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Old 01-29-2006, 05:07 PM   #1
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Farewell Vintage Airstream

It is official. We went and done it. We just took ownership of a Freightliner Mercedes Benz deisel Sprinter B camper van. Unfortunately it is not an Airstream Interstate but a Pleasure-Way Plateau. We have had our 1971 vintage Airstream Tradewind and had not made any progress toward getting it ready for use. We are still employed in the working world and our vacations the past two years have either been overseas or frequent flying visits to our far flung kids. Our passion for boating and kayaking further demanded our time on weekends.

What caused this? A few things. We are travelers more than campers. That realization was evidenced by us putting 1,500 miles in a rental car in 9 days on a small island--Great Britain. Our USA vacations have always been as hectic and they usually were visits to National parks, monuments and forests or fly in to big cities like San Francisco. None were prime for trailer vacations.

The straw that...? Last October we were up on the north shore of Minnesota in Grand Marais. Grand Marais has a nice municipal RV park full of motorhomes and trailers at the beginning of the Gunflint Trail. At the remote end of the gunflint trail 60 miles away in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area was the trail's end campground. We kind of looked at each other weighing the difference and our mutual desire was at the end of the trail where I doubt you could pull a trailer.

The coupe de gras? My wife casually summed me up and said she didn't think we ought to pull a trailer. She remembers the tangle I had with that moving tree in Glacier Park that took out our tail light. You can also blame it on the "Blue Beret". One of the Airstream dealers featured a Sprinter van in an ad that caught my wife's attention. So we started investigating.

Airstream was a dime late. Their Sprinter plan was one of the poorest with a center double bed layout. One day after we agreed to purchase a Pleasure-Way, Colonial Airstream posted a new plan comparable to the Pleasure-Way that even the official Airstream web site did not have. So, we are leaving the Airstream community and maybe you have seen our trailer up for sale in the classifieds.

This forum, however, is one of the best forums and there is still a lot of topics of interest for me not to permanently leave. I'll be around. Who knows? If I ever retire I might want to opt for something bigger. If so, it will be an Airstream.

Here's in with the new and out with the old...
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Old 01-29-2006, 06:22 PM   #2
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Davydd,

Congratulations! Your new RV looks very nice. I wouldn't have known it wasn't an A/S had you not said. Just put a sticker on it and say it is!

I hope you keep posting.

Enjoy!

Dennis
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Old 01-29-2006, 06:34 PM   #3
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Davydd,

I'm sure you have already found out what a great vehicle the Sprinter is! I have a 140" van that I use as a TV for my new 19' CCD and as my work vehicle and it does a great job....16 MPG!! 23-24 in regular use. I have 40K miles on it and have just changed the oil for the 3rd time.

Have a super time getting in to all of those little places where a big RV just won't fit! I had a 40' diesel pusher so I know how difficult it can be.

And please stay around the forum. You could always get a couple of Airstream tags for your Sprinter (your secret's safe with me!! ).
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Old 01-29-2006, 06:40 PM   #4
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Look at it this way...

What's the Tow Capacity? (eh-eh-eh -- considering my usual skepticism of this unreal measurement)

See you on the bitstream --but you'll want to keep the Airstream for a deer feeder and maybe later use if you want other travelers' heads to snap around with a "What was that!?"

From our state's most played polka, the Minnesota Rouser:
Minnesota, hats off to thee,
To thy colors true we shall ever be...
Firm and strong, united are we.
Rah, rah, rah, for Ski-U-Mah,
Rah, rah, rah, rah,
Rah for the U of M.
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Old 01-29-2006, 06:58 PM   #5
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It's just a fact of life that fixing up and using an old trailer is not for everyone, particularly with the 'personality' they tend to exhibit. Sounds like you made a wise choice, and hopefully it will let you enjoy your weekends out even more. Looks like a nice rig! I've always wondered how they got so much stuff packed into such a tiny area. How do you think you'll enjoy camping in it?
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Old 01-29-2006, 07:56 PM   #6
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Davydd, congratulations on a well thought out change. I am a firm believer that change is good, and this will be good for you. Please stay on the forum; I always read your responses and have valued your ideas again and again. I understand the GM Municipal Campground/Trails End story, having been to both many times. We have friends with a grandfathered cabin property on the Canadian side of Sag~a "few" paddle strokes from Trails End. Best wishes, happy travels, and I hope we continue to enjoy your presence on the forum ~G
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:14 PM   #7
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Tow capacity of the Sprinter is 5,000 lbs. In theory I could pull the Airstream I have. In theory that is.
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Old 01-29-2006, 10:00 PM   #8
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Pics

Could you show pics of the inside.I am really curious as to how it looks.Thanks
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Old 01-29-2006, 10:09 PM   #9
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davydd, devo and others.....

congrats on the new b, it is so a!!

but you left dodge out of that really long name........

these are canadian made and nicer than the 2 u.s. made a/s models....the westie....is nice imo but has the topper too.

you can see pics and the specs here.....
http://www.pleasureway.com/home.html

http://www.pleasureway.com/plateau.html

i saw these at a couple of rv shows last year......as i recall they had one with birch wood interior which was verrrrrrrrry nice, and another with cherry?

nicely equipped and built you did very well. post some pics of a trip soon!

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:36 PM   #10
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Towing with the Sprinter

Davydd:

The Gross Combined Weight Rating for your new Sprinter is 14,990 pounds so if you take the curb weight of your loaded Pleasureway away from that you will see that you have plenty of room to pull your old trailer.

Your new rig was built in SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, as you probably know - but others may enjoy knowing too.

Enjoy.

Sergei
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:35 AM   #11
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The Actual Van Pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devoman
Could you show pics of the inside.I am really curious as to how it looks.Thanks
Devoman,

The actual pics of the van I own can be found here.

http://web.mac.com/davydd/iWeb/Site/Pleasure-Way.html

I took them at the dealer when I first looked at it.
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:52 AM   #12
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Wink Oh no! Freightliner

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Originally Posted by 2airishuman
davydd, devo and others.....

congrats on the new b, it is so a!!

but you left dodge out of that really long name........

these are canadian made and nicer than the 2 u.s. made a/s models....the westie....is nice imo but has the topper too.

you can see pics and the specs here.....
http://www.pleasureway.com/home.html

http://www.pleasureway.com/plateau.html

i saw these at a couple of rv shows last year......as i recall they had one with birch wood interior which was verrrrrrrrry nice, and another with cherry?

nicely equipped and built you did very well. post some pics of a trip soon!

cheers
2air'
Noooo! It is a Freightliner. Mine is badged completely as a Freightliner. Better looking front grill than the Dodge in my opinion. The diesel engine says Mercedes Benz. I think I got in under the wire. All new Sprinter B vans coming from the conversion manufacturers in Canada and the US are showing up as Dodge badged. The converters probably buy vans in lots and convert them. Mine is technically a 2004 van and a 2005 model year conversion. I think somewhere midway in the 2005 conversion year they switched over to Dodge. Probably when they ran out of 2004 stock and got in the newer 2005 stock.

OK, I am a snob about that. I haven't gone so far as some I have heard that have gone online and ordered Mercedes Benz grills and badges and replace them.

There are three US manufacturers I am aware of, Airstream, Gulfstream and Sportsmobile. They all use plastic laminate cabinetry. The four Canadian manufacturers, Great West, Roadtrek, Liesure Travel Vans and Pleasure-Way all use solid wood cabinetry. Pleasure-Way seems to be the best in the cabinet category. Mine is light Maple.

The Airstream Interstate is a very nice looking unit and suits my aesthetic taste. The Airstream Westfalia is the most unique and would be great for younger couples and those with small children. If I had unlimited funds I would have bought a Liesure Travel Van Free Spirit LSS but I saved over $17,000 from the best deal I could negotiate. Even my vanity could not succumb to that fact.
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:39 AM   #13
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I run a 2004 Sprinter and it has a listed cargo capacity of 3800 lbs PLUS a tow capacity of 5000 lbs. I did a cross-country run last summer almost to capacity with 3200 lbs of cargo and a 4000 lb motorcycle trailer. NO PROBLEM! Given the 2.7 liter 5 cylinder diesel with 165 HP and 255 ft/lb of torque, the bigger hills were a little 'challenging' but once at highway speed, it held like a champ. Great ride and 15-16 mpg with all of the load.

The only modification that I did (highly recommended!) was to add a set of Firestone air bags to the rear suspension. Helped tremendously with the ride and held up it's end brilliantly! (no sag)

PS: These vans are made in Stuttgart, Germany and are really Mercedes products. I removed the front chrome strip on my hood to two-tone paint it and found a large circular cut-out there. What do you think it was for?.....the circular Mercedes emblem of course!!! So now I have removed the Dodge grill and it's ugly chrome facade (IMHO) and replaced it with a nice, plain black Benz circle. LOOKS GREAT!!!
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:59 AM   #14
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Davydd;

There are no farewells just new chapters in your lives. I love your choice! and have been secretly collecting brochures - for the future

Love that rear bed layout - reminds me of the Cuddy set up - sport cruiser boats. Hey you could even fling those doors wide open and sleep under the stars after a great paddle!

Good luck and happy trails...


PS I think it is about time this forum comes up with a "dearly departed" forum for all our friends who choose a different path - that way they won't feel like they can't post just because they do not have an Airstream anymore

Once an airstream enthusiast always one - they may not be the best and can be priced quite out of this world for what you get - but they sure are unique.....
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