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Old 04-27-2010, 09:46 AM   #1
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Spring Valley , Wisconsin
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Looking for any full time advice..

First a bit about me..

I'm 54, was a homebuilder and before that a banker. Now going through a divorce after 25 years of marriage and it's NASTY! Not complaining. I suppose things could be worse. I suppose.

Anyhoo, I've got 2 Corgis and it's impossible to find a place that's reasonable that doesn't require a 12 month lease (plus if I EVER find a job, I won't know where it will be), so I'm thinking of buying an Airstream and living in it until the divorce is final.

I figure if I buy an Airstream it's likely to hold it's value a bit better than other makes, and I might even be able to live in it even if I decide to build a small house for resale after the divorce.

Anyone out there in a similar situation or been through it in the past? Am I crazy to think I could live with 2 dogs in an Airstream for an indeterminate period of time?
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:19 AM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

I think that what you are proposing is doable. Even though we have not full timed, per se, we have spent as long as 2 1/2 months straight in our 25FB. The only issue that I would be concerned about is wintering in the Airstream if remain in Wisconsin.

Brian
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:36 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I was planning to go a bit south for the winter. It's also possible that I might build a steel building on a rural lot and put the Airstream in it, and then live there. I think I could maintain 32 degrees with a wood stove and a solar collector on the steel building, and I would hope the AS's furnace would be able to take it from there up to 60 degrees or so. The big drawback would be that it would be dark all the time. The other thing is dumping black and gray water. It might be tough to pull it out and take it somewhere to dump without having it freeze. I wonder if a septic pumper would be able to come out and drain it. I've heard they allow outhouses up here, so maybe I could drain it into a pit similar to what's under an outhouse via a temporary waste line sloping downward under the building wall.

How was your sanity after the 2 1/2 months? Did you have any dogs with you?

This site is unbelievable! I've been to a ton of owner forums for other stuff, and nothing comes close to the wealth of information here.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:15 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums!

Living in an Airstream with two dogs is definitely doable. We full-time in a 23' with two small dogs and have no problems. We're going on 11 months now and all is well. Like Brian pointed out, I would be more concerned with winter weather. We spent our winter in Florida and Georgia. Having had one experience with snow and ice in Colorado during our travels, we never want to face freezing temps again in our Airstream.

We will eventually be settling down and also plan to continue to use our Airstream as our home while we build or renovate a small house. So, we've definitely been pleased with our Airstream purchase and even when we aren't full-timing look forward to future camping trips.

Good luck!
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:40 PM   #5
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Airstreams are made for travelling. This is not a snob thing. I mean technically, the design is compromised for going down the road. The streamlined shape improves mileage and protects from side sway due to cross winds and passing transports... but reduces inside room considerably, especially cupboard space.

Another compromise is the thin walls, made of a high heat transferring material, that do not keep out cold or heat very well. The result is they are hell to live in, in below freezing or extremely hot weather.

Not a big problem if you move with the seasons.

There are many such compromises that raise the price and reduce the livability but are worth it IF you are on the road a lot.

If you are going to sit still on a lot then a mobile home is a MUCH better deal. For the price of an Airstream you can buy a mobile with about 4 times as much living space, better insulation, all around more livable.

In between comes the box style trailer which can be moved, is not as good on the road as an Airstream, but has a lot more room for the money.

I say this NOT to knock the Airstream, they are the best for their intended purpose. Just pointing out that for your particular needs you may be a lot better off with a mobile home or box style trailer.

There are other threads from people who tried to live full time in their Airstream in a similar climate and found it did not work at all well. I know others who live in mobile homes and are as comfortable as in a traditional house.
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
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If you plan to live on some land in Wisconsin in the summer, then go south for the winter then your plan to live in an Airstream is definitely a good one.

There are even trailer parks in Florida that cater to Airstream trailers exclusively. I don't know all the details but from what I have read they are very nice and not at all expensive to stay the winter.

Some people who frequent this board live full time in their Airstreams with their pets, others spend several months running every year so it is definitely doable. It might be best to think of one of the larger models, 31 to 34 feet and pare down your belongings to the minimum.

It's a lifestyle that appeals to the outgoing, more social type of person who likes to golf, fish, visit with friends, relax on the beach etc.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:42 PM   #7
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I was mainly considering the Airstream because of the aesthetics and resale value. I am open to other manufacturers, but I simply can stand the look of many of them. Why are they so intent on putting mauve and teal swooshes and ducks or deer on the sides? The interiors on most of the ones I've seen in my price range are best described as jaded brothels. The only design decision seemed to be "if in doubt, add some more oak".

I am very open to other manufacturers but I can't really find a place that is as useful as this site. This forum and the sources of information contained here might reasonably add 10-20% to the value of an Airstream.

Can you recommend any other manufacturer that might produce a good product, be a little more restrained in adornments, be relatively reasonably priced, and have a decent resale value?

A mobile home is out. I want to be able to move around a bit and be able to pull it when I want to. After all, I might be living in whatever I buy at the site for 6 months or so while I'm building a home. The cost of moving a mobile home is prohibitive. I lived in a mobile home for a year or so after college, and though I found it livable, it was a bit depressing living in a mobile home park. It seemed everyone was there because they had to be (and it showed). In an RV, I think that percentage would be greatly decreased.

Thanks for the advice, and if you can think of some other manufacturers I'd sure appreciate it!
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bcs4 View Post
Why are they so intent on putting mauve and teal swooshes and ducks or deer on the sides?


My husband and I wonder the same thing every time we look at them! I can't help you with other suggestions as we only considered Airstream. It was our dream trailer!

But, you're right, there is a ton of information on this site and I'm sure others can offer some great advice. Your comment about the "swooshes" just made me laugh and I wanted to share that laughter!
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bcs4 View Post
The only design decision seemed to be "if in doubt, add some more oak".
If there is such a moniker, we've been part time-full timers for several years. We've been "home" at our condo off-and on since February, which is the longest we've been home since we bought our unit. Full-timing is definitely doable!

Hubby's work requires travel to job sites. That's where the airstream comes in. Then we got to liking it so much, we didn't want to go home!

This winter we were in Fayetteville, AR for a quick project. Not the most ideal situation. We went through lots of propane and had a couple days of frozen hose lines, but with careful planning you can work through/around all that. Like previous posters I recommend wintering in a more gentler climate than Wisconsin.

Love your comment above. The longevity of the units, updated interiors, and product uniqueness are what turned us in the airstream direction.

The boards here are a wealth of information. Hubby lurked here for a long time before we took the plunge... Enjoy!

/Lois
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:24 PM   #10
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BCS4:

Welcom to the forums.

There is a full timing section on these AirForums. You may also want to visit the Escapees forum in the attached link Escapees Discussion Forum (Powered by Invision Power Board). Escapees is an orgaization primarily supporting the full timer and extended timer.

There are several full time rated fifth wheels (New Horizons, Mobile Suites. HitchHiker, Travel Supreme, Teton, Excel to name several). A full timing rig is heavier and better built than other rigs. However this requires a heavier tow vehicle. You would not want to look at a fulltiming 5th wheel larger than 30' to 32' if you are pulling with a one ton. The larger trailers need a medium duty truck (MDT) which is a class 4, 5, or 6 truck. The largest Airsteam only needs a 3/4 ton truck.

New Aistreams do depreciate just like any other RV. For that matter million dollar Prevost bus conversion also depreciate fairyly rapidly. Older Airstreams probably do hold their value better than comprable white boxes.

Most Airstream owners including myself own one because we have aluminum in our blood. Thus we can't help but own an Airstream; it's an addiction.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:32 PM   #11
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To answer your question, "Am I crazy to think I could live with 2 dogs in an Airstream for an indeterminate period of time?". No you're not crazy. I lived in mine for the better part of a year with my two Labradors. Through summer and winter. It was a bit of work making sure we were warm and things didn't freeze. But Vancouver is a mild climate, not too warm in summer and not too cold in winter. I wouldn't want to have done it any place colder or hotter. I have a 25 foot trailer and found that it was just the right size for me and my 2 dogs. I don't think I'd want to go smaller for extended living. But you'd have a better sense of your space needs. You may be fine in a 19 footer or need a 30 footer.

If you are looking into other brands that offer better insulation, you might be able to pick up a used Bigfoot. They are just getting back up and running, so by the time you're ready to buy, they may be in full swing again. I think that Bigfoot also has a fairly large and dedicated following. My parents have one and it is a really nicely put together trailer.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:51 PM   #12
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It's also possible that I might build a steel building on a rural lot and put the Airstream in it, and then live there. I think I could maintain 32 degrees with a wood stove and a solar collector on the steel building, and I would hope the AS's furnace would be able to take it from there up to 60 degrees or so. The big drawback would be that it would be dark all the time. The other thing is dumping black and gray water. It might be tough to pull it out and take it somewhere to dump without having it freeze. I wonder if a septic pumper would be able to come out and drain it. I've heard they allow outhouses up here, so maybe I could drain it into a pit similar to what's under an outhouse via a temporary waste line sloping downward under the building wall.
My nephew and his wife tried this several years ago in a ginormous 5th wheel in northern Il. It did not work out well. He was in a barn next to his Dad's house and basically used the house for the necessities. I think they made it less than a year before selling the 5th at a large loss.

Think seriously about living in the dark and cold and hauling your poomarias out. What do you plan to do for water?
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:17 PM   #13
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While visiting our AS dealer this past week, we saw a new product the dealership is now marketing called Evergreen/Everlite Travel trailers. They are a "green" product and are quite nice. They are also carrying another unit called "Open Range" (I think) that is built to feel very roomy...even has an island in the kitchen! I think you have alot of options, listen to the wise and experienced ones on this forum, I know I've learned alot being a newby.
Best of luck.
AndiJean
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:34 PM   #14
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As a builder you should appreciate this.

Build a building with a big car port on the side for your trailer. The trailer area will be open with a roof over it.

The door of the trailer will open onto a door into the building. You will seal this area so you can walk in between the 2.

The building will contain a living room with wood stove or fireplace, bedrooms and whatever you like.

The trailer will provide your kitchen and bath facilities.

There will be a septic tank or holding tank, fresh water from a well or cistern and full electric wiring for both building and trailer plug in.

This will be your "summer cottage". You could probably get building permits for a "storage building/workshop" if they won't give you one for a residence.

When fall comes hitch up and go.

What do you think?
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