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Old 11-04-2012, 03:26 PM   #1
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Boulder , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 20
So new, so ready to absorb - and buy!

Hi all,

This is my first ever membership to a forum, so it must be an indication of my excitement. I've recently become beyond obsessed with taking the step from thinking Airstreams are super "neat" looking to just "NEEDING" one.

My husband and I have never owned a trailer or RV of any type so I could use some direction and guidance when it comes to things to think of and look for when buying used.

We plan to use our airstream for 10-12 day trips cross-country 10-15 times per year starting next spring. We travel regularly for work and are sick of booking hotels and flying. The new idea is to hit the road and kick back in the comfort of our Airstreams. That said, I think we're looking for a 19ft trailer, 2002 and newer (budget is certainly below 40K, below 30K preferred).

Any pointers? Right now, I'm totally into this one:

2004 19ft. Airstream Bambi International CCD Excellent Condition in RVs & Campers | eBay Motors

What do you think? Also, we live in Colorado - what sort of considerations should we take into account when it comes to driving through the mountains (braking, etc)?

Last random question - if we find a trailer with a microwave, can we replace that with an oven or is that a complicated/expensive change to make? I hate microwaves and love to bake.

Feel free to point me toward an old post since I'm sure many of my questions/thoughts are already answered somewhere...

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Old 11-04-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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1966 24' Tradewind
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Visit an Airstream Rally First

Colorado has some great Airstream rallies. Contact someone from the DenCO unit or the Rocky Mountain Vintage Airstream Club to be you mentors. Control your urges ( no doubt caused by aluminitus, an incurable disease) and visit Airstreams at rallies. See them full of people, pets, and their stuff before you decide on any length.

Ken L
1966 Tradewind 24
2018 GMC Yukon XL Denali
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #5783
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:51 PM   #3
Rivet Master
1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,942
Traveling in an Airstream brings a new world of complexity to you travels and planning. It looks like you will be spending 1/3 of your nights in the Airstream in commercial campgrounds, Walmart parking lots, or state parks, depending where you need to be to run your business. You will spend a lot more time driving that you would have taken to fly but the scenery is different. If you love scenery and the driving, this is not a problem. If the road gets a little tiring, you can always revert to your old life style, since you will be keeping your home. 19 foot can become a little snug for two after a while. Putting up and taking down the bedding and dinette takes some time, as well as figuring where you are going to park tonight.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:13 PM   #4
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1957 26' Overlander
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Vintage Kin Owner
Rutherford Co. , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 904
two years ago, i was in the same position. we were looking for a trailer, i never had a RV, and was looking for a 19ft trailer.

two years later, now owning a 19 ft trailer, and a number of trips under our belts...

if i could have given myself advice...

1. if you are traveling so often, GET A DEDICATED BED. we got a globetrotter that i LOVE, but the only bed is a convertible , pull out couch - a "gaucho". it's a PITA when you have to pack it all up , store your blankets, pillows, and sheets in an already small trailer. We recently got a bigger trailer that will be restored in the future so we can have a dedicated bed. we wanted a 19ft b/c we were scared of towing something bigger. my advice; get a 22' or bigger with dedicated bed if you are doing more than weekend camping.

2. re: 2002 and newer; be careful of ..(someone can clarify on this) 2004 - 07 (or maybe it was 07? or 04?) as i've seen a lot of issues with rot at the rear end due to a lack of sealant on the rub rail. people might be trying to get rid of these cheap and it will cost you.

I'm not so familiar with newer trailers, (I'm a vintage AS buff) so i can't tell you how difficult it would be to switch out micro.

whats your tow vehicle (TV)? this could determine what you end up with. We ended up buying a TV to suit our trailer needs

however, there shouldn't be much about your AS or TV specific to CO, except if you plan to do cold weather camping...

Are you in a rush to buy? Do you have any DIY experience? are you set on buying something newer?

also - welcome!
'57 Overlander | '56 Flying Cloud | '51 Spartanette
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:30 PM   #5
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1975 31' Sovereign
Currently Looking...
Vernon , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2012
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What are you using to tow with? That will determine what you can live in for your trips.
We bought with the idea of dedicated areas. Cooking, beds, bath and entertainment. On long trips this is welcome, at least for us.
Good luck on your search!
1975 Sovereign
"The Silver Bullet"
2013 F350 Super Duty 6.7 Liter Diesel
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:38 PM   #6
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2008 20' Safari
Tunnel Hill , Georgia
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My wife and I were never campers, but two years ago decided we too were tired of "sleeping in someone else's bed" when traveling. After about six months of looking at motorhomes, 5th wheels and travel trailers we purchased a 2008 20' Safari with a dedicated bed, below your prefered price. The lay-out is front bed, mid dinette, rear kitchen and bath that has a shower with a louvered door. We have stayed up to 4 weeks on trips and have found ways to stay out of each others way.
Buying used should allow you to try-out a size and later trade-up to a larger size with-taking a big finacial hit on the deprecation if you decide a smaller unit is too tight.
The web sight for RV Trader can assist with your search.

Good luck with your search and
Happy Streamin'

Remember its not the destination, but rather the journey.... its what's in the middle that matters the most!
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:43 PM   #7
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
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We travel in a 2006 19', which does, by the way, have a dedicated bed. We find it just fine for the two of us...we are not large people, but we have two dogs, a cocker and a standard schnauzer...everybody knows their place to be depending on what is going on, so we all get along fine.

The 19' is great if you can live without a lot of extra room, you are organized with your belongings and clothing, and you like who you are traveling with. You can take it virtually anywhere, you can get into and out of gas stations and you can manage city driving fairly well.

You will learn here on the Forums that everything is driven by how you plan to use your rig and what kind of camping you anticipate. For our current needs, the 19i' is perfect...if we were spending months in a trailer we would probably want something larger. Everyone's needs are different and there are no rules. Think about what YOU need.

The advice to attend a rally or two is good. Both the DenCO and the 4CU have rallies in your area. We in the 4CU have had many folks come by rallies with their note pads and pencils taking notes and asking questions. Several of those folks now have their own Airstreams and are now members, happily!

Good luck with your search and you plans to approach your travel in a new way, and I think that's great. There is much to be said for taking your own little home with you as you criss-cross the country!
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Prez & Membership Chair, 4CU/WBCCI
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:49 PM   #8
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
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I like the 19' Airstream arrangement for extensive road time which you plan to do, a compact version of our 25' rear bed which we adore. Not so much for extended stays at a destination which is how we use ours.

Don't spoil the size advantages by getting a big tow vehicle, look for a wheelbase of around 120" or somewhat less. Or you may as well have a bigger more comfortable Airstream.

Buying an Airstream without having someone knowledgeable inspecting it is risky. Theft, flood, bent frame, fire? This Ebay example looks decent but why in the world are the Airstream letters missing?

doug k
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:51 PM   #9
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,250
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

That sounds like a great plan, and would be quite doable in a 19 footer. We travel extensively in our Airstream. We have had it for six years and have camped in it for just under 1,200 nights. We have towed it over 100,000 and visited all of the lower 48 states. Our Airstream is a 2005 Safari 25FB. We really appreciate having the walk-around queen bed, two door refrigerator, and the separate shower. We also like having a tandem axle trailer on the long trips that we take. Our 25 came with a gas oven. We added our microwave.

We had originally shopped a 19' Bambi, but after due consideration, we decided that it was just not quite right for us. It could well work for you,

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:25 AM   #10
2 Rivet Member
irm's Avatar
2007 25' Safari FB SE
Boulder , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 20
Hi everyone,

First, thank you so much for the warm welcomes and the input - it's very much appreciated! It's true, I am suffering from Aluminitis and I'm really going to TRY to listen to those who advise against buying right feels like I just can't wait, but I likely can/should.

My husband and I are professional bike racers so many of the places we stay will hopefully be on the more "natural" end of the specturm - no need for Walmart parking/major technology for our jobs. We WILL need to transport all of our cycling equipment and our 2 60lb-ish dogs. We are very good at living small and have traveled/worked side by side for over 6 years now. That said, I can imagine that between "normal" clothes, bikes, equipment and cycling gear, things may get crowded. Of course, we can load our tow vehicle (a 2010 Tundra with TRD package) with gear and will likely get a bike rack. Some of you nailed it when you mention that people tend to go smaller because they are timid about towing something too big. I think I'm not only timid about towing a trailer, but also have some (false??) belief that the fact alone that it is our first trailer means it should be smaller. Sounds like this is a misperception and we should focus more on our needs? The 23 footer is sounding more appealing we really like the floor plan (anyone have more info on model years and sizes offered). Regardless, I would not buy one without a permanent bed set up - I'm not into packing up bedding every time we move. Also, we're not big on the vintage models - I'd like something that has been well maintained and cared for by the previous owner.

If I can entertain you with a couple more questions based on your posts...

-NJtoNC mentions to be wary of (possibly?) 2004-2007 model years due to insufficient sealant and resulting floor rot. Does anyone else no more about this?

-On that note - are there any notable differences between model years (2002-2012) in terms of standard options, problems and quality? Or are they mostly the same, just with different layouts and fabric/finishes?

-Do any of you know the approximate cost of hiring an inspector to check out a vehicle that is out of state? I assume you could find that person here on the forum?

-On size: it's seems like price difference isn't major b/w 19-23 ft. In terms of towing, is there a big difference in the sizes or is it barely noticeable? I can imagine we will have moments where we need to navigate busy streets through cities to get to a bike event. I'd hate to be stuck/unable to get into a gas station because my trailer was just 3-4 feet longer than originally planned.

-Random question...are the outdoor showers only on certain years/models? This option is very attractive to me considering the dogs and the high probability that we will be arriving to our Airstream dirty from our rides.

Once again, feel free to point me to existing threads that have answers to my questions. I have been poking around and have found a ton of great information!

Thanks again all!!
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #11
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
Pearland , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 318
The biggest thing I've learned with my bikes and the Airstream is that you can't have a large enough grey tank. I have a 25' so I have a 40 gallon grey tank and I typically have to dump it at least once each weekend trip if I'm on my bike all weekend. Typically all of our trips are to somewhere that has mountain bike trails. So I'm up at dawn on the trails and I come back sweaty and nasty and I hose off a little with the outdoor shower then I go inside and take a real shower. And with that layer of sweat and grime you use a lot of water. Then late afternoon I'll usually go out again and get gross and nasty and repeat the process. Doesn't take long to fill that tank with me taking showers plus my wife and son. I think the 23' has about a 20 gallon tank depending on the floor plan. I would be constantly dumping or using facility showers if that's what I had. So keep that in mind.

I love having the Airstream for my bike trips. I do a little bit of masters mountain bike racing (far from pro level) and I can take it to most of the venues and it's a great basecamp for a weekend of riding.

Currently I have the bikes in the bed of the my Tundra. I have the rail system so I use Rocky Mount fork mounts but it's not really cutting it anymore. Too much other stuff I'm carrying along. So plan is to get the Thule Xsportser rack system with the roof rack style bike racks so I can keep the tire on and out of the bed of the truck.
- Ronnie
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:40 PM   #12
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,644
Various answers/opinions:

- I went from a 20' to a 23' trailer this year. There is very little difference in towing, and I like having the peace of mind (and easy tire changing capability) of twin axles. Not that a single axle is much less stable for towing - it isn't. The 23' and shorter trailers are slightly narrower than the modern 25' trailers - you do feel the difference inside.

- Different models get you the microwave/oven combination. IIRC, all of the 23' have that.

- Something to look for: Different trim levels bring different features. The biggest change is going from a basic Safari to a Safari SE/CCD/International/Flying Cloud uplevel model. That move changes wall coverings (base Safari = fuzzy wall covering, others = aluminum) and the windows (base Safari = smaller opening area, others = open more fully).

My advice: Plan to spend most of the $40k. Get the newest and nicest trailer you can, saving a bit of money for the inevitable upgrades/repairs. That money would buy a nice 2008-2009 23FB (fixed queen bed in front, nice big bathroom, but not much open floor space). Our 2007 Safari SE 23' would be closer to the $30k, but with a smaller bed.

We get about four days of showers out of our tank capacities (we use a water-saving Oxygenetics shower head, a great retrofit.) Most of the modern trailers have the outdoor "utility" shower. But yeah, our shower needs are less than during my mountain-biking days...(somehow kayaking is cleaner. )

Have fun with the search!

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Old 11-06-2012, 02:08 PM   #13
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1983 34' Limited
Wheat Ridge , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 71
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Welcome IRM

We are Colorado kids too! Full timers in a 34' Limited. I searched for what felt like ever once we decide that we were doing this thing. I wanted to be outta the house and streaming. However, I am glad that we looked at a ton of trailers, RVs, 5th wheels and Airstreams. The more we looked the more we learned. Do you already have a tow vehicle?
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:19 PM   #14
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,565
Images: 64
You're getting lots of good responses to your questions. One I haven't seen answered yet is whether the outside shower is available only on some models. I'm not positive it's considered standard on any models, but I do know that you can have an outside shower kit added to any model. The thing is where to add it. Some friends own a 16' with an outside shower's located on the exterior side of the wet-bath on the curbside, just behind the door, This puts it under the awning. Sometimes not the best place to get things wet from showering ...but on the other hand, it's close to the door. The outside shower will have to be where there is hot and cold water available on the inside. On our 19' for instance, that would put it on the street side, probably on the wall outside where the kitchen sink is located, opposite the door...the vanity sink is also street-side, but that is where the city water and flush system inlets are located, and above the sewer valves, so that's an awkward location at best. Personally, I would rather not have the shower under the awning where we sit outside. I would not let the lack of and outside shower be a deal-breaker. You can either have one added or you can find other means to clean up from riding before you go inside. (For example, Solar Camp Showers are actually pretty efficient ... and can be use anywhere.)

TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Prez & Membership Chair, 4CU/WBCCI
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
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