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Old 01-08-2007, 12:46 PM   #1
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2006 31' Classic
Seattle , Washington
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Hi - Looking for our first Airstream

OK - this is annyoing -- this is the third time I've tried to post this and it just disappears when I hit "submit new thread". But here goes one more time...

My name is Jane and my husband (Miles) and I and our 4 1/2 yr. old son are preparing for a year long round the country trip. We've tried out a motorhome and felt like we just weren't getting that camping feel so we're looking at airstreams now (International 28, Safari 28 SO, Safari 28 bunk, Classic 30 SO). Any insights folks have on these choices are most welcome. Particularly, I'm worried about heating the tt since we'll be spending some time in cold weather climates in winter. My main concern is space and Miles' is a lightweight trailer (he's anti-classic) and style (he and I both like the International look). Also, any lead anyone has to new or used trailers like the ones we're looking for would be welcome. Thanks and I hope this goes through this time!

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Old 01-08-2007, 01:22 PM   #2
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Greetings Jane and welcome on board! You are going to make a whole bunch of great friends here and get some pretty sound advise. If you are looking to full time in your soon to own AS, there is a forum just for that. You will find lots of info there. Are you looking for brand new, a little less new or whatever? Check out the classifides section. AS Dealers are also a great place to look for gently used AS. Sounds like a great adventure and we wich you luck. Check back in once in a while and don't forget to post some photos once you have your first AS.

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Old 01-08-2007, 01:24 PM   #3
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Hi Jane, glad you're here! What an adventure you have planned - hope you can find just the right Airstream for you and your family. Don't get too frustrated over the forums software (sometimes it's helpful to compose your message in another program and then copy and paste, just in case you run into a glitch like you did). Do keep an eye on the forums classifieds - new stuff comes up every day. Good luck!
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Old 01-08-2007, 01:27 PM   #4
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Hello jmd5602 -- and welcome to the Forums! Your thread start must have worked this time. You say you're preparing for a 'round the country trip. If you're more adventure than rehab oriented, I'm guessing you'll want something newer that can be used right away. It may take a long search for used if you have to hit a particular length and style on the head. But there are classifieds here and at The Vintage Airstream Club and at Airstreamer :: Classifieds. I don't think a want-ad will do much for you, so start browsing -- and then come back here to research and ask questions about info you'll need to evaluate a used unit. Are you wanting to finish this trip before your son is school age? That's ambitious but let's go!

So you're giving us a clean slate? First off, for any 28-footer you'll definitely need nothing except a 3/4-ton tow vehicle (whether a crewcab truck or Suburban-type). A slideout Airstream is about 1000# heavier and more particular when you set it up. Private campgrounds will do a better job at accommodating the longest Airstreams. Remodeled state & nat'l park campsites may hold a longer one, but many older campsites can have difficulty with much over 25'. I think I recall California state parks are more unforgiving to longer lengths. You'll be able to get this right the more you can reserve in advance -- They can give you site lengths usually (an inhibitor to the wanderlust ... I know).

Winter towing can be iffy. Good advice would be that you don't want to have to travel if snow or ice is on the road. Road salting and oceanside camping increases corrosion problems. There's a lot to think about ... I hope you see more response here, but come back often to learn more about it. You'll want to do a number of local and regional trips as a shakedown before starting something like a year on the road. Best wishes!

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 01-08-2007, 01:52 PM   #5
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Welcome, and you are fortunate to have the opportunity to travel for a year with your son. He may not remember all the details, but he will remember the feel of various parts of the US, and will remember some things you didn't expect.. (Weather, or scary things or smells...)

As a first timer going for a year, buying new might be tempting, but I'll put in pitch for gently used, say within 5 years... Less depreciation and more likely the little bugs have been fixed by prior owner (PO..) rathern than leaving you with the task of handling under warranty...

You didn't mention towing vehicle, but at those lengths and weights, a 3/4 ton crew cab or Suburban are going to be required. Due to fuel price increases, some of them are also available at substantial savings over brand new with low mileage and good condition...

In your area, Colonial RV in New Jersey is a large volume dealer, with a few trade-in's. The other major sources of leads for used trailers are:

1. The classifieds here on the Forums above..
2. Vintage Airstream Club classifieds (The Vintage Airstream Club)
3. (search for travel trailer and Airstream brand)

The website is a good source if you are committed to finding a new trailer, as many dealers post their inventory their for a regional or national search.

As cool as the slide-outs look, they do add weight and complexity and possible maintenance chalenges, and any of the units with a dinette would work for meals and reading, etc.

Cold weather advice above is good.. Driving in snow or ice is a real challenge and to be avoided if at all possible. The trailer will work fine when parked in the cold, and the interior furnace will keep water lines and tanks from freezing..

p.s. A great tip for posting new messages is to use "Edit" "Copy" feature before hitting submit button, so that if computer server doesn't respond, you can avoid retyping the entire message and just paste it in again...

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 01-08-2007, 02:43 PM   #6
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Great advice John!

Jane, avoid ebay like the plague. One sometimes unmined possibility is to go on the dealer index, call around your region to ask if anybody has unsold '05 units on the lot -- they'd more likely be the longer units. John's advice remains very sound to go up to 5 year old used -- a P.O. probably traveled some and then lost interest. Looking at a 10 year old unit that has sat without ever rolling is a pitfall to avoid.

Even on a 3-5 year old unit I would strongly advise you replace the tires before embarking on your adventure. The tread will look good but the body of the tire does weaken -- after all, you usually don't have the same tires on your car after such a period of time either.

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Old 01-08-2007, 04:41 PM   #7
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Jane: How lucky you folks are to be able to embark on such a trip. It sounds great. You've already got plenty of good advice about trailers. As today's self appointed defender of the motorhome, I just wanted to let you know that Airstream and motorhome are not mutually exclusive. There are classic Airstream motorhomes (and newer styles too) that give that same warm and fuzzy feeling to those of us who own them. You can consider this the PC portion of your education. Either way, have a great time. A lot of us wish we were in your shoes. Ron
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:14 PM   #8
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If you haven't found it already, take a look at the extensive blog by Rich Luhr, the publisher/editor of Airstream Life magazine. He, his wife and young daughter have been full-timing around the country for about 18 months. There is much practical knowledge and wisdom to be gleaned from his terrific site.

Tour of America
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Old 01-11-2007, 03:44 PM   #9
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Thanks to everyone who responded. The forums are great - esp. that one about camping in the Winter from RubySlippers. Scary though! But not enough to dissuade us.
We'll see you on the road this Spring I hope!
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Old 01-27-2007, 07:37 PM   #10
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1998 25' Safari
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jane i have two airstreams and am selling a 05 30ft classic limited we never used it. 2 ac. leather sofa ent. sys. 50 amp ele 56,500. with hitch. thanks 443 553 5265

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