In Vino Veritas

Part of travel for me is getting to experience new places, landscapes, food culture, and WINE. I try to visit Italy yearly and there my favorite wine regions are Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Lombardy. My favorite wine from Italy is Lambrusco (secco/dry) and when I arrived in Anacortes, Washington I found a few bottles at Compass Wines, THE local wine merchant. I was instantly enamored with the great staff there and the fact that they are so knowledgeable and helpful.

I’ve looked for dry Lambrusco in every state we pass through and it is a very hard wine to find. I had one wine merchant tell me he had never heard of anything but dolce/sweet Lambrusco (ew!) and that I’d have to go to Italy to find the secco type. The fact that Doug at Compass Wines knows his Lambrusco and carries it is one reason I wanted to return to Anacortes. Every Wednesday they have a tasting and I get to experience new wines from Pacific Northwest wineries and expand my palate. I’ve also gotten to know a few French wines that I love.

Apparently, Pinot Noir (I’ve never met one that I didn’t like) is the grape varietal that Vin de Bourgogne (Burgundy Wine) is made from. I had occasion to try one, so I did a little research and learned that the reason Chambolle-Musigny doesn’t have Pinot Noir on the label is because of the Domaine.

Pinot Noir offers a very varied palette of aromas which are a direct consequence of the terroir on which it is grown. That is why the name of the varietal is rarely mentioned on the label of a bottle of Bourgogne wine, which gives preference to its place of production.

Now, I’m more partial to Italian wines than French, but I’m open to new things. So when I visited Compass Wines one Wednesday for their tasting I tried a few wines from… one of which I really liked and was a Bordeaux-style wine. It was the Avennia 2015 Sestina Red (Columbia Valley (WA)).

Sestina celebrates old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from the Red Willow and Bacchus vineyards. The initial punch and power gives way to a wine with sharp acidity and somewhat constrained, leafy fruit flavors. For those who crave old-vine complexity and embrace the herbal side of Cabernet, this wine will be a revelation. Tight and focused, it responds well to several hours of decanting.

And then…from a case in the back of the store Doug brought out a 2011 of the same wine. The Avennia 2011 Sestina Red blend is made from some of the oldest vines in the PNW, and the extra years of aging mellowed out the sharpness leaving me with well-rounded fruit flavors lingering on my tongue long after the sip. I had to purchase a bottle. I got in line to initiate the transaction when something else amazing happened.

This was my IG post about the experience:

“Yesterday I went to @compasswines and had the chance to taste two amazing wines [that another customer had purchased and opened]: a 1964 Domaine Clair Dau Musigny Grand Cru and a 2010 Dom Clair-Dau Musigny. They were both fantastic Pinot Noir bottles with the ‘64 showing a mature color, raisin/jam notes, and a lovely lingering smoky fruit finish. The 2010 was great on the palate with a rich fruit (berry/cherry) profile. It was a phenomenal experience! Thanks, Doug! #compasswines #domaineclairdau #cbcgblog #citygirltravels #Airstream #airstreamliving #liveriveted #airstreamlife #rvlife #naarva #girlcamper #glamping #rvingwomen #travelista #unlikelyhikers #blackpeoplehike #blackcamper #snowbird #nolagirl #anacortes #pnw #ptsdwife #armywife #wanderlust #loveisgreaterthanptsd #bourgeoisie #bornbourgie”

This is what RV life has brought to me; the wild outdoors at my doorstep, luxe travel accommodations from our “stream of air” travel trailer named Silver Belle, experiences across America that would never happen if I was anchored to one location in a home all year, and opportunities to connect with people and places in a way that a short vacation somewhere would never give me.

So, I was in just the right place at the right time and got to expand my wine experience a little more. I’m now just a little bit obsessed with Domaine Clair-Daü Vin De Bourgogne. I plan to research and buy another vintage that is more in my price range. It’s not everyday you get to taste $1000 bottle of wine. My 15th wedding anniversary is coming up though so….

Airstream Decor 101

The first thing I decided to plan when we decided to get an Airstream was the decor 🙂

I started out looking for inspiration, and found lots of different style ideas that I saved on my ‘Airstream Flying Cloud’ Pinterest board. I was really drawn to colors that are calming and peaceful, which (to me) accentuate the light and airy interior of the Flying Cloud models. My first bit of inspiration were these palettes of blues, greens, and corals.

https://i.pinimg.com/640x/90/1d/56/901d56aafd79a976c6992ff127036eb1.jpg  https://i.pinimg.com/1200x/75/01/1d/75011d0342755b943a98f6a595c51280.jpg

I found a lot of home decor and accents are being made in these colors right now. Including this duvet and cute prints on Etsy:

Floral Bedding in Comforter or Duvet Best Selling Navy Coral Gray and Aqua Dahlia Flower Design    TRIBAL Girl Nursery Decor Arrows Tribal Nursery Art by Tessyla

So I decided to delve into the Navy, Aqua, Coral, and Grey color scheme.

Aqua, coral, navy, white, grey spring palette

I wanted to see examples of people using these colors in an RV, because I am not a Johanna Gaines type HGTV diva.  Most of the examples where from the International Signature & Serenity lines, which have darker cabinets than the Flying Cloud.

These two are photos from Monica Bennett over at just5moreminutes.com ( I love her blog on Airstream RVing! ). Her scheme has red accents.

 2016 Interior Design Trends - Geometric Wall Decor (4 of 5)2016 Interior Design Trends - Geometric Wall Decor (2 of 5)

Here is an example, again of darker cabinets, from currentlywandering.com

https://currentlywandering.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/15-8492-post/DSCF8989.jpg

Finally I started seeing the lighter Flying Cloud cabinets, mostly on stock photos.

The Flying Cloud travel trailer from Airstream combines comfort and luxury, and includes several interior decor options to find the look that's right you.
I also found DIXIE the Airstream photos that have an art deco theme:
Art Deco lavatory Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB  https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ec/b2/d1/ecb2d1f59764979a714b638e15170203.jpg

I’m kind of over red, and silver is too monochrome for me at this time. I think I’ll stick with my coral/blue/green palette. My initial shopping list for decor is:

  • Clock(s)
  • Accent Pillows (navy and aqua)
  • Placemats (silver or grey)
  • Ikea Magnetic Knife Bar
  • Magnetic Spice Jars
  • Soap dispenser and Soap Dish (seaglass aqua)
  • Hall Rug (suitable for my mastiff)

A few commenters on the Airstream Addicts Facebook group suggested these as ways to fix things to the counters and walls without damage:

  • Velcro
  • 3M VHB Double-Sided Tape
  • Comand Hooks (silver)

Color Palette:

Before:

After:

Travel Beauty Tips

RVing and flying can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. Here are my top 10 tips for self-care on the road. #TravelBeauty for the win!

My favorite #travelbeauty line, Vapour Organic Beauty

1. Hydrate

It’s important to keep your body and skin hydrated because the air at high altitudes is very dry. There’s nothing worse than showing up to your destination with flaky skin and a tired, dull complexion.

Flying and road travel through climate zones can seriously dehydrate you AND your skin/hair. Traveling for long periods of time doesn’t do our hair any favors. For us, it usually always results in the same thing—a big flat spot on the back of our head. The most ideal situation? Apply a hair mask right before travel and throw your hair up in a top knot to keep it out of the way.

2. Multi-task

Use products that do more than one thing. The last thing you’re going to want on a trip is an overflow of products crowding your space. Instead, pack multi-purpose products. I never leave the house without Weleda Skin Food. It’s great for sunburns, smoothing hair, and dry spots, and you can use it on eyelids as a gloss or on cheeks as a highlighter.” I make sure I take my Tarte Frxxxtion Stick Exfoliating Cleanser because it’s a cleanser, exfoliator, and mask in one. Plus, it’s a solid—no spills—and small, so it’s easy to travel with. The Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator is my workhorse. It takes the place of my blush, lipstick, and highlighter.

3. Exfoliate

Sloughing off dead skin is super important.

4. Keep it Classic

Don’t overdo. It’s a hassle to bring a ton of products and the best beauty tip is to accentuate your own features, not cover them up.

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This filter is what over-doing looks like!

5. Refresh

I use rose water to fresh my face on hot days. It’s also a skin tonic and astringent.

6. Calm Inflammation

Make sure to include 1 percent hydrocortisone cream in your travel bag. Think of it as a safety net. It can reduce inflammation in everything from a pimple to an allergic reaction to a bugbite. Whenever a pimple pops up on vacation, I ask room service for some honey. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, so it will help take down the inflammation and clear out any bad stuff. And remember to drink a lot of water and herbal tea, as pimples are usually a sign of imbalance internally.

7. Organic

Non-toxic, plant based, and cruelty-free is a must.

8. Compact

I use travel bottles with labels to take only the amount of product I need. I put them into zip loc bags to protects my clothes from spills. First, I decant everything into smaller bottles—save space in your luggage for souvenirs. One of my favorite things to decant is perfume, and I use these cute perfume rollers to carry around my favorite fragrances

I travel with my #evanhealy skincare in a ziploc bag

9. Him, too

These tips apply to all humans.

10. KISS

Keep it super simple. Make a list so you don’t overpack and stick as closely to your usual beauty routine as possible.

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Clean, clear skin is the best beauty asset!

Extras from beauty experts:

“The airplane bathroom is the best place ever to tweeze your eyebrows! The lighting is the most unforgiving ever, so you see everything and then some.”

Experts say to drink at least 8 ounces per hour while traveling.

” I multitask by smoothing on a hydrating face mask while I’m packing. It makes the process a little more fun and helps lock in moisture so your skin is in good condition no matter where you’re off to.”—Dr. Gohara

“Since humidity is low on airplanes, slather on a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid. It acts like a sponge to hold on to water and keep skin hydrated. It’s best applied to damp skin or with wet fingertips. Use a glass of water from your flight attendant.” —Dr. Zeichner

“I like to add a pinch of salt to my water when I’m traveling; it helps your body absorb the water.” —Julie Clark, founder of Provinc

“Also, the Ponaris Nasal Emollient has been a secret weapon of mine for years when I travel. It used to be included in astronauts’ medical space kits. I can’t remember how I learned about it, but I’ve been using it for over a decade every time I fly. It keeps the nasal passages moist when you’re traveling so you don’t get tiny fissures in the membranes, helping prevent viruses from getting in. It’s totally liquid gold.”

“I take an awful lot of flax oil when I travel…sometimes I even break [a capsule] open and put it on my hands and my face. Flax is a super, super powerful nutrient for your digestion, skin, and brain that I learned about in Sweden when my mom and I did this homeopathic seminar weekend together. So I don’t take two, I take like eight or 10 a day.”

3 Days in Zion National Park

This has been my FAVORITE National Park so far. There is a lot to see and a lot to do. Here are our suggestions for an amazing 3 days in Zion NP.

FYI Utah Drinking and Eating Fact: In order to drink alcohol at a restaurant, you’ll need to order food. It’s a real law. You’re unfortunately not able to walk into a place and buy a beer or order a glass of wine without ordering some form of food.

Lodging

We stayed in Zion NP at the Watchman Campground. It’s right next to the Visitor Center and is electric hookups for RVs. It was the perfect location for us and our R-Pod 180 HRE named Bandit. Others option include the South Campground which has no hookups but great location near the Virgin River. There is also the town of Springdale right outside the gates where several RV parks and hotels have lodging. There is a Springdale shuttle that goes from various stops in town to Zion NP.

Day 1

Stop at Zion NP Visitor Center and get your naps, advice on trails, shuttle schedules, and hop on the shuttle for a nice ride to get an overview of the park. The Zion Canyon shuttle will take you from the Visitor Center 6.6 miles down Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to the Temple of Sinawava stop and back in about 1.5 hours. On the way you’ll also see the major geographic formations along the Canyon walls: Court of the Patriarchs, the Watchman, Angel’s Landing, and the Great White Throne.

View from the canyon floor

Be sure to stop at the Human History Museum and watch the park orientation video. It’s only 22 minutes and gives you basic information on the park’s natural and human history. While you’re out, get off the shuttle at stop 5 to make reservations for your day 3 trailride on horseback and day 3 dinner at the Zion Lodge.

At the end of your first day you can take a drive down the Zion-Mt Carmel Hwy (Hwy 9) through the tunnel and to the park’s eastern boundary. On this route you can see the Checkerboard Mesa and Canyon Overlook.

A short drive up from Canyon Junction (Shuttle Stop 2) lies Zion Mount Carmel Highway. Proceed up the highway East along the winding roads. Eventually, you’ll hit your first tunnel carved directly through the sandstone. Drivers are required to turn their headlights on as there is no lighting inside the tunnel. It takes about 2 minutes to go through. When you come out, you’ll soon go through one last dark, but much shorter tunnel. At the end you’ll pass a ranger post that doesn’t require a stop.

Now, get ready to experience a true feeling of freedom. This is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever take. The roads will continue to wind in switchback style through the pink canyons and rock structures. There are plenty of small alcoves where you can park your car on the side of the road to get out and explore by foot (highly recommended!). One highlight includes Checkboard Mesa near the park exit. You’ll understand the name once you see it.

Day 2

Zion Canyon is starting point for Zion’s most popular hikes, including the easy Riverside Walk and Weeping Rock trails, and the more demanding Watchman, Angel’s Landing, and The Narrows Trail. The box below gives a few tips on the Angel’s Landing hike.

Angel’s Landing is rated one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the world. That’s because after a strenuous 2 mile uphill climb (though mostly paved), you now have less than a half a mile to the “summit”. It’s not until this point that the hike begins to get difficult. If you made it this far, you’re sitting on a sandy plateau catching your breath and drinking some water.

But you’re not done. Now, you get to traverse sandstone rock structures that will make your hair stand on end. And they should. For the next half mile, your conditioning, foot placement and hand placement may determine whether or not your survive the next hour of your life. You’re going to have to leave behind the well manicured, paved trail and trade it for sheer cliff.

Luckily, much of the remaining trail now has well-positioned chains that allow for an easier climb through the difficult and dangerous junctures. A signifiant number of people were dying on a yearly basis until these were put in place. Now that the chains are there, it’s been over 5 years since there’s been a death. Note, however, that you are NOT tethered, so your safety really relies on how much you “grab, grab, grab.” Try not to look down, and take it one step at a time.

After conquering Angel’s Landing (the peak in the background)

I would suggest alternating a strenuous or moderate hike in the morning (6-8am) with a few easy hikes after lunch. You can ride your bike to the trailhead at at daybreak and be done before the heat of the day sets in. There is a quick grill and a sit-down restaurant that are both open for lunch at the Zion Lodge which is shuttle stop 5. On especially hot days be sure to include a hike that takes you along the Virgin River for a quick dip. It’s recommended that in the semi-arid climate you drink a gallon of water daily.

The Virgin River

At the end of this day I suggest you take a trip into Springdale for dinner at one of their several restaurant choices. My favorites are Switchback Grill and the Thai Palace.

Day 3

For this final day I would fill in with the hikes you didn’t accomplish on day 2. Plan any strenuous ones for the early morning. Stop with a packed lunch along the Virgin River in a shady spot. Finish out your day getting the last photos of the amazing scenery and take a trail ride on horseback from the Zion Lodge (shuttle stop 5). Reserve a dinner table at the Zion Lodge and watch the sunset as you enjoy the views of ancient cottonwood trees and striated Canyon walls.

View from Zion Lodge’s restuarant

What To Pack For Hiking

Spring:

  • Insulated, light jacket or fleece for the mornings and evenings
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat
  • T shirts
  • • Pair of shorts
  • • Pairs of pants
  • • Long sleeve shirts (to layer if needed)
  • • Bathing suit
  • • Hiking Boots
  • • Sneakers
  • •Water shoes / sandals
  • • Neoprene socks
  • • Dry pants
  • • Walking stick
  • • Dry bag
  • •Camelbak or Water Bottle

Summer:

  • Windbreaker
  • T shirts
  • Shorts
  • Bathing suit
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking sandals
  • Pair of light pants
  • Walking stick
  • Dry bag
  • Camelbak or Water Bottle

Fall:

  • Fleece or insulated wind breaker
  • T shirts
  • Shorts
  • Bathing suit
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking sandals
  • Pairs of pants
  • Walking stick
  • Dry bag
  • Camelbak or Water Bottle

I’ll definitely be back to Zion NP soon!

SOURCES

Zion National Park Brochures and website

WineTraveler Blog at https://www.winetraveler.com/travel-resources/4-day-zion-national-park-itinerary-utah/

So You Want To Buy An Airstream

For those thinking about buying an Airstream I wanted to share some links that I found helpful when I began my search. I read these articles and joined these groups before going to my first dealership so I could arm myself with as much information as possible.

I have successfully negotiated prices on vehicles before, my mother sold cars for many years and I understand how that process works. I’ve never negotatied for an RV. I usually just pay sticker price (horrible, I know) because I have no idea of the markup percentage or the prices paid by actual buyers. Thankfully, the internet came to my rescue!

First, this article explains the markup and negotiation strategies for new and used Airstreams. “Buying an Airstream: Getting the best deal” is a great source of information on buying from a dealer or a private seller. Here is a preview of a bit of their advice:

Buying an Airstream can be a big purchase. They are one of the most expensive travel trailers you can buy and they hold their value better than all other brands. Making sure you get the best price possible could save you quite a bit of money. Typically you are going to buy from a dealer or an individual seller. Each has rather different strategies…

Head over to the Airstream website to find out what the MSRP is for the models you looked at. Keep in mind options can change prices a fair bit. Google for other’s selling the same trailer and see what they list it for. If you are dealer shopping, stick to dealer offers for comparison. Make note of the best prices you find and where they are offered. The rule of thumb is you are looking to get from 20%-30% off the MSRP. Pretty much no dealer is listing their bottom price on the trailer sticker or online.

Next, join the online Airstream communities on Facebook and the web. Search for and join the Facebook groups Airstream Addicts and Airstream Hunter to see discussions and ask questions – they are an invaluable interactive resource. Search for the website Airstream Classifieds to see what prices vintage, used, and new units are going for. Finally, I recommend joining the forum at www.airforums.com for user information on vintage/remodeled, used, and new products.

Happy Hunting!!

Navajo National Monument

After driving through Four Corners we headed for the Navajo National Monument. We had heard there were free campgrounds there so that was our initial reason for stopping. It was the halfway point between Pagosa Springs, CO and Zion National Park. I’m so glad we stopped there because it was such a great experience that we would have missed.

The free campgrounds are Canyon View Campground and Sunset View Campground. There are no RV hookups at these sites. Sunset View has spaces for small RVs, but no RVs longer than 28′ are allowed because there is limited turnaround space. Our truck and r-pod fit in the pull through space perfectly.

Road view of our campsite

The views at this campground are lovely. The campground also has flush toilets, a potable water station, and picnic tables/grills at each campsite. It was well maintained and very clean. It was also super peaceful and serenely quiet.

Canyon side view of our campsite, with wild Chianti growing out of the rocks

We walked to the visitor center to view the videos on the Anasazi and Dineh (Navajo) people. There are 3 videos that cycle through and take about 45 minutes. We did a little shopping, too, picking up a hat with 50 SPF shade for hiking and a few medicinal balms.

The medicinal balms are made by Navajo healers and contain natural botanical ingredients from the flora of the area to treat things like insect bites, sore muscles, sunburn, eczema, dry lips, and dry skin. I bought several and can’t wait to try them all. They are the “Medicine of the People” brand.

On the way to Aspen Trail

Next we walked the trails. There are three short trails that originate at the visitor center and take you to different views of the canyon and of the 13th-century Betatakin alcove dwellings of the Anasazi. There are two longer hikes that are lead by a ranger. The first is a 5-mile hike to the Betatakin dwellings that takes 3-4 hours. The second is a 17-mile hike to the Keet Seel archaeological site that can be an overnight trek.

Perhaps in the future when I’m in better shape I can take the longer hikes. We definitely plan to return to the Navajo National Monument when RVing through this area.

Taos New Mexico

So, let me begin by saying we arrived in Taos, NM on May 3rd and the overnight low was 31 degrees. Come mentally prepared for this. We were not, as we left New Orleans with balmy 89 degree days.

We stayed for just one night before heading to boondock in Pagosa Springs, Colorado so we wanted hookups to dump and add a little fresh water.

We found Taos Valley RV Park to be clean, comfortable, easy to find, and a great location with lovely views. I highly recommend it for short or long stays in Taos. Just down the block from the RV Park on the main highway there is a restaurant called Guadalajara Grill with yummy tacos. My husband was tickled that he got to eat “Tacos in Taos”.

We hooked up and then took an Uber into the downtown area for dinner at the famous Taos Inn. They have a great bar, a fabulous restaurant, and live music most nights in the lobby. We had the Cowboy Buddha margarita and it was well made with no shortcuts on the ingredients or the tequila.

We slept well as the RV Park was quiet and woke up the next morning to head to Pagosa Springs. We planned four morning stops: Carson National Forest headquarters for a map, Albertsons on the main highway for Starbucks coffee, a boutique called Substance of Taos to sample their Vapour organic beauty products, and the historic Taos Pueblos.

We nixed the Pueblo because it was 40 degrees and we didn’t want to be outside. Our southern skin wasn’t acclimated enough to the cold yet.

We got maps for the trails because next time we come this way we will boondock in Carson NF.

Coffee in hand we found Substance and waited for them to open as 10am. It was SO worth the wait. Monica was very knowledgeable about Vapour organic cosmetics and they had a great sample display so I could test out the colors and shades. I’ve been interested in this cosmetic company because they are organic, mineral based with not a lot of water in the products so bacteria doesn’t grow as fast. They have natural-looking buildable multi-use pigmented products that I think would be great for a travel beauty routine. I was not wrong! Monica walked me though their primers, their “multi-use stick” colors, their foundations (which I ended up buying even though I usually don’t wear makeup), and their lip glosses.

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I bought a multi-use stick in the color called “Lure”, a velvet lip gloss, and a soft-focus foundation. Monica threw in a few freebie samples for me to try on our trip.

The boutique was amazing in other ways, too. They sold other bath soak salts, soaps, lotions, jewelry, clothing, and hair salon services. If you visit Taos do stop in. You won’t regret it. It’s on the corner of La Placita and Rancheritos.

Leaving Taos and heading north on US 64 you cross the Rio Grande River Gorge and Rest Area. Make plans to stop.

 

 

The gorge views are SPECTACULAR.

 

After the rest area there is the world headquarters of Earthship Biotecture and you can tour their off-grid sustainable homes.