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Old 08-14-2003, 09:32 PM   #1
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Will I regret it? (living in an Airstream)

You folks have been a fount of wisdom and good discussion. Thanks for welcoming me to the board.

I found a 31' 1970 Sovereign. Overall it's in good shape. There are a few normal signs of wear and the bathroom floor has two soft spots. The owner tells me all the mechanics work. I've bargained a little and he is willing to sell it for $3000.

I'm selling my home, and in a year or two I plan to build a new one on some land I own. I am contemplating putting most of my things in storage and attempting to live in the airstream until I can move into the next house. I've grown accustomed to having space in the house for odds and ends, and having a backyard where I can crawl under my truck and turn bolts.

I am excited at the adventure of living in an airstream, but I'm also nervous at the prospect of losing the conveniences of a house. If I were buying an airstream for pure recreation, I would want a smaller one - 21 to 25 feet. This one would be at the upper limit of what my vehicle can tow. Will I regret buying this trailer? Or more succinctly, will I go crazy trying to live near Cincinnati in a travel trailer?

Any words of wisdom from those of you who spend more than weekends in your trailer?
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Old 08-14-2003, 10:25 PM   #2
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living in an Airstream

Hi Narnian
I don't have an experience living in a trailer, but we have lived seven years on a 37' sailboat.
Just enjoy it, you can always move out. My partner lives in a 18' teepee in the interior of British Columbia with cold winters for three years and still loves it.
Ladi
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Old 08-15-2003, 05:43 AM   #3
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Thumbs up Enjoy the experience...

Hi Narnian!

I lived in my '70 Safari 23' full time for eight months several years ago, and I stayed in my Bambi during the week for two months while I attended a school a couple of years ago. I can tell you from both experiences that I'd wished I'd had a 31'!!! Even the 23' was confining for extended living.

I enjoyed my time in the trailers. I enjoyed it enough that we will probably full-time for winters after we retire.

Try it out and enjoy it. It's different than living in a conventional house. You learn not to be a packrat. Life becomes less about 'stuff'. You can actually go shopping and not buy something because you have no place for it. Size matters. You'll be selective about what you really 'need' to have and what you merely 'want'.

You will probably go shopping for foodstuffs more frequently and buy smaller quantities. You'll find a way to fill your propane tanks easily. Hopefully, you'll be hooked up to sewer somewhere so you won't have to move the trailer every few days to dump.

One of the real benefits for me was that I didn't have to worry about moving the furniture to clean. Vacuuming and dusting takes five minutes. Cleaning house was a snap!

31' should be very comfortable for you to live in. I'm sure that there are others on the forums who have more full-time experience than I who can share also.

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 08-15-2003, 08:28 AM   #4
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As far as space goes, a 31' of that era should be plenty comfortable living solo but a bit tight for two people. However, I know a person who lived in a similar trailer for 18 months with a 350# wife. He is a musician and either his tuba or his bass fiddle had to be in his truck at any given time. There just wasn't room for all of them in the trailer simultaneously.

Given your location, I would be a bit worried about winter weather. My daughter spent a winter in St. Louis in a trailer (not an Airstream) and had a pretty tough time.

There have been some threads on this forum recounting the problems one can run into in severe winter weather, even with the underside trailer perimeter insulated. For instance, the previous posters had a lot of problems with condensation and with staying warm in extreme night temperatures. You might do a search for that thread and read it through.
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Old 08-15-2003, 10:43 AM   #5
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Cost of LP

I've been fulltiming going on 2 yrs now and have spent some brief periods of time in sub-freezing conditions and the cost of LP to keep your water lines from freezing will add up quickly.

If you were in FL, I'd say go for it, but in your neck of the woods, I'd think twice. Call your local propane dealer and find out how much per gallon LP's running. Then figure any were from 8 to 16 gallons per week. This will giving you some insight to the cost of just keeping it warm.

Good Luck-John
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Old 08-15-2003, 10:57 AM   #6
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You can't get big enough if you're gonna live in the unit fulltime. I couldn't see being in my 19' Bambi all the time. Heck, I think I'd be hard pressed in the 25' I'm considering.

Of course some could live in a 16 footer....but those are called "pets"!

Eric
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Old 08-15-2003, 11:00 AM   #7
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Originally posted by Silvertwinkie
Of course some could live in a 16 footer....but those are called "pets"!

Eric
Woof.
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Old 08-15-2003, 11:10 AM   #8
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The Voice of Experience

Brett and I full-timed in a '77 31' and loved every minute of it. When we started we had two Great Danes. We had to have one put to sleep while we were traveling, but still had the other one the entire time.

We eventually got to the point where we missed things like our own gardens and a fenced place to let the dog run. We even started missing working the 9-5 grind. But that's why we finally bought another house and settled back down.

We plan to do it again someday. So my opinion is go for it. If you hate it, you can always rent another house or an apartment until your new home is finished.
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Old 08-15-2003, 12:13 PM   #9
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I found a few RV parks in the area that allow full time winter camping - lot fees range from $300 to $450 / mo. I guess I need to check on the cost of propane, as suggested.

I'm thinking I'll miss some of the conveniences like a washer and dryer in the house, cable modem, and an air compressor to work on the car with.

Sounds like most folks are saying to give it a try. I won't lose money on the trailer if it turns out I don't like this, right?
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Old 08-15-2003, 01:01 PM   #10
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I got activated shortly after 9-11 and have been living in a dorm for the last 2 years, the total space has been quite small approx 20X20 and it hasnt really been that bad. Now im going to be living in a 31' airstream until I can build myself a house also.
I guess this will be best of luck to the both of us. HEHE
I am actually looking foward to it.
Let me know how it goes.

Greg
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Old 08-15-2003, 08:40 PM   #11
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I won't be able to give you a play by play for a little while. I plan to sell my house before moving into the trailer, and the house is not on the market yet! I figure it will be at least two months before I have to attempt it.

I made an offer on the airstream. There is a small problem with the title. Once the owner gets it cleared up I should be able to start preparing it for habitation.

The trailer is completely original, but some of the items are a bit worn. I won't be hurting the value by updating it a bit, will I?

I want to get rid of the 70's era orange carpet and put in beige. I want to remove the lower china cabinet in the living room and install a computer desk. All the curtains are missing and I plan to put in curtains with a modern color scheme. Other than replacing the soft spot on the bathroom floor, the rest of the work will be primarily cleaning.
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Old 08-21-2003, 10:50 AM   #12
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I lived aboard a sailboat for two years moving up and down the East Coast with the seasons .... a 36' sailboat has less than half the interior room of my present 27' Overlander ... you just learn to do with less. The Overlander is downright palatial in comparison. You really don't need all those Chia Pets do you?

Go for it ... you can do it ... the whole outdoors will be your living room.
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Old 08-21-2003, 10:58 AM   #13
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The trailer is completely original, but some of the items are a bit worn. I won't be hurting the value by updating it a bit, will I?
IMHO, I wouldn't worry about the originality of a 31' of that year. Originality is a big thing in the smaller Airstream trailers, but the longer trailers are not as much sought after and liveability is a lot more important than originality.
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Old 08-22-2003, 09:50 AM   #14
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Thanks guys. I'll give it a shot. I'll put the Chia pets in a storage bin somewhere . . .

I'm supposed to get together with the owner this afternoon to help him fix his title so he can sell it to me. Assuming I buy it, I'll go ahead and update it without fear of destroying the resale.
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