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Old 09-06-2011, 11:45 PM   #1
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A funny thing happened on the way to the farmer's market

Greetings Everyone,

After twenty years, one would think that one knows one’s partner, but funny things can happen…

My interest in Airstreams developed as a young boy of seven or eight from the back seat of my father’s ’68 Dodge Dart while travelling from Los Angeles to visit relatives on the opposite side of the country. Naturally my lunch money wouldn’t get me an Airstream or even a tow vehicle, but it was too late, I had developed Aluminitus, which buried itself only to surface from time to time but to get pushed down by the realities of my then life.

Fast forward some twenty years and I’m in living in Tokyo and marrying this incredibly beautiful young lady who agreed to become my wife for some still unexplainable reason. One day we were in Shinjuku and came across a roof top Airstream Café, which caused my Aluminitus to resurface, alas Japan is a really expensive place to try owning an Airstream… so once again on hold.

Fast forward again to July 2011, on a Saturday outing Mrs. GinMame and I decide to stop by a SOB dealer off the 405 in Orange County, we found the concept interesting, but were shocked at the quality of the trailers on display so since we were only looking anyway, we left and decided that there must be some good quality trailers somewhere and that someday we would find something that we liked… A week later we visited the Airstream dealer in south Orange County and from stepping aboard the first 19’ Flying Cloud on display, Mrs. GinMame fell in love with Airstreams and decided that she really likes the 23’ FB Flying Cloud. Again someday…

Then on Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 10:36 in the morning it happened. Mrs. GinMame and I were westbound on the Santa Monica Freeway in the vicinity of Cloverfield / 24th Street when it happened, in the east-bound lanes was what looked to be to my uneducated eye a 23’ International being pulled by a early 60’s tan and white F-150. We looked at each other and without prompting said excitedly “Airstream!” It was one of those moments when you just know it is right. So we decided to really begin hunting for our Airstream. Who would have guessed that a trip to the Santa Monica farmer's market would lead to buying an Airstream.

After lurking for several weeks, I have already learned an incredible amount about the care, feeding, and towing of Airstreams. That said however, I know that as time goes by I will have a great many questions to ask. I also hope that at some point in the future when I have acquired enough knowledge that I will be able to share my knowledge and insights with others in these forums.

So until then, Mrs. GinMame and I are looking forward to camping in our Airstream when we find her, attending rallies, making new friends, and enjoying the AirForums.

Happy Airstreaming,
Rion & Nobuko
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:34 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Airstream Forum. I'm sure that everyone will be excited to hear about your search for your own personal aluminum cocoon.

My wife and I (she is Chinese) also got aluminitus after living full-time in a 36-foot fifth wheel for five years. We now have a 34' Airstream which we love like a member of the family (really, they are members of the family).

We'll watch your progress with much anticipation.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:57 AM   #3
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Welcome and I can tell you that "Yes dream's do come true".
I had the same dream for years and we kept putting it off and one day not to long ago I decided that we just had to do it. I then started shopping around for the perfect used one and did just as you are doing. I made myself right here at home on this board and now our baby, Daisy, sits in our drive way. We just too our first trip with her this last weekend. It was fantastic! We are so in love its sad.
We go out there and just sit in her and chat.
anyway...good luck to you.
Meredith
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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GinMame,
Like you, we shopped and shopped for our dream AS. We got her this spring and have been on the road a lot since: 18,000 miles, 20 states, one province, Coast-to-Coast and all around. We found ours on RVtrader, but the classifieds here are a great source, too.

Like you, Lin and I look at each other and shout AIRSTREAM when we see one on the move. We have logged over 90 sightings since late May. I hope YOURS is one we see on the road soon.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:59 AM   #5
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Welcome GinMame.

Aluminitus bit us hard after viewing one at the annual RV show in town years ago. It took us years to go through the process of thinking, agreeing, searching and finally finding out trailer. Looking back, the search was a big part of the experience but at the time, I wouldn't have considered it fun.

We got ours off of Craig's List. Unless you have an unlimited budget you will have to be patient. Best wishes and keep us informed along the way. This place is great for advice and we share more opinions than most can process but it is all good.

Aftermath
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Secguru View Post
Welcome to the Airstream Forum. I'm sure that everyone will be excited to hear about your search for your own personal aluminum cocoon.

My wife and I (she is Chinese) also got aluminitus after living full-time in a 36-foot fifth wheel for five years. We now have a 34' Airstream which we love like a member of the family (really, they are members of the family).

We'll watch your progress with much anticipation.
Hi Secguru,

Thank you for warm welcome. One of the things that attracts me to Airstreams is that they rise above a mere objects to become a member of the family. I'm curious, have you given yours a name? If so, what is it and how did you come up with it? I've thought about a number of names including naming it after my mother, American names, Japanese names, but my current name of choice is Mirelle, which means "wow" or "worthy of admiration." This will probably sound crazy, (well, maybe not to members of this forum), but when we find our AS, she will stand up, talk to us and say, "I'm the one that you've been looking for", then Nobuko and I will come up with her name.

Cheers,
GinMame
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Old 09-08-2011, 10:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by meredith View Post
Welcome and I can tell you that "Yes dream's do come true".
I had the same dream for years and we kept putting it off and one day not to long ago I decided that we just had to do it. I then started shopping around for the perfect used one and did just as you are doing. I made myself right here at home on this board and now our baby, Daisy, sits in our drive way. We just too our first trip with her this last weekend. It was fantastic! We are so in love its sad.
We go out there and just sit in her and chat.
anyway...good luck to you.
Meredith
Hi Meredith,

Thank you for the welcome and encouragement! I just looked at your pictures of Daisy and she is a beauty! Did you have to do much to restore her or was she in good shape already? I have to admit a pang of jealousy as you have a drive way to let her sleep in. When my neighborhood was laid out in the '20s it was filled with small houses that were intended to be weekend cottages, so no driveways instead we got alleys with really tiny garages that might hold a Smart car if you were lucky, no chance of getting an Airstream in the backyard. I refuse to let this small detail stop me however. I will find a nice place for our AS to rest between trips. I would like to be able to just go and hang out in her as you all do, but I guess that Nobuko and I will just have to take more trips to enjoy ours.

I'm glad that your first trip was a resounding success. I hope that you and Daisy have a long honeymoon.

Onward & Upward,
GinMame
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:45 PM   #8
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GinMame,
Like you, we shopped and shopped for our dream AS. We got her this spring and have been on the road a lot since: 18,000 miles, 20 states, one province, Coast-to-Coast and all around. We found ours on RVtrader, but the classifieds here are a great source, too.

Like you, Lin and I look at each other and shout AIRSTREAM when we see one on the move. We have logged over 90 sightings since late May. I hope YOURS is one we see on the road soon.
Hi gheuer,

Thank you for the encouragement. Boy, you guys have really put some miles on your Airstream! I can't wait to do the same. I've written down your WBCCI number and will keep an eye out for it. I won't be in your neck of the woods until probably next year in October, but who knows maybe I'll be pulling my own Airstream then. I've only seen one other Airstream in the past two months and that was at Bolsa Chica State Beach here in California and she was sandwiched in between numerous white boxes but shown like a beacon in the afternoon sunlight. On a true newbie question, what does "TAC VA-18" mean?

On a completely separate note, I want to thank you for your postings to the Air Forums. I have enjoyed reading them immensely and they are one of the reasons that I decided to join the forums. I've learned a lot from them and am looking forward to reading more of them in the future.

See you on the road!

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:22 PM   #9
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Welcome from the other Coast

I've bought TWO new ones - and I'll be the very first in line to say "Buy GENTLY used." You can easily save $10-15K by finding a model that is one, two or three years old. However, there is a really decent argument for buying new, getting exactly what you want, and financing it with dollars that will depreciate over time - and be easier to pay. Ditto for financing, then paying off earlier to save substantial interest. "Your mileage may differ" So, choose what makes most financial sense to you, but consider all options.

Why are there so many almost new Airstreams for sale? Well, people buy new, camp 2 or 3 times and decide "NOPE - this is not for me". (momma wants someone else to do the housekeeping and fix the meals, poppa can't stand driving 300-500 miles a day, and would rather hop a plane, etc.) The smart ones immediately sell at a moderate loss rather than letting the RV sit in high priced covered storage or worse in the yard collecting algae, mice, etc. Others buy "something my jeep can tow" and within a few months want to move up to a 25, 27, 30 or 34 slide out! Good deals abound.

Even though you are on the "wrong" coast, you should take the time to visit www.colonialairstream.com Their website has better and more complete pictures than Airstream's. If you love the 23' you should look at it in all the trim levels and with all of the options - trim levels are Flying Cloud, International, International Serenity, and Classic limited (though I think Classics start at 25' not shorter. You can get "pleather" - faux leather upholstery as an upgrade (quite durable and cleanable), you can choose between a gas oven and a convection microwave - and in a 23 between one and two fantastic fans. Another option is awnings all around - very nice in hotter climates. There are TV and sound systems too, but mostly standard packages now.

Any RV costs money to own, maintain, store and use. Airstreams are not an exception. New, gently used or total restoration projects cost money - so it's important to understand your own personal preferences and budget before you decide wheather to go for instant gratification or a project. I renovated an old home - I'm done with major projects.

Whatever you get, hope you enjoy it every day for many many years.

Happy searching, happy trails.... Paula
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:23 PM   #10
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Welcome GinMame.

Aluminitus bit us hard after viewing one at the annual RV show in town years ago. It took us years to go through the process of thinking, agreeing, searching and finally finding out trailer. Looking back, the search was a big part of the experience but at the time, I wouldn't have considered it fun.

We got ours off of Craig's List. Unless you have an unlimited budget you will have to be patient. Best wishes and keep us informed along the way. This place is great for advice and we share more opinions than most can process but it is all good.

Aftermath
Hi Aftermath,

Thank you for the wisdom. You seem to understand exactly where we are in "the process." Actually, Nobuko and I seem to be separated by "religious" differences at the moment. She likes the 2011/12 23'FB Flying Cloud and I prefer the 2011/12 25'FB Flying Cloud, which I believe is not too dissimilar from your 2006 25'FB Safari SE, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not particularly worried about it at the moment as we will find a way to work it out. We have to, when we argue, she speaks only Japanese and I speak only English, so we have to find a middle ground. I learned along time ago that if you want to be a happy husband, make sure your wife is happy! So maybe I'll let her choose the Airstream and reserve the right to choose the tow vehicle myself. Though lately, after looking at the posts in the forums, I'm beginning to get the Vintage version of Aluminitus. I went to take some pictures today of a '61 Globetrotter near my office to post with this message at lunch today and found (gasp) a white box in the driveway instead. I had been admiring the trailer for weeks, but couldn't figure out a way to approach the owners without looking like a complete idiot. Had I known it was for sale, I would have purchased it. Moving forward though, I think that I would like to maybe go the new or slightly used route for the first trailer as Nobuko and I are completely new to the world of RVs in general and Airstreams in particular and it would allow us and the trailer to learn together. In the future though I can easily imagine myself doing a complete shell off restoration of a vintage trailer.

You mention that shopping for your Airstream was a big part of the experience of owning one, but you didn't think that it was much fun. What made you feel that way? I've already had some less than fantastic experiences with Airstream dealers, but a really positive experience with an Airstream salesman that sadly is no longer with the dealer. Since you are located in the Northwest, I was wondering if you had had any experience with the Airstream dealer located in Eugene, OR. If so was it good, bad, or otherwise?

Thank you again for the advice, Nobuko and I look forward to seeing you on the road one day.

Happy Airstreaming,
Rion
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:13 AM   #11
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TAC = The Airstreamer's Club

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Hi gheuer,

On a true newbie question, what does "TAC VA-18" mean?

On a completely separate note, I want to thank you for your postings to the Air Forums. I have enjoyed reading them immensely and they are one of the reasons that I decided to join the forums. I've learned a lot from them and am looking forward to reading more of them in the future.

See you on the road!

Cheers,
Rion
Rion,
Thanks for your kind words. Some of us belong to a sort of "virtual" group called The Airstreamer's Club [http://www.theairstreamersclub.org/]. I had to ask the SAME question a few months ago. The letters after TAC mean your State [VA for me] and the order you joined [I'm the 18th in Virginia]. It's actually the TAC volunteers which manage this forum. I chose to send them some money. As a result you see "supporting member" by my avatar. No pressure. It's free if you want it to be, or you can contribute $20 and help the cause. Up to you.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:39 PM   #12
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It's actually the TAC volunteers which manage this forum.
Well - sort of. Some AIR mods are TAC members. Some are not and others just aren't 'joiners'. (Airstreamers are an independent lot - have you noticed?) AIR offers forum space for TAC and some other groups as well. We try to remain neutral and keep the door open to all Airstream fans but AIR and TAC are separate entities.

Quote:
I chose to send them some money. As a result you see "supporting member" by my avatar. No pressure. It's free if you want it to be, or you can contribute $20 and help the cause. Up to you.
Thank you. Supporting memberships help keep AIR online and they are deeply appreciated.
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:00 PM   #13
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Names

Welcome, good luck finding your baby!! It took me nine years, but I think I had Aluminitis much, much longer than that. I think Mirelle is a lovely name, It's ladylike and graceful, also alludes to the sparkly mirror finish .
Leonie
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:27 PM   #14
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Dear GinMame


Your mention of vintage interest spawned this note...


Be that I am a bit aged “sweet great lakes boy”, I too am blessed with a beautiful Japanese “better half”. We have a 1968 Globetrotter.


Our path to Airstream...


Years of research concluded that a 1969 caravel (last year of real wood interior) would be a good fit. Similarly sized to an older Bambi, but a bit less $. I like the weight, and the more modern rounded windows. The short Airstreams hold value well.


Another year of searching all the nationwide trailer listing services revealed that the caravel isn't that cheap either. Found one 1969 for 10K but couldn't get to it fast enough.


Then, on a cold winter night between Christmas and New-year's Eve, My eBay-bot notified me of a 68GT down in Tennessee. I quickly recalculated my needs:


20ft v 18ft but in that extra two feet there's another window, and a full bath, and the bed pulls out without blocking entry door...
2990lbs v 2880lbs
Similar tongue weight
narrower, vintage look


Had to beat 26 other bids. It's important to do enough research so you understand the value of the various models, and have the confidence to pull the trigger when you have yours in sight...


So, after a grueling thousand miles RT through wind ice and snow... it's ours. There's pictures and description in my posts...


When Ami saw that big deep bathtub, the gleam in her eyes assured me that it was the right one for “Us”.


Anyway, Sometimes I think it's the best Airstream ever!! AND!! You could pull it with a 1968 Dodge Dart.


The Dart weighs close to 4000 pounds wet, and, in '68 there's a 275hp 340 and torqueflite available. They did build a handful of 426 Hemi Darts that year, but that's a whole different avenue. And if that isn't enough, they offered a nearly Airstream blue color.


Somethin' to think about if you go vintage/nostalgic.


We removed and re-sawed the ash interior so there is a dinette on the side, a good bit of plumbing and wiring in progress... but it's relaxing work, where we hang out together and talk. Right now it's our “tin tea house”.


Peace, Wm
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