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Old 02-13-2012, 10:45 PM   #1
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Grandmom's farm

I can't remember when it started. When did I first develop this nostalgia? I think perhaps it was weekends, summers and holidays spent on "the farm" in Stephenville, Tx. I grew up in Austin, where I've spent the majority of my life. My father's mother, "grandmom" as I knew her, lived in this old farmhouse at the top of Cook hill, just down from Pigeon Rd.. With the help of her grandson "V-dub" and my Uncle Mike, she raised cattle on a 300 acre farm.

The old house was stocked full of old stuff. I think now they call them antiques, but to me they were fantastic fantasies and oddities that a little boy could be amazed by and wonder about for hours. What were these things? Everything was heavy, thick and dark. I was amazed by how old sturdy things were. From the glass doorknobs with real key holes to an old china cabinet with curved glass doors that creaked in wonderful resistance as I would move them back and forth just in awe of the rippled glass that was as thin as could be but curved almost to a 90 degree bend.

There were toys I didn't want to play with, but rather just hold and wonder about, like this old toy race car made out of clay with real rubber tires and rusted metal axles. There was the old Telefunken radio that sat in the middle of the living room where the grown-up's would sit and talk for hours into the night. (I've attached a photo of the radio below. It now rests in my living room.) Turning the Telefunken on would excite me just in the satisfactory "click" the knob would make and then, the anticipation, waiting as the tubes warmed up and slowly, a scratchy radio signal would fade into the room and fill it with sound that seemed as if it were coming from some kind of time machine or another world all together.

Everything about that place was magical. My grandmom cooked everything in this cast iron skillet that was so primed that it had developed this textured outer shell from the years and years of bacon grease and everything else that had snapped and popped and leapt from the heat only to be seared onto the sides of the skillet from the flames of the old gas stove that would explode into blue hot gas when lit. Something about cooking with bacon grease and lard seemed so right for farm cookin'. My grandmother had these tough farm hands that looked like leather and could literally reach into that skillet and flip a piece of sizzling bacon with her bare hands.

Perhaps you're asking yourself, "what the hell does any of this have to do with Airstreams? Is this newcomer lost in the wrong forum?"

I think I've realized as I'm writing this, why I am here. This is home to me. These are the things that I cling to, that I value. For years I've been desperately hanging on to quality, to nostalgia and to the idealism of the fondness of memories. I recently shut down my recording studio that I've been the owner / operator of for the past 7 years. It was an old fashioned studio. We recorded onto analog tape and I used console from 1975 that weighed 4 times what it needed to and was filled with iron transformers that coated every note in beautiful 70's syrup. I love the way those old records sound. It was the hard way to make records and it was more expensive than the more efficient, modern techniques, but to me, it was the right way to make a record.

I love old stuff. Things were once built to last but also, they were built with pride. Those things are older now, and many of them are broken or breaking, but I'm here to bond with the many others who appreciate the intrinsic value of things nearly lost, often on the fritz, but always remembered and always appreciated. So many of you have managed to recapture this spirit that I was so fond of as a child and I ask you to allow me to join you as I'll be embarking on a journey ahead that I've dreamed of but never attempted. I'm going to buy an Airstream and live in it.

This isn't going to be my dream Airstream. I'm in no position to be shooting for idealism or even nostalgia to be perfectly honest. I'm on a budget, but I don't require much. I'll need the plumbing to work, the appliances to function, electricity will be a nice touch, hot water. I've already accepted that things will fail and have to be repaired or replaced. I'm perfectly okay with that. At some point, perhaps I'll take her down to the frame and remove the rot and start anew, make her my own. But this is simply the beginning of something. This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. A new chapter, but somehow, a chapter from my past. What will that something be? I don't know, but I welcome you all to join me as I find out.

My name is Barrett. I am searching for an Airstream.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Oh, and by the way, I'm looking for an experienced owner in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas to possibly meet me this Sunday and check out a '73 Overlander that is for sale in that area. I've been reading and following others on this forum long enough to know that some floor rot is almost a given, but I'd like some help from someone experienced with assessing some of the "working" pumps, heaters, 12v supply, axel condition etc..

Thank you,
Barrett
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrett View Post
Perhaps you're asking yourself, "what the hell does any of this have to do with Airstreams?
I think many of us here "get it"...I sure do, what a wonderful first post!

I hope your Airstream finds you, it will be in wonderful hands ~ good luck with your search. There is a wonderful group of folks in the Heart of Texas Camping Unit of the WBCCI, I know several are from around Austin (& Stephenville!) - hopefully someone will chime in and be able to help you out with your inspection.

You might also check out this thread for an inspector in the area.

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Old 02-13-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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Happy hunting!

Welcome to our crazy shared addiction. I am very happy with our '75 Argosy, and have a number of things yet to do before it's "our perfect trailer" (at least for a few hours) but I still can't help trolling through the AIRForums classifieds several times a week, and I have an app on my phone that trolls Craigslist for me.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:55 AM   #5
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Good luck in your search, and welcome to the forums!
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:15 AM   #6
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Lovely story.

Good luck to you. May it be all you hope for.


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Old 02-14-2012, 04:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
I think many of us here "get it"...I sure do, what a wonderful first post!

I hope your Airstream finds you, it will be in wonderful hands ~ good luck with your search. There is a wonderful group of folks in the Heart of Texas Camping Unit of the WBCCI, I know several are from around Austin (& Stephenville!) - hopefully someone will chime in and be able to help you out with your inspection.

You might also check out this thread for an inspector in the area.

Shari
Thank you Shari for the well wishes and the tip on finding an inspector!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
Happy hunting!

Welcome to our crazy shared addiction. I am very happy with our '75 Argosy, and have a number of things yet to do before it's "our perfect trailer" (at least for a few hours) but I still can't help trolling through the AIRForums classifieds several times a week, and I have an app on my phone that trolls Craigslist for me.
DKB,

Thank you for the welcoming. What is this app that you speak of? That sounds like a nice feature that could shorten my search. I found something online that was basically clumping all the craigslist's of Texas together and that was convenient to say the least. I'm not limiting my search to only Texas, but I am starting there because I can physically drive just about anywhere in Texas and back in a day and still get to work on Monday!

Quote:
Originally Posted by exthemius View Post
Good luck in your search, and welcome to the forums!
Thank you, Exthemius.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
Lovely story.

Good luck to you. May it be all you hope for.


Maggie
Maggie, Thank you. I think it will be! I'm not hoping for too much actually. I think it would be difficult for it to be a let down. I typically am a bit of an idealist but I've decided to approach this venture a bit differently. I'm decidedly concerned about the rot issue that seems to plague so many, if not all of these trailers, but at the same time, I'm welcoming the challenge.

I've been see-sawing on wether to buy one that is on the bottom side of usability or perhaps one that has been lightly renovated in an attempt to increase my comfort level.

Price is a major factor for me, but more so, value. I'm kind of wood obsessed so part of me is leaning away from anything post-'70. If my research is accurate, anything from 71 up to years that are too modern for me to feel nostalgic are finished in laminate.

On the flip side of the see-saw, if you will, is feeling kind of attached to the tacky-ness of that look. I find it charming, but the idealist in me wouldn't settle for that long term.

The thought of going that route now and planning on replacing it all at some point seems like where my mind-heart is headed. The first one that I saw and fell in love with fit my price point. Some kind of nostalgia fairy inside me with a pick ax etched it's name into my brain in the form of:

'73 Airstream Overlander, 27'

It took everything I had not to pick up the phone and call. I figured I'd better do a bit of research before. Once you start digging, you figure out what you like and don't like. There are things that I definitely don't like about this model, but I do like that I can make her into whatever I want.

Right now, I want one that I can move into and start living. I think that trumps the side of me that wants her to be exactly what I want. So I'm more focused on finding the right amount of well maintained for the right price.

I spoke to the woman on the phone about the '73 Overlander yesterday and she's got a potential buyer that may have backed out. I should know by tomorrow or Thursday morning if I'm going to be scrambling to get down to the southern belly of the gulf on Sunday and take a look around. Maybe this is my girl?

It's killing me waiting to find out if this other fella has snatched her up. I feel helpless. Is it Wednesday yet?

-Barrett
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:12 PM   #8
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Craigslist Notification

Barrett,

The app I use on the phone is called Craigslist Notification in the Android Market, though on the phone it just says "CraigsNotifica" for the name. Here is a description from the programmer.

The iOS app from the same developer is called CraigsBook, if you're an iPerson.
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:33 PM   #9
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Thank's DKB. I am in fact, a macintosh-telephone user.

What was it that Ferris Bueller said? "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Wise words coming from some screen writer somewhere.

My journey, that I promised my self wouldn't be about idealism but action, has already taken a turn.

I had my heart set on the first girl I laid eyes on. And I would be going down to see her if I could get a return phone call telling me that she's there waiting for me. But I think that things have played out otherwise. In fact, it appears that things have played out in my favor.

The last year wood was used on the interior's, 1970, has come calling. One of the other 'streams that was for sale in my price range that appeared to be mostly functional has searched me out and found me.

She's a '70 Soveriegn. She already posesses more of the qualities that I want and is being offered at $1,000 cheaper than the other. She's four feet longer and has the secretly coveted vista view windows and awning. (i'm not sure in what condition, but as I mentioned, i'm not letting any of that get in my way.)

So here it is, Wednesday evening and I'm now officially scrambling to find someone, anyone, in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas to come check out an Airstream.

I don't have a tow vehicle, I don't have anything but a bunch of bound up excitement that's ready to explode. Yes, I'm an id based person, if you haven't figured that out.

I'm not panicked by my lack of preparedness. In fact, I'm excited by it.

Next chapter? We shall see. I'm off to find an Airstream investigator! Wish me luck!

-Barrett
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:05 PM   #10
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Well, here goes nuthin'. I'm picking up my rental truck and driving down to the Rio Grande Valley first thing in the morning. I have made arrangements to go see the '70 Sovereign that I talked about. I can't deny, I'm beyond excited. This is kind of absurd.

I need to publicly thank DKB for putting me in touch with REDNAX. Red has agreed to meet me down there to take a look at what hopefully, becomes my new home.

Red has offered up so much useful knowledge that I can't even begin to go into. His preparedness is quite impressive. I'm an emotional buyer and I'm at risk of doing something stupid, but Red has my back and I think I'll make the right choice regardless. The mystery of going to check out this trailer based on a few phone calls to the owner and some lousy pictures online is actually really exciting!

I had plans to drive down with a buddy and his truck, but things fell through and now I'll be making the trek alone with my companion, P-nut. P-nut will offer good company and minimal conversation. Just what a fella needs for a six hour drive.

I'll be scrambling to get some supplies together and get on the road. As I make this trek, I can't help but wander... hehe, wonder, what is is store for me? The weekend will be an adventure for sure, but the months ahead... wow.
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:19 AM   #11
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Mmmm, sounds very promising, and like you have good help.

Keep us posted.


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Old 02-18-2012, 05:04 PM   #12
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Wishing you the very best of luck on your quest Barrett. I love old stuff too, the cranky ol' geezer I live with and love is witness to that
I just bought a 1953 Singer sewing machine and it can do stuff that would make my modern machines disintegrate.
That sewing machine WILL be sewing the upholstery for my 1962 A/S "Bubbles", once she has all her body and face lifts.
I think that most of us can empathize with your Aluminitis, I passed my baby every day, twice a day, for ten years, wishing she was mine. Fate (or the Lady) intervened and now she is absolutely and ecstatically mine. I couldn't believe it for months.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:44 AM   #13
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I see a different candidate for sale in your area, Barrett. A 1974 28' (mislabeled 32') Silver Streak in Little River, TX (near Killeen). At $4,500 it's worth a look. The pics on CL show a decent candidate and I can see nothing worrisome (non-RV reefer is about it, the rest appears OEM). More pics will help.

Silver Streak 32ft

Much enjoyed our rendezvous in the RGV a few weeks back. Appreciated that, once I was cranked up and running, that you weren't too taken aback by information overload. There are no ends of ways in which to approach the ownership and use of a good trailer.

Certainly, we had an informative look at a pair of low-priced A/S trailers of about/near 35-40 years of age and came away wiser, eh?

Maybe you can lure the bear from his lair to look at the above with you (Top). Leaks due to exterior damage are the only concern on an SS, for, given no plumbing breaks or vermin infestations, the brand is an otherwise straightforward, easy resto.

And I may have some new info on making that anodized skin clean up better than before.

Here are some pics of how good an OEM Silver Streak can look (Txiceman's 1979, now sold).

.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:44 PM   #14
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Bummer. That listing disappeared altogether.

.
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