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Old 10-11-2003, 10:51 PM   #1
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2004 22' International CCD
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freewheelin' or just foolish?

I'm an a/s wannabe but have a family that's against the idea and was wondering if I could get some realistic advice from some actual owners out there.

My situation is that I would like to buy the 22' ccd to actually LIVE in and since it is a fairly unorthodox idea for a single, 30-something woman to do, I have received nothing but discouragement from family and some friends. Having lived on a ship for the greater part of two years, I am accostomed to wetbath & small spaces. I am not in a position to buy my own home and am tired of renting--want something of my own. I am a graphic designer and would like to eventually freelance. Does this idea seem that crazy? Mom is concerned about safety and someone breaking in or parking in seedy is concerned about my technical abilities and towing capabilities and I think the lifestyle in general. "Why can't you just settle down, get married, buy a home etc..." I guess my real questions are:

1. How many structural engineering, chemistry, and bigrig skills, would I really require to own an a/s?
2. Is it imperative to tow the 22' ccd with a truck or SUV? (Interested in towing with a more vintage type station wagon etc).
3. How difficult is it to unhitch/hitch everytime I want to move out?
4. Would I be isolating myself or is it possible to become part of a greater community?

Any comments or feedback are greatly appreciated!
Thank you!

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Old 10-12-2003, 12:58 AM   #2
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  • Quote:
    1. How many structural engineering, chemistry, and bigrig skills, would I really require to own an a/s?
    2. Is it imperative to tow the 22' ccd with a truck or SUV? (Interested in towing with a more vintage type station wagon etc).
    3. How difficult is it to unhitch/hitch everytime I want to move out?
    4. Would I be isolating myself or is it possible to become part of a greater community?
    let's see:
    1.It requires none of those to own an A/S, just the "desires"~!
    Do your homework on what's involved with that kind of lifestyle.
    You should read and learn as much as you can..This is one perfect place to start~
    2.This question can be best answered by where you plan to take your unit and, how often you plan to be on the road.
    3.Complete setup or takedown, ready to move can be done in 15 minutes..On an average..Not really that hard at all.
    4.This depends on you..I , personally find that, on a whole..the people I meet tend to be very friendly.~!
Good luck to your dreams~!~

WBCCI 5292 AIR 807
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Old 10-12-2003, 01:19 AM   #3
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Lightbulb On the road alone?

Good luck to you in whatever road you take. Hear this however. I live in L.A. as well and I do see eye to eye on the price issue. I would suggest that you seek a homeowner who would be willing to park in their backyard, it is highly common to do this as a teenager, and I have witnessed it. While in High School a friend of mine had the coolest GT parked and hooked up in his backyard in Torrance. Just recently he sold it and we had a great time reminiscing!
On the serious,
If you should travel. I recommend you bring along a small dog. I have a stray whom I named "Cachito". He has become my best buddy and an alarm as well. While seeing the better side of the Southwest, I have spent many a night in dark gas stations, or poorly lit truck stops. I can only say that as I male traveler, I feel much more at ease among the male majority who find themselve on the road.
The pooch has always kept me company, I suggest you consider this.
Good times.
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Old 10-12-2003, 06:33 AM   #4
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I say go for it! Life is an adventure.

If you bought a used house, you would have to do far more repair work than you would on a new or relatively new trailer.

If you rent, you throw your money away.

With a trailer, if you don't like your neighbors, you can move.

If you get a new job somewhere else, you are already packed and ready to go.

Depending on how long you stay in one place and the facilities, you only need to hook up...un-hook once. Not real complicated, and I guaranty someone would offer you help if you needed it.

I haven't done all that much towing yet myself, but it isn't something you should fear.

Let us know what you decide.
My 77 Sovereign Renovation
Out in the woods, or in the city, It's all the same to me.
When I'm drivin' free, the world's my home....When I'm mobile.

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Old 10-12-2003, 06:36 AM   #5
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"How many structural engineering, chemistry, and bigrig skills, would I really require to own an a/s?"

If you are talking about a new CCD, not many at all.

"(Interested in towing with a more vintage type station wagon etc)."

Now you are talking about rather a lot of mechanical and engineering skills.

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Old 10-12-2003, 06:50 AM   #6
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Ms. Sparkle,

I am in the same age bracket as you and have just ordered a 25' CCD.

I do have a home and purchased the RV for recreational purposes.

I think what you want to do is great, the only thing that I might suggest is that you look at a little larger of a unit.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 10-12-2003, 06:54 AM   #7
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I think your ID says it all-dare to dream. This is 'Strictly' a 'Ballroom' adventure.
As an A/S owner with a Chem Engr. degree and a CDL licence, I would agree that you don't need any of that stuff to successfully live in an Airstream. I do understand dad's reservations. Of our five daughters, all in your cohort, there isn't a day I don't worry about them.
I think dad will be more concerned about the vintage station wagon. Make sure the springs and frame are in tip-top shape, get a good equalizing hitch, and make sure the rear end and drive train are completely checked by a competent mechanic. And good door locks. If you feel really uncomfortable, unhitch the A/S and sleep in back of the car for a quick escape. And make sure the car horn works. You can get air horns for the car. Nothing scares bandits better than a big horn and an alert watchdog.
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Old 10-12-2003, 07:40 AM   #8
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Check this out, might give you an Idea what a full-time lifestyle might be like

Thomas.............. wishing a could break these ties that bind me
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Old 10-12-2003, 07:51 AM   #9
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Before you visit the link NJ74Sovereign provided, you may want to visit her page about her trailer and her western trip... if you want to go through in chronological order. The trip is at the bottom with the map.

I'll respond more in detail about this when I've had enough coffee to wake me up.

[okay... I'm awake now]

I don't mean to be a party-pooper, but here are some things you need to consider:

I have no idea how much rent you're paying now, but seeing the LA location, I can imagine it's quite a bit! What you have to balance it against is lot rental in the area you tend to be in. NICE campgrounds can be expensive, and permanent residents there tend to be older, retired people. Some mobile home parks have RV spots and can be lower-priced, but you have to be pretty particular if you want a decent "community" to become part of. In fact, some "RV parks" are nothing more than places for people who can't afford to live in a mobile home park. There are those who fulltime in an RV because they want to, and those who do it because they have to, and there are parks the latter use. You REALLY need to look up and drive through places you'd likely have to park a travel trailer.

In both cases, you may be "buying" your utilities from the park owner, at a rate higher than the utility company charges, so factor that in. Also factor in that an Airstream isn't insulated anywhere near what a typical house or apartment is, so heating and cooling power usage can be higher than you'd expect. In some cases, your phone and/or TV cable also comes from the park owner's cable plant and/or equipment, which may not be up to DSL/broadband standards, and might not even support 56K dial-up very well.

Living fulltime in a small trailer isn't the same as living in a ship's cabin, where you don't have to store your food or other support supplies. The 22' CCD has very little storage, especially for cold food and drinks, with the tiny dorm-sized refrigerator. It's very lightly constructed for an Airstream and built for weekend use, not fulltiming. If you're considering using it up in the mountains, it has no belly pans and insulated, heated tanks to keep them from freezing. And there's only one battery, and two little 20 lb LP tanks, if you're considering boondocking. You'd be much better off finding a larger, more rugged "Classic" series Airstream a coupla years old and depreciated.

You DO need to become a bit of an electrician, at least enough to maintain the unit's battery (a little more maintenance than a car battery). And a bit of plumber as well, not just for the unique water and sewer lines (where you need to get proficient at dumping on a regular basis), but for the gas appliances as well, where you need to keep the burners clean, etc. If you're already a proficient around the house do-it-yourselfer, you can pick up the knowledge you need. Just realize that when something goes wrong, you don't want the typical handyman working on it because it's considerably different than a house and they'll often screw it up. RV repair places typically don't make house calls... you have to tow the trailer to them. Most don't let you live in it on their lot, especially while they're working on it, so you have to take your valuables out, leave it there and use a motel temporarily.

If you're going to be full-timing in one place, you don't have to tow the unit at all. The RV dealers often subcontract moving with local freelancers. You can use them for an occasional move, while keeping a gas-saving subcompact car for day to day use. However, without a storage shed on the site, you may find yourself wanting a large van, or truck with camper shell, for additional storage of stuff that doesn't fit in the trailer, or weighs too much for it. Most full-timers do this at least to some degree.

5,000 lbs of trailer and stuff, plus all the stuff you'll find yourself storing in the tow vehicle for fulltiming, is really pushing it for a 1/2 ton pickup or van, but should be managable if you get the largest engine and lowest (highest numerically) axle ratio.

Unless you're VERY mechanically inclined, and have a well equipped tool chest, you want the most capable and reliable tow vehicle you can afford, and that's NOT a classic 60's big-block full-sized station wagon, which would be very marginal anyway. They have a LOT of rear overhang and are very susceptable to trailer sway, as well as soft cushy suspensions, and archaic drum brakes. If you break down out on the road, you're probably going to have to have the trailer professionally towed to a campground, and leave the "vintage" tow vehicle at a shop, where the harder to find, often obsolete, parts can be searched for and ordered in, sometimes from a salvage yard. And you'll have to have a rental car as well. All these things may be harder to find in Podunk, Iowa.

Just my thoughts on the issue.
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Old 10-12-2003, 09:39 AM   #10
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FreeWheelin' or just foolish?

Greetings Sparkleplenty!

Welcome to the Forums!

I would like to buy the 22' ccd to actually LIVE in and since it is a fairly unorthodox idea for a single, 30-something woman to do . . . .
While you might not have a great number of peers in exactly the same situation, there are many people who live full time in their Airstreams and at least a few are Free Wheelers. There are two intra-clubs within the WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) that might be of interest as well as a great source of information. The Full-Timers Intra-Club is composed of WBCCI members who live either full-time or nearly-full-time in their Airstream product RVs. The Free-Wheelers Intra-Club is composed of single owners of Airstream product RVs who have banded together to share the travel experience.

1. How many structural engineering, chemistry, and bigrig skills, would I really require to own an a/s?
Since the Airstream that you are considering would either be new or a very late-model used unit, the skill set requirements that you mention would be rather minimal. Airstreams are generally built for long-life, and a reputable dealer should be able to handle any of the issues that might develop with a late model rig - - and with a new rig, you would have the advantage of the manufacturers warranty while you get your feet on the ground, so to speak.

2. Is it imperative to tow the 22' ccd with a truck or SUV? (Interested in towing with a more vintage type station wagon etc).
While it is a great deal of fun to tow with a Vintage automobile or station wagon, this is where things can become costly very quickly. Depending upon the particular vehicle and manufacturer involved, it can become quite difficult to find parts and service for the older vehicle especially while on the road. I have three Vintage automobiles with trailer tow equipment and use them ocassionally for towing, but wouldn't consider having any one of them as my only tow vehicle as it is not uncommon to have one out-of-service for months at a time waiting for a particular part or repair. As a case in point, when it was found that the Cadillac in my signature had four bent wheels, it took more than five months to get a set of four good wheels and then it was discovered that a part in the front suspension was stripped out and so far it has been nearly a month just trying to locate that part so that the front end can be aligned. With limited mechanical ability, I would definitely suggest considering a more modern tow vehicle as the latest model automobiles with sufficient trailer tow capacity for the trailer that you have in mind would now be approaching twelve years of age.

3. How difficult is it to unhitch/hitch everytime I want to move out?
There isn't really anything for the single person to panic about when it comes to the hitching and towing scenario. I have been traveling solo for more than twenty years, and once you find a method of hitching that works for you the rest is basically common sense defensive driving skills.

I have found that the "hitch view" mirror system is quite a help to hitching solo. I utilize the magnetic mount Hitch Spotter mirror for both of my trailers. If I only towed one trailer, my choice would be the One Shot hitching mirror that permanently attaches to the tongue of the trailer with a bolt-on bracket.

4. Would I be isolating myself or is it possible to become part of a greater community?
The WBCCI, Free Wheelers, and Full-Timers Intra-Clubs are all great means of becoming a member of the greater Airstreaming Community. I am a public school teacher so only travel extensively during my twelve-week summer break, so I don't belong to the Full-Timers but I do belong to the Free Wheelers. After more than nine years of membership, I can recommend membership in these groups as a great way to get comfortable with the RVing experience as a single person.

I don't really feel that I am in any greater danger while RVing in my Airstream than when at home in my regular residence in a small Midwestern community. I am selective with where I stop (preferring commercial campgrounds or state parks with a reputation for good security), and am a maintenance fanatic - - I have a trusted Airstream dealer who performs a major service check-up prior to my departure on any major trip as well as a follow-up upon my return - - the same is true with my tow vehcile - - a trusted GM dealer fully inspects (and repairs defects found) prior to my departure as well as upon my return. I have had only minor mechanical probems while on the road, and have found nearby WBCCI members who readily shared the names of reputable repair shops who had me back on the road in short order. As you can see by my signature, my trailers are both in excess of twenty-five years old, and even my newest tow vehicle has more than 117,000 miles on its odometer. In addition, I carry RV towing insurance in the event that my trailer/tow vehicle become disabled for any reason - - so far have not had to use it in nine-years but it is a valuable security blanket for a Free Wheeler.

Good luck with your decision!

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 10-12-2003, 10:26 AM   #11
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Thumbs up

thanks so much for all the great and thoughtful information!
I will definitely reconsider my towing vehicle. I just need to find something reliable with some style!

I do have an alert watchdog already who only weighs about 18 lbs and do have some friends who live in nearby LA canyons where I can plant myself from time to time. There is also a wonderful RV park in Malibu overlooking the ocean where one can stay for up to 7 months at a time but it is fairly pricey.

Anyway, I am going to continue researching and pushing forward-thanks again!
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Old 10-12-2003, 11:19 AM   #12
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Welcome-you're already part of the community....That was easy.
Tow vehicle--maintenence aside, when you are immersed in the vastness of the West, you're gonna want to go places only a truck or SUV can go (and come back). Consider 4wd.. it's really handy....and a Reese equalizer hitch..They're Great, and about $2,000 cheaper than Hensley. I have a Reese and I have never been buffeted by semis coming or going.
You already have your professional network in place, and I'm confident it will be easy to send your work in when you feel the need. Imagine unlimited horizons. Bye now.
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Old 10-12-2003, 01:32 PM   #13
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Go for it!!!!
Go to Sell Airstreams.Com, then Tow Vehicles. There is an 1987 Chey Suburban with the large engine that sounds like what you need. Good Luck on your endover.
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Old 10-12-2003, 04:02 PM   #14
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Wink Podunk, Iowa indeed...

Originally posted by RoadKingMoe
All these things may be harder to find in Podunk, Iowa.
Easy there, Maurice... Podunk is my hometown!!!

Actually, Sparkleplenty, RKM makes some valid points. That advice taken, I'd encourage you to do what you think you can! I will tell you though, that after living with my dog in my 23' Safari for eight months some years ago, you'll find a 22' to be confining. After that experience, I don't think I'd consider anything smaller than a 25' for full-timing, and a 27' to 30' might even suit you better; particularly if you're considering doing this for more than just a few months.

While the vintage tow car is a fun thought, and it's great for folks who have the time and money to store them and do the necessary upkeep, it's not a terribly practical idea for a full-timer when it's your only mode of transport.

Best of luck, and keep us posted!


AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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