For years, these North Carolinians have traveled far and wide, first by motorcycle, and lately in an Airstream. While both modes of transport have taken the couple to magical places, they have learned that the more wheels you ride, the more friends you make.
“Airstream people are so welcoming,” says Traci. “As shareholders at Virginia Highland Haven Airstream Park, we enjoy being part of a community of travelers who share our excitement for exploration.”
These Airstream Ambassadors have built all sorts of friendships and connections while crisscrossing the Eastern half of the U.S. in their 25-foot International Serenity. The couple often travels with a group of other Airstreamers, and routinely meet-up in one part of the country with fellow travelers they met in another region.
What we enjoy most is having wheels to be somewhere different whenever we choose or to rendezvous with friends in some really cool places.
A perfect example: While camping in St Augustine, FL. last winter, Traci discovered that an Airstream couple she met in Boone, NC was staying in not-too-distant Savannah, GA. They met for lunch off I-95 and have been coordinating trips to travel together ever since.
“We’ve now taken three or four trips with them,” says Chris.
The couple’s two-axle adventure and connection began in 2017 as the fifty-something empty nesters tried to imagine the next phase of life. Some of their friends were planning grand overseas trips. Others were building lake houses. None of that appealed to this restless duo, who had already seen most of America from a rugged BMW adventure motorcycle. They decided an RV might be perfect to scratch their itch for a new type of adventure.
Curiously, during a protracted and disappointing search for the right RV, Chris and Traci never stepped inside an Airstream. Until they did. The couple came across some online information about the Serenity and grew intrigued.
“It’s about a million degrees in Columbia, South Carolina in July,” says Chris. “I told Traci, ‘You know what? I'd really like to go stick my head in this Serenity. I'm going to leave for the dealership at six in the morning. I want to be there when they open at nine o'clock. Let's look at this thing. If it's something that we want to try, let's just buy it.”
The rest is Chris and Traci’s history.
“It was a 20-minute decision, literally,” says Chris. “We liked the size, the dimensions, the interior colors, the luxury, everything. We sat down in this thing, we walked around it, and Traci says, “This looks like a spaceship and feels like home!’”
Which explains their Serenity’s name, Buzz. As in Lightyear.
The Airstream’s unique design also inspired the couple to name their dogs Rivet and Lumi (short for aluminum). Rivet is a two-year-old Scottish Terrier, and Lumi is a one-year-old Affenpinscher.
“A big part of us choosing to travel by Airstream is that it allows us control over how we live on the road,” says Traci. “We wanted to take our dogs traveling with us, and the Airstream allows us to do that. We are very healthy eaters, and we can cook in the Serenity. And there are just things we want to carry with us for comfort on the road, and we can do that with the Airstream.”
By Chris’s calculation, Buzz has carried the couple and their pups more than 17,000 miles since that steamy summer day.
“We’ve spent about 25% of our life in the Airstream since we got it,” says Chris.
The couple’s work situation provides the flexibility to set their own travel schedule. Chris owns and runs Monroe Tire and Service, a 47 year old family auto service business. Traci is a Professional Organizer who owns her own business, Spatial Solutions Unlimited and serves as a Business Solutions Representative for The Container Store. With some careful schedule juggling and digital connectivity, both entrepreneurs can get away regularly.
“We're dedicated to being on the road for at least two weekends a month,” says Traci. “Because of how our businesses work, we were able to just take a big 25-day trip to Maine, and we spent 16 days on the road with two other Airstreamers on a journey to Big Bend Texas in March.”
The next mega-adventure on their agenda is a Western swing. While the timing for that trip isn’t set, the empty nesters will likely consult an academic calendar.
“We like to plan trips after the school bell rings and school is back in session,” says Traci. “September is a good month to travel.”
In the meantime, they plan to continue exploring the full range of beautiful spots located within five hours of home, including the mountains and seashores of the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee.
Among the couple’s favorite activities while traveling are exploring the local food scene, and bicycling. They carry two Trek bikes with them on every trip.
“We’ve ridden 29 rails-to-trails bike paths around the country,” says Chris. Among their favorite biking locales are Austin, TX, and Nantucket Island.
Chis and Traci have a nearly insatiable appetite for exploration in all forms. The couple has a trip to Europe planned for next spring, and they still own the motorcycle that carried them on so many adventures. But the Serenity and their Airstream community bring them the most satisfaction and joy.
“The adventure bike was our modus operandi for years,” says Chris. “That was the adventure piece in our life. Motorcycling will always be a source of travel and adventure, but at the moment, the Airstream offers up some new variety!”
Continue the adventure and read more stories from the Airstream Ambassadors.