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Old 04-27-2007, 10:57 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by commander31
Hi Myra, and yes, most certainly, Welcome to the forum!!

I have sat here this morning with my fresh "cuppajoe' and read your entire thread with great interest.... To say the very least, I can sincerely relate to your desire to just "light out" and see the country and just take some quality time out to live a little, smell the roses, and regain your sanity.

Please keep us in tune with all your developments as they occur!!!

have a great day..

Scott
Hi Scott,

What a lovely story. I know exactly what you mean about trying to get the childhood back. I can remember that my happiest time growing up were at my grandmother's house. All my life, I am looking for the things that remind me of her home, the quiet tree-lined street, the woods in the back, the earthy smelling basement where she did the washing and ironing. Our happy childhood moments leave an imprint on us.

After more reading and talking to people last night, I'd like to get a trailer that I can tow with a Ford 150. I've been looking at prices and gas mileage on the F250 and it starts getting expensive. On top of this, I'm sure gas is going to hit $4.00/gallon soon. This is when the lighter, smaller vintage models start to make sense. I'll keep looking!
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:07 AM   #58
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After many years of dating and only a few years of marriage, this one can be a loaded question...."how much space does one girl need?"

Not gonna go there!
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:08 AM   #59
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Myra,
The F-150 and the 250 get about the same gas milage. Check with several dealers. Since they are trucks thier milage numbers do not need to be published. The only problem with Diesel is the preimum you pay for the engine.
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:45 AM   #60
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Myra, What a great adventure in store for you. WONDERFUL. All on airforums will give their experience and excellent advise.

I would search for a "slightly used" 19 ft CCD Bambi. All comforts. The smaller unites are more difficult to locate. When we started searching this was our choice. Not being able to locate we settled on a 20 ft Globetrotter.
We are happy. And if and when we are not satisfied...make a change.

Airstream is Airstream and retain value. You made the Airstream choice which is the way to go. Size is also your choice. Enjoy your journey in an Airstream.
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Old 04-27-2007, 02:08 PM   #61
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Don't get hung up on towing size from a skill set. Until we purchased our 30' Safari the only thing I had ever towed was a 16' ski boat. So if you think the 22' or 25' will suit your lifestyle better, go for it. I really don't think either will be any more difficult to tow than a 19'.

When you get above 25' you are probably getting outside the practical towing comfort of a 1/2 ton truck, though. BTW, a 3/4 ton F-250 was less than $500 more than a comparably equipped F-150 when I bought my diesel. I opted for the diesel because of the size and weight of my trailer.
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:54 PM   #62
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I'm in love with a Flying Cloud!!!

Right now, my goal is to stay small and light. I don't want the huge overhead of an expensive tow vehicle and the cost of gasoline to tow a heavy trailer. Even with the few extra pounds that have settled in at middle-age, I am still a fairly small person. At 5'3", I don't need the space of a large man. Anyhow, I'm VERY excited right now because I found a vintage Flying Cloud that has been lovingly restored to mint condition. It's being offered at $25K. The inside is so beautiful! I love the natural wood, the old stove, and the single large bed in the back that doesn't need to be made up every day. Of course, I would replace it with a really good mattress. I'm trying to contain my excitement, but i think I've just fallen head over heals in love!

Myra




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Old 04-27-2007, 04:14 PM   #63
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Wow! What a great looking coach. You need to have someone inspect it for you. Either a professional from a dealership (for a fee) or do a search for the thread: "so you want to buy a trailer three states away". There you probably can find someone that can inspect it for you. Just bear in mind that that will be a freebie from a volunteer and your warranty from that inspection will be limited to the extent of the fee paid.

One quick observation, there isn't a roof top air conditioner visible in the photos you posted. You will need one when you "go south" in the winter or on your trips between. You will need one for general travel in the summer months, too.

Other than that, you need someone with better eyes than I have to do a thorough inspection of it for that kind of money. Also, not to rain on your parade, but I doubt you will be able to finance a vintage trailer even one that looks that nice, so be prepared to lay down cash if the seller isn't going to finance for you.
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:38 PM   #64
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Just got off the phone with the owner. He is a mechanic by trade and has done a lot of his own work on the trailer. Says he hasn't cut any corners. He is the third owner. The previous owner bought it in the 50s and was 103 years old when he sold it to the current owner, who has retored it. He has not gotten any offers on it yet. He is open to me sending someone over to inspect it. Other notes from our conversation:


1953 Flying Cloud
22’ (18’ on the inside)
3,500 pounds
2-small windows, which were only on the ’53 model
tongues extended 1’ (this was done before he owned it)
Body is in good shape, no corrosion
Stove is the original stove
Fridge replaced in 2001. Had to move side boards a few inches to make room for the larger fridge
Removed door on closet to make the shower bigger
Has a catalitc (spelling?) heater
No air conditioning
Axle replaced in 2006.
New breaks, new bearing.
New 10-ply tires
110V for dry camping
Sony radio installed
22 gallon gray tank installed / 22 gallon black / 30 gallon water
All lights rewired
2 6v batteries
Toilet replaced with a Pheford toilet (the original was a house toilet)
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:06 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwinter
Hi Paula,

Wow. Lot's of great information. I currently pay $1650 a month on my Los Angeles apartment. What a joke. I understand what you are saying about payments and cost of living expenses. I should probably just go back to Travel Land tomorrow and buy a Safari !!!

I'm truly amazed at how many women are full-time RVers here on this forum! I bet I'll meet some really interesting people out there on the road. I'm getting excited!

Mrya
Not only are there a lot of single women doing this, there are a lot of us who are older than you might expect. I'm 58. I've met women in their 70's and even 80's who are still doing it... and are able to scramble around and do some of the heavy stuff easier than I can. One hint that a lot of us share, is go to the Salvation Army or other thrift store and buy a pair of BIG dirty men's work boots. If you ever find yourself in a questionable campground, put them outside your door. Then when you go to empty garbage,etc. Lean back in through the door and yell, "You useless son-of-a-gun, you could help with this stuff instead of sitting there cleaning your guns!"

Widowers: Lots of them out there too, they just can't stand to stay in the house where the wife died. There are several on my campground and they'll see me washing the tow vehicle, or puttering opening the awning, and they'll come over and just pitch in... just to feel needed. Hint: Never invite ONE widower to dinner unless you're really interested! Invite them in twos and threes and they'll become good buddies.

Campers are nice people. Trailers and motor homes have become a bit too self contained, so the older campground where everyone hangs out together has changed a bit. You need to make a small effort to be outgoing. When I want to be sociable, I'll just knock on the neighbors trailers and invite them over for beer, wine & cheese or an informal "smore-arama" if they have kids.

Gasp $1650 rent! I bet that doesn't include utilities either does it? You'll want to familiarize yourself with campgrounds and the terms "boondocking", water and electric sites, and full hookups. Even if you finance, and pay full hookups ALL the time, you'll save $600-$800 per month. Keep your old job on a part time basis for a transitional period while you're figuring out how to freewheel. It's idea work to do from home.

In an Airstream you have to manage your own "ecology". NO garbage disposal. You can't carry every single kitchen gadget so choose carefully. I carry out trash daily just save space and keep from having nasty smells. Washcloths and damp clothing can go sour quickly, so hang them outside, or wring them out thoroughly and hang them in the shower with the fan going.

Everything you flush down the toilet, you'll have to deal with again when you drain your black tank. Toilet paper, deoderizing enzymes, and bodily waste are the ONLY thing you want to flush. You also do NOT want to drain your black tank every day because the solids form the "brown mountain" and the liquids drain. Instead it's best to keep your black and gray valves closed and empty the gray (dishwater, shower water, sink water) twice a week and the black about once a week. If you boondock you retain both tanks until you find a dump station or go to a campground with sewer hookups/dump stations. When draining your tanks the object is to have a big whoosh, that ends up cleaning your slinky hose as the stuff passes. If you need to you can add liquid to your black tank by bailing shower water or dishwater into the toilet, or even just taking a few buckets of fresh water and flushing them. Newer Airstreams have "tank washers" built into the black tank. You can drain the black, hook up a hose and wash the black, then empty the gray to take the last ick out of the slinky. (Incidently do a search for "sewer solution" and "mascerator pump" which are other options. I use the sewer solution - so it's a must that the black tank must have it's contents liquified by sitting for a few days. If you get one that's pre 2000, you probably won't have tank washers, and will have to drag a garden hose into the bathroom, get a little "cleaning wand" step on the drain, and wash the tank from there (keep the bath fan running!).

Cleaning: pleasant surprise! Weekly cleaning 30 minutes if you're lazy, 20 if you're efficient, and that includes vacuuming, dusting, thorough job on the bath and changing the bed linen. Shoe patrol... learn to spray your shoes with anti-fungal weekly or even every time you take them off (foot funk in a small trailer... ugh!).

Bathrooms are SMALL. Keep organized there or die! You'll never buy 1/2 gallon of shampoo in a Costco again! Find a "camping world" store near you or check their website, and get their catalog. Hold off buying too much stuff, but start learning what you might need/want.

Oh, last thing. Click on the "classifieds" right here. A great place to find a newer used Airstream.

Best wishes, and HAPPY TRAILS!

Paula Ford
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:10 PM   #66
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Okay, more notes on the Flying Cloud. 1953 was the first year of production. All the Flying Clouds of the 50s were sort of unique. Look here to see more pics of '53 Flying Clouds:

53FC
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:23 PM   #67
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Paula,

Thanks again for the wealth of good information. It is all sinking in slowly. In particular, the suggestions on putting men's boots at the door and how to handle lonely widowers will come in handy for sure. My dear grandmother taught me at a young age never to let a man inside your house. She said that her dates used to call her "screen door Margaret" because she'd always shut the screen door on their face.

M.W.
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:31 PM   #68
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Myra - That trailer is lovely! Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2007, 06:03 AM   #69
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Myra,

As an owner of a Flying Cloud (1951) I can't help but be extremely biased in favor of the '53. It is a beauty, funky vintage, shiny as all heck (mine will never get that pretty while I own it), and the restoration looks picture-wise like it is well done.

Some things to consider:
  • It is 7' wide or just a tad over that - very nice for towing and parking but a couple of weeks in that narrow space and it does start to feel like you are in a tube. It's surprising how much difference that 1 foot added to the width makes in live-ability with the newer ones.
  • That polish needs to be maintained. You'll have to commit to spending time each year out polishing it. We are talking almost 19' (body is 18' 6" long) top to bottom, or the value will take a hit. It's not a hard job, but it also is a lot of work - stuff I enjoy, but I have a shop to do this in, the tools and ladders, buddies who polish their cars all the time so are familiar with what to do and what not to do, and work for beer. That's a good thing, trust me, as it turns a load of work into a Saturday beer and BBQ event.
  • If I read this right it still has the original axle. That's fine, but make sure it is checked out by someone, not just the axle but the springs/shackles and in particular where the bolts and welds are at the frame - this needs to be checked for rust, wear etc just as a caution.
  • You need to have someone who understands the electrical side of these trailers take a look at how it has been rewired. Are all the lights 12v or is there a mixture and if so, are they set up to meet your needs.
  • Is there sufficient room for you to live in this space, and work, and I think you have mentioned you have a cat, and if so is there room for a litter box - you can get creative here but all things to consider.
  • It really needs to be checked for leaks. The 13 panels are really neat to look at but they are also more prone to leakage. You live in CA and I live in BC so we get rain - a lot of rain - and you don't get that much, but when you do, if this puppy starts to leak, it has to be fixed and finding them are a major pain as you'll find from reading the various threads.
  • I'd suggest you ask the other '53 Flying Cloud owners on this forum for what else you need to look for and ask questions about. I can tell you I've spent many, many hours redoing things that who ever did the first renovation in the 90's did that was just not up to standards I could live with. It looked OK when I bought it, but I knew I would have to do some work to it, and that some work has turned into an almost total rebuild. I've got the tools (a big expense), the place to work on it, don't have to live in it while I'm working on it, and if it doesn't get done today that's no problem, I can go in the house and relax until I'm ready to go at it again. If you want to see pictures of mine, and since this time I've done a lot more work on it, they are on RJ Dials website
  • 1951FlyingCloud2
  • I ask myself could I live in my trailer for an extended period of time and I would have to say it's right on the edge. I could but it would be very compressed.
  • I noticed that the 1985 Sovereign 25 foot on eBay now has a buy it now for 14,000. I have to say that I'm even tempted in a big way to pick it up - it's in wonderful shape, has A/C, has been very well cared for, and could pass for almost new. That's a bunch cheaper than this '53 and the added 4' in length and 1' in width make live-ability a lot greater. And the nine or ten grand in savings you would get would go a long ways toward buying a tow vehicle. It is also a tandem axle which you may prefer.
Those are just some off the top of the head thoughts Myra. I love the old trailers and my wife and I love going camping in our little flying cloud. But it is little, it is narrow, and my thoughts are for someone who is going to be living full time in one for some time getting something newer, in what would appear to be outstanding condition, tandem axle, and for a bunch less than the '53 would definitely be something to look very hard at.

For what it's worth, that's my take on this. Getting the most value for your hard earned bucks, finding the best one to live in and make it your home, and still have a rig that you can hook up to and head out to wherever you feel you want to go.

Good luck on your decision and if you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask. Hopefully others with '51 to 57 Flying Clouds can provide you with their insights into these little guys.

Barry
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Old 04-28-2007, 02:40 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari57

Those are just some off the top of the head thoughts Myra. I love the old trailers and my wife and I love going camping in our little flying cloud. But it is little, it is narrow, and my thoughts are for someone who is going to be living full time in one for some time getting something newer, in what would appear to be outstanding condition, tandem axle, and for a bunch less than the '53 would definitely be something to look very hard at.

Barry
Barry,

Thanks for all the good info. I'm starting to think the vintage trailers are for "collectors" and not "full timers." That stinks because I really love the vintage ones. They have so much character.

M.W.
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