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Old 12-26-2013, 01:23 PM   #15
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If you already have a suitable tow vehicle, make it work.
If you do not already have a suitable tow vehicle get what you want.
It is better to get the right vehicle one time for one amount of money than to get the wrong vehicle and have to do it all over again.
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:31 PM   #16
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Good thing I don't have to retire tomorrow, as I see this will be a bit of a project just getting to the point that I know what I want to buy and why!

I suspect that our first step should be to actually check out a few versions in person. I'm partial to the larger models I saw on the Airstream website (the "23D"). I note that there's an outfit up in Jersey ("Colonial") that has a sizeable inventory. But I'm in Northern Virginia and saw a smaller place selling them new and used a few miles south of Fredricksburg, just off of I-95.

One of our vehicles is a 2006 Ford Escape, but we will be trading that in for a 2013 model sometime next spring/summer. We could go up to the Explorer, although hoping to stay small(er).

Andy: Will a dealer be a good source of straight talk on the towing set up, etc., you reference? Again, while not a babe in the woods, when it comes to mechanical stuff, I make for a good diplomat.

JK
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:34 PM   #17
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3-4 hours from you is Colonial Airstream in NJ, a dealer that maintains a large inventory of different Airstreams. I have no affiliation with them and in fact have never set foot on their property, but they are mentioned regularly here on the Forums as a good dealership with an extensive inventory. I think it would be worth spending a day there and getting a feel for different sizes and floorplans, then maybe thinking a while and spending another day focusing on the 1 or 2 trailers that make the short list.

My primary trailer is a 1975 and it has been in more or less regular use since it was new (VERY regular use since I purchased it in early 2011!) so this is definitely a long-term purchase. It's pretty common for people to decide after a short while that they want a bigger (or smaller) trailer than they initially purchased, or a different floor plan, so the more informed your initial decision is the better it is for your finances.

EDIT: And while I was writing, you posted. I see you've already heard of Colonial. I do think there's a lot to be gained from spending some time in various different models and floor plans. I have different ideas than I had when I first started using the Argosy, mainly from experience seeing other people's trailers at campouts and rallies.
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:40 PM   #18
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Colonial is awesome. No pressure. They are looking out for your best interests. They have lots of inventory to browse. It was a stop at Colonial that made me decide on a Classic.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:45 PM   #19
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They do seem to have a pretty impressive inventory. And from website also looks like ready to bargain some.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:51 PM   #20
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Although I have almost 20 years until retirement, I've been thinking @ an Airstream for when that time comes. I always check out Colonial.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:34 PM   #21
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Go ahead and git you that new shiny silver trailer- you are not promised retirement-
We used to say we would wait until retirement, but we decided to get a trailer and enjoy it now-
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:31 PM   #22
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Yeah - you are lucky being "that close" to colonial - can browse all lengths and styles and they are excellent by all accounts! (I did not by from them - 14 hour drive and dealer closer is good).

Check me out - decide on length and layout (front bedroom - rear bedroom - etc) -

Tow vehicle - yeah - whole other thread - first figure out the weight of passengers + tongue weight of trailer + all other contents added in truck - and take that weight (ie payload) and make sure tow vehicle can handle that weight

Go to colonial soon and tell us what you think
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:42 AM   #23
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With the exception of the Flying Cloud Bunkhouse and Flying Cloud 20' models, both the Flying Cloud and International trim lines have identical floor plans. The Eddie Bauer models basically have the floor plans of the 25FB and 27FB models included in the above trim lines with the addition of a rear door for loading stuff and collapsing furniture to create the storage area. The Classic 27FB has a nearly identical floor plan to the other two trim line 27FB models with the addition of a ZipDee chair storage by the door instead of a large bulky cushion.

The two Classic 31' models have unique floor plans as contrasted to the Flying Cloud and International 31' models.

One can visualize these Airsteam trim lines using the trim lines at Ford:

Ford > Mercury > Lincoln

Flying Cloud > International > Classic

The cars share the same basic components, but the finished vehicle has different appearance based upon the interior colors and options selected.

In case you do not have this reference material, here is a download link for the 2014 Airstream Catalog. Colonial Airstream's website reflects the largest stocking inventory at any single dealership outlet in the USA.

http://colonialairstream.com/Airstre...el_trailer.pdf
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:32 PM   #24
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Jack, that .pdf posted above by switz is a great intro for your "mind" hunt for your trailer. Wish I had seen that when we started looking. We are in S. TX and did not have a lot of stock to look at when we were deciding on model we wanted. Advice to go to Colonial by everyone here is real good, and do plan on spending a day. One thing I bet you already realize is that Airstream owners all love their trailers and will talk all day if asked for advice. You will be joining a great bunch of people who love to share ideas and experience.
My opinion, if you are planning on trading for a new TV ( tow vehicle) anyway, pick the size trailer you want, with that trailer, add a weight of the most gear you would ever carry on your trips and chose your TV with that total weight in mind--tons of posts here on tow vehicles--too many actually. Just decide if you want big and powerful or smaller and more nimble. Just work the weight numbers to be sure your tow is a safe one, put a good WD (weight distribution) hitch between you and your Airstream, and you're off.
If you decide to go new, there are some good threads here that will help with your $$ negotiations.

Good luck and welcome aboard.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:55 PM   #25
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Plan to be at Colonial several days as you really need several hours sitting in each model to get the butt feel, try and look where the television is as contrasted to the seating arrangements, lie on the beds and sit up to see if your hit your head. Look at the twin bed models as well as the queen bed models. Twin beds offer more overhead storage and hanging space than some of the queen bed models.

Seat on the best seat in the house and see if it just tall enough and there is enough room to maneuver. Some models have taller toilets and more space around that device for knees and elbows.

Consider who is camping. Two people alone, with kids/grandkids, or another couple. Would private space be needed?

Do you want both a microwave and a gas oven? Do you want a convection/microwave oven? Do you want solar power system or a power inverter to generate a small amount of AC power off of the batteries? Remember that the gas oven works when there is no electricity whereas the microwaves require lots of AC power for cooking more than a cup of water for coffee which the three gas burners cooktop will do quickly as well.

You can wear out a lot of pencils during the search phase and save the pen for the contract at the end of the yellow brick road.

The decision making process is a great experience to renew the knowledge of your partner on their likes and dislikes as this is a small space after the contract is signed. Everyone wants to be on the same page.

If my wife had relented to my initial request for the purchase of the 27FB International Serenity vs the 25FB International Serenity we actually bought, we would not be now getting a 31' foot Classic model 30 for lots more expense.
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:24 AM   #26
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The research is part of the fun - and there is plenty of it and plenty written on this forum....

Good luck
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:14 PM   #27
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As a relatively new Flying Cloud owner, we went through much the same process as you are in deciding what to decide on..... As you have already noticed, this forum is SO valuable, and others' experiences help so much. I read and read and read on here before we bought, and now even more! Enjoy the hunt, and remember that there may be no "totally" perfect coach or tow vehicle for every situation. Get as close as you can and get on the road!
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:11 AM   #28
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Thanks, Switz/ShinyPete/Howard: I intend to go up to Colonial at end of this month and spend all day Saturday checking them out. Will report afterwards!
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