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Old 01-22-2003, 12:08 PM   #43
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Shopping for RV

Okay, so it sounds like the ducted air isn't an issue. I wondered about that because I couldn't figure out how it would be ducted, but I saw that one of the larger units we're looking at is advertised as having ducted air, so that's why I asked. We currenly live about 50 miles north of Houston, so moving to a cooler place during the dog days of summer is exactly what we had in mind! Of course, since our work will often dictate our location we cannot be assured of having the freedom to move to cooler climates, so we want to be reasonably sure of staying comfortable no matter where we are, but it doesn't sound like it will be too bad. If worse comes to worse we can always install a second A/C unit.

We hadn't thought about HOW we would get our recliners through the door though...good point!!! John, how DID you manage that? As for changing out the beds, we'd like to eventually put wood flooring throughout, so we will probably have all of that done at once. That brings another question to mind...not having ever done any RV remodeling before, is it likely that we will have to put more money into these changes than they are worth? Any idea what it will cost to replace the flooring? We probably wouldn't go with actual hardwood, probably with one of the laminates, but we could use some advice on that, too.

Rubyslipper, I hear you on the empty nest thing, but ours has been offset by the arrival of grandchildren which has softened the blow somewhat. We have 5 kids, ranging in age from 30 to 19. 2 are still in college, and 2 of the others are married and have small children. A big plus for us having the Airstream will be the ability to visit for longer periods of time without having to stay in hotels. Since we travel so much with our jobs, requiring lots of time in hotels, spending our weekends and vacation time in yet more hotels in order to visit the kids and grandkids puts a damper on the visits because it feels too much like work!!! Not only that, but we get to go to some really wonderful places on business, but never actually SEE or enjoy them because we're always looking forward to get back home, since the other one of us is usually there. This will give us the opportunity to travel/stay together a lot more, and in many cases even have our travel expenses paid for by our employers! We spend way too much of our time in airports, especially with all the new security procedures, and in airplanes, rental cars, restaurants, and hotels. We can't WAIT to just have our house with us and be able to go home from work, wherever that may be, and sleep in our own bed! We know about Escapees, and in fact even looked into trying to buy one of the lots up there in Livingston, but they rarely come up for sale. We actually live on the "other" major lake in this part of Texas, so we are not very far from Livingston. We already have our Escapee membership, so we're ready to rock as soon as we get our RV. If you ever have a chance to visit their facility over there, be sure and take the tour. Their mail handling is impressive, and it's run by a bunch of really nice folks.

Chas, thanks for the feedback on price. It sounds like we're getting an okay deal then, right? On Monday, since it was a holiday, we went and looked at a couple of used ones. They were both in pretty dismal shape, and although the price was great and we could've just paid cash instead of having to finance, we felt that we might end up putting more into them (and at unplanned intervals) than they were worth, plus end up with a lot of heartache and sorrow with breakdowns and other problems which could be a real issue for us if we're in the middle of business travel when it happens. We are wondering if it still makes sense to try and find an extended warranty for a newer model.

Any suggestions on that anyone?

Thanks,
Cheryl & Carl
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Old 01-22-2003, 06:10 PM   #44
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" saw that one of the larger units we're looking at is advertised as having ducted air"

This is a hot button issue for RV marketers right now. It seems important because it is more "homelike". And in a 34' fifth wheel it might be nicer. Maybe.

"If worse comes to worse we can always install a second A/C unit. "

Yes, but can you run it? Your Airstream will have 30 amp service, which is marginal for starting two AC units, even if nothing else is on. I understand that there are circuits that can be added so that only one will start at a time, and even will delay the start if a high load (microwave, e.g.) is on. but I know nothing of this myself. Additionally 30 amp service is usually all that is supplied to a RV pad, although 50 amp is becoming more and more common.

But really, the single unit should be fine. Even on hot days they do surprisingly well, particularly if you can contrive to have shade.

"Any idea what it will cost to replace the flooring? ...probably with one of the laminates, "

There are some extensive discussions on Pergo type flooring, and even pictures in the photo section. Look in the Interior Restoration section under floors. Search the past year. The cost of materials is very small - even if you buy the expensive $4 sq/ft stuff you do not need many sq. ft. The cost to have it done will be another matter. It is very tedious to install in a travel trailer. Sure beats carpet, though.

"is it likely that we will have to put more money into these changes than they are worth?"

To who? To someone else, probably. To you? Only you can know that. I suspect the laminate flooring will be a real plus at resale, but doubt that you can get a premium for a full bed over twins, so that expense will be just that, an expense.

Good luck!

Mark
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Old 01-22-2003, 06:24 PM   #45
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Thumbs up Buy it!

Cheryl,

Buy it! The Nada was $17K Avg resale. Your unit is brand new and basicly hasn't been moved. I'd jump on it!

The Lay-z-boy's back slides off and the base just fit's in side ways! Slide back on the backrest and there you go.

Your tow vehicle is fine, even the in mountains. You'll just scroll up 8'000' passes in 2nd gear @25-30mph. Then when you come over the other side, just leave it in 2nd gear and roll on down.

If you can allow youself time to travel and cover a couple of hundred miles per day, life is much more enjoyable and relaxing than hauling butt across country. I like to leave @ 9am(after everyone goes to work) and get off the road by 2pm. Set-up, relax, eat, shower and have a great night sleep. (I highly recommend an air mattress, night & day differences) Flow through life instead of running through it!

So Cheryl and Carl- Buy it! Enjoy it & keep your current tow vehicle(you can always replace it)-John
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Old 01-24-2003, 10:19 PM   #46
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Still shopping for an Airstream

John,

Good points. It looks like we're going to be able to get a real deal pickup truck! That's going to increase our options as to which Airstream to buy, and we think a larger one will be better; however, since we both still have to work fulltime we are going to at least take a look at the Safari. We also plan to look at some in the 30-31' range before making a final decision.

I remember now that when our recliners were delivered the guys had to put them together. I'd forgotten that the backs come off, so of course we can get them through the door! Thanks for that tip. Not sure I would've remembered or figured it out otherwise.

We love the idea of taking our time when traveling, but due to the demands of our jobs we will not always have that luxury, so in our case it makes sense to go ahead and get a tow vehicle that'll tow safely in all conditions.

Take care & hopefully we'll see you down the road,
Cheryl & Carl
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Old 01-25-2003, 07:28 AM   #47
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Thumbs up Cool!

Carl & Cheryl,

I'm happy to read that you're getting a large tow vehicle and that you're also going to look some more!

There are differences between the Excella/Classic & the Safari.

I understand how time is a factor when traveling between or to a job, but just sharing future life style .

Good luck-John
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Old 01-25-2003, 10:49 AM   #48
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Cheryl,I dont know if you have looked at Winter Living.I have been dealing with several factors on trying live and survive the winter in our A/S.I think you are a lot like us in your situations with work and basic needs.We are finding that this wonderful RV is not suitable for winter living.The R factor in the A/S was not an issue to us when I saw it and fell in love with it.Now we wish it had been the priorty.We are at a crossroad currently with whether to keep it and tuff it out or to sell and buy a unit capable of sustaining itself thru the cold.We can be in Florida or Canada at any given point.You should get very serious about where you may have to live in your RV and for how long.We have been pretty much full time in this since May.Take a hard long look before you jump.I am sure we will take it in the shorts somewhat when we trade but in the long run it will be ok.
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Old 01-26-2003, 09:10 AM   #49
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Cheryl,
We bought a Safari pretty much based on price and weight factors. Since I'm still in an working situation we felt that upgrading to something in the Classic line would be a future consideration once I get closer to retirement.

Personally, based on interior components and your extensive travel needs, I would go with a classic line trailer. You are going to get much better durability over the long run. Lots of real wood to take the daily bumps and use.

As far as insulation goes, when I took the factory tour a couple of summers ago, our guide told us that the Limited series has a higher R factor insulation than either the Classic line, or Safari line. You might narrow your search in that model range if you are heading for cold weather climes in your job.

I'm not sure when A/S made this change so you may have to verify what years of Limiteds have this feature.

Regards,

Jack
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:49 AM   #50
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Try ATCO in Calgary. They build for Canadian conditions.
They are commercial and I'm not sure if they make what you want.
They aren't pretty but they work.
You are looking at saving $.50 on the dollar also.
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Old 01-26-2003, 01:09 PM   #51
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I felt we could full-time in a 31' (both model 30 and 31 are 31'), but my wife didn't. We got the the 34 so we could have both the dinette and the double wide wardrobe (she was willing to give up my half of it to get a dinette if we had to have a 31' LOL).

We just went to the RV show yesterday, and even compared to the big 36' fivers, with all their slide-outs and basement storage, we'd still rather have our Airstream.

Here's what we like about our floorplan:

Instead of being next to the door when you come in, the bedroom is in the rear where someone can sleep away from the main activity, and be closed off from the dressing/bathroom area.

Beds against the wall are a real pain to make up and can be colder in winter and hotter in summer for one sleeper, especially if there's a window on that wall. Twin bed sleepers both are affected by that. The longitudinal island bed gives easy walk around to both sides and has windows on three sides, as does the couch up front.

Unlike many SOB floorplans, someone sleeping in the bedroom can go to the bathroom without walking across the main living area. The bathroom is next to the bedroom, all on one side of the hallway and can be closed off without impeding access from the front of the trailer to the bedroom. The double wardrobe across the hall has plenty of room and the mirrored doors reflect a lot of the light from the dressing area skylight. The dressing area can be shut off from both the bedroom and the living area.

We like the dinette on the curbside overlooking activity under the awning, letting those seated there communicate with those under the awning if the windows are open.

This puts the galley on the streetside next to the bathroom so plumbing runs are shorter and don't have to go under the floor (the line from the pump in the bottom of the closet to the rest of the plumbing still does though).

The dinette across from the galley gives more countertop area when cooking, too.

The credenza doesn't put the TV very far from the couch, but it's far enough back that with two lawn chairs, four can eat at the fold-out table, in addition to four at the dinette.

And unlike many SOB floorplans, when you come in the front door, you're in the living room, not the kitchen, or have the bedroom right next to the door.

I didn't know about the Limited getting extra insulation, but from all the Airstreams we looked at, it appears there's definitely better attention to detail in the assembly. Maybe they put the more experienced workers on the Limited models... I dunno... maybe not. The wood they use in it is really nice throughout. The wood flooring in the kitchen and the wood topped dinette are gorgeous. I wish we had the same wood flooring in the room! I didn't see comparable wood in any of the SOBs we looked at, except in the most expensive motorcoaches.

From a practical point, the Limited's 40 lb LP tanks and electric stabilizers sure are nice. And I don't know if the other models have the TWELVE double tube flourescent lights, along with tungsten lamps. With two skylights, two Fantastic Vents, and all those lights, the interior is really bright, even with the windows closed.

Except in some cases, like in a bedroom where they let additional furniture take up ALL the floorspace when folded in, slide-outs mainly just give more floorspace. And we don't have rugrats playing on the floor anymore. Slide-outs add a LOT of weight, and from working in the RV business, I've just seen too many leaks and failures to want one myself. The 8-1/2' Airstream widebody allows sufficient walkway between the kitchen and dinette, and bathroom and wardrobe.

The one thing available on some SOBs is insulated window glass. That would be nice, but I wonder how well it would hold up in a mobile environment. I've had two of the double-pane windows in my house lose their seal and let moisture get between the glass panes.

So that's how I see it. Our Airstream is still the best choice for us for full-timin'.
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Old 01-30-2003, 07:06 AM   #52
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Update

Cheryl & Carl,

Did you guys go check out the Safari? If so, what did you think?

Have you looked at any others?

John
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Old 01-30-2003, 12:35 PM   #53
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Looking for an Airstream...

Hi John,

Yes, we went and looked at the Airstream, and I think we're going to buy it. We couldn't come to a meeting of the minds on the new pick-up, so our options are pretty limited on size/weight.

In addition, given the number of RVs we've owned and later ended up selling, either because they didn't meet our needs or weren't getting used enough to justify the payment/storage expense, we've decided to start small, use it awhile, figure out what we do/don't like/want in it, then move up.

Our lease is up in 18 months on our tow vehicle, and that should give us plenty of time to decide; then, we can either keep it if it meets our needs or sell it and match tow vehicle and next Airstream.

Here's a post that Carl tried to put on the forum and couldn't get it to post. As you can see, we have a few questions/concerns and hopefully those can be answered by you and others on this forum. Thanks again to everyone for all your helpful advice, and we look forward to meeting many of you in person in our travels!!!

Here's Carl's post:
Hi Everyone

I am proud and excited to say that we arranged to pick up our new (1999) Safari A/S on Saturday. It was owned previously by a couple who used it a couple of times and then, sadly, the gentleman passed away. The family did not have the heart to part with or use it further and has had it stored under cover for the past year or so.

It still has new-trailer smell, is very clean, and only needs an outside bath.

However, I am concerned about the wheel bearings and brakes.

What is your advice on having them checked at a qualified RV mechanic?

Are there other electrical, mechanical, or structural components I should be concerned with as we pick it up? It has been winterized, and we plan to use it this weekend (probably at a park with full hook-ups), so do we need to do anything else with the systems before using it?

Thanks in advance for the help.
Carl & Cheryl Jackson
Montgomery, TX
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Old 01-30-2003, 01:17 PM   #54
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Winter concerns...

Okay folks, now you have me a bit concerned, but keep in mind I'm a bit of a worrywart by nature...

Our current situation is that either we buy this nice used '99 Safari we found for $18K and use it for the next year and a half until our lease is up on our tow vehicle, or we wait and don't buy until we can upgrade, which means we miss out on the pleasure of Airstreaming for the next 18 months.

We've heard so many good things about how the Airstreams hold their value that our thought is we'll be able to sell the Safari when we decide to go to a larger unit without taking a bath on it. Please tell us now if that's untrue!!!

Due to the demands of our jobs and travel requirements, we never know how much/little we'll be able to use an RV anyway, so we thought we'd start a little smaller with the A/S, so if something happens (like one of us getting sent overseas for 6 months as happened to me last year), we won't feel so bad about having to store it for awhile.

Plus, we live in Montgomery, Texas, so other than the heat, we can RV pretty much year-round here without worrying about extreme temperatures.

Any thoughts/advice/warnings?

Thanks,
Cheryl & Carl
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Old 01-30-2003, 04:52 PM   #55
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"However, I am concerned about the wheel bearings and brakes.
What is your advice on having them checked at a qualified RV mechanic?"

As I recall, you stated earlier that you were not do-it-yourselfers. Get an RV shop to clean and repack the bearings. The usual recommendation is to do this annually, or every 10,000 mi., whichever comes first. The brakes will be there for all the world to see when they remove the hub to pack the bearings and they can tell you about the linings and the magnets.

Obviously you should check every nook and cranny for signs of leaks - both pluming and exterior. Check the floor carefully for soft spots. Unlikely in a '99 but you never know....

Operate ever device, every light, every faucet, every drain.

"It has been winterized, and we plan to use it this weekend (probably at a park with full hook-ups), so do we need to do anything else with the systems before using it?"

If there is a water heater bypass, you will need to reverse the valves so that you have hot water. If not, the heater may be full of RV antifreeze, which you will want to drain.

The tires are about due for replacement REGARDLESS of how they appear. They rot from the inside out, and five years is generally cited as the safe lifespan.

"We've heard so many good things about how the Airstreams hold their value that our thought is we'll be able to sell the Safari when we decide to go to a larger unit without taking a bath on it. Please tell us now if that's untrue!!!"

The 25' size is the most sought after size. Well kept, clean units are always in demand.

Mark
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Old 01-30-2003, 07:53 PM   #56
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Thumbs up Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheryl & Carl,

So your happy, excited and have those new unknown nervous !
It's a blast isn't it!

Brakes & Bearings: Since the Safari is a 99 model, was undercover and it's was used very little, I'd saying you're fine. Mine was outside in FL for 1 1/2yrs and I towed her home with no problems. As suggested, I'd have your entire unit checked out by a good RV dealer. This will give you peace of mind.

Your current tow vehicle is fine to tow her home with! Also after a few outings you'll have a better feel of your tow vehicles abilites. So this will give you the time to get the right vehicle for your needs.

Any weight distirbution or sway control come with it?

The better the condition when selling, the better the resale you'll receive! If you sold this tralier in 2yrs, you shouldn't lose much. I really don't know, but it would seem to hold the current value well, since the deprecation was mostly eaten by the PO.

You didn't buy small, you bought smart! The next 1 1/2yrs will be such an awesome time to really see what you want in an A/S. Most of us only get one shot at it, but you have a golden window of learning, since the trailer will hold a decent resale !

I'm majorly happy for you both and truly hope that you'll make it to Austin!

John

p.s. Any Safari owners know what a new 99 26C sleeps 6 went for new. Not sticker, but out the door?
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