Laid-back Life at TCPC

A friend asked, ”Why an exclusive Airstream park?” The best way for me to explain (so far, after only three days here at Tennessee Cumberland Plateau Campground), is to try to describe the conversations I hear as people walk together along the loop road, as they sit on each other’s porches at night, as they greet each other in golf carts at the club house.

They’re talking about their Airstreams. Not, ”Oh, how I worship the brand” (I’m worried that might be an outsider’s impression, although of course we do all like Airstreams enough to own them). Mostly, they’re sharing info on how they solved a mechanical problem, or how they upgraded their lithium batteries, or who sold their old Airstream and bought another. They’re talking about the travels of other residents who’ve just come back from such and such Airstream caravan trip, about the mistakes they’ve made while towing, parking, hitching (probably to make us feel better about my recent shower door mistake that’s gonna be a big problem).

Of course, their Airstreams are the starting point for their bonds as neighbors and friends, which have grow over the years as they’ve gotten to know each other’s families and become true friends, no matter what kind of lifestyle they might live.

They hike together, like Anne Marie and her dog Brindle and I hiked yesterday. TCPC is on about 400 acres, and they took me on an hour-long short tour of a few of the trails. Tracy’s been hiking these trails too, enjoying the view from the plateau into the thick woods, with ferns and a small lake and a skeleton, who keeps mysteriously moving from one trail to another to find the right fishing spot.

They share food and drink, as we’ve done each evening on Sherri and Mooch’s covered porch. Last night we sat for hours as several neighbors stopped by, each offering something they’d just cooked or news about someone’s recent injury recovery or a good book to share. As Mooch says, this is as close to a commune as you can get while still living in your own small space, on your own lot.

The Enchanted Forest Lot

When we bought our trailer and had to leave it at the dealership because we had nowhere yet to park it, I was eager to start buying rugs and pillows and kitchen stuff but didn’t know how to start, what with no access to the trailer. Like so many new owners in this predicament, I turned to a Facebook group dedicated to Airstream interior design called Airstream Insiders …

which happens to be run by this effervescent southern lady, Susie, a TCPC seasonal resident. Her Facebook group’s purpose is to help people transform this:

Into this:

Okay, most of these interior shots of our trailer are old, but you get the gist. For people like me, making the trailer feel like home is the first step in a big transition, and Susie’s group leads the way for you.

Susie and her husband, Matthew, live in Virginia and store their trailer at their house over winters, but in the spring they move it back into their lot, nicknamed the Enchanted Forest.

Unlike some lots with huge car ports to protect the trailer and create a covered space for outside relaxing, theirs is out among the trees, with their deck having been built around two.

Their lot is a fabulous example of what’s behind the Airstreams I can see from the road. According to the by-laws, you can have two outbuildings, and everyone has built and set up theirs differently. Sherri and Mooch, for example, have just one (Sherri’s She Shed) with the rest of their lot an outdoor kitchen and grilling area.

Susie and Matthew have a fully enclosed building they can use as a quasi-guest house, plus they have a lavish screened-in room that turns pink at night!

This is where my Tiny Sushi Restaurant now lives, and I’m honored. It’s a strange circle: Suzie’s group helped me set up my actual tiny home, and now one of my play tiny homes lives inside one of her vacation tiny homes. I guess we’re all about the tiny!

As I’ve been biking around the neighborhood, getting lost even in just the one loop because I’m so busy looking at all the Airstreams, Tracy’s been trying to find a replacement shower door, since it looks like the damage to the frame can’t be repaired. Problem is, as we learned at the Airstream factory tour just last week, Airstream has no surplus parts right now: demand is much higher than production.

It’s possible an RV parts store has one in Houston, and we could save about $400 by picking that one up on our way down to Brownsville this winter. If that one falls through, we might be using a shower curtain until we can get back to the factory, maybe a year from now. No glass shower door = no storage in the shower while we travel = no tiny house production bins. Yikes!

As Tracy tries to solve this, we’re continuing adventures at TCPC. More to come.

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