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Old 11-27-2008, 06:36 AM   #1
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Question Novice interested in living full time in an Airstream: a few queries

hello, i am interested in airstreams; i've always loved these silver 'bullets'. i appreciate their retro/vintage appearance so much.

one major question i have is this one: would most mobile home parks[ specifically adult only mobile home parks] allow an airstream to be towed into their park?

or, alternatively, could a person actually find an airstream already installed in an adult mobile home park?

i am interested in buying a mobile home in an adult park in tucson, arizona.

i don't drive, btw, so i can't tow the airstream myself.

i am low income; i collect SSDI due to having fibromyalgia. i have a substantial nest egg, though, and only a tiny debt[credit card] of 225.00. i am hoping, that dispite said low income, that i could afford the lot rental and utilities. i would assume that an airstream would be a small-ish space and would, as well, be well insulated, so utility costs wouldn't be too high.

thankyou in advance for any help.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snog View Post
hello, i am interested in airstreams; i've always loved these silver 'bullets'. i appreciate their retro/vintage appearance so much.

one major question i have is this one: would most mobile home parks[ specifically adult only mobile home parks] allow an airstream to be towed into their park?

or, alternatively, could a person actually find an airstream already installed in an adult mobile home park?

i am interested in buying a mobile home in an adult park in tucson, arizona.

i don't drive, btw, so i can't tow the airstream myself.

i am low income; i collect SSDI due to having fibromyalgia. i have a substantial nest egg, though, and only a tiny debt[credit card] of 225.00. i am hoping, that dispite said low income, that i could afford the lot rental and utilities. i would assume that an airstream would be a small-ish space and would, as well, be well insulated, so utility costs wouldn't be too high.

thankyou in advance for any help.
Hi snog,
Welcome to the forums.

Depends on the area and the rules. I have seen Airstreams in retirement parks in Mesa City, AZ, and as vacation housing in Myrtle Beach, SC, but most people were staying in larger units. Airstreams ARE NOT particularly well insulated compared to many other RV's. The newer ones being a bit better than the older units. IMHO Airstreams do not lend themselves well to being parked, they were designed to be used up and down the road. But people park them and use them as home all the time.

Aaron
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:58 AM   #3
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

What you are proposing is quite doable, but may not be the most economical alternative. As was already stated, an Airstream may not be the best answer for your situation. A Park Model (a small 10' wide mobile home) might be better suited for your situation.

With an Airstream you will have tire and holding tank issues that will need attention from time. The black tank on an Airstream can not be left open all the time. The only way to avoid this is to replumb the Airstream's sewer system. This conversion is also very doable.

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Old 11-27-2008, 10:26 AM   #4
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Yes, you should consider the 'Stream if you were gonna' be on the road - they're great machines for towing. They love to travel.

But for long-term park use, I'd look for a park model. At the parks in Tucson, there are a lot of more or less permanently-installed units with skirts, screen porches, etc. Take a look at the want ads in the Tucson paper and/or on Craigslist for Tucson under Housing.

Ryanh
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:02 PM   #5
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But for long-term park use, I'd look for a park model. At the parks in Tucson, there are a lot of more or less permanently-installed units with skirts, screen porches, etc. Take a look at the want ads in the Tucson paper and/or on Craigslist for Tucson under Housing.

Ryanh
One of the big values of an Airstream is it doesn't fall apart by being towed. If you're not going to move it, you will be wasting a major advantage it has. For about the price of a good used Airstream of a size to full-time in, you can get a park model already set up and ready to go, such as this one:
Park Model Mini Mobile Home
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Old 11-27-2008, 02:23 PM   #6
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My .02

Having thought about this myself. I would not choose an Airstream to live in. Airstreams are cool but not really meant to be parked and lived in for a long period of time. (more than a year)

The holding tank issue is one reason.
No washer & dryer hookups. (a biggie for me)
I personally don't think they are insulated as good as park model RV's. Your energy use will most likely be higher. Being that you are in AZ, the Airstream will take more energy to keep cool in the 115' heat.

There are other park model "RV's" out there better suited to parking long term.

If you think you might have to move it from time to time, do yourself a favor. Get something that is street legal.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:15 PM   #7
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I fulltime

BUT I travel quite a bit. I also own a business and can use my unit to visit and find new customers for Answer Center, my telephone answering service business. I'm financially comfortable also. Everything needs maintenance, and maintaining an Airstream may actually be more expensive than a park model or SOB (some other brand).

I'm actually hoping to get out on the road a lot more next year than I did this year. I agree with everyone else here - Airstreams DO NOT like to sit parked.

In your situation, I'd absolutely agree with the other posters. A park model is much more practical, especially as you can coat the roof with a heavy plastic membrane that reflects sun - VERY important in Arizona.

Be practical about your housing, fibromyalgia can get better, but if it doesn't a home with a full size door and real steps makes sense and you can build a ramp to the door much more easily.

Paula
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Old 11-28-2008, 05:48 AM   #8
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thankyou, everyone, for your answers. i appreciate your honesty and candor. it would certainly seem that owning an airstream for stationary living wouldn't be wize for all the reasons listed here in your responses to my post.
ah, but 'twas a wonderful dream!
i still love these airstreams and at least will enjoy my recent purchase of 'airstream living'.
thankyou, sue
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:03 AM   #9
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Hey folks, why can't the blkack water tanks be left open all the time? We have done that one the 78 Argosy with no problems that I know of? By all the time, do you mean like permanently or when you are parked in an RV park? We leave ours open for our entire stays.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78GussyTX View Post
Hey folks, why can't the blkack water tanks be left open all the time? We have done that one the 78 Argosy with no problems that I know of? By all the time, do you mean like permanently or when you are parked in an RV park? We leave ours open for our entire stays.

Thanks,

Steve
Steve, poo and paper build up into a hill while liquids run out the drain. Gradually the poo becomes "tough sh**" - literally. The toilet paper makes it a kinda nasty papier mache. No amount of post use rinsing will dissolve the whole thing. Then one day it clogs your tank's drain valve so it can't drain and you're black tank becomes "full of it".

OK, If you've been doing this for a while you probably have a pile forming in your Argosy right now. You can simply open the flush valve and shine a strong flashlight down to see the extent of the problem. If I were you I'd find an enzyme preparation used in septic tanks, pour a GENEROUS amount down your toilet and add warm water until the tank is within an inch or two from full. Then let it sit for about a week and take it to a dump station or dump it down your sewer cleanout at home. Then rinse, rinse, rinse. Then do the flashlight exam again and repeat the treatment if needed. The last "leavings" can be scrubbed from the tank by buying a 10lb bag of ice, pouring it into the tank via the toilet and towing the Argosy over rough roads for at least 10 miles.

BTW, even you gray water tank will build up crud on the bottom - soap scum, human hair, coffee grounds and dead skin to name a few things. I regularly rinse my tanks before leaving a campground, then put about 5 gallons of scalding hot water in each tank, add dish detergant and borax, and tow away. When I arrive at my destination park, the first thing I hook up is my drain. I immediately drain the black tank, with the tank rinser running, then drain the gray tank. It may be a bit fanatical, but because the gray tank doesn't have a rinser, while I'm draining it, I turn on the water in the sink and rock the trailer up and down via the power jack - slosh, slosh slosh. I don't do this routine every single time, but probably once every two months. Even when I think I've done a really good job of cleaning the tanks on departure, the water I drain after towing is a long way from clear by the time I arrive.

Paula
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:25 AM   #11
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Hey folks, why can't the blkack water tanks be left open all the time? We have done that one the 78 Argosy with no problems that I know of? By all the time, do you mean like permanently or when you are parked in an RV park? We leave ours open for our entire stays.

Thanks,

Steve
Steve,
You need to have liquid in the black tank to make it drain properly and completely. If you leave it open all the time a nice little "pyramid" will build up directly under the toilet, solidify and be very difficult to remove There have been horror stories on here of people buying used Airstreams with just that issue FWIW I leave my tiny (10 gallon) grey tank open until the day or so before I am ready to dump the black. Then allow it to fill up. Dump the black tank, then follow it with the gray to wash down the line.

Aaron
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78GussyTX View Post
Hey folks, why can't the blkack water tanks be left open all the time? We have done that one the 78 Argosy with no problems that I know of? By all the time, do you mean like permanently or when you are parked in an RV park? We leave ours open for our entire stays.

Thanks,

Steve
To avoid serious black tank problems, the tank must remain wet. I leave my black tank open only while dumping. I then put some water back in before closing the valve. If you leave the black tank valve open and allow the tank to dry, and haven't had problems, be assured that you will. You are most likely already starting to develop the "black hills syndrome". If this condition gets too far gone, you may have to replace the whole tank.

I also make sure that I always have some water in the gray tank. When it gets totally dry, it can develop stale odors that come into the trailer via the sink drains.

Good Luck, Brian
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:23 AM   #13
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Thank you all VERY much for the warnings, we will act on them! Maybe we have just been jucky ... although we left the balc tank open, we did always flush it pretty good before leaving (we do not have a wash out system in our old girl). I did check it recently and did not find any little mountains! Maybe because we occassionally boondock and we use the RV septic stuff that you pour in there. We will leave it closed from now on and only flush when needed! Justs wanted to minimize any odors.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:26 AM   #14
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Airstream is so comfortable

Sue,
We sold the house and live the dream in a 25' Airstream. I'll concede the park models are made for stationary housing and are much more easily obtained. But living in this sub-200 square foot cottage is, for me, a dream.

Debbie and I are parked in her parent's driveway in North Carolina three months then will rent three months in a park in south-central Florida. Much more stationary than we originally dreamed, but very comfortable and saving a lot of site rentals. Oh, and saving a lot of gas.

We joke about having five rooms in our 25. L-shaped sofa and ottaman provide the living room, with wrap-around windows and a skylight. Dinette is, of course, the dining room. Galley = kitchen. Bedroom has oversized double bed, two closets, vanity, and t.v. shelf. And washroom has shower and toilet. Let's see, what's missing?

Open all the window shades and the skylight and we have tons of light. Close the skylight and pull out the awnings and we have shading. Close the window shades and we have privacy.

The Airstream looks incredible, inside and out. And it is soooo cozy, especially in rain or snow. A light rain awoke me last night, it is nice to hear. Although we had to simplify our life considerably to shoehorn into the Airstream, we like how much simpler life is for now.

We don't have much space for some crafts. Debbie has, sort of reluctantly, let me put a ham radio under and on the dinette table with the proviso I must be able to unplug and stow it when she wants to serve food or drinks. We have bought a crafts/reading light because the Airstream doesn't really have task lighting anywhere.

Although we don't have nearly the insulation of some RVs, our compact size and pretty good weather-tightness provide us an easy space to heat. Today it is 50F outside and I'm sitting inside with 72F just running a little electric ceramic heater on low. If it was much colder we might run the furnace to keep the interior comfortable.

I do totally agree with the previous posts. You could more easily find or add a wider door on a park model than an Airstream. You would gain so much more space with every park model. And park models are easier and much less expensive to obtain.

Very Best of Luck,

Jim
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