Red Rover, Red Rover … uh, red Rover?

by Lorin Michel Sunday, June 25, 2017 8:20 PM

Kevin has a 1992 Range Rover Classic. Along with his Gold Wing, it’s his mechanical pride and joy. We bought it in July of 2016 after months of searching. He needed a truck, but didn’t want a traditional pick-up. He wanted something that was enclosed so that if he had to haul things a long way, those things wouldn’t be subjected to the harsh elements of the Sonoran desert. That meant an SUV but one that was big enough. He also tends to like classics. Yes, they’re more temperamental in some ways, but in others, they’re also easier to fix since they’re not completely governed by electronics.

Before we got married, he had a 1992 Toyota Land Cruiser. It looked like an SUV but at the time, which was before the rush of sport utility vehicles, it was classified as a station wagon. He had always loved the look. Big, boxy, square. The interior was fairly utilitarian but it was comfortable. It was also in phenomenal shape. He put brush guards on the front and it was a head turner. It also had leaf spring shocks making it a very rough ride. I got to the point where I didn’t particularly enjoy riding in it. That’s when we bought our first Land Rover, a Discovery Series II. In Land Rover forums and when buying parts at places like Atlantic British, people call them Discos. 

My current vehicle is my second Land Rover Range Rover, this time a Sport. The first Range Rover we had was a fabulous car. Truck, the mechanics called it. Not like a truck I’d ever ridden in. It had heated seats, dual climate control, the ability to raise and lower the vehicle depending on what was needed. It rode on air shocks. It was red. Unfortunately, this particular model of Range Rover, designated a P38 by Land Rover, had a fatal engine sleeve flaw. Eventually we had a choice to make: rebuild the engine, or buy a new car. That was in 2012. 

I loved my first Range Rover. It was big, comfortable, flawless on the exterior and interior, and had a bitchin’ sound system to boot. When we had to get rid of it, I was not happy. We had fallen in love with the Range Rover Sport when they first came out in 2005, so we decided to get one. Kevin: “Don’t you even want to look at something else?” Me: “No.” 

Not only did we not look at something else, we bought another red one.

There is a review about the Range Rover that basically describes it as a limousine that can climb a tree That’s fairly accurate. They’re built for off-roading, for traversing mountains and streams. My beloved Sport does none of those things. I’m a typical limousine SUV owner. I love the bigness, love the luxury. Use very few of the off-road capabilities. I baby this car. I don’t like it used to haul things. 

So when we moved and Kevin decided he needed a truck, we looked at old Land Cruisers again, and settled on an old Range Rover, the models before the P38. We looked here in Arizona, even driving up to the norther part of the state to test drive a couple. Our budget was $5000. The trucks we test drove were in appalling shape. Then we found one on Craig’s List in Chino Hills. It was a 1992, with 188,000 miles on it. For $3500. Also, it was red. We talked to the guy, looked at the pics, and decided that it just might be perfect. Kevin flew to Ontario, Ubered to the guy’s house, test drove it, bought it for $3000, and drove it home that night. 

He loves it. I love it. We both love that it can haul whatever he needs to haul, without having to employ the use of my beloved Sport. They’re both beautiful trucks.

This morning, we were outside, with two of the garage doors open. I started to laugh. Red Rover in stall three; Red Rover in stall one. And there in the center, the most beautiful red “rover” we have, our beloved Riley Boo. And he’s always worth celebrating.

Braking bad

by Lorin Michel Thursday, February 9, 2017 9:16 PM

Kevin’s Classic needs brakes. The 1992 Range Rover, that we bought in July for a mere $3000, has some issues. We knew it would. It’s 25 years old and has 188,000 miles on it. It was only three grand, and it’s British. In those days, British cars were still known to be somewhat problematic.

A roommate of mine in college had a 1967 MGB. It was a fabulous little car and a total broken down little piece of trouble. Her dad had a number of MGs, including Bs and midgets. They were continuously in the shop because they weren’t always running. The British aren’t necessarily known for building cars that are mechanically sound. They are, however, known for creating some truly ground-breaking, breathtaking and classic cars. Witness the James Bond Aston Martin, the fancy Jaguars. And the Land Rover.

We have had five Land Rovers over the years including the current Sport and now the Classic. I love my Sport, and Kevin loves his Classic. He wanted a truck to be able to carry around dirt and rocks and weeds and twigs and cement blocks and bags of cement and whatever else needs to be trucked. I didn’t want him to using the Sport. It’s our only “nice” car, having sold the Porsche. Enter the Classic. 

It has quirks. 

It’s in pretty good shape, even though to open the passenger door you have to pull the handle while simultaneously pushing on the door just below the window. 

A couple of weeks ago, it needed a new muffler. Kevin found a place that could replace it for $300. 

The brush guards need to be re-painted. 

The seats are fairly trashed and so they are hidden beneath cheap seat covers I got at Pep Boys. It’s a temporary fix. Eventually, Kevin is going to reupholster them. 

The dashboard was in some state of disrepair, but Kevin took it apart, fixed it and put it back together. It now works great. The two cigar lighters – yes, that’s what they’re called – aren’t in place yet; ditto the center cubby that is a bit askew. Kevin is in the process of rebuilding that. 

But it’s a great truck. The paint is decent; it has great bite on the tires. 

However the brakes aren’t so good. The rotors or something need to be replaced. There are pads and feet and calipers and bearings and other stuff that need to be changed/fixed/whatever. I don’t quite understand. So Kevin tried to explain to me why he needed to replace certain aspects in order to get the truck to stop properly without issue. This is how I heard it: 

Blah blah blah blah, the peddle, blah blah, fluid, blah blah blah blah blah blah, rotors blah calipers blah stop. Blah! 

My understanding of how a car – or truck – brakes is much more simple. Push the peddle. Car stops.

I like my explanation better. Blah blah blah.

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Kevin sold my Range Rover

by Lorin Michel Sunday, September 11, 2016 10:52 PM

I have anxiety dreams every now and again, just like everyone. When I was in college and worked in a restaurant, my subconscious’ anxiety dream of choice was that the restaurant was packed, I was the only one working, and I couldn’t get to everyone. Not exactly horrifying, but definitely stressful and anxiety-inducing. 

After I got out of school and moved west, my go-to anxiety dream was variations on school, namely college and specifically Hamilton-Smith Hall, home of the English Department at the University of New Hampshire and where I spent probably three-quarters of my college life in pursuit of my eventual degree. In those dreams, I was forever trying to find a class and it was inevitably because it was nearing the end of a semester and I hadn’t yet been to said class.

I had variations on that dream for most of my adult life. Then we started building a house and a new iteration of anxiety-TV introduced itself. I would be at the house, and the rooms didn’t make any sense, the house didn’t flow, parts weren’t finished and the entire property was surrounded by water, water that was seeping every closer. It doesn’t take a PhD to analyze that one: I was concerned about the house taking us, symbolically, under water. I continue to have variations on that dream as well, even after being in the house for a year and a half. I suspect I always will, especially in times of stress or uncertainty. 

Last night, a new form of anxiety dream entered the echelon. In it, I was continually meeting my friend Nikola, a woman I actually haven’t even talked to in several months, if not nearly a year. We were at a restaurant but the venue kept changing. Both of us were exhausted; we kept falling asleep at the table. I ordered a Bombay Sapphire Martini which is odd because I don’t drink martinis anymore and I never drank gin martinis. I don’t know that my drink ever arrived. Instead, we decided to leave and went to the parking lot where she left in whatever she left in and I climbed into my big Ford or Jeep or something not Land Rover SUV. I lamented the fact that it was too big, that I didn’t like it, that I didn’t understand why Kevin had traded my Sport – my beloved Range Rover – for this. This dream kept replaying itself over and over and over, all night long. The restaurants were always different; the drinks, too. But the fact that my car was gone remained the same. 

I woke up mad. 

Bobbi often speaks of waking from an anxiety dream and being furious with the people who were in it. It’s a hard feeling to shake because anxiety dreams can seem so real and, because they last for quite some time during the night, it’s natural to be irritated with whoever was in the dream when you wake up. So I was mad at Kevin. And I couldn’t understand. Why? Why would he sell my car? He knows how I love that hulking piece of metal and fiberglass. He knows. 

When I took Riley out to pee, I was relieved to see that it hadn’t actually been sold or traded or whatever. It was still sitting there in its place of honor, the number one stall. Shiny and red. Strangely, I felt relief. Which makes no sense because it was a dream. 

Anxiety is stressful to be sure but I believe it’s a way of awakening you to something that may be lurking within, something that you’re worried about but don’t give voice to. I’m not really worried about the Sport, but the Porsche is for sale. Maybe that was the round about way my subconscious had of telling me that we have one too many cars in the garage and that it would be nice to lighten the load.

And put a good amount of cash in the bank for when the water gets closer.

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It gives me hope

by Lorin Michel Friday, August 26, 2016 11:22 PM

Kevin's new truck broke down today. He was out running errands, Home Depot and weed killer kind of stops, and had pulled into a quick turn-around lane. As he started to make the turn, the radio surged, hiccupped and then the car died. Luckily he had enough momentum to propel the truck across the very busy four lanes of the east bound side of Broadway, and luckily there was an entrance to a parking lot for the Hilton. The truck coasted across then stopped. It had power but it wouldn't crank.

There I was in my office, minding my own business when my cell began to sing. The phone rarely rings on a Friday afternoon and while I have plenty of work to do, no one wants to talk about it. Caller ID identified the caller as "Kevin."

Uh oh.

"Kevy?"

"So my car died."

A quick detail of tools to bring followed and I jumped into the Sport. It took me about 15 minutes to get there. He waved sheepishly.

"You know I wanted to take the bike today and you said I'd be better off in the truck," he said as I climbed out.

My turn to be sheepish.

"You lied." He smiled.

He set about checking the battery, making sure everything that should be connected was.

In these situations, there is really nothing I can do other than stand around and look helpless. I was doing that very well when a couple in a pickup pulled in, asked what they could do to help. Maybe help push it? Worth a shot. The two guys tried while I was in the driver's seat to steer. The truck began to roll backwards rather than forward. Another guy stopped to help. Maybe with three of them they'd have better luck. They didn't. The truck is simply too heavy.

The second guy who stopped also helped Kevin nose around the engine.

"Need a crescent wrench?" he asked. "I got one in the car."

Kevin thanked him, told him he had one, too. They poked around a bit more.
The guy shrugged.

"Sure wish there was something I could to help you out, man," he said. "Good luck."

Soon another guy came by. An older gentleman in a Ford Edge.

"I got a tow rope,” he said as he leaned toward the passenger window to talk to us.  "I can at least get you into a safer spot."

He gave Kevin the rope to hook to the Classic and then to his tow hitch and just like that, the Classic was up the slight incline and onto flatter ground.

"Good luck," the man said as he drove off with a wave.

A woman stopped and said that while she couldn’t do much, she’d be happy to make a phone call. At least one other car stopped to see if there was anything they could do. In the end, we called for a tow truck. The guy showed up in about a half hour, loaded the Classic and with Kevin and I in the Sport, we all drove south to Falconwerks, the independent British repair shop here in Tucson.


The sun was setting, lighting the storm clouds to the west. The sky turned dusty blue, darkening. Kevin was quiet. I was thinking about people, and how just when I'm convinced that we've devolved into a race that can't even manage to be decent to one another the truck breaks down and a number of strangers stop to offer what help they could. My faith was restored at least for today and I said as much to Kevin. He nodded.

"What are you thinking about?" I asked.

"That I knew I should have taken the bike," he said with a grin.

Next time. Until then, I'm celebrating the goodness of people and not thinking about how much this is going to cost. Next week. Next week.

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The trimmer

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, August 16, 2016 9:46 PM

My husband is such a girl. I say that with a great deal of love. Also completely tongue-in-cheek. He bought a sewing machine today and he’s very excited. It’s an old Singer, made back in 1947. It was on Craig’s List for $75. Yesterday, he contacted the woman who listed it, an older woman named Mercy who has owned the machine since she was 11. She doesn’t sew anymore so rather than have it end up in landfill, she decided to sell it. She listed it two months ago. Today, she sold it.

About three weeks or so ago, as regular readers may remember, the husband unit flew to California to buy a 1992 Range Rover Classic. He loved the truck, even though it needed a bit of work. Cosmetically it looks pretty good. It was recently painted. There are a few dents but for a truck that age, and for the cost, the issues are negligent. The motor is strong. It drives very well. It has all of its parts. (You’d be amazed at how many Classics, as well as other types of cars and trucks, are for sale out there that don’t have everything they came with, even if those ‘everythings’ are cracked or broken, or not working.) 

But the seats are pretty rough. The original leather was called Sorell and it was quite beautiful. But too many years of use and probably neglect have left it ripped and worn. We put seat covers on both front seats as well as the bench in the back and that helps make everything neater, less old. But they’re cheap covers, not made specifically for the seat but rather for “most SUVs.” They work. But they are a band-aid. 

About a week and a half ago, Kevin decided that maybe redoing the seats was something he’d do sooner rather than later. He called an auto upholstery place down on Speedway, and they gave him a rough estimate over the phone. Probably several hundred dollars for each. I thought that sounded reasonable, considering the shape the seats are in. 

Kevin is frugal. Some might say cheap, but not me. He doesn’t like to spend unnecessary money, which I completely understand. But this, to me, didn’t fall under the unnecessary category. The other issue, to his credit, is that he’s very handy. Not only that, he’s very good at being handy. In many cases, he can make things as well if not better than what he could buy. It’s a bit like I am when it comes to cooking. I can see something in a magazine or online, taste something in a restaurant, and figure out how to make it. 

So he decided to redo his seats himself. He started doing research, started reading, taking notes, deciding what he needed to do, what he needed to buy in terms of a machine. He ordered samples of faux leather from a place in Minnesota. They came yesterday. He started looking at Craig’s List. Today, he found his Singer.

“So you’re going to be a seamstress?” I asked, teasing. 

“It’s called a trimmer,” he replied with a smile. His research has already taught him that. 

So my husband, the handy man, is going to take up sewing in order to make his new old truck some new seat covers. He’ll measure and cut, and then he’ll sew. And I have absolutely no doubt that whatever he makes will be phenomenal. It’s what trimmers do.

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From the what the hell is wrong with us file

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 6, 2016 8:02 PM

Kevin and I are strange people. Those who know us best would concur and are probably nodding their heads in agreement. The ways in which we're strange are numerous but for the purpose of this post, I'm going to stick with one.

We detail our own cars.

We spent the better part of five hours working on the Range Rover Sport today. This after spending the better part of last Saturday working on the Porsche and the new old truck, the Range Rover Classic. Those two vehicles looked great after we were done. The Classic was in desperate need of some love. The paint is pretty good and the guy Kevin bought it from had clay-barred it about three months ago. It still feels silky. But there were water spots along the passenger side and the interior was a disaster.

The Porsche is going to be sold. That makes me very sad but it's just not logical to keep it. We don't drive it very much. Kevin needed a truck and I have the current love of my automotive life: the Sport.

Once upon a time, I was a sports car person. Hence the Porsche, my second one. But as I've gotten older I find that I really like an SUV. It's not practical, though neither is the Porsche. But I like sitting up high rather than down on the road; I like the ride. And since we don't drive that much, I don't even mind the gas mileage.

After last week, when the two other cars got so much attention, I heard the Sport muttering under its breath the other day, a hiss coming out of the front grill. It sounded something like "what am I, the red-haired stepchild?"

Now first of all, that's an insult to red heads and step children everywhere, never mind that the Sport is actually red. Very red.

And second of all, I assured it, we had a whole day of spa treatments lined up for today.

Ordinary people would take the car to a detail shop in much the same way that ordinary people hire cleaning people to clean their 3700 square feet of house.

Did I mention that we're strange?

The fact is, I did look at taking the car to a detail shop. But I didn't know anything about any of them, other than Yelp and Google reviews. And the Sport, as previously stated, is my big red baby. I didn't want to take any chances handing it over to a stranger. That was all the incentive my husband needed. Off to the auto parts store he went. He came home with clay bars and liquid wax, both from Meguiars,  and a packet of microfiber towels.

This morning, I washed the wheels, then we washed the car. Easy enough. I put it back into the garage and we got to work. Kevin working the clay bar over the entirety of the paint, no easy task because the thing is a monster. I followed behind, applying wax, allowing it to dry, and then buffing it out.

We then applied armor-all to the tires, and the rubber trim. We detailed the interior, wiping down the leather, the doors, the dash. Kevin vacuumed; I did the windows. Five or so hours later, we were done. And exhausted.

Ordinary people don't do this. Ordinary people hire other people. Ordinary people spend their Saturday's going to the movies or out to lunch, maybe happy hour.

The truly strange thing is that we actually enjoy doing things like detailing the car(s) for the same reason we clean the house ourselves. We're very meticulous about how things are done and know that if we do them ourselves, we'll be happier with the result.

And I for one am thrilled with how my Sport looks.

Next weekend, maybe we'll finally getting around to doing something fun. Like painting.

Oh it was early

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, July 27, 2016 10:00 PM

It was still dark and lightning flashed behind the still heavy clouds shrouding the city. The lights in the distance seemed muted. There was no rumble of thunder, no tap of rain on the skylight. The air in the room was cool, swirled by the ceiling fan. A soft rush of still cooler air pushed from the vents up near the ceiling. I heard the whoosh of water from the shower and rolled over to look at the clock. 3:28. 

I could hear the coffee pot beginning to gurgle and sputter. I wondered how it was that Kevin had managed to get up, walk into the kitchen and get it going, how he’d managed to get ready for his shower without me hearing him. Without me feeling the weight of him lift from the bed we share. 

Oh, but it was early. And let me tell you why: Kevin was going to California. And let me tell you why: He finally bought a truck. 

Last week, we journeyed up to Prescott with cash in hand, ready to purchase a 1987 Range Rover. We didn’t. While we were up in that area, we went to look at another 1987. We didn’t buy that one either. Both were beyond rough in terms of aesthetics. But those could be fixed. It was the mechanical issues that made the ultimate decisions. Too much trouble even for $2500. Not drivable. 

But Kevin test drove both and he had the bug. He had made his decision. He wanted an old Range Rover Classic, something between 1987 and 1995, preferably before 1993 when Rover started putting air shocks into the cars. And while those shocks are nice, they are incredibly expensive to fix when they break and they always break. We had to fix them at least twice on our first red Rover. 

We continued to look, mostly at Craig’s list. There was nothing in Arizona so we got the idea of branching out a bit, into Southern California. We found one in San Diego, more money than we wanted to spend but we thought we’d look. Take the dog, maybe spend the weekend at the beach. 

That didn’t pan out. And it’s just as well. 

Yesterday, I happened to expand the search into the Inland Empire, the vast stretch between Palm Springs and Los Angeles, and there was a 1992, listed only 9 hours earlier. It looked phenomenal. In great shape. Pretty. Pre-1993 so no air shocks. Kevin called the guy at lunch yesterday. It was our luck that he had already received several calls but was unable to show the car yesterday. They talked, and hit it off on the phone. Kevin said he’d fly in to see it, and probably buy it based on their conversation but he needed to know that the truck would be there when he arrived. The guy said he’d be happy to hold it, and would even pick him up at the airport. 

Which brings me back to this morning at 3:28. We had to leave the house at 4:30 in order to get to the airport around 5:15 so that Kevin could make a 6 am flight. At 4:45, I felt a hand on my shoulder; I had fallen back to sleep. It was time for me to roll out of bed, slip into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and drive my husband to the airport so that he could go buy a car. A truck. Really this time. 

Oh, but it was early Oh, but I was and remain tired. But as I write this, my husband is driving home in his new old truck. He says it’s great. It’s in good shape. He had the oil changed, the radiator flushed, the power steering fluid changed and whatever-else fluid changed at Jiffylube and then got on the road. 

We will now have R3. Oh, did I mention it’s red?


Kevin's new ride: 1992 Range Rover 

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The only difference between men and boys

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, May 31, 2016 10:13 PM

There is a saying that some say originated with Benjamin Franklin because it appeared in the Poor Richard Almanack, as a derivative of “Old boys have their playthings as well as young ones; the difference is only in the price.” The saying everyone knows actually has no known author and it’s a nice little ditty that goes like this: The only difference between men and boys is the size and the price of their toys.

I would like to amend that to say that the only difference between men and boys and their wives are the toys needed to make them both thrive(s). 

OK. It’s not as good and not as rhym-y, but you get the idea. 

Kevin and I love toys. We have a fun Porsche, a toy that is totally unpractical and fast as hell. We have a motorcycle, our fourth, and it’s big and bad and takes us to all kinds of fun places. We have great bicycles. We have a terrific sound system in the house. We have a Range Rover. When Tammy was here several weeks ago, she and Kevin went up to Mount Lemmon on the motorcycle with me following in the Porsche. We had breakfast and then we came back down the mountain in the same way. When we got to the house, and she stood shaking her hair out of the helmet, she had the biggest smile on her face. 

“You guys have the greatest toys,” she said.

We do. And we’ve talked about getting more. We’re not necessarily talking seriously about getting more, but we’ve talked about it. Or them. I’ve written here about my obsession with Airstream. Now there’s a toy. And the new Nest travel trailer that Airstream just purchased that is my newest obsession. Luckily those aren’t even available for at least another year so I don’t really have to think about that until then. 

But today, we started talking about acquiring another new toy that’s not so much a toy as something really almost practical. Kevin needs a vehicle that he can haul a bunch of stuff around in, go to Lowes or Home Depot to get wood and mortar and whatever else he happens to need for a weekend of working in the yard. Now with his vineyard, that he is threatening to grow, he’s going to need a truck. Or the equivalent of a truck. Yes, we have a Range Rover but it’s a really nice vehicle and we paid a lot of money for it. It’s not meant for trashing and hauling. 

So we started looking at what we might want to get and have zeroed in on a couple of different maybes. One is going back to an old Toyota Land Cruiser. Once upon a time we had an FJ60 from 1990 before they changed to the big body style. We loved it but the ride was very rough. So we sold it and got our first Land Rover. Now we’re looking at something from the 1970s, like a FJ55 or maybe even an FJ45, a two door type of Jeep. 

We’re also thinking about another Land Rover, maybe a Range Rover Classic also from the 1970s and also a two door. Again, something that he can haul stuff around in and not have to worry about damaging. We’d have his and hers. 

Which brings me back to my original premise. The only difference between men and their wives are the toys they need to make them both thrive(s). 

I know. It’s a stretch. But it’s my blog and I’ll bad-rhyme if I want to, celebrating the whole time.

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I love my Land Rover but this is ridiculous

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, February 23, 2016 7:18 PM

When Kevin and I first got together, he drove an old, gray Mitsubishi pickup truck. Within a couple of months, he had found a used BMW 735i. A beautiful car, but he longed for an old Toyota Land Cruiser. He found one and we bought it. It was a very cool truck but the ride was horrible. He eventually sold it and bought our first Land Rover, a Discovery Series II. It was a great car. Then we upgraded to another Land Rover, this time a Range Rover. It was a deep red metallic, with tan leather interior and an amazing sound system. I remember telling my mother we were going to get it.

“Why do you need a Range Rover?” she asked. 

I remember smiling and replying, quite truthfully, that I didn’t need a Range Rover. No one needs a Range Rover, but I wanted one and I could afford it and so we got it. It was an amazing car. It got terrible gas mileage but the ride was incredible and the bells and whistles were unsurpassed. Like all Range Rovers it had the ability to raise high to go through water, or get so low to the ground it was like a sports car. It all happened at the touch of a button and at the whim of the electronics. I never regretted getting the car, not even when a design flaw from many years earlier regarding an aluminum sleeve caused the engine to slip. We had a choice. We could have it rebuilt or we could simply get rid of it. By then, there were also issues with the brain, the main computer that controls all of the electronics. It was developing Alzheimer’s. We could have had that replaced as well but to do all that work to a car that was 12 years old seemed frivolous. 

Sadly, we said goodbye and bought another one. Deep red metallic paint, black leather interior, bitching sound system. I didn’t need it anymore than I needed the other two. Oh, but I love my Range Rovers. As long as I can afford them, I plan to continue driving them. They’re big, the gas mileage isn’t great – though interestingly it is better because Land Rover is now able to make the trucks lighter – and they’re not terribly practical. But I love cars. And with the exception of the house, which is a very big exception, we don’t do many other things for ourselves. We don’t travel, we don’t have terribly expensive hobbies. So we have a nice car to tool around in. A truck, they call it when it’s in the shop. 

Land Rover Range Rover has often been described as a limousine that can climb a tree. They’re impossibly comfortable, completely decadent inside. But they are designed to walk down a mountain. They can go through water. They can climb out of a hole. They’re the original off-road vehicle and while the most off-roading I do is the occasional dirt road to a winery, it’s still nice to know that it could do all of those things should the apocalypse arrive and we need to make a get-away.

Today, it was announced that Land Rover is introducing a limited edition Range Rover, the 2016 Holland & Holland, so named because of the legendary British shotgun-maker. Pull, and all that. Evidently Holland & Holland embodies luxury when it comes to shotguns, so it’s being touted as a natural fit. Land Rover, known for vehicles with serious if not seriously used off-road capability, and Holland & Holland, known for upscale hunting gear and firearms. A match made in Britain. 

This limited edition, of which the US will get 30, will feature a locking, leather-trimmed gun case that holds two shotguns. The case attaches to the floor in the back but slides onto the tailgate for easier access. Inside is French walnut wood detailing and rear seats that recline. The seats also have tray tables. The exquisite and custom leather wraps all the way to the floor, lining the floor mats. There are etched door handles. No word on the sound system but I suspect it’s amazingly bitchin’. It ought to be.

Price: $245,000.

Now I love my Range Rover, truly. I’ve loved all three of them. But that’s ridiculous.

Also, ridiculously gorgeous. I celebrate the people who will buy one and think absolutely nothing of it. It’s what it means to live it out loud decadently. 

Help me. I think I want an Airstream.

by Lorin Michel Monday, August 10, 2015 8:03 PM

In the early part of the 20th century, before the stock market crash of 1929, a man named Wallace Merle Byam, Wally to his friends, lived in a two-wheeled shepherd’s cart outfitted with a kerosene cook stove, a sleeping bag and wash pail. He liked his cart so much, he was inspired to draw up designs and plans so that others could build what he called a travel trailer. His first attempt, which he tried himself, needed some modifications. He made those modifications and then proceeded to tell everyone how they could build one themselves for under $100. He sold sets of plans for $5.

By 1929, he was building a tent contraption on a Ford Model T chassis but it wasn’t very good in the rain. Using masonite, he reconfigured his design, creating a teardrop shape. He added a stove and an ice chest, and he hooked it up to another Model T and started traveling the country. Other drivers on the road noticed. It moved through the air like a stream of light, was easy – and lightweight – to tow, and provided what Wally called “first-class” accommodations anywhere he went. When a camper company called Bowlus went bankrupt, Wally bought it, and in 1936, he introduced his first product, the Clipper, a reference to the Pan Am Clipper airplane. It was all-aluminum and monosoque-constructed, 19 feet long, single-axle, with two beds, an icebox, a two-burner range, windows that opened, a pot-bellied stove and venting chimney to heat, a closet, storage drawers, a small writing desk and a fold-down table.

The Airstream had arrived. It is my new obsession and yes, I probably should go into therapy.

I am not a camper. I have no desire to pitch a tent in the woods, attempt to build a campfire to roast marshmallows, and then pee in those same woods. I have no desire to stay anywhere that I can’t have a hot shower whenever I want one, or have a television if I want to watch a show, internet if I want to cruise. But for some reason, the idea of getting an old Airstream, restoring it ourselves to be exactly how we want it, has suddenly taken hold of my imagination. In much the same way I never know where story ideas come from, I have no idea where this manifested.  I just know that it’s there and I have to deal with it.

Another confession: When I am Cait debuted a week or so ago on E! I was briefly fascinated. I had an uncontrollable urge to watch it and I have never watched a reality show before in my life. Luckily the feeling passed before I acted upon it. Maybe the same will happen with the Airstream, but I doubt it.

Years ago, Kevin and I briefly entertained renting a tricked out RV and going on vacation. We didn’t do it. A client turned friend of mine took an old RV and renovated it. It has hardwood floors, a tiled shower, leather couches. His is an RV though. I don’t want an RV. I want a trailer. I think they’re called Travel Trailers now. I want a small one, called a Sport to pull behind my Range Rover Sport. I want to find one on ebay or Craig’s List, one that is rotted inside, but still solid enough on the outside to save the aluminum panels. I want to put it in the garage and together with my husband, rip it apart from the inside out. I want to tear off the horrible paneling inside, and pull out the insulation. I want to rip up the floorboards and tear out all of cabinets and appliances and the bathroom. I want to replace everything, from the inside out, including the windows and the door, then polish the aluminum so that it glints in the sun. I want to do all of this and then put a hitch on the Range Rover, pull it out of the garage and go on a trip, maybe to the Pacific Northwest. Maybe wine tasting in Washington.

The Airstream Sport I want is 16’ 4” long, 7’ 3.25” wide and 9’ 3” high (with the AC unit). It is not big at all. But we could make it big enough for the two of us and Riley. We could travel all over and take our little 4-star room along with us.

Now I just need to convince my husband. And find a beat up Airstream for not very much money. And retire so that we have time to travel all over. And then live it out loud in a very Sport-y fashion.

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