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Old 06-06-2013, 01:28 PM   #1
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2013 23' International
Vacaville , California
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Finally Pulled the Trigger in NorCal!

After five or so years of researching, deliberating and commiserating on what type of RV to buy we finally made our choice!

We are the proud new owners of a gutted out 1987 Dodge Caravan with a plywood bed! Pretty sweet, huh?

What?

Okay…we’re now the proud owners of a 2014 International Signature 23D!!!

After three days of going through tons of Airstreams at the New Bay Area Airstream Adventure Store we fell in love with this model. It was the only 2014 they had...interior color is listed as "miscellaneous" but it's really just a blueish slate grey. Love it!

This is our first RV, unless you count my 1973 VW Westfalia from when I entered the Air Force (in 1993…not 1973). It too had miscellaneous interior color but that wasn't on purpose.

We looked at everything from custom Sprinters and Class C Motorhomes, Westy Vanagons to pop-ups and cheapo Coleman campers.

Nothing compared to the Airstream. But you all already know that.
We’re headed out for a maiden voyage this weekend. It’s just me, the wifey and our pooch. No kids...YET! We’re both active duty Air Force and coming up on retirement. She’s done in a year [looking for jealousy emoticon] and I have one more assignment after this. We’re in Vacaville CA but I work in downtown Sacramento.

We figure learning all the nuances is half the fun and adventure, so I don’t have “many” questions. Just a couple.

One I do have is for the NorCal people here. Is it as impossible as it appears to camp on the coast without reserving your spot at least one generation in advance? I'm thinking about starting on reservations for random weekends for my kids that haven't been conceived yet. I’m wondering if the bay area hard-cores just reserve slots cart-blanche and if they use them fine, if not…whatever. Any ideas? Any secret gems out there I should try to go to? I don’t mind boondocking because frankly I don’t want to experience the wonders of nature next to Fred and Ethel and their 62-foot retirement mansion on wheels. But hookups AND nature would be a fine balance. I have espresso to make after all.

And while we’re on the subject of boondocking…I’ve searched the forums (not my first rodeo on a forum as I used to be a sports car guy in several different communities) and regarding generators have seen a ton of debate on “Red vs Blue,” so much so that if the debate was illustrated it would look like election day, but nothing really asking the basic "do I have to have one" question. Is a generator (or generators as seems to be the popular option) a must-have? I won’t be going out for more than three days (at least for the first couple years) and we’re pretty conservative with the juice. Can’t even imagine running A/C as long as we’re not in the valley…I mean, who camps in the valley?

So that’s it.

Just a guy, his wife and their spoiled Weimaraner Bella looking to explore the world at 8mpg.

And NO! Her name has absolutely nothing to do with that affront to good acting with the vampires.

Ian & Kristie
2014 International Signature 23D hooked to a 2011 Toyota Tundra DC 4X4
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:45 PM   #3
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Ian and C.O..

1. ditch the standard AS gravity crapper for a proper Airforce inspired "afterburner" commode.
2. Get youself two gensets.
3. Forget California for beach camping and head up to Oregon.
4. As the father of five ankle biters myself...forget the notion that you will ever get to enjoy the camping experience again after you add a couple of "little airmen" to the mix. They of course will have a blast, but you will be relegated to KP.
5. Welcome to the forums and a lifetime of aluminitis.

Matt from the East Bay.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:58 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Airforums Ian and Kristie... Sounds like you bought a beauty! Hopefully you will join us at one of our local airforum rallys. We would love to meet you guys.

Cheers.

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Old 06-06-2013, 04:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrunes View Post
Ian and C.O..

1. ditch the standard AS gravity crapper for a proper Airforce inspired "afterburner" commode.
2. Get youself two gensets.
3. Forget California for beach camping and head up to Oregon.
4. As the father of five ankle biters myself...forget the notion that you will ever get to enjoy the camping experience again after you add a couple of "little airmen" to the mix. They of course will have a blast, but you will be relegated to KP.
5. Welcome to the forums and a lifetime of aluminitis.

Matt from the East Bay.
Good advice, all!

So, what size generator am I going to need to incinerate my poop? Probably about the size I award and adminster services for in my deployed locations. Big gens...the bane of my contracting existence when deployed. ugh...

I LOVE Oregon, as a native Washingtonian with the majority of my family in Eugene and Portland I'd much rather be north of the Cali border...but that's tough to do in a weekend.

I can't wait for KP duty! As long as I get to sit back every few minutes and watch the little ones have the time of their lives I'm all for it!

- Ian
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:39 PM   #6
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Mare Island , California
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My partner and I are about to purchase a 2014 23D. Wow! Me too, regarding my last RV - a 1970 something VW van with hightop. I lived in it for 2 years. Then I lived in a 40 ft Trawler in the SF Bay area. Loved it until the teak killed me. Looking forward to the Airstream. Started looking at a 20ft and then decided a 23 made more sense. Like the 23D better than the 23FB, for us, at least. No dogs, no kids. Sweet. Thinking about a genset, too. Hope to meet up with all ya folks.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:21 PM   #7
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There are several lines of thought about generator sets. Since the trailer has 30 amp service (not aware if a 23' could have two A/C units and thus 50 amp service), two red or blue 2,000 watt generator sets would power the entire rig with the A/C running using the combiner cable. If A/C is not needed, I rotate use between the two units with a 15 amp extension cord to equalize wear and tear.

Since I use Honda two 2K generator sets, one has the twist lock 30 amp socket and one 15 amp 110Vac socket while the other has the two 110Vac sockets. There is a shared gasoline tank that will feed both Hondas at the same time.

We had a single 150 watt solar panel and it was not enough to fully recharge the batteries during the day with the furnace cycling all night in 40 degree air at the Albuquerque Ballon festival in October. Thus I needed to run at least one generator for a few hours a day to top up the batteries for the next night's heating.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:56 PM   #8
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Hi from AZ. . . welcome to our tribe ! I think you're going to love it. I too am former USAF & also had a 73 Westfalia hardtop camper, after 2 67 Westies. Finally found my Airstream in 2010 & am now on 2nd one. I recently heard of a generator converted to propane, which seems to make so much sense to me, since we already have propane on the AS and wouldn't need to cart around gas cans. I'm looking for info as we speak. Hope to see y'all 'out there' sometime, and regards, Craig
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