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Old 03-25-2009, 01:01 PM   #15
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Jane,

Welcome to the Forum. With a two year plan, you'll have plenty of time to learn everything you need to know. Of course, in 2 years you could be married and have a family!

It's been stated already—biodiesel can be hard to find. Diesel generally has more maintenance costs than a gas engine too. There are a few hybrid trucks around and I think some have already been discontinued because of weak sales. At this point, the cost of hybrids are still very high compared to benefits. You can save electricity by replacing the bulbs with LED's, but that is expensive and I'm not sure it's a big green savings either. A solar panel can help a bit. Perhaps the biggest savings is not maintaining a stationery lodging, but even then the fuel used in towing may erase that. It seems to me there's not a lot green that can be done with a fulltime lifestyle, but even the little things help.

There are some organizations that help fulltimers with license, registration, mail, etc. One is Escapees. I think they register vehicles in Texas as it's cheap there and it's legal. Good Sam may have something too. There's a fulltimer subforum to read.

If you can't make it to the Casini rally, the same group is having a rally at Mt. Lassen and the lava tubes in northern California in early August. You'd have about 5 days to find out everything you can.

The heaviest Airstreams are the most recent widebodies with the most expensive trim lines. The wide bodies are 8 1/2', 6 inches more than before (or for some of the less expensive ones now). The most expensive trim lines have a lot of hard wood cabinets and similar sized models to less expensive trim lines can weigh a ton more. The further back you go in time, the lighter the models. What I think you are looking for is something from the early '80's to the mid-'90's in very good condition. Most of them can be pulled with a 1/2 ton truck or comparable SUV. While you can pay $50,000 for a big truck with all the toys, you can get a very nice new truck for a lot less. When we bought a Toyota Tundra in late '07, a double cab with 4WD in the SR5 trim line was going for a little less than $30,000 and may be less now. Right now new vehicles may be cheaper than used ones because of all the special offers. An older trailer will problem need something(s) expensive and there'll be other things you'll want to buy, so make sure you have saved extra money above the cost of a trailer and truck.

Gene
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:41 AM   #16
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This forum is giving me lots of food for thought. You see a trailer, and don't think of the weight. The 80's floor plans are nice, but I am not necessarily a fan of the dark wood cabinets; can make it cave-like. I'm entertaining the idea of finding an older one, 20 something feet, lighter weight, in good mechanical condition..... solid body, floor and frame, brakes, wheel bearings, etc in good working order, but interior needs work. That would give me an excuse to strip out everything, and do it my way. I hate carpet (allergies) and would prefer bamboo or cork floors, and I also a room full of large plastic drawers, which I am using for storage in my lil' house; they could transfer nicely into a trailer for light weight storage.

Anyways, my online business is speeding up, and I am making definite progress on paying off credit, so I can start spending on my get away plan soon. As far as light weight construction, there is a new trailer company using something called Compositek. I am wondering if this material is available to remodelers? I guess I will find out. But the best thing about it looks like the flooring material; doesn't rot, mildew proof.
Evergreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC. - Makers of Green eco-friendly Everlite RVs

Jane
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:05 AM   #17
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Jane

Stop by site 98 at Casini. have a glass of wine with Linda Lu and me. Visit with others, have a grand time and leave with a wealth of knowledge that will keep you conflicted for as long as you need.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:26 AM   #18
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Jane, when you start designing a floorplan, you will find there are limited options. The heaviest stuff goes in the center where the axle or axles are—things like refrigerator, stove, water tanks. When you examine the floorplans used for decades, except for some variations, you will find there are really only a few general plans. If too much weight is in the back, it starts to sag some day—I think some old units with rear baths are known for this—and too much in the front increases tongue weight too much.

If you want to heat the water tanks, you have to cluster them and keep ductwork short. Water lines have to run where they won't freeze, never in an outside wall. They have to run in cabinets near walls, and if it's really cold, open cabinet doors. Compressing a house into 200 or fewer square feet is difficult. Just a few things to deal with in redesigning.

I'm all for you getting what you want, but be sure to understand the dynamics of trailer design.

So far as vacuum bonding, it's been around for a while and is a good way to create a strong panel type wall. To use green materials, is a good thing. To get custom panels would be cost prohibitive I would think. But, check it out.

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Old 03-26-2009, 11:34 AM   #19
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this vacuum bagging panel construction is nothing new.
We been doing it on experimental aircraft for years.
And SIPS panel construction is gaining popularity in the housing industry.
I have what it takes to construct panels suitable for interiour walls in a trailer, get your checkbook ready.
but it's just a travel trailer for pete's sake
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:17 PM   #20
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When I stopped at an RV place in Petaluma, just to look, I had the good fortune of having the mechanic show me around and answer questions, not a sales person.... he explained about the advantages of having the heavy stuff in the middle. As far as water heaters, I wonder why the inline, on demand water heaters are not more popular? Seems to make sense, a 6 gallon RV water heater almost seems like a joke (I'd have to cut my hair, I don't think I can shower and rinse longer hair with 6 gallons!) If you suggest opening the cabinets for condensation, I know that one from my 325 sq ft house, here in a chilly damp climate! I have put small boxes of silica gel in the drawers, to try and keep stuff dry. I also have to go around looking behind stuff, for mold and mildew (I spray with hydrogen peroxide, a safe non toxic cleaner. When it warms up, and I can leave windows open, I will spray with bleach to get the stains)

I will mark my social calendar for a Casini Ranch drive by on Friday afternoon/evening. I have to leave for work early Saturday AM. Pop a Smoke.... my favorite uncle was in the Army Air Calvary, and flew John Wayne's chopper in the Green Berets, and also flew in Apocalypse Now. Quite the character!

Jane
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:29 PM   #21
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Jane,

If you are stuck on owning an Airstream, then so be it, I can certainly understand that!

But, there is a new line (which I think is made by Thor, Airstream's parent) that is extremely lightweight (read smaller tow vehicle) cleverly designed, and when I saw them at the RV show this January, struck me as quite well-built. Good room if you travel alone.

iCamp Trailers. Have at look at them on this site. See what you think...
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:46 PM   #22
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But, there is a new line (which I think is made by Thor, Airstream's parent).
I believe that iCamp trailers are built in China. Thor, Airstream's corporate parent, owns Dutchman, who builds the T@B and T@DA. Thor also builds Eco, which is introducing a full-composite (no wood) trailer.

All the same, I don't think full-timing in any of these would be all that comfy....

Tom
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:56 PM   #23
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I believe that iCamp trailers are built in China. Thor, Airstream's corporate parent, owns Dutchman, who builds the T@B and T@DA. Thor also builds Eco, which is introducing a full-composite (no wood) trailer.

All the same, I don't think full-timing in any of these would be all that comfy....

Tom
Interesting. Perhaps I associated the iCamp with Thor since at the Toronto RV show, they were shown at the Can-Am booth, Canada's largest Airstream dealer.

I saw the T@B and T@DA trailers at a local dealer, and again while I loved the idea and the looks, they definitely weren't for me, I'm 5' 17" tall. I was told that those trailers are made in Germany, by the way.

The iCamp felt more roomy, and for one person, I can imagine full-timing. After all, even with a 34' AS, it's not like you get an attic and basement!
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:18 AM   #24
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I was told that those trailers are made in Germany, by the way.
As my avatar shows, I have a T@B (but would like to upgrade to rivets someday.) They started out as Tabberts which are indeed built in Germany. But the trailers sold here are built in the States with royalties going back to Tabbert. (I wish the trailers here were the German ones, not because of any build quality complaints, but because the decor is more stylish and they offer 2 bigger floorplans, including a tandem axle 2900 lb trailer that would quelsh my Bambi CCD dreams.)

Meanwhile, since Dutchman doesn't sell the bigger T@B models here, they developed their own larger trailer, the T@DA. It uses a homegrown chassis (not the T@B's European Al-Ko chassis with its surge brakes and parking brake) and supposedly gets around paying a design license fee back to Tabbert. But since its not as stylish as the T@B, sales aren't as strong...

Sorry for the thread diversion, but then again, I want to be an Airstream newbie someday, and it's all about figuring out how best to make the jump while keeping tow vehicle size down...

Tom
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:14 AM   #25
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Oh, no, no, no, no..... I looked at the T@B trailers at a dealer in Ukiah, and they are adorable, well built, certainly have an attraction, and have a ceiling clearance of 5' 9". I am 5' 10". I can't see myself living stooped over for a few years! I am planning on living full time, and need a realisitc amount of space for my online business (2 laptops, external hard drive, printer, modem, paperwork, satellite on roof) I sell books and CDs online, and might want to keep a few examples too, and I need more than one change of clothes.

If I go other than Airstream, I might go for the Evergreen Recreational Vehicles, LLC. - Manufacturer of Green eco-friendly Everlite RVs They are new, and not quite up and running, but the trailers are light and sturdy for their size, nice floor plans, have a solar option, and are satellite ready, so that reduces some costs. I think they range from $20,000- $40,000. But if I go used, I will go with a "silver beauty", cuz they look classic and quality, and not tacky, like a lot of other trailers. I could buy a used one cheaper, then spend the extra money for the options I want, like the satellite and solar, maybe a composting toilet, wood floors, my color schemes, etc.

Jane

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Old 03-29-2009, 08:31 AM   #26
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I think I might have looked at the T@DA trailers too in Ukiah, not sure, but I really do need the head room, and I don't think they have it. I am 5'10" which is tall for a woman, but average for a man, so these ones are definitely "coming up short" with a ceiling clearance of 5'9". I stood up straight in one, and my head was firmly pressed into the headliner. Not OK for full timing.

I need to consider the weight and towing factors, but I also have to consider realistic daily comfort, and also my business, so I might have to add some weight to make it all work. I have a little time to think about it, so it will either be a new Ever-Lite or Starstream, or a vintage Airstream or Avion, set up inside to work for me. Either way, I need to come up with $20,00 - $30,000 plus a truck, so I will be studying this forum, and building my business, paying off my visa, and saving! I figure 2 years, as I am now making a double income, between my weekend job, and my online business, and I think in a few months, my online income should be surpassing my 'day job', which will expidite things!

I am visualizing a new and interesting life on the road, perhaps making the rounds of New Age Expos with my products, and taking off the mileage as business expenses. I think once I get going, I may not stop!

Jane
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:41 PM   #27
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That sounds like a wonderful plan. more power to ya!

Best of luck, Rich
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:01 AM   #28
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You better hurry it up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by janemaati View Post
Hi, I'm Jane, and I don't have a trailer yet, I don't even have a truck, but I am working hard to build my online business, paying off my credit cards, and looking forward to stepping off the "day job" hamster wheel, ditching the over priced SF Bay area rent, and hitting the road, with satellite internet and solar panels. I produce subliminal, self hypnosis and sound therapy CDs and MP3s, and also republish spirituality public domain books, so part of my loosely laid plan is to perhaps make the rounds of New Age Fairs and book stores for promotional work, then maybe take the travel expenses off my taxes

I guess until that happens (2 years?) I will lurk, gather info, ask questions, and get as knowledgable as possible, before hitting the road.

I think the things worrying me the most right now is...

1) Scared of water damage and rotting floors. Is that really common in Air Streams? I see a lot of 80's Excellas in my price range, how big of a problem might that be?

2) I live in California, and all the Airstreams I see for sale online are in other states. In California everything is more expensive, they are raising taxes, and if I buy one, I will have to register it here, even though I will be high tailing it ASAP! Solution?

3) I'm used to living in small spaces, but the trailers under 30 ft seem cramped, and I am tempted to get a big one, even though I have never towed anything! Some of the smaller ones might be OK, if I take out those twin beds that are common in the middle, and replace them with dressers and/or desk, but will that be really hard? A sin? Ruin resale?

4) The cost of buying a used Airstream and remodeling it a little, with satellite, solar panels, maybe a composting toilet (I'm a Greenie ) Also the truck.... I'm thinking diesel, then I can do bio diesel, but is that expensive? What am I thinking? Like $50,000?

Thanks for reading, thanks for your patience, and thanks for any advise or encouragement you might have!

Jane
You better hurry cause the train is leaving!!!Good luck to you
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