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Old 07-16-2014, 05:01 PM   #1
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The Browns and the Traveling Twinkie

Howdy y'all,

I'm Wes, and I'd like to introduce the Brown family, which consists of myself, my lovely wife Jennifer, and our two Schnauzers, Nones and Holes. We also have an ancient cat, Janey, that does not travel well, so will be staying home.

I am six and a half feet, grew up in Texas, and wear desert combat boots. I'm also Deaf, speak both American Sign Language and English fluently. I'm a full-on geek, and software engineer by trade. I was most recently a VP of Engineering and Chief Architect of a startup company that got bought by Cisco.

My wife Jennifer is five feet and an inch tall, is a Coloradoan, and wears heels on occasion that brings her up a few inches. She's also Deaf, though she hears a bit more than I do. I tease her about her love of music, but she does get all the radio presets and can listen to whatever she wants in the truck. She's a paralegal and a certified fitness trainer, and has a love/hate relationship with quilting.

Nones and Holes are both Miniature Schnauzer boys, both retired AKC Champions. My father raises, breeds, and shows Miniature Schnauzers -- and we've been fortunate to have his dogs when he is done showing them.

It'd been a dream of mine for a long time to have an Airstream, because I enjoy the idea of self-sufficiency -- so I've always been inclined in the direction of boon docking. I came close to purchasing an Airstream four years ago before I went to Colorado to date my wife, but I found a room to rent instead.

After three years of trying times financially and emotionally, we finally had the means and ability -- so my patient wife trendily consented to pursuing the Airstream adventure together.

I had a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 that I'd driven for sixteen years, but two humans and two Schanuzers in a two door truck was quite a squeeze for long road trips. I am not a car person, so it was hard for me to justify buying a new truck -- but the fuel economics of the 1998 truck towing an Airstream made me take a look. I'd been wondering about the progression of hybrids and if they'd made it to the half-ton trucks. I found the GMC Sierra hybrid, but the towing capability was crippled, and the mileage wasn't that much improved. Then I found the Dodge 1500 EcoDiesel, and as they say, the rest is history.

Jennifer and I live in Georgia, and unfortunately, there are no Airstream travel trailer dealers in our state. This made it difficult to examine units in person to see what layout worked. There was quite a bit of discussion, back and forth about layouts and trailers.

The 23' was appealing, because it was quite a livable layout for a smaller trailer -- but being hunched over perpetually was a deal breaker for me. The single axle trailers are actually slightly shorter by an inch or two than the tandem axle trailers, and that makes all the difference for me.

We then looked at 25' layouts, which met the minimum height required for me -- barely. When I stand up in the dual-axle trailers, my head is about half an inch to an inch from the ceiling -- and I have to duck the air conditioning unit. We rather liked the front bedroom layout with the queen bed.

But guess what? What they call a 'queen' ain't so, and for a guy as tall as I am, the inches make all the difference. These are really trailer queens, which are about five inches shorter than regular queens. This is something that we intend to remediate. But this also affects the thinking in terms of layout. With the trailer queen bed 'across', in the 25FB layouts, there would have been less room to add five inches than to the trailer queen beds in the 27/28FB layouts.

When we were looking at the decor options, comparing the Safari, the Flying Cloud, and the International interiors -- Jennifer fell in love with the Internationals. She tried really hard to like the Flying Cloud, for economic reasons -- but we both had to love what we were spending that much money on.

It then became a tough choice between the 27FB and the 28 International models. The thing that cinched it for us was that the 28 International had three separate living spaces, one of which could be an 'office' -- for when I work on the road. We did give up a lot of storage space, and the counter space of the 27FB, but we decided that it was workable.

So we bought a 2014 28 International Serenity that we've named Twinkie. I'd like to take you all for a tour through her.

That's the 2014 Dodge Ram EcoDiesel tow vehicle parked in front of Twinkie at the Fort Wilderness campground at Disneyland -- we got 20 MPG with it at 55 MPH on the trip back!



We bought a submarine and named it the USS Twinkie -- so that we can journey for twenty thousand leagues under the sea!

I kid -- although it is reminiscent of a submarine or an aircraft with all the aluminum and rivets. It's an Airstream -- specifically, the 2014 28' International Serenity. It's definitely not your typical travel trailer. I invite you to step aboard our home away from home -- below is what you will see upon entering the front hatchwa -- er -- door, and look to the left. You can see the dinette, which can seat four in relative comfort, but is usually used as the traveling office. There's the kitchen with an oven, a three burner stovetop, and a pretty full sized fridge where we can store produce gleaned from farmer's markets. The blinds in the kitchen open, to a pretty green view.





Looking at our office from a six and a half high perspective, you can see the large windows that let in a lot of light. The upper curved windows have their own blinds, which is nice for letting in light at specific times while still maintaining more privacy. The dinette table also makes a nice stowaway for the crate, of which you can see the open door peeking out. Holes likes that cave in particular.



Here's all the blinds open in the front lounge area -- you can see the panoramic windows on the front side of the Airstream, and the window in between the lounge and the kitchen. The lounge also can convert into a fairly comfortable bed -- a little more comfortable than most sleeper couches. Incidentally, the dinette also converts into a bed -- so we can theoretically sleep six people in Twinkie.



Turning around, you can see the bedroom with the queen bed -- well, it's theoretically a queen bed, as it's really a trailer queen. About two or three inches too short for the Browns, but a situation that we intend to remedy. To the left is the bathroom. And to the right is the stand up separate shower. If you look up, you'll see one of the two skylights in the Airstream -- it's actually pretty rare that we have any lights on in the daytime as so much natural light is let in.



From the hallway, looking into the front of the Airstream, you can see the other skylight -- and the AC unit. There are two AC units in the trailer, 15,000 and 13,500 BTU's. Needless to say, it kept very cool even in Florida summertime! The mirror to the left hides a closet -- other Airstream layouts actually have more closet space, but we consciously chose this one because of the three 'living zones' that it offers versus the two of the others.



Stepping into the bedroom -- below, you'll see that I stitched a panorama to show the amount of light and windows that the bedroom has. There's a small closet to either side of the bed, along with nooks and magazine racks. Incidentally, every cabinet in the Airstream also lights up!



And, last, the requisite dog pictures showing Holes and Nones making themselves comfortable in their home away from home. They seem to especially like the coziness of the area next to the bed!




The Brown family is very pleased to have our Airstream, and we look forward to many trips -- one of which is an upcoming trip to Vegas!

Nice meeting y'all from Georgia.
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:40 PM   #2
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Congratulations, and wishing you many great adventures.


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Old 07-16-2014, 05:46 PM   #3
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Beautiful, have fun!
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:55 PM   #4
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Congrats and welcome Wes. Join us for a rally soon. There's a strong Airforums presence in GA.

Regards,

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Old 07-16-2014, 06:27 PM   #5
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Wes,

Congrats on the AS, I think you guys will enjoy. If your calendar and an available site can be found I think you guys would enjoy the Fall Alumalina get together. Wateree SP in SC. Details in rally section.

Happy trails,

Gary
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:33 PM   #6
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Are you an Airstream salesman??? :-)


Nice intro. Beautiful trailer and pups. Welcome!! Enjoy!!
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:02 PM   #7
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Welcome to the club. The only sign language I know, you won't want to read. But wave Hi if you see us, and We 'll wave (politely) back.


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