Publisher's Note It’s the Love Shack, baby

It’s the Love Shack, baby

Publisher's Note

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For those of you who read My Generation regularly, in print or online, you may remember my writing about the “Love Shack.” In case you don’t, or maybe this is the first time you’ve picked up our magazine, let me give a brief refresher.

Last March my husband Brian and I bought an extended, high-top van that had been used as a school bus. During the spring, we converted it to a camper van, using it as our home on wheels when we traveled to see various rock shows throughout New England. We went to Vermont a couple of times, down to New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and stayed in the van in full-service campgrounds, state parks and inner-city parking lots. That is the beauty of the Love Shack, we can park it anywhere, because it is a “regular” vehicle. I think we spent a total of about 32 nights in the Love Shack in 2014 – the first trip was Memorial Day weekend, and the last of the year was Dec. 13 for a show in Boston. Yes, it was cold, but you can’t beat an overnight in Boston, on the harbor, for $24.

The Love Shack is a very comfortable and highly functional home-away-from-home. We have a decent bed, plenty of storage, a kitchen and bathroom, and lots of room for our three dogs to travel with us. OK, “lots” might be an exaggeration, but we make it work. We also have a portable screen house that can be set up in about 2 minutes, nice folding chairs, and a shelf on the back of the van for Brian’s small cafe? racer-type motorcycle. We have found that traveling in the Love Shack saves us more than just hotel room costs. We actually spend a lot less money in general. We are likely to go hiking with the dogs during the day, and cook meals at the campsite, or bring food along, instead of dining out. And, finances aside, traveling in the Love Shack is just fun. And, very, very relaxing.

The longest trip we took last year in the Love Shack was for six nights. During that trip, while hanging out at a beautiful spot near Gunstock Mountain in New Hampshire, we started planning a June 2015, month-long, 6,500-mile trip to see music and parts of the country that we loved and some that we had never explored. That little planning session has become a reality, and we have bought our first tickets, notified our work, and will be hitting the road in early June.

Our journey will take us from Durham, Maine, to Hunter Mountain, N.Y., where we will spend three days at the Mountain Jam Music Festival. From there, we will spend four fairly leisurely days traveling south through Asheville, N.C., and over to Manchester, Tenn., where we will spend three days at the (infamous) Bonnaroo music festival. By the time Bonnaroo is over, we will have seen dozens of performers from our short list, and some we’ve never heard of. The tickets and the lodging for these two festivals will be a fraction of the cost if we tried to see these shows individually. At this point, we don’t know what other music we will see along the way, but we have no fear that there will be plenty. If you are interested in seeing the line up for Mountain Jam or Bonnaroo, a quick Google search will get you there.

After the Bonnaroo festival, Brian will get his sixth ride on Deals Gap (aka, the Dragon’s Tail) a windy, twisty 11-mile stretch of road on U.S. 129 crossing the border between Tennessee and North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains. We think by this point he may have found a few new windy, twisty roads to explore, but Deals Gap is always on his list. From there, we will head down through Louisiana, maybe stopping in New Orleans, and travel along the Gulf Coast over to Texas and up to Austin. Of course, part of the mission and much of the fun of this trip will be that we can change our course whenever we want, depending on who and what we want to see. Right now, we think that from Austin, we will head up to Sante Fe, and then over to southwestern Colorado, where Brian can ride U.S. 550 in the Southwestern part of the state. I’ll be hanging out at the Blue Mesa in the Curecanti National Recreation Area for a bit. We’ll spend some time in Colorado, re-visiting Aspen, and Red Rocks, of course, before we start to make our way home.

We recently made a visit to the Camping World store in Chichester, N.H. One of the most important things for traveling comfortably in the Love Shack is maximizing every inch of space for storage and convenience. A couple of hooks on the back wall, a net or a multi-pocket organizer can make all the difference. We had the opportunity to take a look at a pimped-out, brand-new Dodge-Winnebago Conversion Van, which was very spiffy from the outside – but ridiculously cramped and tacky looking on the inside – for the low, low price of $76,000. The Love Shack – well, priceless! We were telling the sales guy about our van, and he said, “What are you, a couple of old hippies?”

I said, “Did he say old?” “There are no young hippies,” he answered.

“People try to put us d-down

(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)

Just because we get around

(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold

(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)

I hope I die before I get old

(Talkin’ ‘bout my generation)

My generation

This is my generation, baby”

Lee Hews will be updating the Love Shack Chronicles 2015 regularly on her blog BOOM, which can be found at www.keepMEcurrent.com/mygeneration.

Lee Hews, PublisherThe love shack

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