Planning for 2024 on the Road

In a little over a week, we’ll be back on the road! As usual after a long period in one place, I am ready for it, even after having had my doubts after the Alaska trip. I am excited though, especially with Tracy’s plans for 2024

Longterm Plans

Our main destination is Eastern Canadian: Newfoundland and Labrador. Hey, did you know that’s two hours earlier than the east coast of the U.S.? We found that out as we’ve been getting up at 4 am to make campground reservations as soon as the reservation windows open. It’s quite a different world, turns out.

By the way, I made this map to the best of my very limited knowledge of geography and mapmaking, and I’m sure there are glaring errors in several places. Consider it an estimation.

We’re going to start this northern trek down in Florida as we’d planned a while back (more on that below), then:

  • Black Arrows: We’ll move up the east coast for a Friends and Family Tour Summer ‘24, into New England and New Brunswick. We’ll take the Airstream on a ferry to Newfoundland (exciting!).
  • Purple Arrows: We’ll make our way back down through Quebec into the States, to our regular stops at Finn’s and the Aisrtream service center to fix whatever we broke over the summer. Then, we might make it to our first Airstream rally this fall in Missouri, then back down to Texas for next winter.

What’s up with those red arrows, then? The unexpected is what’s up!

The Next Month

Before we start this adventure in Florida, we need to take a wee little side trip to Ohio. The deal is that the trailer needs extensive work, and we want the service center at the factory to do it, and they can get us in only in late February.

What work, you might ask? Well, there is only one structural element in an Airstream made from wood, and that’s the floor. And our floor is rotting. We don’t know how much of it will need to be replaced, but certainly the part at the back end of the trailer.

Tracy discovered this on the trip back from Alaska, in Iowa when we washed the trailer for the first time all summer. He pulled everything out of the “trunk,” which is a hatch under the bed in back, and lo and behold there’s a giant soft spot in the floor.

Now, it could have gotten there from user error: it’s right where Tracy stores the water filter we travel with, and perhaps he didn’t fully drain it before putting it away, perhaps several times in a row. That seems unlikely, though.

We could have a leak in the shell of the trailer, which would suck. Airstream is going to put it through a leak test to find out.

I’d been noticing that the back end of the floor felt low. We have an electronic leveler, but it hadn’t alerted me to anything funky. Slowly, though, I could perceive a distinctive slant in the floor towards the back. Then, creaking started to happen when you stand on certain places.

This is why I needed to have knee surgery asap, so we could leave Texas in mid February and get to this appointment and not have our bed fall through our floor before then.

We do have to jump through quite a few hoops to get to Ohio and diagnose and fix this problem, whatever size it might be.


First step for Tracy is to buy and install what we need to winterize the trailer. This is a yearly project for most people and I have heard about it, but we’ve never done it because we stay where it’s above freezing, like sane people. There’s some gadget Tracy needs to attach to the water pump inside, plus additives for the pipes, and we need to not use the water in a section of the trailer once he does all that. I think it’s a two-stage process and involves a circle of salt on the ground and maybe Latin. I’m just gonna do what I’m told. Tracy’s working on this now, as we begin to pack up.

Get the Hell up the Highway

First stop will be Houston so I can finally have a follow-up visit with my knee surgeon. The day we leave Brownsville, we’ll go straight there and pull into a campsite that night, go to my appointment the next day, and pull out that afternoon.

Next step is to haul ourselves to Ohio as fast as we can, seeing as how it’s still winter everywhere else in the U.S.. Tricky driving conditions, the risk of frozen pipes, yadda yadda, all mean Tracy’s going to drive long days (for us). We’ll stay nights in casino parking lots or truck stops, if we have to, since who has time to deal with pulling into a campsite and all that rigamarole.

I say we’re in a hurry, but this is a hurry only in our world; usually we travel no more than 300 miles each day and this will mean 400, with possible weather.

Get Everything out of the Trailer

Once we get to the Mothership, check in with our service team, and park in the onsite camping area, we’re going to take two or three days to move our shit from the trailer into a storage unit. You know how when you got your kitchen floor redone and you had to shove your table and chairs into the living room for several weeks? Same thing for us, accept we have nowhere to put our stuff, so, storage.

Just like traveling in February, this is going to be tricky. First we have to unload everything from the bed of the truck so there’s room for all the crap from the trailer. And the truck bed is packed to the gills with monster items, like our generator.

Then we’ve got to buy boxes and pack up everything in the trailer from the center to the back. This means all our clothes and everything stored under the bed (medicine cabinet stuff, batteries, a blender, you know, the usual stuff people have under their beds).

Those bins are three-deep, by the way.

Next to pack: the bathroom and all the crap in the shower. And that is where decisions will be made.

Will there be water damage past the bathroom, all the way (one foot) to the kitchen? At what point with the service folks say the entire floor will have to be replaced? We will find out!

Get Ourselves Somewhere for Some Time

After we unload from the trailer into a storage unit, then grab what we might need to live with for an unknown amount of time, we’re headed to an AirBnB in Lansing, Michigan. Why there? Because Finn lives there! Frankly, there’s no reason to be anywhere else up there in late February, so we might as well hover around him while he gets back into the groove with his research.

Then What?

Best case scenario is that the cause of the floor damage is found and repaired, a small spot of the floor is replaced, and we’re out of pocket less than $10k and back on the road before March hits. Worst case: Tracy pushes the trailer into the Ohio River.

That’s a joke we’ve been making since we cracked the grey tank in Yukon, since we’ve been having electrical problems, since I broke the shower door (for the second time), since the power source for the Starlink router blew (for the second time), since I shattered the TV in the bedroom, since water flow mysteriously diminished at the kitchen sink, since half the sound system speakers started going out (but only when you stand on the floor near the bathroom), yadda yadda. At this point we have travelled and lived in the Airstream enough to have it good and worn.

We’ll see at the mothership how worn, and then how the travel plans for 2024 will pan out. I’m mighty stoked about the Friends and Family Tour, exploring Eastern Canada, riding that overnight ferry, going to the big annual Airstream rally, and all the unexpected adventures in between. Fingers crossed we get to carry out those plans.

13 thoughts to “Planning for 2024 on the Road”

  1. So much to unpack here! Hope we see you during the Friends and Family Tour.
    I was going to suggest you stop in at my nephew’s neighborhood bar in Bellevue, KY, right across the river from Cincinnati. But looks like your stop at the Mothership is considerable further north. Still, if you stop anywhere near Cincinnati, the B-List isn’t a brewery, but it is a great little funky neighborhood bar owned by my nephew, Ben Haggerty. Tell him Renee and Dave sent you.

  2. May I just say… wow. The amount of planning that’s required in your lifestyle would make my head spin. I’m fine with vacations now and then but you need to be super organized every single day and that’s more than I could handle.
    I’ll keep my fingers crossed your floor isn’t too damaged … though with the luck I have in home repairs that’s probably not going to help you one bit!

    1. You stay away from my home repairs with your bad mojo! Although, if I ever need furniture, you’ll be the first person I consult. And, if my windows look weird. I still can’t get over that.

    1. It was with you that Tracy first joked about pushing the Airstream off a ledge somewhere, I think! We need to lean into this if it’s been that long. Miss you, too!

  3. That’s a lot of planning. I hope everything goes well. 🖤
    Looking at your long-term plans, it looks like you will be visiting Prince Edward Island. I am completely envious. We just watched Anne with an E, and now I want to go there.

    1. I think we might actually skip PEI precisely because of the tourists. Man, you have new tempted to watch that adaptation though and then I’ll want to anyway!

  4. If nothing else, a blender under the bed would come in handy if you’re craving a midnight margarita. Who among us has not, at one time or another?

    Speaking of your weather challenges, that was another topic I was going to suggest you write about. I’d love to hear about some of your scariest or most extreme weather experiences while stuck inside your Airstream, ’cause there’s not a lot to protect you from Mother Nature’s worst.

    1. I prefer not to relive those experiences, frankly. During every storm I imagine the trailer plummeting down ravines, flying up into the clouds, getting carried away into the gulf.