bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

Big Trip #3 Catch-up #3

We’re home! I’m going to get all the posts up eventually–my computer is only working intermittently, so I have a new excuse for being slow to post–but wanted to catch you up on our last several stops as we popped around Colorado and then hopped back across the country toward home. (Here are catch-up #1 and catch-up #2 if you missed them.)

Lest you think this trip was all laughs and beers and vistas, let me tell you about some of the negative experiences we had. We’ve been Airstreaming for almost five years now, and while we’ve had little things break here and there (although our old truck crapping out was kind of a big deal) it seems the universe had been saving up all the biggies to drop them on us over the last couple months. Here’s the kind of fun I’m talking about:

exploded tire on the Airstream

An Airstream tire exploded while we drove down the highway… and then a different one exploded on a different day and a different highway

missing rock guard on the Airstream

One of the steel rock guards on the front of the Airstream detached itself on the interstate (we were able to save it and get it reattached in Sandpoint)

boondocking outside Capitol Reef National Park

The Airstream water pump, which had been a little iffy recently, finally gave out. The pump isn’t needed when we’re connected to a campground spigot, but it’s required for boondocking if you want a functioning toilet, sink, or shower. We got this issue fixed in Sandpoint along with the rock guard and were able to boondock in several epic locations, like just outside Capitol Reef National Park, shown above

running out of gas in UT

The truck’s gas-remaining algorithm went haywire and we ran out of gas ten miles from an exit (I am convinced it wasn’t user error! Don’t try to tell me otherwise)

ska brewing durango

The truck’s transmission started jumping and banging when pulling the trailer up hills. We took it to a dealer in CO and they told us $500 for new spark plugs. We declined. The jolting got better when we headed east–could the high altitude have contributed? (The photo depicts what we did while the truck was in the shop)

bugsy ready to swim

The electric hot water heater stopped working (we still had a propane heater, so not a huge deal, just annoying) and several cabinet latches busted so when we secured everything for travel we had to tie/velcro/bungee various locations around the house. Photo is unrelated

patching up the busted Airstream

And I saved the most exciting for last! Luckily, the universe also saved this one for last–we were in our final location with only two days left on the road. A truck hit the parked Airstream! While we were sitting inside eating lunch! Fortunately our kitchen table is at the non-clobbered end of the trailer. The front corner now has a big dent and smashed window, but fortunately we were able to wrap it up well enough to spend two nights inside and then safely tow it to our regular service station

Good times!

Let’s talk about happier things: these are the places we stopped after Montrose, where I wrote the last catch-up.

hiking in Crested Butte

Crested Butte, CO, our new favorite town

hiking at Ridgway State Park

Ridgway State Park, CO, for a quiet river hike

view from the trail of Ouray, CO

Ouray, CO, another sweet little mountain town

Bugsy at the campground in Durango

Durango, CO, after surviving pulling the trailer over the terrifying Million Dollar Highway from Ouray (last time we visited I wrote about how I would NOT like to tow the Airstream on that road)

hiking in Breckenridge

Breckenridge, CO, hoping for another quaint ski town and not quite getting it

Bugsy and her friend in Denver

Denver, CO, to visit friends

Bugsy and a bull statue in Dodge City

Dodge City, KS, heading east… not really another reason to stop there

Mural in Joplin, MO

Joplin, MO, on Route 66, another random choice for a stopover

Bugsy by the Mississippi near Memphis

Memphis, TN, to watch the container ships on the Mississippi and eat bbq (well, J and B ate bbq)

the Airstream in Nashville

Nashville, TN, for good food and good beer and a very noisy campground

fog and colors in the Smokies

Pigeon Forge, TN, to hike in the Smokies and try to avoid the tourists

Bugsy hiking near Asheville

Asheville, NC, for hiking, eating, drinking, and Airstream mangling

And that’s it! After I get all the locations posts out I’ll do a retrospective with general thoughts and stats [I did it and it’s here!]. Those are my favorite posts to write. (Here are the retrospectives from Big Trip #1 and Big Trip #2 if you’re interested.) Teaser: in two and a half months playing the license plate game, there was one state we didn’t get. Any guesses which one? I know that’s what you’re really here to read about!


6 responses to “Big Trip #3 Catch-up #3”

  1. Uncle Jim Avatar
    Uncle Jim

    Damn, you guys need a vacation… glad you’re home safe though… My condolences to the truck and Airstream..

    1. bugsy Avatar

      😀 we have a rough life!

  2. Lynn Brown Avatar
    Lynn Brown

    My guess for the license plate: Rhode Island

    1. bugsy Avatar


  3. […] had a few mishaps–the rock guard falling off, two blown tires, a busted water heater, a mystery engine ailment, […]

  4. […] Asheville with a very questionable tire, and arrived with it barely gasping for breath. Oh, and we lost a rock guard again. At least the Airstream drama began at the end of the […]

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