Step 1: Wife decides she wants an RV. Laugh; tell her she's crazy -- and there's no way we're getting an RV.
Step 2: Buy an RV. (Itasca Navion 25' motorhome)
Step 3a: RV for a year, and LOVE it.
Step 3b (during same year): Everything on motorhome breaks (except chassis). Rig spends 7 months in shop in one year.
Step 4: Borrow RV from shop (seriously) to go RVing Easter weekend. Realize that our 2nd a/c unit just crapped out again. Also find new leak (making 3 currently). Wife notices all the nice travel trailers in campground. Wonders aloud if we'd have better luck there. Laugh, tell her we're not buying a travel trailer.
Step 5: Buy Airstream over internet. (Wanted to at Step 1 but didn't have a tow vehicle.) 2015 Flying Cloud 27FB Twin.
Step 6: After (yes, ONLY) a few hours of research, buy 2015 F-150. Enjoy smug satisfaction of owning Perfect Tow Vehicle. Customize with camper shell, bedliner AND bedmat. FINALLY: Done. (Any fans of foreshadowing out there?)
Step 7: Caravan family from Texas in truck and motorhome (to trade in) to Colonial in New Jersey. Motorhome does its best to break down along the way. We stopped using appliances for fear of letting it get its way.
Step 8: Pick up Airstream.
Step 9: Freak out *just* a little.
Step 10: Realize that the Airstream is perfect.
Step 11: Realize pretty quickly that the F-150, while an amazing truck, does not fulfill our needs as a tow vehicle, especially as newbies. Dynamically it was a bit of a mess with the 27 footer - I finally realized what "the tail wagging the dog" meant. (By this time, I had done an embarrassing amount of research. Wish I had done it in the beginning.) Also, after weighing we realized that we were right at payload capacity, without the dogs (or a generator). Truck would be fine with smaller crew and more experienced driver, but we are neither.
Step 12: F-150 begins to break down. Somewhere in Tennessee I decide it is no longer safe to drive. Local Ford dealer suspects trailer brake control module is overheating and taking out power steering, abs, traction control, etc., etc., resulting in, shall I say, a unique driving experience (e.g. turn wheel quarter turn to go straight -- oops now turn it the other way, also to go straight). Ford and dealer say they can do nothing until the problem happens again (which I can't do because it usually happens after 4 hours of towing). PS I'm barely using my brakes at all - tow mode works great.
Step 13: Test drive F-250 while waiting for service to diagnose problem. Dealer lets me borrow it to tow the AS.
Step 14: Trade in F-150 for F-250. A completely different towing experience. Truck by itself is not as nice as the F-150, but towing with the F-250 was the way we imagined it would be, if that makes any sense. Connect Airstream to Truck. Drive. Easy as can be.
Step 15: During a SLOW day at the office, finally document our travails in the hopes that it can be a cathartic experience and perhaps a cautionary tale for others.
A little background:
There are 6 of us (wife and I, two little kids, and two dogs). We have fantasies of full-timing. It may happen, but we're going to start with smaller trips for now, probably do Colorado in July, and then planning a big trip for 1-3 months in the fall. Hopefully California to as high up the coast as we can get and then back to Texas (probably will come back). Pesky little job is holding me down right now, but we are working on options that will enable us to work remotely. Currently in Austin.
-It's funny that this ended up being a tow vehicle post, mostly. That is because the Airstream is P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I mean, it really is perfect. The 27 was absolutely the way to go. Everything works as it should, is well designed, durable and beautiful. What's not to love?
-This forum has been invaluable in correcting so many of my mistakes, and now I'm using it properly to attempt to at least limit future mistakes.
-I am officially out of money.