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Old 04-28-2008, 08:11 PM   #15
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1976 Argosy 24
Tempe , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 326
Ignorant as usual

Originally Posted by Distantdrummer
Fitz are you speaking Airstreams here?

Are you under the impression that anything over 25 ft is a park model Airstream?
I think the "official" definition of a "park model" trailer is one without selfcontained systems such as on board holding tanks and battery-12volt services. Not sure whether Airstream ever actually marketed these types other than maybe custom unit now and then.
Maybe Fred Colwell could advise..??
I agree that the shorties are the most popular and the most expensive (valuable) vintage ones. But I am not sure the long-boys should be considered park models. However if fuel prices keep going as I think that they will, then (IMHO) many Airstreams will become park models.
That is what mine was (on a deer lease) and exactly what I envision as it's next life as well, a portable lake house.
As usual, I stand corrected. My ignorance regarding the official definition of what is a park model and what isn't is obvious. I'll defer to the experts on this.
For my part, I don't think that I would be able to afford to tow units that weigh much more than what I'm towing. If I had a camper that weiged in excess of 6,000lbs, I would have to make it a parked model.

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Old 04-28-2008, 08:28 PM   #16
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@craftsman: I think I would want something newish, mostly because I don't already have the resources/skills to fix something up. So are saying you *would* consider an AS/TT?

The answer is yes: I would consider living in an Airstream if it were me in your situation.But.... I would advise a lot of homework to really see if it would work for you. It's still a small space even with the largest of Airstreams (34'). If you consider that a 34' Airstream actually has about 31'X8' or 256 sq ft of living space and cost about $100,000.00 new. That works out to about $3,900.00 sq ft. Pretty expensive real estate.

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Old 04-30-2008, 08:29 PM   #17
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Intown , New Jersey
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I found a camp-ground near where I live, but I don't know if I could live there in an RV. Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, in Lake Hopatcong NJ, has "paved RV sites with water and electric" for $90 a week. If I used a friends house as a legal address for my mail, could I stay at the reservation for $360 a month? I saw a campground in TX that charged $350 a month for RVs, so perhaps $350-$400 is the typical monthly fee?

I guess I could park the RV on any campground, as long as I paid their fee and otherwise fended for myself. The reservation I mentioned has wifi, electricity, water, and a "sanitary dump" RV's can use. Is that how living in an RV works?

If I paid $400 a month for the RV parking fee, I would have $600 a month to pay for the RV - and have it cost the same as renting an apartment. The difference would be, I would own the RV after 5 years - and I would only have to pay parking fees after that (more or less). The essexcredit website says a $30k loan at 5.99% for 5 years would be $579.84 per month.

I've been reading some websites by Canadian RV'ers, it sounds like winter living is possible if you plan for things properly. If I had a pickup instead of jeep, I could get a TT. I'm planning on an RV so I can tow my Jeep if I have to move. I might need to get some books from Amazon about RV full-time living.
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:58 PM   #18
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Tucson , Arizona
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Park model, dude. The AS WILL depreciate. There are a few on here that are making it work on the cheap but they are some kind of uber-mechanics with home building skills. Those are rare talents. Those cold winters are going to kick your butt. Good luck!
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:54 PM   #19
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Yes, continue investigating. It is reasonable to spend a few months if not a year reading everything you can get your hands on. As I posted above I, too, thought it a good idea for a single man and I still do. Here's why I thought it was good:

My grandparents and parents both had all-aluminum trailers (bigger, more heavy duty than an A/S) and I had grown up around it. Granted, this was for vacations and we rarely traveled in the winter. (WInters in Texas may not have the temps that are found up north, but they can defined by constant 20-30 mph winds which find every tiny leak in a trailer -- of which there are no small number).

I've worked on cars and houses plenty, and though I'm a long way from being expert at any of it, there is none of it that can be said to be unfamiliar; be it suspension dynamics, plumbing, electrical, rigging a conventional hitch, etc. I also spent time on the road as a professional.

Trailers share, with boats and airplances, the need for a knowledgeable owner. First step is manuals and books and familiarization, as it will be needed. Good RV techs are few and far between. So, if one is dependent on others to fix things, the full-time RV life coupled to full-time career has certain antagonisms. Where I live, losing an air-conditioner means I'm off to a motel for up to a week. A plumbing leak can be even more of a problem. Etcetera.

The reason I say "good for a single man" is that the women of my family or acquaintance are unlikely to put up with very many problems over the course of a year. Most people, I think, are not far from this problem of accepting mechanical/electrical/plumbing "inconveniences". There is always something.

Granted, a brand-new unit may not have problems of this sort, it may be quite awhile before they crop up due to age and use. An RV is built to be light, its components do not have the beef of those where weight is irrelevant. In a single year of full-timing one may accumulate more hours of trailer use than the average owner sees in ten years of vacationing.

Now, back to winter. Aluminum trailers are not the ones best suited for cold conditions. You should have a look at two brands:

New Horizons
New Horizons RV: Travel trailer

Arctic Fox
Northwood Manufacturing

These are the two quality SOB (Some Other Brand) trailers I see most frequently cited by others as being of good construction AND capable of winter living. I have no experience with either, but I hope you'll have a look at the construction differences between A/S and this (plus that they are pigs to tow no matter how well built; not to mention danged heavy so a one-ton truck is likely).

I'd look for and solicit responses on and other forums to get first-hand info on winter RV living. RV's, in general, are three-season vehicles.

The problems of winter living (sub-40F) are not to be taken lightly. Propane systems, frozen plumbing potential, etc are issues you'll want to be familiar with.

You can "master" (sorta) the three-season stuff in about two weeks. Faster if you'll ask others for help. Towing is another creature.

Towing a trailer ain't rocket science but be aware that AT LEAST 90% of all rigs are incorrectly hitched, rigged, balanced or suspended. That's before they pull off the curb. Driving one takes more time and attention, and the skill level takes a while too. It's a fine challenge, and this particular forum does a better job of it than the others I have read.

Next are lists. There are several but all entail purchases that differ somewhat from owning a house. You'll need tools, but you won't have room or capacity for 300-lbs of them. You'll want spares, supplies and items which make RV'ng a lot easier. Etcetera. Look for pre-purchase check-lists and lists of what to pack along. Here and other boards. Hundreds of items to consider.

Finally, trailers, no matter the size, simply don't have a lot of storage room. Mine is big at 34-feet, but even alone I don't know where I'd keep a professional wardrobe of five suits and accessories, plus other clothing, shoes, coats what-have-you. I'd run out of room.

It can be done, but, please take your time, consider your options and continue investigating.

Good luck.
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:59 PM   #20
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You DO NOT want to live in ANY RV during the New Jersey winter. Airstreams have about 1-inch of glass fiber insulation and a night at 40-degrees burns about 10 gallons of propane. Every year I spend 4 nights in October in Northern Virginia in my AS and burn 40 gallons of propane for heat.

The heater can be noisy. Winter and travel trailers don't mix. Even in a park you'll not get enough electric heat to keep warm and the fees will be enormous just for one week. I'd draw the "south of. . ." line about 60 miles below Jacksonville, FLA as I know the night January weather in Jacksonville well.
Pete in Vermont

AIR 26504
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[prior AS: 1986 Excella 32 ft ]

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Old 05-10-2008, 01:26 PM   #21
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Intown , New Jersey
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After reading in the Winter Forum, it sounds like people are able to live full-time through very cold winters in their Airstreams. It sounds like the best way to do it is to get an old AS and rebuild it using 3rd party enhancements. Better insulation, better furnace, skirt, and eletric heating pads seem to be common solutions. So I am going to consider living in one "possible", and move on to the next question of "where" I could put one that is close to Parsippany NJ. I am still working my way through all the links people gave me last time, lol.
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Old 05-10-2008, 05:04 PM   #22
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When we first got our Airstream, we spent three nights in Lancaster, CA where the temperature got down to 10 degrees every night. We were warm and toasty all night every night with the original furnace (1969 Overlander) that worked very well. The park water froze at night so we could only hook up to water during the day. One of the nights a cold winter storm front came through and it rained and blew wind like crazy.....we were warm and toasty.....we had a black water tank leak that formed an ice cube outside under the back bumper but none of the pipes froze in the trailer. I am not sure what would happen with 3 months of this kind of weather....but for what its worth, I wouldn't be discouraged from checking it out. Good luck and let us know how it goes, pj
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:10 PM   #23
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Quartzsite , Arizona
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Hi Innjtown,

I give you credit, you are doing your homework! As you have read on this forum, everyone has an opinion....some similar, some opposite.

It's not that you can't live in an AS in the freezing conditions of NJ, but, do you want to keep up with everything necessary to remain comfortable in those conditions? keeping the propane bottles filled, keeping the water and sewer lines from freezing, keeping yourself from freezing.

I have been a full-time RVr for over 10 years. Although I try to stay in more temperate weather, part of that time was in extreme tempratures.....WY in the winter, and AZ in the summer. Having traveled in the AS and SOB (can I say '83 Avion 34'?), the SOB has much better insulation in both cold and hot weather extremes.

The winter-living was much more difficult, but, not impossible. I used the heat tape on the fresh water, and only dumped the sewer when it was full. I used Vornado heaters in the living room and bed room when at most campgrounds, and the KozyWorld gas heat when I was paying the electric bill.

I would suggest a visit to the campground you are considering, and talk with the management. Some have time limits on your stay and age limits on the RV and/or occupants. If you are concerned about the safety factor of an RV park, stop by the local police station and inquire.

As far as which sounds like you prefer being more minimal. Check out the floor plans on-line, and visit you local dealer. AS has a smaller unit with a front bed, mid kitchen/dinette, corner bath, and a desk. (smaller is easier to heat, and easier tow with a smaller vehicle).

Keep doing your homework, and best of luck with your adventure. I do not think there is a right or wrong answer to your delima, only the best for your situation.


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