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Old 07-13-2012, 04:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by AirstreamNae View Post
Some of my questions and concerns are: 1) Is it easy to find a reasonably priced RV Park with hookups and Wi-Fi? (Iíd like to be at 500 a month or below) 2) If I parked in a friends yard for a bit is it possible to hookup plumbing and electricity? 3) How often do you dispose of your water tanks when full-timing? 4) If youíre parked at a park do you have to go to a dump station or does a full hookup site make that unnecessary? 5) Is it safe? Has anyone had theft problems with their Airstream and what should I do protect it? How much trouble does Mother Nature cause? Lighting storms, wind, cold, heat?... (We get all types of weather in Georgia) 6) How do you determine the best tow vehicle? (Iíve thought about BMW X5 or some other used SUV) 7) Insurance costs, title, and tag costs? 8) What are the biggest differences between a 70ís model and the brand new models? (Besides the huge cost difference of course) Please feel free to add any additional information or concerns I may not have thought of. I appreciate any advice. Iíve read through some forums and blogs but I canít find much info on hooking up electric and water/sewage at someoneís residence, and any info on maintaining water tanks, propane tanks, and electric are very welcome.
I'll take a stab at anwers to your specfic questions:

1) Is it easy to find a reasonably priced RV Park with hookups and Wi-Fi?
It's hit or miss, depending on the city you live in, the part of that city, how touristy it is, etc. Only way to ell is to look around where you want to live.

2) If I parked in a friends yard for a bit is it possible to hookup plumbing and electricity?
Yes, it's possible. Is it easy to do safely? Probably not so easy--especially the plumbing. Is it going to be tolerated by neighbors and homeowner's associations? Very doubtful.

3) How often do you dispose of your water tanks when full-timing?
If you live at a park with full hook-ups, its a breeze. If you live at a park with a dump station, its a hassle. If you are boon docking in an empty lot, you have to go find some place with a dump station to routinely dump.

4) If youíre parked at a park do you have to go to a dump station or does a full hookup site make that unnecessary?
Yes. If you are planning on leaving the trailer in a park for weeks or months, then you probably want one with full hook-ups so that you don't have to move it to dump tanks every few days.

5) Is it safe? Has anyone had theft problems with their Airstream and what should I do protect it? How much trouble does Mother Nature cause? Lighting storms, wind, cold, heat?... (We get all types of weather in Georgia)
Personal safety depends on the town you live in. I think accommodations of all sorts are targets for break-ins. The big advantage that a traditional "house" may have is that you can have a monitored alarm system--something I haven't heard of for travel trailers. As for mother nature, be assured that an airstream is something of a fragile "house." Anything that damages a house will likely do even more damage to your trailer. The summer heat is likely to be your worst challenge full-timing in Atlanta, as you just don't have the same level of insulation that you do in a house.

6) How do you determine the best tow vehicle? (Iíve thought about BMW X5 or some other used SUV).
Start by figuring out how big of a trailer you want, its weight, and its tongue weight. You can then go about finding a vehicle with that kind of towing capacity. There are lots of opinions on this forum about what the perfect tow vehicle is, but it doesn't sound like you intend to do a lot of traveling in your trailer, so a 3/4 ton diesel truck is probably overkill.

7) Insurance costs, title, and tag costs?
Depends a lot on where you live, local regs, etc.. Many owners find that their trailers are covered under their tow vehicle's insurance (while hitched). I have suplemental insurance on mine. Title costs depend on the state, and often on what you pay for the trailer.

8) What are the biggest differences between a 70ís model and the brand new models? (Besides the huge cost difference of course) Please feel free to add any additional information or concerns I may not have thought of. I appreciate any advice. Iíve read through some forums and blogs but I canít find much info on hooking up electric and water/sewage at someoneís residence, and any info on maintaining water tanks, propane tanks, and electric are very welcome.
There are tons of posts on this forums about all aspects of airstream ownership. If you want to scare yourself out of the idea, then read through a few of the total rennovation threads, searching for "shell off" and "full monte." The differences between vintage trailers and newer ones are probably too many to list right here, but I would generalize by saying that a 70's trailer will likely need a lot of repairs, unless they have already been done, and early 70's trailers do not come standard with grey water tanks, which means you have to have full hook-ups, as there is no storage of common waste water.

Just realize that there are plenty of vintage trailers out there in greatly varying states of disrepair. Before looking at any of them, read through some of the threads describing the "buyer's inspection checklist" to see what you are getting into. Keep in mind that if you were buying a 40 year old car, it is going to need a lot more than new upholstery, and the same is true of trailers. My caution would be that by the time you find a serviceable trailer that won't represent a safety hazard, money pit, or time sink, buy a suitable tow vehicle, and then find a legitimate place to park it, you probably could buy a "starter house."

good luck!
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:18 PM   #16
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I too like the idea of fixing up a vintage Airstream. When you google Airstream architect and others or look at Airstream Life, you see marvelous transformations.

But as you say you have limited renovation experience, I would tend towards a modern Airstream that is fully function-able. Since you would be living and renovating in the same small space I could see some problems. It is not like renovating a house where you can go room to room in your renovations and still be habitable. The small space of an Airstream (and any other RV) makes this tough.

Good Used Modern Airstreams can be bought for no more than a new Camary and have a good resale value if you decide this new living arrangement is not for you. With these you can get financing and deduct the interest on your taxes (consult your tax advisor).

The advice above from the various posters is is well founded and should be seriously considered. The longer and older Airstreams can have frame sag and would need to be checked out prior to purchase. Renting a RV is great advice too.

As far as where to park it. This can have its challenges too. Top of Ga Airstream Park in Helen, Ga. (a WBCCI unit) has extremely good rates at $7/ day. I have found state and county parks also have good rates too. I am currently at South Cove Co Park on Lake Keowee in Seneca, SC for $15 to $20/ day. The RV 'resorts' and campground can get very pricey, so you will have a lot of investigation where you want to set up. Many full time parks offer monthly rates for a better discount.

I have just started full timing in a 2005 25' CCD with the SS (side sleeper) floor plan. For a single person its great. A couch , dinette, double bed and decent size bath with 2 closets. I have had the camper for 4 years using it on weekends. Since selling my house and it makes the best sense.

Good luck with your investigation. These forums can be invaluable as a resource for both potential units to purchase, to camping locations, and full timing experience.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:47 AM   #17
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First I'd like to say thanks for all the advice and I'll take it all into consideration. I’m still considering the Airstream lifestyle for myself, and do still like the possibilities it would provide. I have thought of going more traditional and saving to buy my first home, but there are many factors I don’t like with that probably better long term financial decision. I would like to attend college and move to a different city, possibly more than one. I see myself happiest traveling and working in different cities and that makes a home purchase scary as I do not wish to reside in my hometown or Atlanta forever. That’s not to say I won’t ever return, I do have family I love here, I just want to see more. I have thought about renting the home I could possibly own when I move but that requires me becoming a long distance landlord or hiring a middleman, or selling in a buyer’s market. Point is I’m too undecided to commit to such a large permanent purchase.


I found a few RV parks and one with the right price of 500 monthly called Stone Mountain Heights, but it’s more of a mobile home park as well as an RV park. The Marietta RV Resort is probably the best option but at 610 monthly seems steep. I will probably not park and reside at a residence even though where my sister lives an hour from the city you can with a permit, I think I’d prefer not to do so. Twin Lakes looks to be lovely but a bit far. So it does come down to they are priced accordingly from nice to dump.

I had found a 1978 Excelled 500 31’ for sale with many upgrades including water pump, electric tongue jack, fridge, water purification system, tires, axel, etc. looked amazing and was lived in for 6 months by a small family it was listed for 9,700, but it was sold before I could take a look. I’m currently interested in an 85 Sovereign 31’ with this info listed:

“Hi Im selling a 1985 Airstream Sovereign camper trailer. Not a concourse trailer but pretty straight and clean!
The outside isnt polished and has a couple of sunburn spots where the clearcoat was, but think it had a repair (replacement panel) to one of the upper caps at some point in its life. Everything works to the best of my knowledge........I put a new built in microwave and correct propane /electric refrigerator in it last summer. AC blows ice cold even when its 100degrees outside. It has a nice ZipDee awning on the side. Double bed in rear, bathroom in side. A very nice comfortable trailer......I just dont use it anymore......and I hate to see it sit. Feel free to call with any questions...I am out of town so we'll have to arrange a time for you to preview and check it out. Feel free to call with any questions.

The rear lights need bulbs or something when I parked it last fall the attendant told me one of the tail lights didnt seem to be on....and one was full bright?? The ZipDee awning arms will need a lube. The kitchen stove/oven work great as does the fridge and microwave. I never used the bathroom...but did put water in the holding tank to make sure the water worked. In short you probably know more about Airstreams than I do and I would encourage and welcome you to come check it out with a knowledgable technician......It would make a great trailer to put on a piece of property or take to the beach.”



I’m not completely sure how I feel about this one. I would take a look at it of course but concerns are the interior looks a bit shabby, sunburn spots?, brake lights, bathroom unused…. It’s listed for 9,200. Any additional advice is welcome! I’m still very clueless on electric, propane, and holding tanks and I think I might rent before buying. Also, any great sites for buying used Airstreams would be appreciated!
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:03 PM   #18
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To give an example of what I'm looking for in case anyone has any suggestions or comments. Iíve looked at quite a few as you can tell from my profile pic I took of a shiny vintage Airstream located in Athens. Iím looking for at least a 27í but no more than a 31í livable Airstream for 9,000 or less. I need closet space a lotÖ I want a center bath model for sure. and I REALLY love yellow countertops 9you see these in the 70's models mostly).
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirstreamNae View Post
First I'd like to say thanks for all the advice and I'll take it all into consideration. Iím still considering the Airstream lifestyle for myself, and do still like the possibilities it would provide. I have thought of going more traditional and saving to buy my first home, but there are many factors I donít like with that probably better long term financial decision. I would like to attend college and move to a different city, possibly more than one. I see myself happiest traveling and working in different cities and that makes a home purchase scary as I do not wish to reside in my hometown or Atlanta forever. Thatís not to say I wonít ever return, I do have family I love here, I just want to see more. I have thought about renting the home I could possibly own when I move but that requires me becoming a long distance landlord or hiring a middleman, or selling in a buyerís market. Point is Iím too undecided to commit to such a large permanent purchase.


I found a few RV parks and one with the right price of 500 monthly called Stone Mountain Heights, but itís more of a mobile home park as well as an RV park. The Marietta RV Resort is probably the best option but at 610 monthly seems steep. I will probably not park and reside at a residence even though where my sister lives an hour from the city you can with a permit, I think Iíd prefer not to do so. Twin Lakes looks to be lovely but a bit far. So it does come down to they are priced accordingly from nice to dump.

I had found a 1978 Excelled 500 31í for sale with many upgrades including water pump, electric tongue jack, fridge, water purification system, tires, axel, etc. looked amazing and was lived in for 6 months by a small family it was listed for 9,700, but it was sold before I could take a look. Iím currently interested in an 85 Sovereign 31í with this info listed:

ďHi Im selling a 1985 Airstream Sovereign camper trailer. Not a concourse trailer but pretty straight and clean!
The outside isnt polished and has a couple of sunburn spots where the clearcoat was, but think it had a repair (replacement panel) to one of the upper caps at some point in its life. Everything works to the best of my knowledge........I put a new built in microwave and correct propane /electric refrigerator in it last summer. AC blows ice cold even when its 100degrees outside. It has a nice ZipDee awning on the side. Double bed in rear, bathroom in side. A very nice comfortable trailer......I just dont use it anymore......and I hate to see it sit. Feel free to call with any questions...I am out of town so we'll have to arrange a time for you to preview and check it out. Feel free to call with any questions.

The rear lights need bulbs or something when I parked it last fall the attendant told me one of the tail lights didnt seem to be on....and one was full bright?? The ZipDee awning arms will need a lube. The kitchen stove/oven work great as does the fridge and microwave. I never used the bathroom...but did put water in the holding tank to make sure the water worked. In short you probably know more about Airstreams than I do and I would encourage and welcome you to come check it out with a knowledgable technician......It would make a great trailer to put on a piece of property or take to the beach.Ē



Iím not completely sure how I feel about this one. I would take a look at it of course but concerns are the interior looks a bit shabby, sunburn spots?, brake lights, bathroom unusedÖ. Itís listed for 9,200. Any additional advice is welcome! Iím still very clueless on electric, propane, and holding tanks and I think I might rent before buying. Also, any great sites for buying used Airstreams would be appreciated!
There are many people on the forum that may be willing to help you inspect... especially in the Atlanta area. Some food for thought: in your price range, you more than likely will not get a "perfect" unit. Look at the things that are the most important that are necessary for you to live in and what is cosmetic and/or can be fixed later. If you new to you airstream needs work, can you do the repairs where you plan to park it or will you have to tow it somewhere else fix it and tow it back.
In regards to the 1985 unit: "sunburn" is the clearcoat on the aluminum failing. I would assume that every AS you look at will have this. this will be more of a cosmetic issue. Brake lights are simple enough. I would want to check the plumbing/power/propane systems thoroughly. Also check around the perimeter for soft floors; any subfoor repair may be a little tricky if you do not have the facilities/tools/skill to repair it. The interior can be cleaned/repaired/replaced fairly easy, I would not necessarily let that drive the boat.
Go look at as many as you can to get a realistic expectation of what you will get (size/condition) in your price range. I know that I looked at at least 6 rigs before I found mine and I am glad I did not buy them!
Good Luck!!!
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Old 08-02-2012, 04:31 PM   #20
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To give an example of what I'm looking for in case anyone has any suggestions or comments. I’ve looked at quite a few as you can tell from my profile pic I took of a shiny vintage Airstream located in Athens. I’m looking for at least a 27’ but no more than a 31’ livable Airstream for 9,000 or less. I need closet space a lot… I want a center bath model for sure. and I REALLY love yellow countertops 9you see these in the 70's models mostly).
In the 1969 Sovereign 31' we renovated first, I had TONS of closet space and gorgeous mustard yellow Formica countertops (that had been covered in ugly brown cracking tile, I couldn't save it unfortunately). There was a rear bath, but with a little work and experience found I actually prefer it. Leaves room in the middle for an office, and the wood veneer they used was gorgeous. We touched it up with teak oil.
Being shiny takes a lot of work, but it's a great workout (killer shoulders!), and totally worth it.
I ended up with a 1970 with rear bath and a LOT less closet space, but I plan on building it in. I thought it was worth it for the vista views ; )
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:13 AM   #21
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here's some I saw on craigslist,

1988 Airstream EXCELLA

http://asheville.craigslist.org/rvs/3166578535.html

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/rvs/3138939715.html with yellow counter tops! $8500
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:01 AM   #22
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The second link purports to be a 34', yet the photos show a unit with two axles. I smell a rat...
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:09 AM   #23
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I'm going to take a look at this one: 1985 31' Airstream . Please let me know of any questions I should ask and things I should insepct. Thanks again! You guys are THE BEST! Some questions I have from the posting: The sunspots, unused bathroom, leaks if the clear coating is coming off, the carpet looks to be old so this leads my mind to think about flooring and soft spots, the awning looks a bit low, and did this model come with more than one awning orginally?...
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:45 AM   #24
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Top of Georgia AS park in Helen is 185 per month. There are several used AS available from members. Most of these were around 25 to 31 feet. Might be worth a trip up there to check them out. These are road worthy but already located in a park. Give them a call and ask abo ut a trip up there. Helen is a fun little town. Jim
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