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Old 01-23-2011, 08:47 PM   #43
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1974 31' Sovereign
Nashville , Tennessee
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I'm in a 94 2500 diesel gmc, and a 31'. You could not pay me to ride in a 150 pulling this thing over the Rockies. On the other hand, since I got the trailer back to TN, almost a year ago, I haven't needed the 2500 for the AS. It would be a complete waste if I wasn't in construction.

If your going with an older airstream, dealing with your homes and new jobs, I doubt you will be traveling far anytime soon, I would stick with the higher mpg until you get things worked out. This will also give you time to find a deal on a great TV.

If you go bigger than a 150, The money you will burn away before your first vacation over the mountains, could be a good chunk of change.

It's all you, just know that the start up cost were much more than I expected. It takes time to switch lifestyles, but if she is cool with it, go for it.
I have a hard time picturing anyone going back to sticks and stones after living in an AS. I enjoy it.

I had thought I was making a mistake by not investing in a home. Then I realized the insane amount of money that goes to taxes, insurance, financing, ect. If you can find a set-up where you have little to no rent, your much better off having liquid money to play with, in my opinion.

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:55 PM   #44
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Fixed costs on a house will only get worse. One's labor or money-saving "investments" in same will offset only so much. After three decades of asset-bubbles the only thing left to Wall Street domestically is through the fixed expenses of Americans. They dun took the rest already. I see Goldman, Sachs and others are now bidding, and winning, the right to collect tax arrears. In other words: the land is worth having, the "improvement" (house and all) not so much as before. I'd rather have a water well, potable or not, than an extra bedroom or bath.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:27 PM   #45
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I've found that the same brain that got me into trouble is probably not the brain that will get me out of trouble. The odds makers say if I have a history of making bad decisions, the next decisions I make will probably be bad too.

A sage once told me that I should find a guy who's got what I want and pay him to make all my decisions for me. That was pretty good advise.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:35 PM   #46
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1968 20' Globetrotter
Whiterock , British Columbia
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I have been following this thread for a few weeks, and it is very interesting. Some good thoughts from people who sound "experienced".

My wife and I were almost done (by about 2 weeks) our renovation on our last place when the market really took a beating. We managed to hold on for the year and a half it took to sell. We ended up going from $530,00 worth of house to $445,000. In the end, after fees, lawyers, etc we wound up with about $15k instead of $100k. It put all of our plans to bed in a hurry. At least we came out slightly ahead for our three years of work.

We travelled for 6 months in our smaller pop-up trailer and then rented for 4 months. What a waste of money! We bought a 1984 31' AS and renoed it. We have been living in it fulltime since June. I don't regret a second of it. Aside from no bathtub, neither does my wife. The options are limitless. If we find better jobs, we move. If we don't like the view, we move...

All in all, your situation is a bit different due to the house and negative equity situation. I'm not going to advise on that. But, as stated before, keep your Taco, look for a cheaper little bit older AS and go for it. You can start out in a RV park and see what comes along for reno projects or land deals.

Best of luck whatever you decide to do...
I am the '68 Globetrotter...
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:24 PM   #47
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. The most important rating consideration for us isn't what mountain range we can or can't pull. We're most interested in what we can stop. We won't exceed our truck's ratings, just don't think we can afford the risk. And we like even better having a safety margin between tow rating and towed trailer weight. We're towing CCD 25 behind 2500HD, and tongue weight (1,000, 15%) alone says a lesser truck cannot handle this unless serious mods done to truck.

I love your idea and hope we can land our TT on a couple acres someday, build a pole barn, and build from there. Sounds great to me.

Good luck with your old house and best if luck with your dreams.

Living the Dream

Jim Cocke,
International President
WBCCI Wally Byam Airstream Club
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:43 PM   #48
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This thread has inspired me. Just last November I left San Antonio TX for Pensacola FL because, well, like so many have alluded to, the economy stinks and you have to go where the green is. Like you said Slip7, the thought of renting at the new job site is not appealing from many angles – ie., wasted rent money, apartment neighborhoods generally not so good, and been there done that syndrome.

So I chose the RV lifestyle. Don’t even think about buying new, tempting as they make it. There are so many used RVs out there that are hardly used at all. Looking at what keeps its value the best and the longest, the vintage Airstreams are clear choices.

I’ve sworn off ANY new debt for many of the same off-topic-evil-banking-empire suspicions already mentioned in this thread, and frankly I just want out of that debt-interest rat race. So here I am full timing in a ‘78 31’ Airstream that I paid cash for, but needs re’habbing. Hard to imagine myself doing this just a short time ago, but I am and I am having a blast.

Like any re-hab project I’ve taken on, turns out that more needs to be done than originally thought – much more. Makes it even harder since I am living in the thing at the same time.

I kept my 6 acre spread in San Antonio as I intend to return there when work conditions improve, or I actually really retire. My wife is staying there with the animals and I go home from time to time. I tow it with 8 yr old Toyota Tundra, 170,000 plus miles. It does fine. Since I am pretty much here to work, not to travel around and enjoy the beautiful sugar sandy beaches of the Emerald Coast line, its working out for me. When I get the rehab done, and find time to travel, I may consider a newer TV.

I like the direction Ford is going with their twin-turbo gas V6, would really like to see an American offering with a small 6 diesel like Mercedes has in the Freightliner Class B RVs. What happened at Dodge during the Daimler-Chrysler days? Give us a smaller Cummins for the Ram 1500 that’s tuned for max economy – I, for one opinion, do NOT need 800 lb-ft of torque. But I would like a TV that gets 30 mpg non-towing, and 17+ towing.

Closing comments – there are many variables that go into this real-life calculus equation of balancing life style, home ownership (or jettison), income earnings, debt management, et al.

Slip7 - best of luck to you as you go about solving your own differential equation of balance.
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:16 AM   #49
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The whole point for my wife and I when we bought an airstream was to use it as temporary housing at our property. Moving will take us quite a few years to make the complete transition into a permanent structure. My son, wife and I are presently restoring one for my son. My future plans are to get another one to restore for my daughter. I know they will always have a place to stay if they are trying to figure out where to go. If they decide moving is imperative. We also have acreage and water with fish, game and fertile soil. Are kids could always end up on our property.

This has been our thinking for several years.

As Hank William Jr. said "A country boy knows how to survive."

Brian & Adrienne
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:20 AM   #50
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Hello all, it's nice to see this thread has drawn so much insight. I really appreciate it. So a few updates since I last visited.

I spoke with my banks and realtor. Long story short, the banks tell me I make too much money to refinance unless I want to put the $40K down on the house. I was told to consider myself lucky that I could even qualify for a 100% loan to value refinance after the 40k was put in because many homeowners would have to put an additional 20%. Yay me for being a good little worker bee.

Along the same track, I can't qualify for the kind of land I want out there unless I put a HUGE chunk of cash down so there goes that option. I then tried to look into some reallly tired properties as fixer uppers but I can't qualify for them while carrying the bad equity in the other house.

I then contacted a realtor in my area that specializes in short sales and even lives in the next subdivision over (weird coincidence). I was originally looking for a property manager for renting the house out and it turns out his company does both. We had a couple long discussions where he took the quality time to see everything I was trying to do. He told me I definitely fit the mold for a short sale prospect in the depressed market and he is very confident he can work with my case. Right now I'm going through the paperwork the bank requires on the most intimate details of my life.

That all points to me having to rent in San Antonio for a minimum of two years after the short sale closes before I am eligible for another VA loan. That will probably work out to something like 2.5-3 years if I factor the house sitting on the market. Wow...2-3 years of money going into someone elses pocket. Depressing.

If an AS were to be in my future it would definitely have to be something old and cheap to justify not renting.

I'm really tempted to take a contract in Afghanistan just to bail enough water out of this ship to get it upright again...*sigh* Dodging IEDs and living in a can that's NOT an AS seems super-duper appealing. That would mean another year apart for us but I can only imagine it was much worse for families during the 30's. Nothing like war for profit in lean economic times. Oh yeah, that's only if the San Antonio office will let me cut loose and still have a job waiting for me when I get back...
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:45 PM   #51
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RE: Contract jobs in Afghanistan, et al: WARNING WARNING Be sure to READ the FINE print

I also looked into the Afghanistan DoD advisor contract positions. Very enticing "salaries" - but get a copy of the contract and read the extra fine print on the back side in gray tinted text. They were offering 12,000-18,000+ per month, BUT you would have to leave the country for one month after 2 months in-country, then comeback for another 3 month cycle. Not an option. You had to leave. And OBTW, when you were out of Afghanistan, that wild salary was reduced about 70%. Travel and expenses to and from the in-country location were not specified, possibly negotiable, maybe not. Also check out if they provide housing or if you are charged a housing/subsistence fee for company housing.

Yes it looked like that could be a real game-changer, with the first 90k or so free from Fed Income tax. Try to get the employer to tell you the name of someone recently completing one of these tours so you can verify the employers' claims. They said they would but never showed up in my email. I passed.

Your mileage may vary, so approach with eyes wide open!!
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:29 AM   #52
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SailFaster- I agree completely with your closing comments.

Slip7- I am a strong proponent of owning real estate, but there are lots of folks who have bought in the last 3-4 years that wish they had rented. Rent goes into somebody elses pocket, but so does interest when you have a mortgage.

You may find a home that you can buy with owner financing for 2 years until you qualify. Even if you rent for 2 years, this will give you lots of time to make sure that San Antonio is the right place for you, your job is a good fit, you can figure out exactly where you want to live and time to study the real estate market there.

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Old 02-03-2011, 07:48 AM   #53
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No no, disregard my last comments. That's just me being a whiner about the reality of the situation and playing the victim. I think I'll just rent and put the AS notion on the backburner for now.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:37 PM   #54
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Analyze debt on real estate and then analyze a lease on the same property and give weight and value to the risk. Which one has more up side based on the risk? How has risk worked in the current market? With a lease, a landlord owns the property and assumes all the risk. With borrowing and signing on a mortgage, the bank owns the property and the borrower takes all the first position risk. Neither the renter OR the borrower own the property.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:04 PM   #55
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I think you have the right idea.

I will say this though, I have over a million miles of towing experince behind me, and you will not find me towing an RV of any size with a half ton truck.

I know there are the folks who do it, and the ones who take the approach of "Well, I've never had a problem" well let me tell you I own a towing company, when they have a problem it can get ugly real fast.

What ever you are towing with needs to have a full floater rear end. A semi floater is dangerous for towing, If your axle snaps or your C-clip breaks, the axle can come right out of the housing, and belive me when I tell you that you do not want to lose a tire at highway speed with an RV in tow.

The other thing to consider is that when you go to a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup, the brakes are also upgraded, and being able to stop right quick and in a hurry is a good thing, expecially if you experience a electronic trailer brake failure, which is more common than you would think, all it takes is a coroded or broken wire.

Something to keep in mind is most folks who tow with a 1/2 ton truck and say it works very well have nothing to compare to, most have never towed with anything heavier than a half ton.

Getting out of your house and into an RV will save you some bucks, my advice to you is sell everything, store nothing, sell sell sell, and you will be suprised how much of a better position you find yourself in.

Do not make the mistake of selling your house and putting everything in storage. You will pay for the storage for a few years, and then you will not even be able to remember what all is in there, and you will feel really dumb for paying for all that storage.

Understanably you are going to have some family herlooms and things you do not want to part with, for those id get a 20 or 40' container and put it on the property you buy, it will keep them dry and secure.
"When the people fear the government, there is Tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is Liberty." - Thomas Jefferson
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:20 AM   #56
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Skip, I am happy to pass on a few things I have learned about living in Texas. Now I wasn't born here but I got here as fast as I could after that. And this is what I learned.

THE most important thing a man can have in Texas is his truck. Whatever truck you get it should be the "Lone Star" edition of it, and they all have Lone Star editions.

Get the truck first, then once you have the truck, you gotta have a hat and some boots... And a belt, your gonna need a good belt to hold up your britches, and your holster, and I'm not talking about where you put your cell phone. One more thing, that belt buckle needs to be BIG.

Don't ever take off the hat by the way. Unless you are in the shower. Real Texas men sleep with their hats on and die with their boots on. That's because those boots are so dad gum hard to get off. Don't wear em if you are going through security at the airport. You will miss your plane just gettin' 'em off and back on again.

But I don't think you can be a true Texan without having a pick em up though. Gitcha one with a brush guard and a gun rack. And don't be carrying your umbrella in the gun rack.

For Music A couple of George Strait CD' s should be kept playin all the time sandwinched in between Willie Nelson, Aselep at the Wheel (the group not you) and Reckless Kelly.

So come on down and we'll be fixin to talk about where to get the best Barbecue when you get here. And always remember that things are gettin to be more like their gonna be than they ever were before.

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