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Old 11-12-2015, 09:18 PM   #1
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 22
Cross Country Shakedown Cruise

Hello,

I bought a 1988 345 a couple of months ago. For the last month, I've had the mechanics:
* put on new tires
* install a banks exhaust system to upgrade the rusted out original
* change fluids, new spark plugs, check belts, etc. (now runs great)
* replace front airbags
* check brakes and lines, check fuel pump, filters and lines
* go through rest of major systems to ensure that everything works (generator, plumbing, heater, ACs, etc.)
* replace a cracked tag axle hub

In short, with the exception of the drivetrain AC, everything should be road safe and functional.

Now, the fun part. I'm flying out with my kindergartener and doing a week long road trip to bring it from Northern Alabama to our home in Northern California.

We plan on taking it slow (4-6 hour days) on I40 with anticipated stops around Memphis, OKC, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Sante Fe, Bakersfield and home.

Any advice:
* entertainment for a 6 year old
* max hours per day
* worthy excursions or places to stop (I won't have a tow vehicle)
* mechanical or motorhome considerations
* anything else?

Thanks!

Also, I've been advised to get AAA with premium RV service to cover towing in the event of breaking down.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:54 PM   #2
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Sounds like a fun trip

You will have cold nights. I would pick up an electric heater, if you plan on camping. Maybe sleeping bags

You could have the 6 year old navigate, maybe learn how to read maps.

Throw some rocks into the Mississippi? Grand Canyon? Bryce Canyon?
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:07 PM   #3
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The Family Motor Coach Association is worth looking into as well. We had a party member medivaced from Lake Powell this year. Helicopter to the medical center, then moved to a hospital near home. The vehicle (boat in this case) was cared for, and transportation for the spouse was covered (as I understand) too.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:14 PM   #4
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Sep 2015
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Do you think my functional propane heater will suffice?

Good idea on maps. I'll bring my old school paper road atlas.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:55 PM   #5
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Cross Country Shakedown Cruise

I'd drop down to I-10, warmer.
If the furnace works you should be fine.
Ditto on the navigator duties.
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:23 AM   #6
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Ditto about dropping down to I-10, especially if the weather further north is challenging. Here is a good thread on sights to see if you shift south:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...on-142111.html

My general advice is to be open to change.

Especially about the pace and route.

From Steinbeck's Travels with Charley:

"A journey is a person itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."

This trip will be one of your child's preeminent memories of youth -- may it be a good one . . . and . . .

HAVE FUN !!!
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:53 AM   #7
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Spend the first night at the dealer, making sure everything works and you are familiar with functions.

Ditto on I 10 and AAA RV. Perhaps spring for a longer tow allowance for your trip home, just in case.

Assuming you are going to be doing this drive soon, a more northern route could bring you into snow. You want to skip the snow.

A 6 year old cannot sit in the front seat, unless he is a really big 6 year old, so navigating may be difficult.

If you have an IPad, PocketEarth is an excellent app that allows exact pinpointing of your moving location, even offline. He would enjoy watching that and your progress.

An older atlas may have points of interest on the individual state maps, or you can pick up paper maps as you enter each state, which have these. Bring a highlighter to mark those along your route that you want to stop at.

He might find local history museums, old stagecoach routes/stops, wagon trails, etc., interesting, and you can pick up children's books at these that inform of the history of the area, what life was like for children, etc....keep him entertained while driving and educate his little self a bit.

Download one of those emergency info and contacts apps onto your phone, fill it out and be sure your son knows it is there....just in case.

Have a great time!


Maggie
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:50 AM   #8
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Our kids' favorite memory of camping is card games. You may want to invest in a book of card games for kids. I also used to bring a bag of surprises for a long car ride; small games like tic, tax toe, cheap handheld games, coloring books, crackers and peanut butter etc - these were unique to them in their plugged in world��) I used to collect these small things as I went shopping a month or so before the trip. When things started to go downhill in the backseat, I'd hand back something from the bag and it kept us all going. It's going to be the small things that your child remembers i.e. Cooking hot dogs over an open fire, being outside late at night etc., hot chocolate with marshmallows etc., doing things with you. Have a great trip!
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:30 AM   #9
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Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nums View Post
Hello,

I bought a 1988 345 a couple of months ago. For the last month, I've had the mechanics:
* put on new tires
* install a banks exhaust system to upgrade the rusted out original
* change fluids, new spark plugs, check belts, etc. (now runs great)
* replace front airbags
* check brakes and lines, check fuel pump, filters and lines
* go through rest of major systems to ensure that everything works (generator, plumbing, heater, ACs, etc.)
* replace a cracked tag axle hub

In short, with the exception of the drivetrain AC, everything should be road safe and functional.

Now, the fun part. I'm flying out with my kindergartener and doing a week long road trip to bring it from Northern Alabama to our home in Northern California.

We plan on taking it slow (4-6 hour days) on I40 with anticipated stops around Memphis, OKC, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Sante Fe, Bakersfield and home.

Any advice:
* entertainment for a 6 year old
* max hours per day
* worthy excursions or places to stop (I won't have a tow vehicle)
* mechanical or motorhome considerations
* anything else?

Thanks!

Also, I've been advised to get AAA with premium RV service to cover towing in the event of breaking down.
If I am home during your journey and you take the southern route, consider making Austin your pit stop. That may just be a welcomed and much needed stop for all three of you
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nums View Post
Do you think my functional propane heater will suffice?

Good idea on maps. I'll bring my old school paper road atlas.
You should be ok with your furnace. ( NOT A STAND ALONE PROPANE HEATER WHICH CAN BE DANGEROUS ) But I like back up, after a July 4rth night when it got down to 28 degrees in high country, only to find that my furnace was done.
I only mentioned it because you don't quite know the history of the furnace, and the condition of your lines. Although you do have the option of a motel.
Electric heaters are quiet, and can come in handy in a variety of situations.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:26 AM   #11
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Some sort of entertainment on an I Pad for those long hours of driving along.
Having him do some navigation will keep him into the trip.
If you go the southern route, a run up to Karlsbad caverns would be mind blowing for most 6 year olds. Or 60 year olds for that matter.

I hope you can find the time to work in some visits to points of interest along the way.

Should be a rememberable trip for both of you.

Congrats on your new coach. Post pics when you can.

Cheers Richard
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:21 AM   #12
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Palmer Lake , Colorado
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Sounds like a blast! I am jealous. We are already getting cabin fever in Colorado and winter isn't even really started yet. We look longingly at our AS sitting across the road looking lonely and sad - ready for a road trip. Have a fun time
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:43 AM   #13
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Ham Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 60
What a wonderful trip for you and your 6 year old.

Things to do while traveling:
- Navigation is a wonderful suggestion, both with paper atlases and with GPS enabled tools.
- Sight Seeing - which is built into watching road signs and helping to look for fuel stops, etc.
- A tablet, even a cheap 7" (like an Amazon Fire) version, will provide games and reading.
- Books. Actual paper books. No need for power as long as it's light out.

I think your 345 has two furnaces. Mine does anyway. If one fails then the other will be the back-up. Plus your roof AC units may have heat as well. It is not that efficient, but it can work.

A final recommendation - a camera. Both for you to record the trip, and for the 6 year old to use as well.

I know my son would have really enjoyed such a trip at that age. He was always a little mature for his age, so my recommendations may be a stretch. Then again, most 6 year olds are able to learn and do more than you think.

And a request - Please post a blog of the trip so we can all follow along.
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:50 AM   #14
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Woodburn , Oregon
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Wow that sounds like one fun trip you have ahead of you , I would really like a fun trip like that especially at the pace your traveling .
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