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Old 06-29-2008, 11:32 PM   #15
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Robert, the least expensive route is probably just wait for my wife to cut me down to size.

The bed seems relatively straightforward. I haven't quite figure out the shower, but like most guys with tools and curiosity, thinking about how to solve impossible problems is half the fun.

Let me reframe this a bit. If we're going to drop 50 large for a new Safari, I'm just going to trim my hair short, slouch and generally think shorter thoughts... at least in the shower. If we're going to spend $5k or $10k on a vintage AS with "good bones," I'm probably going to find some folks who are more smarter and more experienced than I am on vintage trailer restorations and ask them what they think. And maybe what they'll think is that my wife should work harder in cutting me down to size.
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Old 06-29-2008, 11:37 PM   #16
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Just a thought.....

hamp....

Reading the thread with interest as I too looked for quite a long time before jumping in and buying MY AirStream. Actually, I think that my AirStream selected me.... I have a '92 34' Classic Limited - Towed by a '01 Suburban 2500 4x4 6L.

You are right to spend plenty of time here, asking questions - about towing, weights, Tow vehicles, layouts, appliances, solar, generators, etc....

There is SO much more to having a TT that you actually USE as opposed to most folks that buy and park and DON'T use.....or use once in a while.

I gather from your questions/comments so far, that once time allows, you and the missus are OTTA HERE! That means daily and prolonged use....

Consider your space and use requirements carefully. Usually, more is better, but then everyone is different. This is an exercise that few if any folks REALLY engage in..... This causes 'upgrade' fever (at the expense of depreciation), and general un-happiness and subsequent lessor use of said TT....There is also, the occational 'down-grade' to a smaller trailer (again there is often a $ cost).

The opposite of your seeming intended objective....

Spend all the time and attention that you can here at ASF. Read everything about late model, vintage, generators, maintenance, TV's, and TV's + satellite, and then there is ALL the OTHER STUFF....!!!!

Look at EVERY unit that you can. Go to every local event - go inside every trailer that folks will let you set foot in. Just cause they look the same from the outside DOES NOT MEAN they are the same inside - vintage and all others! Travel to some of the non-local events, both ASF and WBCCI. Just more opportunity to see more units.

All this will whittle itself down quite quickly..... you and the SO will find that this or that "click" and make your heart go pitty-pat. When you find what makes you happy - that is when you can start the search in earnest.

Having seen LOTS of TT's in various states of repair (or not) will tell you if what you are looking at/considering, is worth what they are asking.... It will also allow you to have a better idea if there are upgrades you cannot live without, what it will take to incorperate that and the likely cost associated with that.

The more info the better! If there are ANY red flags as you walk through a unit you are considering, RUN!!!! There will be another unit.

I think that you are approaching your process in quite a well thought out way. All the best, and remember..... once you get Aluminitis, there is NO CURE!

We are all here to support you in this process!

Axel
SilverToy

PS - I am located in NVa and would love to have you walk thru my SilverToy, if you are interested!
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:39 AM   #17
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Welcome Aboard

Hampstead38,
Welcome aboard, and it’s nice to see some more east coasters on the forum. You have definitely come to the right place for help, direction, and inspiration.
I will ask the stupid question. Have you ever RV camped before? If you haven't I would suggest renting an RV to make sure that it is something that you and the Mrs. enjoy. I would hate to see anybody plunk down the change required to purchase an Airstream only to find out the RV'ing lifestyle ain't for them.
Mind you I do not want to dissuade anybody from purchasing an Airstream, it is probably the best purchase we have ever made. It is all my wife and I think about anymore...When is the next time we can go camping? Plus we are scheming, trying to come up with ideas that will allow us to full-time.
For your budget you should be able to get a newer trailer that will be nice. There are older units out there that aren't exactly vintage in the strictest sense of the word, but are very solid units and easy to "get into". I would suggest the mid 1980's to the mid 1990’s. They can usually be found in good condition with just enough work needed to allow you to become familiar with the Airstreams, their inner workings, and construction.
Good luck in your search and keep us posted.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:55 AM   #18
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Growing up, my father followed the amateur rodeo circuit. We spent every summer weekend banging around the inland northwest in an rickety 8' truck camper. (The horses traveled in the much nicer trailer.) To put myself through college, I spent time logging while in a travel trailer. I also spent three years onboard a Navy ship, but I wouldn't count that as an "RV." As a lifelong hunter, I've spent a fair amount of time in various "lash ups" including travel trailers, canvas wall tents and such. As a couple, my wife and I have extensive camping experience, but little with RVs. Of course, my thought is a rainy week in an Airstream is likely to be a bit more comfortable than a rainy week in a tent.

When my wife was young, she and her family took some epic road trips, mostly in a VW Westfalia. With our youngest daughter moving towards her high school graduation in a few years, we had long planned to relocate somewhere in the west closer to my ancestral home. Somewhere along the line, we started thinking, rather than just move and jump into new jobs, why not take a few months and travel the country? We had talked about a little travel trailer because, frankly, I'm a little more inclined to comfort than I was 20 years ago.

There are many things I can find to worry about, but spending months on the road with my wife (who is also my best friend) is not one of them. Even if the wheels fall off and the thing bursts into flames (which would be pretty impressive to see), we'll be just fine.

Honestly, there are any number of ubiquitous white box with wheels that would serve as perfectly adequate travel trailers. We have walked through a number of trailer and fivers that would be comfortable... even if sitting in them I feel like I have time traveled back to 1978. This said, they generate no excitement, at least for me and my lovely bride. "Dropping out," even for a few months, is probably foolish at our age. If we're going to be foolish, my instinct is to be foolish in style... thus we have found our way here.

Added: During the summer/fall, we plan on stopping by a few events. Hopefully, we'll bump into some folks from this forum.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:26 AM   #19
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To echo a previous post, I gently urge you to look at the larger units. The queen bed and sit down shower are usable enough for my 76" 260 lb frame and the ability to have enough storage room for the accoutrement's of a long road trip is quickly appreciated.
Not to mention that in gently experienced condition they seem to be better value per foot of length.
A rainy day (or week) can be quite pleasant if you have room to strech out.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:34 AM   #20
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Hampstead38,
So you've been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt - So that's one less thing to worry about.

We purchased our ’06 from DJ RV in Danville, PA. They have since stopped carrying the Airstream line, because they cannot compete with Colonial in New Jersey. DJ Still has two Airstreams on their lot. They are both ‘07’s. One is a 25’ International SS (Sleep Six) in Ocean Breeze The other is 27’ Safari Front Bedroom in Kiwi. They are both at the upper end of your price range. I know they have been on the lot for a while and the prices keep coming down, so they may be willing to deal. They may be a little further for you than Colonial, but I drove 8 hours to Sandusky, Ohio to get our ’87 Excella 1000. We will do whacky things to get the Airstreams we want.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:49 AM   #21
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I think with your time frame and your budget, you might think about going vintage. You could buy something and have it brought up to snuff for less than new and it will be easier on your tow vehicle.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:22 PM   #22
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Hampstead38,
Here is another one for your consideration. This is a used unit available at DJ RV... 1981 31' Excell II and it is WELL within your price range.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
I have to say, Cameron, I'm leaning towards staying married and finding a way to make the bed a little longer. I guess one of the appeals in renovating a vintage trailer (versus the "off-the-lot" approach) is the chance to make a few of those changes.

<snip>. I think we can make a 25' trailer work for our hiatus... and I'd prefer to keep it about that length with a modest dry weight to avoid buying a new two vehicle. It's just a question of fine tuning the interior a bit, I suppose.
Hi and welcome to the forum, Hampstead. Glad to hear you are keeping the wife.

I, too, feel that the 25' will suit our needs without necessitating a Monster Truck to tow it. I also noticed that the twin singles give the most "square area of bedspace per person". More than, say, the "queen" configuration. Usual bed dimensions seem to be flexible in AS TTs, so a Queen is not really a Queen, so to speak.

Also, most queens are mounted into a corner, which must make it difficult for the inside person to sneek out of bed without both of you being woken up, should ever a noctural trip become necessary.

Just a few thoughts...
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:38 PM   #24
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Thanks for the warm welcome and the additional comments. While the idea of a larger (over 25') trailer has some appeal, after our hiatus the tin girl will become primarily a weekender. I think we're OK with something that is comfortable but not necessarily palatial. The current plan for our tow vehicle is my Nissan Titan. I'm making a number of tow friendly modifications but at the end of the day, it's still a half-ton truck. Looking at a handsome old girl like the 1981 31' Excella means a walk to the truck dealership. I've heard there are some great deals to be had on the 1-ton diesels given fuel prices, but the money we spend on the TV is money we won't spend on the trailer or on "the big trip."

I have seen some beautiful restorations. The vintage tin also seems lighter and easier to pull. If the interior is essentially gutted, the intrepid owner can design the floorplan. I'm not sure one can improve much on the Airstreams, but this said, a trailer for just two people can be done a bit differently than one that can accommodate more.

I understand the advantages of the twins versus the queen (maybe we should call the smaller version a "princess"?) On the other hand, I love waking up next to my lovely wife... even if I have to trampoline bounce out and over her.

I do appreciate the links to trailers. The more we see, the better we understand the market. Rather than come in with a fixed idea and try to make the world fit, I want to stay open to ideas and to your collective, hard-earned experience. The truth be told, we could make all kinds of things "work," but where's the fun in that?
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:48 PM   #25
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I live about 20 minutes from you if you want to come by and see a 1962. It is not for sale, but you are welcome to come by...
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:00 PM   #26
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Buy recent, but used

New trailer pricing is based on cost-plus-margin. There is only so much room to deal, even when the RV economy tanks. You can probably get ~25% off list, if you are willing to drive to the lowest bidding dealer.

But used RV's are a different story. You will save a LOT of money if you purchase a recent, but used, trailer. Many people who buy RV's don't have the time to use them much (like me), so a "used" one can be virtually new. I'm sure that you could find a really nice, little used, stored inside, year 2000 or newer 25' Airstream for under $25K.

We have the 25 SS (six sleeper), not because we have 6 people, but because we like having a bed, dinette, and sofa all at the same time. If I were to do it again I would get the 28' to avoid the corner bed and have a bit more room in the bath.
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:21 PM   #27
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Thanks for the offer to the see the '62. The pictures were nice.

I agree on the "gently used" thought, DMac. A dealer will sit on inventory, but a private seller sometimes needs to sell. I'm not looking to take advantage of anyone, but I do like a deal where everyone walks away happy. As noted, I'm keeping an open mind and an eye on the market. I'm also learning a bit more about vintage trailers. I think of this way; the more we know, the better.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:03 PM   #28
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'83 Avion versus '78 A/S Exc 500

We want to plunge into something but... like an insecure tourist from Hong Kong facing a bear in CO- we don't know what to do.

My wife and dad did the second check of an '83 Avion 30' er today. They're asking $6500- new tires, well kept/maintained, heater needs a 'coupling' to make it work?, everything else works, zip dees. Belongs to our retired neighbors oldest child- we trust them with our kids.

We're also considering an A/S that would be in similar age and shape. Example- '78 Excella 500 for $8500 on craigslist. New carpet, tires good (not great) everything works, small bubbling spot on counter in bath, no leaks. Guy has owned it for a year but now selling due to health.

Any wisdom on the buying, A/S vs Avion, or specfically on these two is greatly appreciated.

the binks
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