HEY, SLOW DOWN

THIS MORNING I’M DOING SOME SLOW THINKING. I needed the perfect soundtrack for this. Mile Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” is just right.

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I’ve read Gladewell’s “Blink”. I’ve tried to read Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. Without getting mired down in the deep stuff of his ideas, he says we need to do more slow thinking. An example in his book demonstrates whether a person solves a problem "quickly with little conscious deliberation" or through reflective, slow thinking:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

So, did you solve it fast; or slow?

It’s no secret, I enjoy YouTube. I just love that people are creating this amazing content and sharing it so socially. Some of my favorites are:

  • MonaLisa Twins

  • Marques Brownlee

  • Pomplamoose Music

  • Casey Neistat

  • Memphis Drum Shop

    Numerous road-tripping vlogs like:

  • Drivin and Vibin

  • Travelling K

Lately, my obsession is with vlog called “Cruising The Cut”. Did you know that there are canals all across Great Britain? They were cut through the land in the 1700s. Today, there are people who cruise these canals on “narrow boats”. These boats are just under seven feet wide and 40 to 60 feet long. These are live-aboard boats. One of the guys that lives on board a narrow boat, cruises the cut at speeds up to two miles an hour and vlogs about it is a guy named David Johns.

Yes, two miles an hour. And I sit and watch video after video of him doing this slow cruise. I’ve mentioned this to a few people and they say, “What?” If I can convince them to watch one with me, they’re hooked.

It reminds me of the value to going slow, of taking in the sights, of paying attention.

Our great friend, mentor and travel advisor, Doug Manning is always encouraging us to take the “blue highways” as we travel. Those are the blue roads on the map, the ones less traveled these days. Any time we’re ready to hit the road Doug tells us the route to take and it rarely involves Interstate highways. He also is a human atlas and knows the sights to see along America’s byways. His mode of travel demands slowness.

Recently on the Airstream website, they had a survey you could take and it would tell you what kind of traveler you are, and, of course, what model of Airstream you need to do that kind of traveling. I took a look at the survey and thought: this is stupid, but I was waiting on my truck to be serviced so I took it. Here’s a screenshot of the results:

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Hmmm, maybe not so stupid afterall.

About that bat and ball; if you’re a “fast” thinker like apparently 86% of the test takers are, you answered: 10 cents. And you would be wrong.

Want a chance to slow down and solve it properly? Go.

I feel like I am slowing down, that probably comes with becoming a man-of-a-certain-age. But I like going slower. I drink my morning cup from a insulated tumbler kind of vessel. It holds a little more and lasts me all morning. I read slower these days, not because I can no longer read phrases rather than just words, but because I want to see what words the writer has chosen. I think all good writers agonize over the choice of a word and I should honor that.

Even when I practice at my drum set, which I do most every day, I’ve slowed down. I used to press hard to develop more and more stick speed. Now I play for nuance. I remember my jazz band instructer yelling at me that the bass drum should be felt and not heard. I vehemently disagreed (in my mind) with him at the time, now; I play that way. I agree that the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves.

No doubt by now you’ve figured out that the correct answer is five cents. Way to slow down. Makes you wonder what else you’re missing by being all in a big rush doesn’t it?

H2O

I'M NOT MUCH OF A STRAW GUY ANYWAY. I don’t say that to tout any virtue on my part, but simply to say that if drink businesses follow Starbucks and say “No” to plastic straws; it won’t affect my beverage consumption.

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I don’t drink soft drinks, and if I have a malt or shake I want it to be so thick a straw is useless. I always order water at a restaurant and drinking water through a straw just doesn’t feel right. Coffee? Yes, please; in a cup, black and hot. I don’t need a “coffee beverage” that is iced and laced with caramel, pumpkin spice, soy, cinammon or a drizzle of anything. So, a drink sans straw is fine with me.

That said, I love this movement toward a plastic-straw-free world. Although I do not literally hug trees, I do believe we are to be stewards of this big ball we all inhabit together. And if the trend is to the mindless mindset of sychophants like Scott Pruitt (may he find happiness in working at his wife’s Chik-fil-a), we must be evermore diligent caretakers.

We travel and camp, although someone said recently, “You guys don’t camp. You “glamp”. According to the Urban Dictionary, “GLAMP: To camp in style, comfort, and/or luxury while still experiencing the great outdoors.”

When you travel in a trailer you hook up to water whereever water is available—to fill the tanks, shower, shave, make coffee, drink, wash dishes, etc. You want your coffee to taste excellent. So, we drag along fresh ground coffee and a pour over kit. The one variable outside our control is the quality of the water.

UNTIL NOW!

We used to haul gallons of water around that we bought in plastic jugs at the grocery store. It was a hassle, expensive and we had to haul the empty jugs back home to put in our recycle bin. Because unlike Scott Pruitt, we care about the earth.

Then I found out about the Berkey Water Filter system.

GAME CHANGED!

This thing works so beautifully in our Airstream that we now bring it home with us and use it every single day. At first the Berkey seems really expensive, until you figure the cost of bottled water and the fact that the Berkey’s filters last for years.

Recently we were in Tulsa on a very-very-very hot day. We were headed to a really hip new bakery that had been recommended to us called Antionette’s. Visit soon.

As soon as we walked in I was glad we were there. The coffee smelled wonderful and I quickly noticed pecan bars in the glass display case. But first, I was thirsty. Did I mention that it was really really hot outside? So hot, that if Scotty-P had been there, and if I had heard him scoff at climate change I would have been tempted to imagine hypothetically smacking that smug smile off his face. Hot weather will do that crap to an otherwise mild and reasonable tempermant.

Then I saw it on a table with a stack of gleaming water glasses—a Berkey Water System Urn, all shiny with beads of condensation on the outside, each one announcing cool wet, fresh, clear, filtered water.

GET ONE TODAY

We have the Travel Berkey, because, well, we travel. It makes a gallon and a half of water with each filling. And, by the way, you can fill them with tap water, the hose at the RV park, or even water from a stream or lake.

Sometimes if we have company over, I wish we had the Big Berkey, but the Travel size suits us 91.7% of the time.

I’m including a link to our model available from Amazon. I like this set up because it includes a stainless steel spigot which I highly recommend. So click, buy, and add water. In a few minutes, draw you a glass of wonderful water, straw optional.

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Road Questions

ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT TRAVELING IN AN AIRSTREAM—people want to ask you about traveling in an Airstream. For people like My Amazing-Missus this is all fine and dandy. She genuinely enjoys visiting with others and they with her. Me too; on a case-by-case basis.

airstreaming in red rock canyon state park, hinton, oklahoma

airstreaming in red rock canyon state park, hinton, oklahoma

Recently we were camped in a beautiful park on a beautiful day. I looked outside and no one was around. So, I decided to lubricate the gaskets around the Airstream’s windows. A car pulled up and a gentleman got out. I’m guessing he was a bit older than me. He started with the most oft-asked questions of the Airstream-curious:

1.) Are they still making these?
2.) How long is this? (Remind me to tell you that joke I made up in the category of “does size matter?”)
3.) How much does something like this cost (if you don’t mind me asking)?

He looked familiar. Turns out we were acquaintances years ago. I had heard that his lovely wife had been diagnosed with dementia and is now in a nursing home.

He told me that years ago the two of them had dreamed of having an Airstream and seeing the country. That’s why he had stopped to take a look at ours—just to reminisce a bit.

He asked if we were traveling full-time. I told him not yet, that I was still working. He said, “Go to work Monday and tell them you’re retiring. Don’t delay. You never know what tomorrow holds.”

Is this a sign, I wondered. Is he a prophet of some kind?

It’s not like we’re just sitting around. We’re out there. Seeing the sights. Seeking adventure. I’ve taken the sage wisdom of Ferris Bueller to heart:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

Remember that girl, the one from the Beatle’s song: “She was a day tripper, a Sunday driver yeah…”

For now we’re day trippers; long weekend trippers at best. But we’re moving, we’re going, so we can stop. and look around.

Remember that guy, the one from the Beatle’s song, the one they called the “nowhere man”? Funny thing. I used to see him as a sad, aimless, clueless, hopeless shell of a person. But now I feel like I sort of get him.

He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to
Isn't he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don't know what you're missing
Nowhere man, The world is at your command
He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man, can you see me at all?

Maybe he is a bit like you and me.

Oh yeah, my joke. An old guy and his Amazing-Missus walk in to an Airstream dealer.
Walt (the rv sales guy): How can I be of assistance to you folks today?
Me: We’re thinking of buying an Airstream.
Walt: Great plan! How long do you want it?
Me: A long time. We’re planning on traveling across the country and back again.

It's not you; it's us

In a moment that was surprisingly emotional, I stood at Bambi’s side and admitted that we had been looking around, dreaming of another. We’ve been together for two years and she has been nothing but wonderful to us. But, it’s time to move on.

The words are hard to type, but here it is: our beloved Bambi is For sale. There. I’ve said it.

The only thing that makes this easier is that I know she will make some other people very, very happy.

To try to explain the WHY of this decision, only makes me seem more shallow and selfish. The fact is that we have enjoyed our Bambi adventures so much, that we’re ready for more. So we’re shopping for a larger Airstream. While Bambi is perfect for weekend getaways, as we just discovered on a ten-day, 2,000 mile road trip, we need a bit more room and capacity for the longer roads.

As people selling pets always say, she’s for sale to “A good home.” I mean that with all seriousness. I would sell her only to someone whom I was certain would take meticulous care of her.

In the spirit of full disclosure, in case you’re already dreaming of your first adventure with Bambi, let me warn you there is a downside to traveling with her (especially if you’re a confirmed introvert): you will seldom stop for gas, or at a roadside park for lunch, or at a campground that you won’t have someone who comes over to you to ask questions about this little, silvery wonder. They’ll want a “peek” inside, and usually they want to know how much she cost (yes people actually ask that). I’ll always tell them she cost far less than she is worth because she is a magnificent memory-making machine.

Relative to other travel trailers, Airstreams are expensive, and Bambi is no exception. She is very rare in that she has a lot of extra equipment you won’t find on other’s of her model. She doesn’t have a single scratch or ding and she has been wonderfully cared for. She just made a trip back to the factory where she was built in Jackson Center, Ohio, for a complete checkup. She is in tip-top shape.

So, if you’re ready to wander, or know someone who is, let me know: hey.pops.hey@gmail.com. As they say: “serious inquiries only”.