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Old 10-05-2008, 07:02 PM   #1
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2005 28' International CCD
Palm Beach Gardens , Florida
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Red face Help for a Wannabe Airstreamer

My wife and I are interested in purchasing our first Airstream. I'm a pretty young 62 years of age and my wife is 53 (but don't tell her I posted it). We used to tent camp when our children with small but got away from it as I was working so hard to climb that ladder.

I have done a lot of research through the internet but had never been inside an Airstream until last week when we went to a dealer (not so near us we thought we should look and touch before purchasing). Funny, but I thought I wanted a 30' Classic and kept trying to get my wife to agree. She much prefers the 27' International. So, of course that seems to be what I'm looking for.

Our list of questions seem to go on and on. I wasn't even sure we had a vehicle that would tow an Airstream; turns out we do. Then there is the hitch, which one for newbies like us? Do we purchase the Airstream new new or used? We wanted to rent but Airstreams for rent don't seem available where we live.

We have a very nice dealer who is promoting the use of his RV park and some network of other parks along Route 66. Does this have any value as the dealer claims??

We want to travel with 3 small dogs (don't ask-wife again) but read that some parks do not allow pets. Is this prevalent, or only occasional?

An comments, help, suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for listening.

John and Pam Geisen
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:36 PM   #2
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You sound so much like my wife and I - last year. We looked and looked and thought, for the two of us, a 23' International CCD was perfect - a place to sleep at night, a place to eat when it rains and not a problem to pull. We were ready to purchase and thought "one more look" at that 25' Ocean Breeze. WOW! After sleeping on it that night, listing all the pros and cons, we purchased the 25' the next day. We've spent nearly 30 nights on it this summer and towed it nearly 1700 miles. We're starting to feel a little more like experienced travellers. We certainly feel more qualified today that we did last February 29th when we took delivery on the NEW trailer. We opted for new because of the 24 month warranty. I like knowing it won't fall apart during my learning period. Sure it cost more, but then that's what we wanted to do. We also completely reupholstered the interior after taking delivery so it would be what we wanted! We really didn't like the cheap fabric AS used in the interior.

Think about the amount of room you will need. A 30 foot trailer isn't one that is that easy to haul around the country - if that's what you'll be doing. If you plan to park it and use it, size isn't that much of an issue. A 27' AS is probably the best size out there (IMHO). We plan to drive ours all over the country - I wanted the smallest I could easliy handle. Check your towing vehicle's (TV) weight limits. I purchased the TV before the trailer - fortunately it has a 9,500 lb. towing capability. Many SUV's can only pull 3,500 pounds. A pick-up does much better. You said you weren't sure your TV could tow the Airstream (AS), turns out is will. How do you know? If it was because the salesman told it would, be careful. Too often I've heard of salesmen telling the prospective buyer his TV would tow "anything" - remember, he wants to sell the trailer! I have an equalizer hitch sized for my trailer. If I went to a larger trailer, I would seriously consider a Hensley hitch. Expensive, but worth it. There is a new Hensley-like hitch out there worth looking into (made by Hensley but not associated with the Hensley hitch.)

Go to some rallys and talk with owners. I've never met an AS owner that wasn't proud to show off his/her trailer. At a rally, there are several to look at and compare. Make sure your size decision is the right one. When we purchased ours, we planned to use it for several years - we didn't want to make such an error right off. Good luck!!
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:45 PM   #3
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I think that the Airstream will prove to be a wonderful purchase.

We are just the opposite of you, I rather like the feel of the new Internationals, my wife prefers the Classic. Like you, if we do decide to get a new one, guess it will be her choice.

I think that your hitch question will get many responses. My advice would be to talk with an experienced shop or two, feel them out, and get what you feel most comfortable with.

New or used is a very personal decision. If you don't mind used it's nice to know that someone else took the big depreciation hit. On the other hand, with new one can be assured of it's history and care. Of course if you don't mind the occasional headache and enjoy tinkering vintage is always an option, and we are very glad that we decided to go that route for our first Airstream. We haven't yet decided if our future will remain vintage, or if new is more our cup of tea.

While I have heard that some RV Parks don't allow pets, we travel with two dogs and have never been turned away. I have to assume that pet free parks are few and far between.
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Old 10-05-2008, 08:13 PM   #4
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Make the right choice..

Hello partner,
i have been in involved with airstreams for many years..treat yourself to a nice used one,don't pay that big price for new,they aren't made that well anymore..they cut to many corners/all smoke and mirrors,as far as quality..the workenmanship has been lost thru corporate dealings and trying to save the bottom line..the used vintage one's were made better,more attention to detail,etc,just like anything else that was made back then..this way ,if you only spend $9,000.00 and have a good time and decide you want to sell it,you will get all your money back...you'll feel better that airstreams hold there value,when you buy them right,not new...
Happy airstreaming....
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Old 10-05-2008, 08:56 PM   #5
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John,

Welcome to the forum, and the world of Airstreams. We have quite a bit in common.....same ages although my wife is a couple of years younger!

We've owned two new Airstreams in the past 12 months. The first was a 2007 20' Safari SE that we thought would be the "perfect" size for us, with one medium dog, and a 1/2 ton TV. Well, six months passed and we realized that we should have bought bigger......a rather expensive mistake to rectify. In June we traded the 20' for a 2008 25' Safari FB SE and are extremely pleased with this model.....it "is" the "right" size for us. After a year of travels, and a couple of forum rallies, I do believe that a 27' is probably the best length that Airstream builds......so, good choice. I have a friend that pulls a 27' Safari with a Cadillac Escalade without any problems.

Please don't think that an Airstream, even a new one, is perfect.....although the things should be for the price you pay. They all have warts.....some more than others. If you're a handyman, with a few tools, you can probably fix most of the problems you will encounter....and, there will be some glitches. "Good" dealers are hard to come by......many only want to see the taillights clear the curb. I became much more knowledgeable with my second purchase, having talked to some really satisfied owners who had purchased from Airstream of Arkansas (Airhog1 is a member of the forum), and now I can be counted among those happy customers.......AS of AR sets the standard! You do have a big AS dealer North of you that I would be very careful of! I would not let the offer of a "camping club" or use of a campground influence my decision one bit. There are many discount clubs available......the oldest "half-price" club is Passport America for around $50 a year (you'll recover the membership cost the first time you use it).

With the economy in such sad shape, this is a great time to purchase an AS. You should be able to discount between 23-27% off MSRP......depending on model, and how long it's been on the dealer's lot. Just make sure it's the one you want to live with for a few years, as resale might be a bit of a problem without a significant loss. I can't stress enough the importance of buying the right model the first time......and, I know how difficult that can be because you can't take one for a "test camp."

Your question about hitches will probably elicit many responses, as there are a lot of choices. We use a Reese equalizer hitch, and no sway control. We've pulled both trailers with this setup (with different weight bars), in varied conditions (40 mph crosswinds) with no problems over the course of 12 months and approximately 5k miles.

Good luck with your new purchase.......the initial learning curve is a bit steep, but this forum is a wealth of info.

Chief
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Old 10-05-2008, 09:16 PM   #6
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Mill Valley , California
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Hey John
We made the same "big mistake" 18 months ago.
We bought on impulse and purchased a 2007 25' SS. Six months later we traded her in for a 27' FB. We also bought the wrong tv and had to trade for another. Two very costly mistakes.
You're very lucky to have found this forum prior to purchasing! Read as much as you can handle.
You can get a great deal on an 08 model right now.
We love the layout of our 27'er...if you go with this floorplan I'm sure you'll also be very happy.
Good luck
Dennis
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:44 PM   #7
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Welcome to the Forums John & Pam...

We bought new, and have never regretted it...but if you could find the unit you want less than 2 years old and only slightly used, it would be smart to check it out, particularly if it's still under warranty...

As to those networks of RV park they always want you to join...I vote "no"...they are expensive to join and I'll bet you won't use the membership that much... And if you decide you want to try it later, you can pick up memberships to those places much cheaper by checking out RV classifieds for "park memberships"...people are always selling them (they are like time shares in a way...folks are always trying to get rid of them).

We travel with 2 medium dogs...some parks have restrictions on breeds, and some have restrictions as to the number of dogs...if they do have these kinds of restrictions, the number is usually set at 2 and the breeds not allowed are the usual bad rep breeds, but if you are nice to them they might overlook 3 depending on how big they are... We have never been turned away because of having dogs (even when we had 3) and have never come across a park that simply does not allow pets...I'd say 80% of RVers or better have pets with them. The main concern, of course, is unbridled barking issues and owners who don't pick up after their dogs. Leash rules generally are in place, and for good reason. Private parks will have more restrictions than public parks, though we have seem a few pubic parks that do not allow dogs...(the one that comes to mind features some hot springs and I suspect htey didn't want the dogs in the water.)

You are really going to enjoy yourselves...and the 27' CCD is a very nice unit...

See you down the road!
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Geisen View Post
My wife and I are interested in purchasing our first Airstream. I'm a pretty young 62 years of age and my wife is 53 (but don't tell her I posted it). We used to tent camp when our children with small but got away from it as I was working so hard to climb that ladder.

I have done a lot of research through the internet but had never been inside an Airstream until last week when we went to a dealer (not so near us we thought we should look and touch before purchasing). Funny, but I thought I wanted a 30' Classic and kept trying to get my wife to agree. She much prefers the 27' International. So, of course that seems to be what I'm looking for.

Our list of questions seem to go on and on. I wasn't even sure we had a vehicle that would tow an Airstream; turns out we do. Then there is the hitch, which one for newbies like us? Do we purchase the Airstream new new or used? We wanted to rent but Airstreams for rent don't seem available where we live.

We have a very nice dealer who is promoting the use of his RV park and some network of other parks along Route 66. Does this have any value as the dealer claims??

We want to travel with 3 small dogs (don't ask-wife again) but read that some parks do not allow pets. Is this prevalent, or only occasional?

An comments, help, suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for listening.

John and Pam Geisen
Your wife has wonderful taste, it's the same model I want.

Great counter and closet space, a bed that's easy to make, big enough for longer trips but great for weekending too.

In Florida - must have the 15,000 BTU A/C with heat pump, and I'd go for 2 fantastic fan's instead of just one. Your timing is great - most RV dealers are sweating their inventory - you should get 15% off list minimum. Check the reputation of the RV dealer FIRST. That's most important - do they do a great setup, are they competent at Airstream repairs, do they represent their products honestly? Use the Search function here.

Go for it, and we'll see you at the Can Opener in Topsail.

Paula
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:51 AM   #9
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Palm Beach Gardens , Florida
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Thanks!

Wow! You guys have been great with your responses. Lots to think about but with the Airstreamer community as support it seems you have all had good experience you are willing to share. Thanks again. Now we just need to find that 27' CCD International.

John
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:59 AM   #10
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Fantastic Fans

By the way, what is the benefit of fantastic fans/ Are they exhaust fans or similar to ceiling fans? Are we better off with a second bedroom AC unit in the bedroom? Thanks again for all your help.

John
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:23 AM   #11
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A Fantastic fan can move air in or out of the trailer, and some have rain sensors on them so when it starts to rain the close automatically. They work very nice for keeping the trailer cooled.. You just pop open a window and the air circulates...

No, you won't need 2 A/C units.. On is plenty to keep the trailer cool if you plan ahead and don't let the trailer get to hot...

Most campgrounds or RV parks allow pets.... You have to keep them on a leash (not tied to a picnic table in Teton NP as I did. Got a ticket) another story... Good luck with the search and don't buy the first one you find, " unless it's a really good deal...

I would look up dealers on line or the ones here on the forums... give them a call and find out prices.. Shop around... Your pick up trip could be your first camping trip!!!
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:59 AM   #12
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Fantastic Fan -Another benefit

Fantastic Fans run on 12 volt. Self contained is all about having all of the luxuries even when you're off the grid.

When you're boondocking (camping without hookups) you can use them to cool your unit quite nicely in the absence of air conditioning. Your lights will also work on 12 volt. Your refrigerator will work on propane, as will your stove and water heater. The furnace works, but the furnace fan likes electricity. One choice you'll have to make is between a conventional gas oven and a convection/microwave one. Again if you're boondocking... gas works. It's all your choice depending on the type of camping you want to do. PS the oven is good for storage when you are not using it, but be cautious - paper towels, soft stuff is good, heavy pans or dishes - going to bounce around big time.

I also have a 12 volt Endless Breeze (the fantastic fan in portable format) that I use outside to blow the mosquitos away, etc.

Some folks carry a large generator to run their A/C... OK, I've wished I had one that big occasionally... but the fans work pretty well if you have reasonable expectations.

Be aware if you boondock, UNPLUG the umbilical cord to your car even if you're just stopping overnight and not unhitching. Why? Because after you drain your trailer batteries guess what starts to drain next? RIGHT -- car battery. Your car will charge your RV batteries when you drive, and your inverter charges them when you've got hookups. I carry a very small Honda 1000 generator which is handy to recharge my batteries and run small appliances when I'm far from hookups - which can even be in a WalMart parking lot. Normally batteries will last 5 - 7 days if you're conservative (that means DON'T use an electric coffee pot, turn on your TV, or plug in your laptop or use more than the minimal number of lights you need to navigate safely inside.)

Next homework assignment - learn about the "brown mountain" - a function of improper black tank use. (What the heck is a black tank you say? Look under the throne.)

Paula
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Old 10-06-2008, 02:55 PM   #13
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Now we just need to find that 27' CCD International

John,

Have you looked at the forum classifieds......there is a 2007 28' listed.
Airstream Trailer & Motorhome Classifieds - 28' International CCD 2007 - Powered by PhotoPost Classifieds

Chief
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:41 PM   #14
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Yes, but is is the 28' with a little different floor plan than we like and almost as expensive as a new 2008 we were offered by a dealer. Thanks for thinking of me. It is appreciated.

John
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