in the industry and boasts some of the industry’s most recognized and iconic brand names such as American Coach, Discovery, Jamboree, Southwind, and Bounder.

Headquartered and manufactured in Decatur, Indiana, Fleetwood RV is an Allied Recreation Group company and a division of Orlando based Allied Specialty Vehicles.

Factory Tours: Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m.

Address: 1031 U.S. 224 East, Decatur, Indiana 46733

Phone: (800) 322-8216

Website: www.fleetwoodrv.com

Worth Pondering…

Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

—Henry David Thoreau

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Redwood RV Introduces Sequoia Luxury Fifth Wheel

Syracuse, Indiana-based Redwood RV, a manufacturer of high-end residential fifth wheel trailers, announced the introduction of the new Sequoia product line.

Redwood RV Sequoia fifth-wheel

Redwood RV Sequoia fifth-wheel

A division of CrossRoads RV, Redwood is continuing its tradition of value and quality with the addition of the Sequoia line to its growing family tree.

The Sequoia is positioned as an affordably priced unit in the luxury fifth-wheel sector.

The Sequoia product line extends the company’s current offerings which Redwood said has dominated the $75,000 to $100,000 price range for high-end fifth-wheels with a 43 percent market share.

“Redwood is launching what will be the most affordable luxury residential fifth wheel on the market today,” said Kathy Fuller, marketing manager, in a company news release.

“Redwood’s roots run deep in the market place already thanks to a top-tier dealer body and loyal retail customer base. With that foundation, the Sequoia is poised to take the RV world by storm.

“Sequoia’s mission is simple,” she added.

“It is to bring the next level of quality and luxury to the broader RV market; and with Sequoia being built by the highly skilled craftsmen in Redwood’s legendary Syracuse facility, it’s sure to achieve its mission.”

The new line will be built in Redwood’s manufacturing facility in Syracuse, Indiana.

Further details are unavailable at this time.

Details

Redwood RV

redwood-logo0826Redwood RV is a division of Thor Industries Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.

Address: 72440 St. Rd. 13, Syracuse, IN 46567

Phone: (574) 456-7800

Website: redwood-rv.com

Worth Pondering…

Dreams are necessary to life.

—Anais Nin

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Vancouver: Stanley Park & So Much More

Surrounded by mountains and beaches, Vancouver is both an urban and a natural playground.

Downtown Vancouver aerial (Credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Albert Normandin)

Downtown Vancouver aerial (Credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Albert Normandin)

Renowned for its scenic beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor activities, Vancouver is also a cosmopolitan city with all the urban amenities—fine dining, shopping, museums, galleries, music, and theatre.

Vancouver is located on the southwest corner of the mainland of British Columbia, and is bounded on three sides by water. The reason for the city’s existence, the splendid deepwater harbor formed by the fjord-like Burrard Inlet, is backed by the often snowcapped Coast Mountains, which rise more than 5,000 feet.

To the city’s north, Burrard Inlet separates Vancouver from North Vancouver and West Vancouver. On its western boundary is the Pacific Ocean’s Strait of Georgia. And to the south, the Fraser River separates Vancouver from its smaller satellite communities.

To the west, the peaks of Vancouver Island rise over the waters of the Strait of Georgia, while to the south Mount Baker, the giant of the U.S. Cascade Range, can often be seen.

Stanley Park, a nearly 1,000-acre park on the tip of Vancouver’s “thumb” is home to some of the city’s favorite, most-visited attractions. In fact, you could easily spend several days here and still not see everything this urban oasis has to offer. Walk, cycle, or jog around the nearly 14-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver’s waterfront.

Stanley Park Totem Poles

Stanley Park Totem Poles (Credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Al Harvey)

The path starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre and ends at popular Kitsilano Beach Park. Stop along the Seawall at Brockton Point to see the First Nation totem pole display. It’s estimated that some of the original totem poles were carved in the late 1880s. Also explore the more than 17 miles of forest trails that are much less crowded than the rest of the park.

Family-friendly activities include an outdoor water park and a separate heated, outdoor pool, and the Vancouver Aquarium. The park also boasts four playgrounds and a miniature train that snakes through more than a mile of forest.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is the oldest tourist attraction in the city (originally constructed in 1889), and the 450-foot long, 230-foot high bridge offers spectacular views of the Capilano Canyon and River below.

Energetic Robson Street is the place to see and be seen in Vancouver, and boasts more than 200 shops, cafés, and services. Robson Street runs east-west through downtown Vancouver, from Yaletown to the West End.

Hop on a water taxi from downtown Vancouver, relish the view of the downtown skyline, and get ready to spend an enjoyable day at Granville Island. An eclectic mix of shops, boutiques, and galleries, Granville Island is best known for its large and bustling Public Market, where local food vendors and artisans peddle their wares. Granville Island is also dotted with an array of arts-and-crafts studios and galleries dedicated to local and regional work.

Shopping for fresh produce at Grandville Island Market (Credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Clayton Perry)

Shopping for fresh produce at Grandville Island Market (Credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Clayton Perry)

Once a gritty area of loading bays and brick warehouses, Yaletown has undergone a facelift and is now a stylish mix of the fashion-savvy, dot-commers. Yaletown sits at the southeastern tip of downtown Vancouver.

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver’s horticultural jewel, is a major draw for floral display enthusiasts and view-seekers. At 500 feet above sea level, it’s the highest point in Vancouver and makes for spectacular views of the park, city, and mountains on the North Shore.

The 130-acre park is home to the stunning Bloedel Conservatory. There is also a gorgeously landscaped quarry garden, the arboretum with its collection of exotic and native trees.

Enjoy breathtaking scenery at VanDusen Botanical Gardens: 54 acres of elegant landscapes with plant species representing ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean, from Louisiana swamps to the Pacific Northwest.

Vancouver Skyline with Cruise Ships

Vancouver Skyline with Cruise Ships (Credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Albert Normandin)

A wilderness paradise, Grouse Mountain is located 15-minutes from downtown Vancouver. The famous Grouse Mountain Skyride (North America’s largest aerial tram system) takes visitors on a one-mile aerial journey to the Alpine Station, 3,700 feet above sea level. Breathtaking panoramic views of the city, sea, and surrounding mountains unfold, culminating with a summit altitude of 4,100 feet. Grouse Mountain enjoys the status of Vancouver’s most visited attraction receiving over 1.2 million visitors each year.

Almost 11 miles of beaches surround Vancouver, including eight ocean-side locations (ten, if you count the three beaches that make up Spanish Banks) and one fresh water lake.

Worth Pondering…

My favorite place in the world to run is Stanley Park in Vancouver. One loop around there is perfect.

—Matthew Morrison

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