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Old 02-23-2015, 01:35 PM   #15
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2003 28' Safari S/O
Marietta , Georgia
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Blow off the naysayers and forge ahead.

Rob Shultz's (aka Skatiero) unit can be viewed here:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f179...ms-114620.html

Not only does he regularly camp with 7 kids plus adults quite successfully, but he will also modify the unit of your choosing should the notion of tackling the task yourself seem too much. Rob is a talented builder who does Airstream mods for a living :-)

The other choice mentioned above is Ron Kaes (PizzaChop) who modified his 31' unit to accommodate 9 with very clever solutions for maximising space. You can find pictures of Ron's work in his gallery.

I have had the pleasure to camp beside both over the years and delight in my every encounter with them. Their families are a marvelous harmony in action.

I also encountered a family with 6 kids some years ago who had a 2005 30' Safari bunk with additional crosswise bunks added. It is doable, so forth and enjoy.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:34 PM   #16
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Thanks, everyone! If you're close by, come see our Excella. It sleeps our whole family (ten people) plus two guests (the other set of grandparents) and we can even have everyone sit down for dinner inside when we need to at a pair of hideaway tables which unfold to seat everyone banquet-style. We love our Airstream. We are just north of Atlanta. Rob and Katie Schulz Ditchen plus seven kids and grandma
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:04 PM   #17
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I'll also jump on the Skatiero bandwagon. The work they have done is just incredible. Got to see their camper at Canopener... I wish I did that nice of work. Before seeing that, I considered an Airstream a 2 person camper. Man, was I wrong...

-Red, jelly of the KatieRob....
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:53 PM   #18
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Skateiro, so glad you chimed in. And thanks to everyone else as well! I actually read your whole conversion thread and was super impressed. A couple questions if you wouldn't mind:

1. Is the model/ appx yr u choose/found the best for doing the multiple bunks? Are there some other models that could work as well?

2. Assuming a full gut job and reusing a few things, is there a ballpark estimate on cost to redo a 30+ footer? Assuming similar trim like yours?

3. My family has never even RV'd before but I am seeing more and more w our kids and their ages, going together on an adventure is what really draws us closer. Our ages are 9,8,5,4,2.

And my question is what's the best way to try this thing out to see if it's up our alley? I can rent a regular trailer here in Bham and go on spring break or we could go out west and rent a real airstream and try it out. Or other options?
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:21 PM   #19
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the poster asked for opinions

I think Airstreams are harder to modify than SOBs.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:30 PM   #20
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1450 we did adopt, our two youngest. Thanks for your encouragement.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:30 PM   #21
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We have a center bath 31' Airstream with twins in the back. I re-worked the twins to get more usable storage and had an aluminum shop make some bunks. We took out the goucho in the front and make a large booth that converts to a king size bed. We have 4 boys (triplets plus an older son) We also take a tent and if the weather is nice a couple of us sleep in the tent. We also camp with a doberman and cocker spaniel.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:33 PM   #22
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Go for it! If you can handle the kiddos, this will be doable..
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:37 PM   #23
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Skateiro, so glad you chimed in. And thanks to everyone else as well! I actually read your whole conversion thread and was super impressed. A couple questions if you wouldn't mind:

Sure! We need to add an update. We have added some more fun bells and whistles we need to post.

1. Is the model/ appx yr u choose/found the best for doing the multiple bunks? Are there some other models that could work as well?

Lots of years and models will work. Our last one was a 29' Excella. We built special bunks in it, and a u-shaped dinette. It was great. The kids grew, though, and got to be grownup-sized, and Grandma Alice moved in with us, and the other grandparents wanted to join us sometimes, and our kids sometimes wanted to bring friends, and we had a floorplan in mind after year's of camping that we could do only if the bath was on a certain side, etc, etc. but the short answer is that you can make almost anything work, but planning is absolutely essential to making it all work. You have fewer people to sleep (than we do), and some of them are quite small, so you have to decide whether to go with full-length bunks or kid-length, for example. All of ours are full-length because we wanted to plan for the long term. We love 80's trailers but we own a 68 and a 57, too, we really just love Airstreams. But plan, plan, plan and read and research and go to rallies and tour and take photos and make notes.


2. Assuming a full gut job and reusing a few things, is there a ballpark estimate on cost to redo a 30+ footer? Assuming similar trim like yours?

That's a really tough one to answer. We are very thorough, but we prefer to build as though it could have been done by Airstream-- so we don't gut as much as we carefully remove, repair, restore, and put back or reuse as much as possible. gutting sometimes makes us wince since we are fascinated by the way the factory did things and it's usually well-designed and high quality. We strive to make our work worthy of Airstream. So that can make it cheaper, or more expensive, depending on each decision. We are really, really into function, and everything in our airstream serves multiple purposes (except grandma) (just kidding, she's very useful) and our Airstream feels and lives like a much, much bigger camper. Our kids call it the TARDIS, after the spaceship in Doctor Who--bigger on the Inside than the outside. We have to tow with a van (full of ten to twelve people) so the Airstream has to hold ALL our gear and clothes and food etc, no big things riding in the tow vehicle. so our needs are different from many people's, so our costs will be totally different. Also, we do all of our own work, so of course that changes things vs hiring things out.



3. My family has never even RV'd before but I am seeing more and more w our kids and their ages, going together on an adventure is what really draws us closer. Our ages are 9,8,5,4,2.

Wonderful, ours are12-18-- the youngest just turned twelve and the oldest turns eighteen next week!!!

And my question is what's the best way to try this thing out to see if it's up our alley? I can rent a regular trailer here in Bham and go on spring break or we could go out west and rent a real airstream and try it out. Or other options?
Hmmm, car trips actually give you somewhat of a clue for the physical travel itself.... And visiting rallies, even if you camp in a tent or a cabin. In some ways hotel vacations are easier than Airstreaming since there's no towing and you have room service and maid service--- but in some ways Airstreaming is much much easier, since you're already home, you have everything you need, and you get to sleep in your own comfortable bed-- so for kids there's less of that unfamiliar nervousness kids often get on trips to hotels etc. --- they are home, they have the same routine etc, and yet the view is different and there's a whole new backyard every day. We LOVE it. And it's much cheaper and much nicer than hotels.... Come visit at a rally! You'll make a ton of friends and get lots of ideas. It's all about family togetherness.... Our family has been forged on the road!
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:07 PM   #24
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Excellent info. Thanks for taking the time.

One follow up. I fully understand that you make a million little decisions that add up to your total bill. But assuming you reuse some and put in new systems and trim. Would you be looking at say, 5, 10, 20k? I'm just trying to run the math when looking at a 70's/80's to redo vs a 90's that might work as is.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:40 AM   #25
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PizzaChop (Ron) has a family of musicians. The tow vehicle is an Econoline van. The "band bus" is the Airstream and the instruments and equipment are hauled in the van. They have a PA system and lighting as well. Good entertainment at rallies.
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:14 AM   #26
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Excellent info. Thanks for taking the time.

One follow up. I fully understand that you make a million little decisions that add up to your total bill. But assuming you reuse some and put in new systems and trim. Would you be looking at say, 5, 10, 20k? I'm just trying to run the math when looking at a 70's/80's to redo vs a 90's that might work as is.
That would depend on myriad other factors, such as the condition of the Airstream to begin with, what systems have already been updated (and how thoroughly, and how well, and when, and by whom) and whether you are hiring things out or doing everything yourself, and whether you're recycling materials or buying all new, and how much time and flexibility you have, since you can find much better material costs with the luxury of having time to wait for (and search for, and drive long distances for) amazing deals.... This is not something easy to figure out, since you don't know what problems you will find until you get into the project. It's like the old joke about a house remodel which says to take your highest estimate of time and money and then double one and add a third to the other. . Finishes make a huge difference, too. Our Airstream is very high end, but of course we have done every single thing ourselves and over a long period of time. It's hard for us to project costs, too. You have to break it down into smaller parts and price those out (starting with the basics which are your foundation and which flippers tend to ignore) and then go on from there.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:11 AM   #27
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and from what folks say, you do this professionally?
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:33 AM   #28
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I'm a naysayer . You have to have the expertise, time and money. Yes it can be done but the kids probably don't care what trailer they sleep or eat in when going camping. What will be the market value of the Airstream when the parents decide to downsize? Maybe it will be good as there are a lot of SOB bunk house floorplan. Seems like a big risk.

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