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Old 05-07-2017, 12:16 PM   #15
Jo3
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RuffnIt. I did ride in a sprinter airstream with Mercedes engine. Nice smooth ride and got my husband to go with me a second time, drive it. I even drove it and pulled in a parking space. I was surprised by how smooth a drive it was. I sat in the far back, so it was difficult to hear passenger and driver conversation. However when just the two of us; this wouldn't be a problem. I really liked it. My husband felt too small for him, he felt not enough storage and he didn't like the price. At time 2016 yr end model $140k. It would be too large for me on mtn roads at present. I am presently getting over a "fear" of mtn roads with sheer drop off. I think this fear came as a result of husband looking at scenery while driving and then having to quickly correct when we met a vehicle around the curve. (something about being on the cliff side and no shoulder did me in after yrs of this all around the world). He is now driving slower and limiting sightseeing to pull overs. This last summer he drove "Going to the sun road", Bear tooth pass, and Rocky Mountain Skyline drive in our smaller Buick Encore. I made it through these drives with my "imaginary brake". I now feel I can make the ride in our Buick Enclave. If I did not have this fear; I would really be pushing for the AS Mercedes Touring Coach. With a trailer, we will have to leave the trailer at a campsite and day trip to the beautiful places requiring curves and mtns with no shoulder. I will definitely need to check out our route to avoid undesirable situations until I am more comfortable with the "pulling a trailer" idea. To be clear my husband doesn't have these fears and concerns. I was nervous riding to Meat Cove campsite in Nova Scotia in our SUV and I wonder if trailers make it there? It would be a while before I could "ride" there with a trailer.

He was not interested in renting option when it looked like $500+ a day. He feels he would rather loose the couple thousand in resale down the road. I feel we are maybe a two stage trailer, but wonder about the loss in switching AS down the road. Small one as a learning curve and larger one later.
I think it was Aluminate that had a good model of usage vs length. I can't see taking 22ft to Alaska. I do find hearing of experiences helpful. I never camped until in my late 50's! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:43 PM   #16
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Alluminati, you went from hotels to 34ft? No trailer experience before? Sorry, new to lingo what is blue boy?
CWF, not sure of "sob" referring to?
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:51 PM   #17
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OP - You will lose much more than a couple of thousand in a trade unless you purchase used and trade very sharp. Best plan is to find what fits your long term needs and go for it. Then your optimization, and there will be some, is not wasted. The older we get the less time we have to waste on fooling around with poor compromise.

The rating of 4500 lbs for your TV matches up with the 22 sport, so maybe you are not so limited as to coach size. It is narrow and that helps a lot. Also, it is not necessary to load a coach to gross capacity, so some additional layout flexibility exists if you travel light. Take care with published specs - they exclude gear and can change considerably.

Several times the possibility of using two parking spaces has been mentioned. That is usually 36 ft. A good fit for 17 ft Bambi and smaller SUV. Our TV is 17 ft and coach is 24 ft for a total of 41 ft. Not exactly a good fit. However, a full size crew cab pickup truck is about 20-22 ft and it is not unusual to see them fit in parking spaces by hanging over a bit. Also, diagonal parking is longer. So, if you choose how you go sight seeing, the coach tagging along is less of a problem.

When we did the Bear Claw, Going to the Sun Road, and the New England coast line we left the coach in the RV park as a base camp. When we ran Smugglers gap, we took Glimmer along for the ride, because it was on the way to our next stop. It all depends on your comfort and skills, with real consideration for the capability of your rig. So thinking about how you will use the rig now is key to being happy with your RV experience.

A slight increase in the capability of your TV to 6000/600 would allow you to move up to the 23FB. That is a dual axle coach that is somewhat more stable than the single axle models. The layout is quite similar to the 22. The reason for mentioning this is that it can be a very usable coach for two if you ramp up your expectations as you investigate options. Do not totally count it out.

We were surprised to meet a lady who was touring with her engineer husband in a 16 ft Bambi. They were very happy with their rig. We never would be, but you may well be thrilled with it. Just be sure before you pull the trigger.

Enjoy the hunt. It's fun too. Pat
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Old 05-07-2017, 04:09 PM   #18
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Blue boy is a small plastic cart used to transport toilet waste from trailer to a dump facility. Some trailers need them because they do not have normal tankage which would be a black tank (toilet waste), grey water tank (dish/hand washing water), and fresh water tank. Used quite often to boondock. Note - It used to be illegal to transport hazardous waste from state to state. Vintage coaches have interesting challenges but get lots of smiles.

SOB is some other brand. A bit arrogant at first note, but saves a lot of typing and many feel there is no other choice, than an AS. For you, there are lots of choices. Moving up from a tent, check Casita, the retros, the hard sided popups, the T@Gs, the teardrops, the Olivers ...... lots of options.

Note that the B-van is an AS built in the past. It's a van conversion. Not especially expensive but not shiny and will require some renovation with possibly some mechanical maintenance. It would fit in those pesky small parking spots.

Good luck with your investigation. Pat
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:46 PM   #19
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Alluminati, you went from hotels to 34ft? No trailer experience before? Sorry, new to lingo what is blue boy?
CWF, not sure of "sob" referring to?
SOB - Some Other Brand .... true! Sorry, I shoulda capitalized the letters.... if I put punctuation and caps.. S.O.B. ... well, I can't imagine what that might mean...
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:29 PM   #20
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Alluminati, you went from hotels to 34ft?
Yes, the 34' is our first trailer.

Years ago we bought an ancient worn out motorhome cheap. We put a lot of miles on it right away, but got rid of it soon too.

We attend a church convention each year in northern Florida. The provided accommodations are pretty rugged. Mrs told me she wanted to buy a trailer for personal comfort. I told her it would be a classic Airstream (I wanted something fully depreciated, but with solid value). But following exhaustive research, we chose to go with older Avion instead. She wanted something much smaller, but I wanted the comforts of home. Going to church convention is not about travel or camping; we need a LOT of closet space for church clothes! I need a comfortable shower. There has to be room to cook decent meals too. Plus a trailer works well to improve our current lifestyle; mega roadtrips and camping.

So yeah, we made the plunge in a big way, and VERY happy with our decision. We've towed the trailer 8,000 miles since we bought it last July.

If you have a camper that has a waste tank large enough to accommodate two days use, but you're camping three days, a Blue Boy is a wheeled tank that you can empty your waste tank into, then drag it to the dump station, instead of hitching up the trailer.

Our grey tank has capacity for three days if both of us take long hot showers every day, and do a lot of cooking and washing up. Less frequent military showers, conservative water use, and dumping dishwater in the toilet instead of down the sink, will double the time it takes to fill the tank.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:08 AM   #21
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Last fall when we visited family on the west coast, we boondocked on the road; Walmarts, behind a motel, truck stops, at a church, rest areas... No need for hookups or dump stations, though we used them if they were handy and free. No restaurant meals; we stocked our kitchen before we left home. No campground fees on the road; we are fully self contained.

We used campgrounds when we got to destinations. Then we had our truck for running around visiting.

You asked about sightseeing in tight areas while still being hitched up. We did some sightseeing in central Wisconsin on our last day before we came home. We visited friends in a small town, then parked overnight on the street by their church. In the morning they gave directions to the free municipal dump station. Then we visited an apple orchard (on a narrow winding road), then went to Spring Green to see Frank Lloyd Wright landmarks, then on to a cheese factory for some fresh cheese curds (on the side of the road in a small town). At 51', we don't fit into a parking spot marked for an auto. Yet there was always a way for us to pull into an area with sufficient access that didn't block anyone else.

When an RV is serving its highest function, it allows you to stay at home regardless where you go. You can wander aimlessly, and never give a second thought about where you'll stay until bedtime. You never wonder where the next meal will be. If you don't like where you are, get up and leave any hour of the day or night. One night I woke at 4AM and couldn't go back to sleep. No point wasting time, so I got back in the saddle (poor wife dragged herself into the truck with me) and headed down the road. Three hours later we pulled off the road to cook a hot breakfast. Late that morning I got sleepy, so we pulled into a truck stop where I took a long nap. When I got up I took a hot shower (in the middle of the truckstop parking lot ) while wife prepared lunch. It's not about "the trailer", it's all about comfort and convenience wherever you go.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:43 AM   #22
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Thanks Alluminate for experiences. I really relate to your pre trailer trips of last minute looking for hotel, and or camping spot. So even with the little Bambi, I guess we cover this issue. Hadn't thought of Churches; we could network from ours here.
Pat, thanks for info. We are considering.
After reading people's experiences; we are getting anxious to join the AS gang. Still pondering; we have a trip to Glacier NP and Canada June, so having a little trailer to begin mountains was easier on my anxiety. Think we might have to settle for "hotel" and camping for this trip. Don't want to rush and buy; however if a great deal arose; we could cancel hotels for us ( Daughter and son in law could still have their hotel and their rental car). We were helping to keep 1&3 yr old grandkids when we meet them at Many Glacier.

Does anyone know what to expect for gently used Bambi 16'. From safely towing in mtns 22ft is out until Tow is upgraded (we've heard). 23' comes into play if tow is changed before this trip, but possible if "everything" falls in place.
Adds showing 2016, 2017 16' for 37k to 42k. Seems like they are asking high $ on resale. I have a quote for new one for 38k range (plus our state tax). None of that prep fee, destination charge, etc. How much should I expect these gently used ones from private sellers to accept off their asking price? That is how we thought we would loose only a couple thousand in resale. We would save some by not paying hotels, extra eating out this trip. We pay tax on resale.
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:22 AM   #23
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SOB - Some Other Brand .... true! Sorry, I shoulda capitalized the letters.... if I put punctuation and caps.. S.O.B. ... well, I can't imagine what that might mean...

LOL! Well, I DID think that's what it stood for and thought that many Airstreamers had started out with other brands and had such terrible experiences, that SOB was in fact the label chosen to describe that.

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Old 05-10-2017, 02:01 PM   #24
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We are actually getting closer to a price we might except for a 2017 Bambi 16'. The resales in classified's seem high. A dealer is repairing one that was sideswiped (in repair shop now) 2016 for 34k. Wonder if anything else was damaged. Leaves us hesitant to buy used, being newbies.

So what I would like to know; what extra's do any Bambi 16' owners find beneficial for us. Any items not needed? Ex: sway bar, brake controller, bumper, vent cover, solar panels (they install or portable ones), stone guards, power jack, wheel lock, back up camera? Am I missing something? Just wondering what I should be asking to be included. And a huge thank you to the few I've private messaged.

Our thoughts are try the little one a few yrs, get to Alaska, travel around and then get a larger one if we feel we need one. I just can't jump into a larger one until I'm comfortable with riding the mtns..not even being the driver! lol!

Thanks in advance for help. Also, is this question better suited in another forum? I am sorry to say I am having difficulty searching things on the site. Using an iPad if that could be some of the problem.
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Old 05-10-2017, 03:01 PM   #25
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Mountains - same view with 16 or 23. The bigger coaches are a whole 5.5 inches wider so not much different. The 22 is actually narrower if that helps and the 23 is a dual axle which is more stable to tow. Going slow helps some, but you have to do it the way that works for you. My mother was horrified of mountains. Her defense was to go to sleep. So, understanding here.

The reason for the big price on Bambis is that folks are a bit shy to turn loose of them. They cost a lot on the front end and buyers think because they are small the price should be low. Consequently owners just park them and use them for solo or shorter trips. Now there was adult beverage involved in those conversations, so who knows if that is the driving reason or good rationalization to keep a cute coach. There is also a movement afoot to get a vintage coach and refurb. Another rite of passage kind of thing for the retired and bored ASer who should be out traveling but has done it and done it and needs a new thrill.

However it works out for you - go for it.

SOB - not all other brands are bad. (note - AS is not four season coach and some SOBs really are.) They even make a lot of sense for folks who are learning what works for them. A $5000 used coach that is well maintained can be thrown away when you are done with it. We talked to a couple in Pismo who sold their expensive MoHo and bought a $3800 fifth wheel. It's stored in Pismo and hauled to the RV park when they need it. No TV investment and a nice beach house solution. They will likely get their money back when it sells. Have some friends who did similar and the coach is now their home while they build a house.

Stuff you need: Some of this is provided by dealers in a start up kit for a new coach. Get either a Blue Ox Sway Pro WDHSC or an Easy-Lift with friction sway control. Get a radio frequency (RF) wireless brake control like the Tekonsha prodigy rf model. Get a Voyager rear view camera system - Camping world. Get a battery disconnect switch. They make removable post connections if you want an inexpensive approach. Consider adding a second battery. Get a pair of comfortable camp chairs (look at the rockers). Get the small aluminum table from Camping world. Get a small propane grill and make sure it fits in the cubie before you buy it. Get a couple of battery lanterns and some LED flashlights. Costco has 1000/1300 lumen ones for $20. Get a battery powered fan. Use paper plates and disposable glasses until you have a better plan. Get a box of big trash bags and a box of kitchen size. Get paper towels. Get knives that have plastic covers....not same color as knife or you can't tell if they are on the knife. Get a coffee pot and paper filters. Get a tea pot to boil water. Use towels, bed clothes and blankets from home as well as anything else you have from camping that will work. Get a bottle jack, torque wrench and socket for lug nuts, a breaker bar and 1 in socket for BOSP. Get a half dozen lego blocks, four wheel chocks, some orange cones to mark the path you want to travel as you back up to park. Get some nitrile gloves to protect your hands - Harbor Freight - when dumping. Get a dump hose, a clear section and an elbow. Get an external water filter, an adjustable water pressure regulator and set it to 40 PSI. Get a drinking water safe water hose and a std garden hose to flush the black tank. Start with 20 ft and get a second one if you need it. Get a set of fuses for all those in the coach with an extra couple for the tongue jack. Get some hose washers. Put a small hand tool kit together including a multi-meter, IR heat gun and tire pressure gage. Get a wrapping pad for the steps, an entry door mat and an inside mat. Get a surge protector, a 50-30amp pigtail and a 20-30amp pigtail. Then you can get started getting the stuff that was forgotten above. Like RV toilet paper. Good luck. Pat
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:20 AM   #26
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Great info!

Thank you Pat for all of those recommendations? Oh, if only I could sleep while riding as a passenger! My husband would love that too! lol!
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:47 AM   #27
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Sounds like a big decision ahead of you.

It also would appear you have what is somewhat ironically called "aluminitis" on the forums. "Aluminitis" is a term that in a clinical setting would mean "inflammation of aluminum"...but I like to think what we mean by it is more like "disease of aluminum" or "an affliction of aluminum"...which would be more like "aluminosis"...

That aside, it is a condition of becoming fixated on the shiny aluminum AS trailers....an itch that will not subside until it is scratched.

Anyway, I am fascinated by such discussions by proxy....we (my wife and I) have 2 children so that made us jump right into a big ol' airstream bunkhouse....but if we were alone, the compromises being discussed would be difficult.

Opinions vary on this, a 16 bambi will have some things to offer that a 22 or 25 footer will not have....BUT, it seems to me that the 22 or 25 at a "pretty similar price" can do still what you are wanting to do and do it arguably better.

But clearly the bambi will do the job....its just crazy because what a couple uses can vary from a teardrop, to a 20 footer TT (travel trailer), to a class B-MoHo (motor home) to a 25 foot AS, even up to a 28-30 footer. It just depends on your various personal preferences, budget, TV (tow vehicle), etc...

The general "orthodoxy" among online "trailer trash" is that "bigger is better" up to 25 feet...25 ish feet seems to still get you into many spots in various parks.

If boondocking will be often done, the limits of the bambi are notable...battery capacity, storage space, tank capacities...I think people can do it and do do it, but I think as always the question looms:

"After you have owned it for X amount of time, will you have wished you had a 22 or 25"....no one KNOWS the answer to that question it seems for each and every individual...

Class B van conversion seems interesting option to me for being compact.

Others mentioned like casita and oliver...I freaking love the Oliver...4 season camping in that thing as I recall...if it were me at that price point around 40K, I would seriously look at that trailer as well....not sure how light it is...it is a boondocking machine...there is a long youtube video of an owner that reviews it, and it is impressive.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:04 AM   #28
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Big decision

Thank you Pharmgeek! I looked up Oliver.
You are correct; it is a big decision! We had originally planned to sell out beautiful Cobalt boat before we purchased another toy! Then as our trip approached we began thinking of buying a trailer anyway. So if anyone can help us out (find a buyer for our 2008 252 Cobalt at $58,700) we would be staying with our original plan! lol!

Decisions, decisions!
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