Back Again

After Kentucky, we had a few things to take care of in Baltimore, so we headed back East.  Quick stop at the gas station to top up our tires.  A 12V powered air compressor is a must have for RV trips.

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Stopped at TCPC again on the way back, in time to catch the Fall colors.  Tennessee Cumberland Plateau Campground is a fantastic, well-maintained Airstream-only park with very reasonable visitor's rates, top-notch facilities, and beautiful hiking trails.  This is becoming our go-to stop when we're anywhere nearby.

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Next stop, Cracker Barrel for the night.  Free parking and carry-out comfort food.  What's not to love?  It got pretty chilly overnight, but we were toasty by the fire.

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Next stop, Cracker Barrel number 2.  I just can't resist free parking and chicken fried steak.

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Back in Baltimore, I started work on a few finishing touches to the Airstream.  Upper cabinet doors.

Indicator lights for our outside light switches.  This should help keep us from accidentally leaving the outside lights on all night.

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And the bathroom floor.  We were originally planning wood flooring in the bathroom, but considering how often it gets wet, a little more tile seemed to be the way to go.  This adds a little more weight in the rear, which is not ideal.  But with the Airstream storage nearly complete, most things have a permanent place, so we should be able to avoid packing stuff in the shower when we're traveling.  It's probably about the same weight in the back as usual.

The big news this trip is that we adopted a new member of the family!  This is Bailey.  She's a treeing walker coonhound, and she's about a year and a half old.  We got her from Lonely Hearts Animal Rescue, the same place Leanne found Luna several years ago.  They specialize in finding homes for young mothers and their pups, and Bailey is a teen mom just like Luna.

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Looks like she'll fit right in.

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While overwintering in Maryland isn't ideal for the Airstream, we're prepared with a 15A hookup to the parents' house, so we can run a small space heater, and a pile of wood for our stove. The stove needs to be stoked every few hours, so the space heater is handy for when we're not home, or for overnight if we don't want to get up to keep the fire going all night.  When the temps drop to single digits, though, we are very grateful to have the stove, which has no problem keeping our home toasty.

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Kentucky Homestead

We'll be farm-sitting for a month in Kentucky.  There are two dozen chickens, about a dozen other poultry, six goats, six sheep, two horses, and 13 dogs including two rottweilers and a pit bull.  Our host agreed to have us early so that we could get acquainted with the farm routine and all of the animals.

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We're parked at the top of the hill with Chad the billy-goat.  You know the smell of goat cheese?  That's all him, baby.  He is pungent.  It turns out, if you separate the male goat from the female goat, her milk doesn't have any goaty flavor.  Chad's pen is right next to the lady goats, and he calls to them all day.

The sky is incredible here, and the weather has been beautiful.

These are Blondie and Madonna, the baby goats.

Ice has been sleeping mostly in the barn at the top of the hill, looking out for us while we sleep.

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Luna made friends with a neighbor dog, a gorgeous little friendly blue heeler.

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Making pasta with eggs, fresh from the hen.

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We took a day trip into Nashville.

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Luna smelling the night air.

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Our solar is enough to keep up with our usage normally, unless we have more than two cloudy days in a row.  I had to resort to plugging the umbilical into the truck for a couple hours twice this trip.  We'll need more panels and a larger battery eventually, but in the meantime, we'll make do with what we have.  I don't feel the need to get a generator just yet.

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+5 amps through the umbilical.

Sunshine, finally.

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One of the frustrating things about where we're staying in Kentucky is that there are no recycling facilities.  We had to drive to a University the next county away to dispose of our recycling.  Everybody around here just throws it in the trash, but we can't bring ourselves to do that.

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Luna helping with dinner.

More dog friends.

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More beautiful skies.

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Chicken tree.

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Neighbors.

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I just can't get over this sky.

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Movie night by the fire.

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More Kentucky sky.

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I made seed bombs with our worm castings, wild sunflower seeds, and queen anne's lace.  We'll toss them in some ditches on our way out of town.

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Saying goodbye to our loyal guard dog.

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Nashville Bound and A Total Eclipse of the Sun

Back on the road, we're headed to Nashville where Leanne will be speaking at a conference.  We have a farm-sit set up in Southern Kentucky where we'll be getting a taste of homestead life, and have a free place to set up the Airstream.

But first, we need to get there.  Here we are, all packed up.

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For anyone wondering, this seems to be the best way to secure the barn door while we're en route.  We have a latch to hold the door open or shut (helpful when you're not perfectly level), and we use two Velcro straps to secure each of the rollers.

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Packing things in the rear of the trailer isn't the best for stability, but the shower is really convenient to keep things from moving around.  With any luck, we'll have better homes for most of this stuff when we're done construction.

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We try very hard not to arrive anywhere after dark, but sometimes it happens.  One of Leanne's brother's friends was nice enough to offer us a place to park for the night.  It was a little nerve wracking getting situated, but here we are.

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It felt like we were driving through a jungle while we made our way to our spot in the dark.  But in the morning...

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Off-grid breakfast.  It's really handy that all of the appliances work perfectly without being plugged in.

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Back on the road, snapping pictures of other Airstreams at rest stops.

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We stopped at Cracker Barrel for the night.  Cracker Barrel usually has RV parking, and they allow you to stay overnight.  Chicken fried steak, a safe place to park, and biscuits and gravy in the morning.  It's a good deal.

And Cracker Barrel was kind enough to put on a show for us this time.  Fireworks at the stadium next door.

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Next up, Tennessee Cumberland Plateau Campground, TCPC.  This is an Airstream only park near Crossville, TN.  There's usually plenty of very reasonably priced guest spots, but we were lucky to snag one this week.  TCPC is in the zone of totality for the solar eclipse, and we're going to see it!

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Luna seems to be enjoying her trip so far.

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TCPC is situated on 376 acres of land with walking trails, a lake, a clubhouse, and lots of mushrooms to forage.

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I may have overdone it on the chanterelles.  I tried to make chanterelle rissoto, and I think I ended up with rissoto chanterelles.

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Also found this beauty.  Chicken mushroom.  Cut in strips and fried, the taste and texture is spot-on chicken.  Really amazing find.

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In fact, there is a whole tree of chicken mushrooms here that could feed a family of four for weeks.  Unfortunately, these are a little too far gone to use.  We'll have to check again next year.

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Also found a red ghost flower, Monitropa uniflora.  A rare variation of a threatened plantβ€”what a cool find!  Ghost plant is supposedly a powerful medicinal herb, but since it's a threatened species, it should not be harvested.

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Point of interest, got to see the Jim Drier Memorial Light Pole.  Nice to see folks around here have a sense of humor.

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The entire camping loop is just beautiful and well-maintained.  Tons of trees, and not too close to neighbors.

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All set for the eclipse!

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A couple days later, we hiked to a nearby waterfall.

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Now off to Kentucky.

Cabinet Door Catches

For a house that moves, it's nice for cabinet doors to have catches to keep them from swinging open.

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While our drawers have magnetic child locks on them to keep everything secure while we're underway, the cabinet doors didn't quite need such a robust system.  We used these chrome ball catches for all of our cabinet doors.

The tricky part is figuring out how to install them so that everything lines up perfectly.  Here's what we did.

Install the ball catch flush with the inner edge of the cabinet.

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Put the screws in the protruding part of the catch, and lock it into place.  It helps to push the screws a little toward the arc of the door, or they'll hit the door a little too far to the side.

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Close the door and give it a little push into the screws.

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Open the door, and note the marks where your screws will go.

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Install the catch in the door, and you're in business.

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These catches require a slight push to latch, and they give a satisfying click when the door is in place.