It’s been another quiet week here on Madden Peak Road.
By far the most exciting thing that happened this week was an overnight visit from some fellow Airstreamers.
We first discovered John and Laura on Instagram, where you can find them under the names @democratictravelers and @thedemocratictravelers. Like many others who we now follow on Instagram, we found them by searching #airstream. They are the second couple we’ve discovered and then met in person through this method. I freely admit to being one of those people who sometimes looks down on social media as a silly time-waster, but I’ll also admit that I am completely addicted to Instagram.
My Instagram feed is almost exclusively filled with other travelers, and I love following along as people photograph their way around the country. It’s also an excellent way to meet up with other travelers. As anyone who writes a travel blog knows, it’s easy to fall behind on blog postings, but Instagram is…well instant. Which means that essentially we can virtually stalk other travelers and try to arrange a meet up. Okay, that sounds pretty freaky when put that way. Trust me though, when you spend 95% of your time with only one other person, it naturally leads to a slightly stalker-ish attitude when it comes to tracking down the potential company of others.
From Instagram we knew Laura and John were in Colorado, but since they were in Denver and we are way down here in the southwest corner, it didn’t seem likely we would cross paths. Imagine our surprise when we received an email stating that they were headed our way. Yay, company! We promptly invited them to share our extra-large mountain meadow while they were in the area. Sometime on Monday evening they pulled in and found a relatively level spot to settle.
We wasted no time and jumped right into a late happy hour accompanied by traveling stories and tours of each other’s Airstreams. I regret that I didn’t take any photos of the interior of their huge 34′ airstream, because it was really cool. It’s a mid-80s model that John’s mom refurbished a number of years ago. She did it up right with a wood floor that nicely compliments the cabinetry, tile counters, custom lighting, leopard print upholstery, a unique peacock patterned bathroom sink, and of course, TONS of room. You can pop on over to their blog for some great interior shots. It’s amazing what a difference nine extra feet makes. The downside is that you then have to tow around 34′ feet as opposed to our 25′. We’ve been in plenty of places where if we were even a foot or two longer we would not fit, so I think for now we’ll stick with our measly 25′. Although those extra long kitchen counters were pretty nice…
Unfortunately our guests were not set up for boondocking quite as well as we are. With no solar, generator, or even a way to power their electronics off the airstream batteries, they had to leave the next morning in search of power for their laptops so they could fulfill some work obligations. They only moved a few miles away to a nearby RV park though, so we arranged to meet in a few days at one of Durango’s local breweries. Sorry for the poorly lit photo, but it’s the only one I have of them and I had to get their smiling faces in here somewhere.
Over dinner and drinks we got to know more about each other and I had a chance to ask about their unique travel style. You see, when these two set out to spend a year traveling around the country they went about it in a different sort of way. In the true spirit of democracy (hence their blog name and the title of this post) John and Laura are letting their blog readers choose and vote on the places they visit around the country. They have a map page on their blog where you can add a suggestion and then vote on places others have suggested. They’re trying to visit the places that receive the most votes, but as you can see if you look at the map, there are far more suggestions then they could possibly visit in one year. You can read more about their story and traveling style in this recent article. We’re really glad to have met John and Laura, and as always, hope we can one day meet up again somewhere down the road.
In other news, as you can see by the first photo in this post, we finally got our truck back. We picked it up on Tuesday afternoon, and although we went in ready to haggle over price, much to our delight the price was very fair and we were satisfied. As a whole the experience was kind of a hassle, but when you consider that we’ve traveled to 18 states in the last 11.5 months and this is the first mechanical issue we’ve dealt with, I’d say we’ve had it pretty good. As soon as the truck and Airstream were reunited it was time for the Airstream to undergo some repairs of it’s own.
Tim had planned on replacing all of the brakes on the Airstream last weekend. Unfortunately, without the truck we couldn’t hitch up and drive the wheels one at a time onto the “trailer aid” ramp, so the project was delayed. Since we’re heading north into the mountains tomorrow, and plan to spend the next few months traveling up and down Colorado’s huge mountains, it was imperative that the brake job get completed this week. I’ll spare you the boring details, only saying that one full afternoon later, the Airstream is now outfitted with brand new brakes on all four wheels. To the mountains we go!