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Old 04-18-2006, 06:36 AM   #15
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Chandler , Oklahoma
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My first was a 17ft Caravel that I used when I showed dogs full time. I loved that trailer and , as you can imagine, would like to have it back. It wasn't very big, but was all I needed when I traveled alone. Also did the tent thing; however, as you get older the ground gets a lot harder. Have the "memory foam" in the Argosy now.

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Old 04-18-2006, 07:28 AM   #16
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1995 30' Limited
Ashland , Missouri
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It looks like many of us followed similar routes to our Airstreams. We began in rustic cabins in state parks with our four kids--swore no one should be able to tent camp in hot humid mosquitoey Missouri in the summer. We finally ought a 20 year old turquoise canvas Sears family tent with a charming troubadour-style canopy and started heading up North for summers in Minnesota. After many rips and heavy-duty sewing repairs, we moved up to Eureka family tents. Gradually Max and I got too creaky for sleeping on the ground and we purchased a Coleman pop-up that lasted several years until we dreaded that and got a 25' Coleman trailer where only the beds popped out of the ends; this we took on our first Yellowstone adventures. We sold that on ebay to a family that drove all the way out from New Jersey to get it and started our Airstream search. We looked a new ones, but couldn't imagine paying for the classic new ones and the Safari line just seemed too much like our Coleman, when one day we found an ad in the local paper for a 30' Classic only 30 miles away. Needless to say, she was our "Gypsy" and she's taken us on some wonderful trips so far. Parallel journeys with many others on the way to 'streaming! ~G

1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
1978 Argosy Minuet, 6.0~Minnie/GPZWGN
Chev Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison, 4X4, Crew Cab
WBCCI #5013 AIR #2908
Go, Mizzou...Tigers on the prowl!
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:05 AM   #17
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Pittsfield , Maine
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The Lineup!

Pup tent, jungle hammock, homemade tent trailer, a series of three Starcraft pop-ups, one nameless SOB, then a Coleman pop-up, then an Award SOB (nice trailer!) then a small vintage Winnebago motorhome, and finally the current Airstream! All had their pluses and minuses - along with great memories!

2003 GMC 3500 D/A, CC, LB, 4x4 and 2000 Airstream Excella 30. WBCCI 7074
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:06 AM   #18
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1996 28' Excella
Where the water tastes like wine , Michigan
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Thumbs up Great thread idea Carol!

Folks started off with Georgie Boy motorhome and various popups. Always liked the looks of Airstreams...they got an Airstream after all of us left home...but inspired us to get our first...

We started with a tent. Then after the baby and looking at the budget we decided to try a vintage Airstream. After that we found a great deal on an Excella (96). Now I'm starting to peer hopefully at the 25 FB layout oh maybe...shhh the man isn't ready for that info yet, its gotta be his idea ya know!
Steph in MI Air# 6996-
I Hockeytown USA!!
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:46 AM   #19
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1960 28' Ambassador
Northern , California
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Five years ago we were invited to go camping in the redwoods with some friends who just bought the top of the line Coleman pop up.

We had the the top of the line Wal-Mart *three room* tent ;-)

After waking up with condensation dripping on us, and having to find the facilities in the middle of the night... we needed something different.

Our friends seemed comfy in their pop up sitting at their table with lights on playing cards, we thought a pop up would be the way to go.

After looking at some used ones I decided they were more trouble than they were worth. Used SOB's seemed like a money pit and I did not know if camping was something we would serously do and I wanted to keep my losses to a minimum.

So we decided on a vintage Airstream and haven't looked back.

Of course, now we are looking forward for a larger one ;-)
1960 International Ambassador 28'
2001 Silverado 2500HD CC 6.0L 4.10
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:29 AM   #20
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1988 25' Excella
Sunnyvale , California
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Casa de Cardboard...

We skipped the Tent Trailer, going directly from Blue Dome Tent to a Nomad Weekender Bunkhouse... Met "family" criteria for: A/C, Flush Toilet, Shower, Running Water and Real Beds, plus would (allegedly) keep bears and critters outside...

We discovered quickly the construction was not real heavy duty, and to encourage children not to swing from doors or bang things (most of interior was 3/16" plywood or composite material covered with wood vinyl "veneer". it was christened "Casa de Cardboard.." Name stuck, and we managed 14 good years and 30,000 miles before children too old to camp and it was replaced with our Excella 25...

John McG
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In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 04-18-2006, 04:14 PM   #21
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1956 26' Crusier Overlander
douglasville , Georgia
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I always wanted to go camping as a kid; never got to go so when I was older, I started tent camping in the Rockies. What a wonderful place to camp!! I started sleeping under the stars, 'graduated' to a tent(then I camped in the snow!!). I LOVED it!!! After moving to Georgia, tent camping became almost unbearable; the tent would boast a temp. near 90 close to midnight!!! Man those SOB's looked good!! Listening to the a/c all night, I was jealous!! Thought long and hard, wanted something easy to tow, lightweight, ect. Looked at all the dealers/shows for a pop-up, but never found the 'one'. A year ago, (WOW, we have an aniversery!!) a friend had 2 trailers for sale ; an sob and an AS. I did the right thing...I looked at both(looked at the sob about 4 seconds) and chose the '56 overlander!!!! Something about aluminum!!!! We've been ecstatic ever since!!!! I don't want anything but Airstream!!
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Old 04-18-2006, 06:48 PM   #22
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1972 29' Ambassador
1968 22' Safari
Tyler , Texas
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I began camping as soon as I got wheels (1964 in Northridge, CA), preferring the mosquito-free (and tentless) deserts which I drove into with a beat-up old Land Rover. I still own and use the first sleeping bag I ever purchased--a Sierra Design down mummy bag, which served me well for my one serious pack-in camping trip to Desolation Valley Wilderness Area near Lake Tahoe (10-15 below that November!). When I moved to Florida for graduate school, I "graduated" to a Whelen lean-to tent to get out of the Everglades rain. Marriage to a city girl necessitated devising a primitive shower and a portable toilet, but I was still using the Land Rover and a tent. Tent camping--now leaving wife behind (she gave up after what we call "The Night of the Ticks") was the way I did things from 1970 until the present, my only concession to creaking joints being a cot with a ThermaRest pad under my sleeping bag or five-point Hudson Bay blanket.

And then--the awakening! Last year I bought some investment property on the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston which is bordered by wetland on two sides and is nicely leveled and mowed. Perfect for a trailer! My son, who travels extensively in Central and South America, has a friend in Austin whose dad is a mechanic with an Airsteam hobby. He happened to have a 29' 1972 International Ambassador for sale, and I snapped it up! It's going to be a "parker," but my appetite is now whetted for a smaller AS model that I can tow with my existing fishing car (a Jeep Grand Cherokee). What a great new adventure for someone approaching 60!
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Old 04-18-2006, 06:57 PM   #23
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Humble Beginnings

Growing up, I don't know when I would have become interested in RVs had it not been for one of my aunts and her friends. She had two friends who had RVs -- one an early VW Campmobile and the others a 1964 Airstream Overlander. In 1964 my aunt's friends introduced me to RVing through a weekend excursion in their Airstream -- I was hooked. I don't have any photos from that trip, but the one below was taken in 1968 when the owners were visiting our family farm (I am the then eight-year-old leading the pony):

After five years of discussions, my parents decided that we could buy an RV and try camping ourselves -- a little less deluxe than an Airstream and far less comfortable. The package included a brand new Chevrolet C20 pickup that was special ordered for heavy duty RVing/towing, and it was mated to a brand new 8.5' Sunway cabover camper. The combination stayed with us for a little more than two years -- none of us liked the combination in that it was uncomfortable for three to travel in the cab, and the truck simply could not come close to the comfort of our Oldsmobile.

Finally, in 1980, I came much closer to my dream. My daily driver was well equipped to become a towcar -- 383 cubic inch HO V8, 3.90 differential, heavy duty cooling, heavy duty brakes, and heavy duty electrictal -- and best of all it was a fun to drive convertible. The travel trailer, however, was not of the same caliber. It was a brand new Nomad 18' Lightweight Special -- plexiglass windows, the lightest (cheapest) cabinetry; but it did come with both blackwater and washwater tanks of increased capacity as options along with air conditioning and a larger than standard Dometic 3-Wary RV Refrigerator. The coach was poorly balanced and over-weight producing some nightmarish towing experiences, but it did confirm my preference for a travel trailer compared to other RVs.

Then, in 1995, my experience came full circle when I unknowingly purchased the 1964 Overlander that had belonged to my aunt's friends for more than two decades. I purchased the coach from its third owners and have concluded that it is a keeper that will likely be with me as long as I care to travel.

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:23 PM   #24
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I have been tent camping since I was kid. I spent A whole summer in a tent as a girl scout counselor when I was a teenager and loved it. Still so. Our family flew out west two summers ago and we packed the tent and sleeping bags and camped at the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde. We had a ball. We got a Jayco that fall, but I have always wanted an AS. Now we have one and I don't want another brand after having it. We still like to float the river though and camp on the bank. So the tent still has a home to.
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:43 PM   #25
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2004 30' Classic
Field and Stream , PA & MT
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I've tent camped ever since I can remember, and I still have several tents, and all the camping gear that goes with them - lanterns, sleeping bags and air mattresses, coolers, etc. I also have a bed frame that I can set-up in the back of my pick-up truck, with a cap on the back, and I often use this for just myself or with one other person.

In the past, we've owned a Coleman pop-up tent camper and 2 Sunline travel trailers.

I've also spent many nights "camping" alone in VW Beatles, by taking out the front pasenger seat, putting a cooler in its place on the floor, then folding down the rear seat, and putting an air mattress and sleeping bag on top.

When my two oldest boys were young, my wife and I and the two boys often went tent camping with our VW Beatle. We owned a couple of them, before graduating to a "hugh" VW staton wagon! People couldn't believe the 4 of us could possibly load everything in a small VW Beatle - tent, sleeping bags, cooking gear, clothing, food, cooler, etc. We even had room for fishing gear. Boy, those were the days! (Now, I can barely get just my own stuff in the back of my 8' truck bed.)

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Old 04-18-2006, 09:01 PM   #26
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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I used to just walk out into the forest with my buddies and a Bowie knife. We'd build shelters out of sticks and leaves.

My parents camped with a tent at first, and then with the slide in pickup truck campers. I never much liked those; not much room.

Dad later got into travel trailers and owned a Wilderness 27', a Prowler 26', and later bought a brand new Terry 26' with the slide out.

Fast forward a few years and I'm married. Wifey will not consider camping outside of a Holiday Inn. I convince her to give the travel trailer a try and borrowed Dad's Terry 26 footer with the slide. Turns out she, I, and my four year old daughter had a ball. I even managed to back it into the spot in the campground OK on the first try. I had convinced her.

But, my dreams were of aluminum. My grandfather has owned about every kind of RV imaginable and has had some Airstreams over the years. I always liked the 31' models. Last August, he found a 31' Excella 500 that was available cheap, was basically sound, but needed a little TLC. It's now mine and I'm in the process of a total rebuild. I plan to take six weeks off next summer and make a circumnavigation of the continent. Airstreams rule, and I will always love the 31 footers.

You might say I'm a happy camper now
- Jim
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:12 PM   #27
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1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
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Hello everyone,

In the 60s we had a scotty trailer ,went to oregon ,trees of mystery, petrifide forest ,the huge statue of paul bunyon and his blue ox babe.Also had a shasta ,We tent camped in a hot and heavy army tent my dad had ,slept under the stars in sleeping bags in last chance canyon ,My wife lily and myself towed around a 73 field and stream 14 footer with my 70 I H scout on our honeymoon ,ca. to minnesota and back. My first trailer restoration was that field and stream ,It matched the scout in colors ,neat setup. The day i bought the tradewind though was a good one .No regrets.

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:13 PM   #28
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2007 23' International CCD
Lapeer , Michigan
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This is really interesting. I am so happy you have all shared your histories with us. Anyone else out there want to tell us how you started camping or acquired your first Airstream?


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