Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-01-2014, 12:01 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
BearScream's Avatar
 
2007 20' Safari
Chelmsford , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 109
Hello Airstream Doers and Dreamers (formerly T)

Hello all.

I am 71, single, a retired software engineer interested in reducing my footprint on the planet in the spirit of the "tiny house" movement -- I admire the off-grid, energy-efficient lifestyle -- and seek to do it in a flexible, mobile form. My aim is leisurely boondocking and touring, rather than long-duration stays at RV parks. But fuel economy is a concern.

In my mid 30's, I lived nicely out of one suitcase while traveling for a year in France, England and Italy, stopping in modest (1 star) hotels. I could live small again and much more pleasantly in a 20' Airstream.

While not oriented to outdoor sports or open-air camping, I appreciate the varied, changing beauty of natural surroundings and the charm of new places, all while preferring the comforts of a movable home. My plan is to head out next spring-summer, leaving my townhouse condo behind me as a fall-back.

Naturally cautious, I have been gathering data, lurking on airforums.com, reading books on RV travel, TT construction, Airstream, full-timing (my ambition) for over a year. Having a versatile and economical TV as a daily driver appeals to me, as compared, for instance to a comparably equipped motor coach. So I am leaning to a new (maybe used) 1/2 ton truck, a RAM 1500 TD AWD (bio-diesel fuel compatible would also be nice), perhaps the coming aluminum body Ford F150 or maybe even a compact Toyota truck.

After exploring floor plans and features, I chose the 20' Safari/Flying Cloud with its fine galley since I cook, as the best balance of comfort vs small size.

My idea is to convert the 20' from a camper designed mainly for a family with kids, to a "studio" with more open space and more flexible furnishings, a studio for one full-timer. A used, under ten year old 20' Safari or Flying Cloud would ease the modifications that I have in mind for the dining and bed area -- briefly, replacing the dinette with a modular desk/meal-bar/dining table at the double window, changing the bed to a convertible sofa/bed. Not having the skill, or facilities to attempt them myself, I am considering customizers, such as Risco Inc in NJ or Timeless in CO. My altered 20' floor plan will be posted soon if wanted.

Airforums is the first national social network I have ever thought indispensable to join. Any comments, warnings of possible pitfalls, suggestions or ideas from this well-informed, experienced community are most welcome.
__________________

__________________
BearScream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 12:20 PM   #2
Moderator
 
moosetags's Avatar

 
2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,764
Images: 5
Greetings from the Flotida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

You have developed quite a plan, and have, obviously, given it a lot of thought and research. Here at the Forums, your have found the right place to further develop your plan and bounce it off of many experienced RV enthusiasts.

In your consideration of various model Airstreams, consider the single axle vs. the tandem axle configurations. The single axle is better for maneuverability, but the tandem axle affords stability and a much easier time in case of tire failure.

It seems like you know what you want and how to achieve it. Good luck in your quest.

Brian
__________________

__________________
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
moosetags is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 12:52 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
AnnArborBob's Avatar
 
2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,769
Images: 12
Welcome to the good life!

Check out the Classified ads on this forum (see the grey tabs near the top of the page under the blue Air Forums banner.) You should be able to find a 20 foot, gently used, under ten year old Airstream as that is often a "starter" size for newbies who then decide they need a larger unit. As a single traveler you will of course be able to enjoy a somewhat smaller unit that would a couple.

Good luck and keep us posted!

__________________
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
AnnArborBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 12:56 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
AWCHIEF's Avatar
 
2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8,142
Images: 33
Welcome to the madness. The only limitation to Airstreams modification are skills and or money. Good luck with your project and future life change.
__________________
MICHAEL

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
AWCHIEF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 02:23 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member
 
BearScream's Avatar
 
2007 20' Safari
Chelmsford , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.
...
In your consideration of various model Airstreams, consider the single axle vs. the tandem axle configurations. The single axle is better for maneuverability, but the tandem axle affords stability and a much easier time in case of tire failure.
...
Thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, a double axle would be easier. Aside the extra weight that would mean a 23+ model, small galley, and a floor plan not so easy to adjust. I rather liked the earlier 23 model with front sofa, but not its bed next to the john. Just aesthetics. That was the motivation to try to put a sofa/bed in a 20.

-Myles
__________________
BearScream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 02:33 PM   #6
3 Rivet Member
 
BearScream's Avatar
 
2007 20' Safari
Chelmsford , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnArborBob View Post
Welcome to the good life!

Check out the Classified ads on this forum (see the grey tabs near the top of the page under the blue Air Forums banner.) You should be able to find a 20 foot, gently used,
under ten year old Airstream as that is often a "starter" size for newbies who then decide they need a larger unit. As a single traveler you will of course be able to enjoy a somewhat smaller unit that would a couple.
Good luck and keep us posted!

Thanks for the encouragement! It is a major step for me (as for others I guess.)
The classifieds have been my main source of leads. There never seem to be a lot of more recent 20 footers on tap. Maybe too popular. It is quite a reduction in living space at 20' so maybe it will eventually get to me; still it should have everything I need.

-Myles
...
__________________
BearScream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 02:51 PM   #7
3 Rivet Member
 
BearScream's Avatar
 
2007 20' Safari
Chelmsford , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 109
Thanks AWCHIEF. The fever has grown slowly in my case.
Money is one reason for going used but it also seems offensive to do surgery on a brand new one!

-Myles
__________________
BearScream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 02:55 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
I have had quite a number of single axle Airstreams and Argosy's, and several double axle ones. I have never found the dual to be superior to the single and that includes trips up the Alaskan highway. Put good 16" wheels and Michelin tires on it, and tow away.

When you have a tire failure on a single axle you know it right away. When you have a failure on a double axle trailer, you may not know it, and the tire comes apart and beats up the side of your rig until you figure it out.

I like the 20' size but also agree with the OP that it could be modified for even more usefulness for a single person. I did that with my Argosy 20' and like the resulting plan better than my 2014 FC 20'.
__________________
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 03:41 PM   #9
3 Rivet Member
 
BearScream's Avatar
 
2007 20' Safari
Chelmsford , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
I have had quite a number of single axle Airstreams and Argosy's, and several double axle ones. I have never found the dual to be superior to the single and that includes trips up the Alaskan highway. Put good 16" wheels and Michelin tires on it, and tow away.

When you have a tire failure on a single axle you know it right away. When you have a failure on a double axle trailer, you may not know it, and the tire comes apart and beats up the side of your rig until you figure it out.

I like the 20' size but also agree with the OP that it could be modified for even more usefulness for a single person. I did that with my Argosy 20' and like the resulting plan better than my 2014 FC 20'.
Interesting comment on single axle IDROBA: Never thought of that angle. Of course you don't want the time of knowing to be brief!

So a good segue' to my plan, hopefully appearing below...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	flycloudplan20m4apost.jpg
Views:	192
Size:	30.7 KB
ID:	225508  
__________________
BearScream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 03:48 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
AnnArborBob's Avatar
 
2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,769
Images: 12
With respect to tire blowouts and single vs. dual axles, prudence suggests using a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) at all times so a blowout does not go unnoticed for very long. Use the Search Function and you'll find plenty about TPMS.

Also, it's prudent to go gently-used the first time. Not only is that less expensive up front, but if you decide to upgrade, the depreciation hit on the used trade-in unit isn't as bad as it would be with a new unit.
__________________
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
AnnArborBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 04:12 PM   #11
Site Team
 
, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,940
Images: 59
Regarding single vs dual axle, the front tires on a dual axle are likely to kick up a nail or other road hazard and set it up for the rear tire. You are statistically more likely to have a punctured tire on the real axle. It's a Law of Physics.

Do I have proof? No, that's just what Uncle Mark said when he came back from Germany after WWII.
__________________
markdoane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2014, 07:59 PM   #12
Vintage Kin
 
slowmover's Avatar
 
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,603
Images: 1
T

I'd much prefer tandem over single. That said a 20' certainly does not need a truck. A minivan (use Honda Odyssey as default) or a V6 Charger are more than up to the task. Yes, a turbodiesel is best FE, but initial cost is no longer offset by long-term economy.

Since time is available I'd also recommend a visit inside a Casita and Oliver. The smaller the space the more serious are any mistakes. A long visit with pics taken.

Leave out the literal interpretation of small footprint as being prepared for contingencies trumps all else. A 23' could be a better choice and has no fuel penalty. Having to leave the trailer due to the unforeseen is what hurts most. Water and propane capacity are central to what an RV is . . . floor plan is detail by comparison.

Good luck, and welcome


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
__________________
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 9-cpm solo, 15-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2014, 08:17 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
A W Warn's Avatar
 
2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,573
I also would opt for dual axel for stability and load capacity.

A comment about your floor plan: To me it looks like the bulk of the cabinetry storage for food and kitchen equipment would be behind the axle, which could be to heavy in the rear. The trailer must be kept in "balance" so that 10% to 15% of the gross weight of the trailer is on the hitch, but kept within the frame's load limits. Only 85% to 90% of the trailer weight should be on the axle or axles. If the trailer is to light on the hitch it will contribute to dangerous sway.
__________________
Alan
2014 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
A W Warn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2014, 11:48 PM   #14
cwf
Rivet Master
 
cwf's Avatar
 
1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Hillsboro , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,936
Images: 2
Welcome aboard!

For tow vehicle, yes, a properly sized TV could do the job as an SUV as mentioned above.

two axle.. is my choice... in fact, I have 3 on my trailer.. What I like about the 3 axle is it comes with over 30 wonderful feet of Aluminum... We like the 'extra space' for entertaining our grandkids... but when we have had time alone in it, the space is very nice to us. But, it takes more to tow/control/park.

But I digress there.. for a 20', for you alone, will be plenty to clean and care for. Have you checked with local AS dealers? Looking in the AF Classifieds is good... but be open to others to view for your own ideas.

An idea which might help would be to attend some local AS campouts. Folks are usually careful, yet encouraging to let you have a look about.. especially if they are expecting you.

Perhaps some early adventures are in order.. What if you were to 'rent' an SOB? You could get a feel for spending time in a specified space. You might find that some features are desirable.. some not. But, you will have a minimal outlay of cash for a gain of wisdom.. Now, when you set foot in your next Airstream, you will notice some variations... and perhaps quality.

With this experience you will have a better feel for whether the AS has what you want for the money you have available.

This is not a rejection of your desire for AS... not at all... but you will have a great base of data and personal experience to leverage your decision...

Reading this may be a waste of time for you... I don't know.. just trying to help..
__________________

__________________
Peace and Blessings..
Channing
WBCCI# 30676
cwf is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Vintage Trailer Academy - - - formerly Vintage Restoration Rally Ken J WBCCI Rallies & Events 211 06-06-2016 09:13 AM
STARCRAFT TENT TRAILER NO RESERVE 1970's ROAD READY airstream for dreamers... eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 04-22-2013 10:40 AM
STARCRAFT TENT TRAILER VINTAGE 1970's ROAD READY airstream for dreamers... eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 04-07-2013 11:10 PM
the poster formerly known as ptrvr Roadtoaster Member Introductions 54 02-10-2008 12:10 AM
NWS : November dash to Deshutes (formerly Maryhill, WA) Janet H Forum Rallies & Meet Ups 84 11-16-2005 09:20 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.