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Old 04-07-2007, 08:52 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
tallahassee , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8
Our Dream Was Not An Airstream... was to travel throughout Mexico and Central America in a Volkswagon Westfalia Syncro. But a funny thing happened on the way to the border. Got a few minutes? I'll tell ya the story!
The VW is a 4WD camper, and was our dream vehicle for the trip, which we were going to make a leisurely, year long affair. We spent a couple of years 'fixing' Frida (our VW) while we waiting for our house to sell on St. George Island, FL. We actually had the house sold in 2004, but then we had Hurricane Dennis, the sale fell through, and the coastal housing market crashed. And so we waited, worked, and improved Frida.
In November the house finally sold, the new owners were eager for a quick closing, and we hustled to close down our landscaping business. The big challenge was to fit everything we needed into the VW, and get rid of everything else we owned! We sold, gave away, gave away, and gave away some more. Finally, it all fit. (Did I mention this is a Volkswagen?)
With Christmas right around the corner, we decided to visit family before taking off, so we loaded up the Christmas presents in what little space was left, crammed in the dog, turned over the keys to our old home, and took off.
And then, drum roll, please, two days after Christmas I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Damn the luck!
Jobless, homeless, and unable to pursue our dreams, (are you pulling out the hankies yet?) my dear sweet husband told me it was all going to be okay. And you know what? It is better than okay! Got a few more minutes? I'm not done yet.
Thanks to our beautiful friends we had a lovely cabin on the outskirts of Tallahassee in which to stay while we got ourselves together. I had a mastectomy (since I had two areas of concern) but they started on reconstruction right away. (Sorry if this is more than you wanted to know, fellows!) The cancer was Stage 1, and the oncologist decided I didn't need radiation or chemo! How lucky is that? And, when my reconstruction is finished up this spring, I'll be 'perky' again! How lucky is that?
So, I'm getting to the best part. While we were waiting for surgery we needed to occupy our brains with something besides dread, so we started looking for an RV. Sweet husband decided we couldn't live off of our friends forever, and needed a 'place' while I convalesced. He started checking out campground host positions, and we prowled RV lots looking for our new home.
Junk. For the money we wanted to spend, I was not impressed. For one thing, the interiors of most RVs, well, I'm not going to get insulting.
And then, the silver lining! Somehow, I was divinely led (online) to the statement that something like 60% of all Airstreams ever made are still on the road. I had forgotten all about Airstreams! For one thing, neither of us come from a camping family, and you just don't run across Airstreams in the used section of RV lots. And when you ask salesmen about 'quality', they will hem and haw and look at their shoes, but they ain't gonna recommend something they don't have.
So our search (engine) narrowed to Airstreams.
Well, did I mention that we are a little impulsive? We fell in love with the first one we saw. Our requirements were that it had to have a double bed, no rear bath, and in good shape. (Husband is sweet, but only now learning to be handy.) Did we thoroughly check it out? NO! All the POs stuff was in it when we went to look at it, and, incidentally, still in it when we went to pick it up. Did we plug it in, check the appliances, run the propane? NO!! We took their word that everything worked. Are we crazy? YES! We paid a lot of money on total trust. Did we get incredibly, overwhelmingly lucky? YES!! We've had to replace the awning and get a new hot water heater, but other than that there was very little that needed fixing.
And now, the rest of the story. Well, this is a story that will go on and on... We have named her 'Upscaleability', and she is a beautiful 1978 31' Sovereign. We are, for a whole week now, full-timing in her, at a very beautiful lake in North Florida, right outside of Tallahassee. A lot of my questions have been answered on this forum, and I have been very eager to introduce ourselves, but having bottled it up for so long I've had more and more to say! Dear sweet husband and I are very happy, very healthy, and feel blessed beyond words that life has brought us in this direction. Mexico is still there, and we will make it yet, in Frida. But when our roaming is done we have a beautiful little Airstream to come home to, which, I might say, holds a lot more stuff than a VW!
Bye for now...
Ms. Verbosity

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Old 04-07-2007, 08:56 AM   #2
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Wenatchee WA , Cape Cod
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Welcome to the forum and we wish you the best in your convalescence. You have come to the right place to find both friendship and Airstream repair help. A lot of us "happened" upon our Airstreams. Yes we had always wanted one, but sometimes the planets align and the next day you are an Aluminum addict.

Thanks for sharing your story.


Jim & Kathleen
1968 Overlander - WBCCI #5793
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:13 AM   #3
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Where the water tastes like wine , Michigan
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Smile Hang in there!

Thanks for sharing your story! Keep that positive outlook and enjoy your Airstream. When we bought our first Airstream (a 79 in 2002) we got lucky with a very conscientious previous owner too. Best wishes
Steph in MI Air# 6996-
I Hockeytown USA!!
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:21 AM   #4
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Battle Ground , Washington
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Wow! Just Wow! What a story! That's just fantastic Welcome to the forums, and we look forward to hearing more of your adventures (even if some of them take place in your VW)!

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Old 04-07-2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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2013 30' International
lubbock , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 252
im a newbie also

and have just barely scratched the surface of all the information available here. its almost scary how many questions can be answered.

by the way, how come you need to heat the hot water?

from a smart-a** to another newbie...welcome, and keep smilin'!
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jump
and have just barely scratched the surface of all the information available here. its almost scary how many questions can be answered.

by the way, how come you need to heat the hot water?

from a smart-a** to another newbie...welcome, and keep smilin'!
To make it hotter! Have you ever tried to buy a "Cold water heater"??

Welcome Jump. Humor is allowed and encouraged here, along with the thoughtful, helpful posts. Nice to have another new member here.
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:47 AM   #7
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by jump
by the way, how come you need to heat the hot water?
Because if you heat cold water it is considered a boiler.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:49 AM   #8
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Placitas , New Mexico
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Smile It is a great story!

Welcome to the Forums. It's a great community with lots of good information and Airstream crazy folks.
Airylle 1972 Safari featured for 5 nanoseconds in the movie Wild Hogs

Jupiter (the Golden Retriever)
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:14 AM   #9
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I'm a big fan of Mexico and Central America. A big fan of VW buses. And a big fan of Frida Kahlo.
I'm also a really big fan of Airstreams and Argosies; of funny and impulsive and of perky too!

Welcome to the forums brooksandkay.

I'm already a big fan!
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:59 AM   #10
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But where is Frida? Somehow I doubt you're towing Upscaleability with the VW?
4CU Charter Member
1981 Excella 280 Turbo Diesel Motorhome
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:01 PM   #11
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tallahassee , Florida
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>But where is Frida? Somehow I doubt you're towing Upscaleability with the VW?<
Good point! All 90HP of Frida wouldn't budge this trailer! How we came upon 'Bubbles' is another long story, but 'Bubbles' is a 1988 Suburban that we had to buy to get Upscale home. (Do we really have to name everything?) Talk about luck! We got Bubbles for a song. It has 15,000 miles on a new motor and transmission, and the guy we bought it from was a real car geek who had taken great care of it. When I asked him the towing capacity, he smiled and said if we could put it on the hitch, the 'burb could tow it. And, that seems to be the case. Love it!
So, now we are sitting out here in the middle of the woods enjoying a brilliant blue Florida sky, and our new purple awning. What a life!
I'll post some pics as soon as I figure out how.
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:26 AM   #12
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1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
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Things happen for a reason

Brooksandkay, you've got a great story there. Welcome to the forums. In the end, things seem to turn out the way they are supposed to be. An Airstream and a 'Burb was meant to come into your life. In spite of your diagnosis, your prognosis sounds good. Here's wishing you health and wholeness during your recovery. Don't know if I can say the same for a case of aluminitis, there is no known cure. Symptoms are treated with continued exposure to other Airstreamers.

Life is good!
Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

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Old 04-08-2007, 09:43 AM   #13
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tallahassee , Florida
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Thanks to all for the kind words and greetings... and humor!
Life is good.
I think I'll go out and enjoy some right now!
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:07 AM   #14
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Welcome and enjoy your Aluminhome.

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Few rolling wheels to make our planet a house.

A 1/5th of her that I own.

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