Vintage Highway is Back on the Road

June 13, 2012  |  Main Blog  |  2 Comments

After a very long hiatus—a year to be exact—my Vintage Highway blog is back on the road.

To catch you up on a very long story, I am spending the weekend at the Vieira Resort in Isleton, CA, on the edge of the Delta. I’m sitting in the banquette of my new-to-me 1958 Deville trailer, a 15-foot classic I acquired a few weeks ago. This is the third trailer I’ve owned in the space of one year, and I plan to hang on to this one.

My first trailer, a 1972 Airstream Globetrotter—21 feet of spit-polished aluminum—served me for more than two years. After returning from a two-week wine tour of Oregon and Washington in July, 2011, I parked the trailer in the lot of my townhome development and a passerby was immediately smitten by it. He pestered me relentlessly until I proposed a ridiculous purchase price, and he agreed to pay it immediately.

I loved that trailer, so I was surprised that I felt little grief when the new owner pulled it away. It was just another passage, I suppose, and after having experienced many in my life, I guess I have just learned how to accept things and move on.

In no rush to acquire a new trailer, I spent the rest of the year trailer-less, until a friend approached me about buying his. He was moving and needed to shed it immediately, a 27-foot 1972 Airstream Overlander, in near perfect condition. . .or at least as perfect as a thing can be after 40 years of use.

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Here’s an Opportunity to Own a Pristine Airstream

Here’s an Opportunity to Own a Pristine Airstream

February 27, 2012  |  Main Blog  |  2 Comments

I am a huge fan of Airstream trailers and I love the new ones, but the entry barrier is a bit high for me. So I have focused on vintage Airstreams. . .the silver bullets constructed of aviation-grade aluminum. In my view, a polished, gleaming Airstream is the quintessential, timeless, classic, all-American icon of the highway.

My first Airstream was a 1972 Globe Trotter (see early photos in nav bar) that I owned for more than two years, that is the basis for this blog, “Vintage Highway,” though I haven’t done any posts since my trip to Oregon and Washington last summer. My blog posts are reports on my trips into wine country where I stay at wineries and spend time tasting and buying,

Shortly after I parked my rig after returning home from a 2,300-mile sojourn, I responded to a knock at my front door. A passerby virtually begged to purchase my Airstream, and after first rebuffing him, I ultimately sold it for a price I could not refuse.

Late last year when I had the opportunity to purchase another Airstream, this one a 1972 International in pristine condition, I wrote the check. . .even though this one is too big for what I need. At 27 feet, my Honda Ridgeline just doesn’t have the juice to pull it in this part of the world.

I’m offering this unit for sale, and interior and exterior photos are posted here. With the exception of the air conditioning, all appliances and systems are in perfect working order. This spacious Airstream sleeps four and it has new floors, custom leather couch cushions and some window treatments.

You won’t find a nicer rig that is ready to roll than this one, priced at $15,000. . .a fraction of the cost of a new Airstream, and far less than the cost of a new travel trailer of its size. If you would like to view this Airstream, contact me to make an appointment. –gary

Tranquility Reigns Amid Vines & Llamas

August 2, 2011  |  Main Blog, Pacific Northwest Tour 2011  |  1 Comment

The whole idea behind “Vintage Highway”—in case you are new to following my travels—is that I pull my vintage, 1972 Airstream Globetrotter trailer on my trips into wine country in search of tasty, new vintages to peddle at Carpe Vino. . .get it?  The concept was put to the test in spades on my 15-day trip across the Pacific Northwest, and I have to say I loved it, especially the week I camped at Stoller Vineyards in Dayton, Oregon, smack dab in the pinot sweet spot of the Willamette Valley.

My shtick is to take my spit-polished Airstream and park on the estate of a winery that is already a friend of Carpe Vino; after I drop the trailer and hook up to water and power, I head out into the neighborhood and make new friends, find new wines.

Airstream at Stoller

I was supposed to be at Stoller for just four nights, but because of the luxury of the full bath in the stable I was parked behind, my hosts graciously granted my request to extend my stay by a few days rather than relocate to the second winery I had planned to visit.  Actually the stable is quite the structure:  on one side are horse stalls; on the other is an indoor, regulation-sized basketball court, with a special sport surface.  I spent a half hour missing lay-ups and free throws one morning. . .I still suck.

To get to the winery from the freeway, I followed my GPS and ended up taking a very short ferry ride across what I think was the Willamette River.  My truck and trailer took up nearly the whole center of the boat for the four-minute crossing.  Since I sensed I was not on a particularly well beaten path, I called the winery and talked to Mike Haverkate, one of Stoller’s first employees, and he offered to meet me in nearby Dayton.

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What I Learned at Pinot Camp (Part 3)

It is difficult to distill 15 days on the road into a couple of blog posts. . .I wish I could boil down the essence in the way Carpe Vino’s Chef Alexander so deftly and effortless creates a cabernet reduction. The issue is I met so many people, visited so many wineries and tasted so many wines that it is a challenge to keep everything straight. . .to simply maintain context.

During two days of seminars and events, just about every program included a tasting. . .with a purpose. In one tasting of three flights of six wines each, we were asked to separate the older vintages from the newer with the aim of demonstrating age-worthiness of Oregon wine.

I explored two wine regions: first the Willamette Valley in Oregon, mostly the northern AVAs, interrupted by three days in Portland before hugging the Columbia River all the way to Walla Walla, Washington (a place so nice, they named it twice) where I toured for two days. Each night on the road I slept in my vintage Airstream trailer, parked at either wineries or in campgrounds.

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OPC Campers are Curious Lot (Part 2)

I narrowly missed making the cut to attend the Oregon Pinot Camp, an annual affair hosted by a revolving selection of 50 wineries vetted from the nearly 400 located in the Willamette Valley just below Portland, Oregon. After being invited by a distributor to participate in this trade-only event, my beloved agreed to meet me in Portland after the program ended. When I learned my participation was, for an unexpressed reason in jeopardy, I told my distributor friends “no problem. . .but you’ll need to pony up $300 to reimburse the cost of roundtrip airline tickets.” Remarkably, I soon heard from the organizers with registration details.

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