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Old 04-20-2006, 01:42 PM   #1
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Contemplating...

OK, so I've been lurking & reading a bit & decided to join (mostly so I could use the forum search function ).

We're not really in the market yet for an A/S, but I've always liked the look (saw a LOT of the trailers growing up in Sarasota, FL). And my kids are now clamoring for a "camper." Not that they have any idea what it would be like -- they just see MoHos on the highway & think they look cool. The younger one is just 3, so I don't think we'll seriously contemplate buying an A/S for a couple more years.

My family had some small campers when I was growing up -- a VW bus with a pop-top in the 60s, then a class-B type (I think) built on a small toyota pickup chassis in the 70s. So that small, motorized version is familiar to me & would be comfortable for me to get back into. The new Westfalia looks amazing! But the price is beyond what I'm comfortable paying. The B190s from 10-15 years ago seem like a better entry point, but I'm uncertain about reliability & will continue to read up on them.

But the trailers are the real Airstreams, right? They certainly have the most distinctive appearance, and a bit more usable space. And I like the idea of being able to leave the trailer at the campsite & drive off to a trailhead for some hiking or whatever. I also had thought I could just use my existing 97 Ford Exploder (4.0L, not SOHC, but with factory trailer package) as a TV. But after reading here, it seems that will not be adequate for anything bigger than about 19' & it might be iffy even for a small unit. So it looks like I'd have to buy a bigger TV if we went with a trailer. That gets harder to justify (I'd have to trade in the Exploder for a vehicle that is overall less useful...).

I'm also thinking about buying a small piece of land (couple of acres) in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, so a trailer might be a nice starter "cabin" until we can get a house built (which would be some years down the road anyway). If we went that route, we would get a bigger trailer & leave it on site, so I've been reading up on what to think about for that kind of setup too.

Anyway, as you can see, I'm still kinda all over the map on this, and nothing will be happening on this front for a while anyway (little one needs to be bigger, and we need to redo the kitchen at home). But I'd welcome any thoughts/suggestions/observations from those of you who've been through similar contemplations before.

Tom
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htbyron
We're not really in the market yet for an A/S, but I've always liked the look (saw a LOT of the trailers growing up in Sarasota, FL). The younger one is just 3, so I don't think we'll seriously contemplate buying an A/S for a couple more years.
Don't wait a couple of years. Start now! I started taking my daughter camping at 6 months. Now she is four she is the most adimate one about when are we going camping. She helps *work* on the trailer, loves to just go out there with me and sit in it. It's all very exciting for her!

We just had another baby last year so I am actually selling my trailer now in the classifieds section and will be looking for a larger one.

Quote:
I also had thought I could just use my existing 97 Ford Exploder (4.0L, not SOHC, but with factory trailer package) as a TV. But after reading here, it seems that will not be adequate for anything bigger than about 19' & it might be iffy even for a small unit.
Tom
I think you are right on target there. I originally towed my 23' Safari with a Ford Expedition, the larger version of your Explorer. It had a 4.6 L. I did not like it at all. Of course we head up to the tahoe area over the mountains so we needed more power.

Good luck with your hunt for a trailer, but don't wait for the kids to get bigger. They'll love it now!
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:33 PM   #3
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Smile Airstreaming is lots more fun with kids!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
Good luck with your hunt for a trailer, but don't wait for the kids to get bigger. They'll love it now!
I totally agree with Tim. We started off Airstreaming with our baby, and now he's four and loves camping. There is so much kids learn camping, I remember I did anyways. Our little boy loves helping dad with the stabilizers and getting things set up/put away. You have so many beautiful camping spots in Virginia too!! We love it there. Good luck with your decision!!
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the encouragement, guys. Well, I'll keep an open mind. Still gotta work through some of the other issues, though (not to mention the money end...).

Tom
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:55 PM   #5
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I to was a lurker....BEWARE....after my first search to check out an Airstream I was hooked...it was a cute, shinny as could be Caravel. I thought it was absolutely adorable and was perfecto for what I had in mind for my future and my family. That got the wheels turning for me...something that I kept saying was going to be later in the future also.

Well my husband & I bought our first back in Feb...not the cute little Caravel but something to satisfy my pallet and still very cool I think. It was very doable and the price was right. This is our first ever camper and we are total newbies at this although we had the VW Vanagon camping back in the 80's.

You just have to be patient, when the right deal comes along you'll know it....

Welcome to the Forums and good luck with your "lurking"...it's catchy ya know
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:05 PM   #6
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If dad had bought a used AS in the 60's you could still be using it today. On the other hand if you buy and maintain one today your kids can enjoy it 50 years from now. Not many things hang around that long and are still fully functional, including me.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:22 PM   #7
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camp while they are small

You will enjoy the getting away from the house on weekends and have great fun with the little ones. They grow up so fast that they will be in to other intrests before you can blink your eyes. If you wait until you can afford it , you may be old and gray saying I wish I had when they were young. IF you camp with them now when they are older they will have wonderful memories of walks, campfires and times to just sit and look at the stars. Camping time is destress time.

Kay
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:37 PM   #8
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Don't know if this helps, but we borrowed my mother-in-laws 5th wheel when our oldest was 5 months old; by the time she was 11 mos we had a pop-up. That became a hybrid by the time #2 arrived, and his first outing was at 5 weeks.

I know we did it, and other people do it too, but 1-2 year olds are a handful when trying to setup or derig a pop-up. Not stress free, if you follow me.

We've only spent 2 nights in the airstream so far (we'll have had it a week tomorrow), but I slept much better than I ever did in either of its predecessors.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:07 PM   #9
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Kay, I read you post to quickly and had to back and re-read. I saw distress instead of destress, whew
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:42 PM   #10
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Contemplating

Much to my plesant suprise my three daughters, now 27, 25 and 22 remember the camping trips we took in the first and second SOBs. They were all I could afford, the first I had to replace the entire front wood structure before I felt safe towing the thing. Wish I'd known how reasonable the older units were back then I'd have bought one.
Get a unit, whether an AS or an SOB. Your kids will suprise in 20 or so years,....plesantly for a change.
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Old 04-21-2006, 01:16 AM   #11
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Unanimous!

Tom -

I'll make the tally unanimous. START camping NOW! As others have said, the kids will never get younger, the $'s will always flow somewhere else - there never is a 'Perfect Time" to do something which will add immeasurable pleasure to your memory bank. Not to mention the kids memories!

Work out the details, keep looking and that trailer will come your way - and you'll be ready for it when it does!!

"No time like NOW!" or soon ;>)

Peace

Axel

BTW - The Eastern shore has GORGEOUS camping all over!!! Still wish I lived in the VA/DC/MD area!!!!
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:15 AM   #12
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Wow. Thanks all for the encouragement & warm welcome to this community. I have taken the kids tent camping once or twice a year since the oldest was about 2, but I don't enjoy that as much and I think we might go more (and maybe my wife would come along) if we had a bed/stove/frig.

My current concern is this: I think I'd rather drive something small and self-contained, like a B190, rather than haul a trailer, at least at this point. But I'm worried about the safety of the little kids riding in the side-facing (couch) seat with only lap belts. Anyone here have thoughts or suggestions about this? I posted in an ongoing thread about this topic (mostly involving Class As, I think) here: http://www.airforums.com/forum...ats-21854.html
But I'd welcome the views of folks who've already commented here as well.

I suppose the alternative would be a small trailer that I could pull with the exploder I already have, although that's not really ideal for a bunch of reasons.

Hmmm.

Tom
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Old 04-21-2006, 01:23 PM   #13
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Tom,

I have two kids, daughter 6 and son is 3. they've both been camping since infants. started out in tents, then into a class A and now to a 1970 safari. my kids love camping and definitely look forward to trips and time in our rigs.

my daughter cried when I sold the 1972 class A barth

but now they have grown to love the airstream. we had a 2nd airstream (72 GT) that I sold earlier this week. you should have seen my son protesting as the new owner was hitching up to his vehicle.




and it also helps that my mom also travels in her 68 GT

paul schuster
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Old 04-21-2006, 01:59 PM   #14
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Just my 2-cents...

I concur with everybody else's comments as far as doing it sooner rather than later. Before you know it the kids will be into Little League, Soccer, school activities, Girl/BoyScouts, _____fill in the blank_____ and it'll be harder to get started rather than easier. My fondest childhood memories were camping trips, albeit in a tent NEXT TO those very cool Airstreams in the sixties. I wouldn't trade those memories for the world! I was 9, my sister was 5 and my brother was under a year old we were all in a 8x10 Sears canvas tent. We started because I was in Girl Scouts, my mom was the troop leader and Girl Scouts go camping = so we had to know how to camp...the great family time was the reward. My entire family still camps...my folks have finally graduated to a pop-up (which I don't understand?!) my sister with her kiddo & husband in a tent and my brother backpacking under the stars. They all say I got soft with the Airstream, but they just don't get it...yet!

As far as a tow vehicle, you're right the Explorer is going to limit what you can tow. However, you don't need to go out & get a brand new testoserone filled truck either. We tow with a Yukon and have had very good luck even here in the mountains of CO. You may want to consider a Yukon/Tahoe or Suburban which functionally are similar to your Explorer. The thing with a B190, Sprinter Van or Westfalia is it's another motor to maintain. And they are smaller, a 19' trailer (like our GT) is much more functional than those and about the same size. In selecting a size, imagine everybody inside on a rainy day, you want a little elbow room. Our GT is fine for the two of us...but with kids, I would want bigger, probaly 25' or so which is still very managable. Besides, a van-type M/H is day-to-day even less usable than a differnet tow vehicle would be.

Shari
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