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Old 07-27-2011, 01:05 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Trying to make it happen- Newbie in San Diego with lots of questions!

Hey everyone! I'm really excited to become a part of this community and I'm hoping that you'll all be able to help me out with your vast knowledge of all things Airstream. I'll start off by telling you all a bit about myself and the story of what brings me here in the first place.

I'm a just turned 29 year old female living in the the San Diego area via Upstate New York. I work as a web designer full-time for a pretty awesome company. As much as I love my life I've been feeling like I need a new challenge or learning experience. Last week I had an epiphany. I was looking at some pictures of slot canyons in the Phoenix area on the internet and saying to myself "I WANT TO GO THERE!" They're not far from me but with a full-time job and a million things to do its really hard to do everything I want. The next morning I was still thinking about them and commented to my boyfriend that when I retire I want to travel around the country in an RV. My next thought was "what the hell, i might not be able to physical do all the things I want to do then... I might not even live that long!"

So I've decided to take a year off from working the 9-5 and travel the country by myself. For the first time in my life I had no doubt that this is something I can make happen. Normally adventures like this that I hear about or read about are something I just get super jealous of and say "I wish I could do that". All the sudden I have this determination to make it happen. So, this is the very beginning stages of getting ready for it. While working out the rough details I first thought I'd get a motorhome. Then decided a truck and trailer would be better for me. I figured I'd just find the cheapest livable trailer I could at first. Then I realized that having an airstream is something I've wanted since I was a child. If I'm gonna live the dream I might as well really live it. Then the more I've researched the more I realized that the idea of the airstream and the community behind it will only enrich my adventure even more. I'm working out a plan and I figured joining this forum would be a great resource.

So I'm going to have a lot of questions, if anyone has done something like this and has tips please feel free to PM me. I guess I'll go into more detail and questions in other threads.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:20 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums! Sounds like you have a plan. Now get busy and look into the classifieds here First!!! If you see something you'd like to know more about you can always get in touch with a trailer inspector here.
Have it looked over before you drive out to see for yourself. Good luck with your search and keep posting. We all wish you well. Happy Trails, Ed
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:39 PM   #3
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Hey dream:

We live in Lakeside. If you'd like to see our Air Stream and ask questions let us know.

Lyle & Margie
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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The only advice I'd offer is sort of a fine-tuning of the plan. Especially if you're looking at a previously-owned Airstream, you should plan to have significant overlap between acquiring the Airstream and starting your sabbatical. Take some trips, learn how everything works and figure out what you want to upgrade/improve/repair and build up your traveling kit (the tools and tidbits needed to travel comfortably and reliably.)

I've learned that it isn't the cheapest hobby that I've picked up, so it would be good to retain the income while getting everything in line for your traveling year, and to not be wasting travel time waiting for a part or fixing a pipe. Then when you hit the road you'll be able to have more fun and less fuss.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
The only advice I'd offer is sort of a fine-tuning of the plan. Especially if you're looking at a previously-owned Airstream, you should plan to have significant overlap between acquiring the Airstream and starting your sabbatical. Take some trips, learn how everything works and figure out what you want to upgrade/improve/repair and build up your traveling kit (the tools and tidbits needed to travel comfortably and reliably.)

I've learned that it isn't the cheapest hobby that I've picked up, so it would be good to retain the income while getting everything in line for your traveling year, and to not be wasting travel time waiting for a part or fixing a pipe. Then when you hit the road you'll be able to have more fun and less fuss.

Good advice. I was hoping to start my journey when my current apartment lease ends next year in April. As I've been researching I have considered that I'll want to make my purchase sooner than later because of the fact that it may require some fixing. I actually thought about the possibility of living in it parked somewhere while i work on it. I haven't gotten much further than that in my research though and have no idea where I'd either store it (since i'm in an apartment complex), or park it and live in it. Any help there?
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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air-dream, any thoughts as to your budget for your truck and trailer? Since Airstreams aren't cheap, that can really affect things. I'm thinking that you'd do well with a 19-23 foot trailer. Maybe something like this.

Plus, have you ever RVed before? I'm wondering if you might want to consider renting an RV for a few days and trying it out before doing this.

We managed to get away for a five week nearly cross-country trip with a T@B teardrop and our minivan. A year sounds nice. Really nice. Good luck!

Tom
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by air-dream View Post
Good advice. I was hoping to start my journey when my current apartment lease ends next year in April. As I've been researching I have considered that I'll want to make my purchase sooner than later because of the fact that it may require some fixing. I actually thought about the possibility of living in it parked somewhere while i work on it. I haven't gotten much further than that in my research though and have no idea where I'd either store it (since i'm in an apartment complex), or park it and live in it. Any help there?
Storage is generally easy to find, though I've heard in CA it may not be easy to pay for. Here in not-crowded Texas I have gated, covered storage with video surveillance for $60/month, and it's conveniently located next to a large police station. I like it. I have 20A power there so I can work on the trailer, plug in to charge the battery, get the refrigerator cold before setting off on a trip, etc.

Park-and-live-in will generally be a trailer park or rural property. Most cities design their codes to prevent that in residential areas. I don't know anything specific about your area, though.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:52 PM   #8
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Hey dream:

We live in Lakeside. If you'd like to see our Air Stream and ask questions let us know.

Lyle & Margie
What a nice offer! I will probably take you up on that as I get things planned out and have more research done. I'll contact you on here if the need arises.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:58 PM   #9
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air-dream, any thoughts as to your budget for your truck and trailer? Since Airstreams aren't cheap, that can really affect things. I'm thinking that you'd do well with a 19-23 foot trailer. Maybe something like this.

Plus, have you ever RVed before? I'm wondering if you might want to consider renting an RV for a few days and trying it out before doing this.

We managed to get away for a five week nearly cross-country trip with a T@B teardrop and our minivan. A year sounds nice. Really nice. Good luck!

Tom
I will be selling my (almost paid off) 2008 Honda Civic which will give me some cash for a down payment on my purchases. The rest I'll be financing. I'd like to keep it below 30,000 for BOTH trailer and truck but I realize that may be a dream. I was thinking maybe i could find a vintage in the 10,000 range that is generally in good working condition and just needs a slight makeover maybe or some upgrades. Then I'd have 20,000 left to spend on a tow vehicle and if there was any leftover (depending on what kind of deal I get) I can use it towards improvements.

I think a smaller trailer would be best for me. I don't need much room as I'll be by myself and at most have 1 guest with me at a time. For fuel efficiency I'd like something small and light anyhow. That trailer in the link you send looks pretty ideal actually.

I have never RVd before. I've done camping, and I've stayed in others' RVs but never actually done it on my own. I've never owned a truck or towed anything. So your advice about trying it out first is great. I think I will either see if i can rent and do a 10 day stint up to norcal and beyond or purchase before my year long trip starts and do a few long weekends. Mainly that will depend on if I can work out a place to store or park the trailer when I'm not using it. Also, are there people in these forums that will rent out their whole setup to someone for a vacation or is that not likely?
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:03 PM   #10
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Storage is generally easy to find, though I've heard in CA it may not be easy to pay for. Here in not-crowded Texas I have gated, covered storage with video surveillance for $60/month, and it's conveniently located next to a large police station. I like it. I have 20A power there so I can work on the trailer, plug in to charge the battery, get the refrigerator cold before setting off on a trip, etc.

Park-and-live-in will generally be a trailer park or rural property. Most cities design their codes to prevent that in residential areas. I don't know anything specific about your area, though.
If that's the cost of storage here it'd be great! I'll have to look into it. I could purchase well in advance of my lease ending, work on the trailer at the storage facility, and take it out for weekend trips to test it out and make improvements.

I live in Carlsbad and I'm sure they have some sort of zoning laws for residential property. There are some mobile home parks but i can't seem to find info on them. Seems mostly like you rent the home along with the space and not just the empty space for your trailer. I'm thinking i might be wrong about that though. If I could work this out it could be great because my boyfriend is looking to move to the area. I could put him up in the trailer and have him pay some of the rent on the lot. Then we can both work on the trailer in our spare time. If it became unlivable he'd be able to stay in my apartment until we get it back in shape.

anyway... that's a lot of detail but its nice to write out ideas via this forum. I'm really excited about the responses already!
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:29 PM   #11
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Odd thing about vintage trailers

One odd thing about used Airstreams is that smaller trailers often have bigger pricetags. The middle-sized trailers are often a good combination of price, space and features. Depending on how demanding you are, it's entirely feasible to find usable mid-sized trailers for less than $10k. I bought my '75 Argosy24 for well under $10k and I could have gone camping the same day I bought it if I'd had a tow vehicle ready to go.

That does NOT mean I didn't want to make any improvements, but the trailer was well-sealed, all systems functional and it was licensed with decent tires.

Start looking now, but there'll probably be better buys available later in the year. Some people are camping one last season before they sell, or are sure they'll go out any weekend now and will give in and sell after the season. Some people just think the trailer is worth more than people are itching to go camp, and will refuse an offer now that they'd accept in October.

I think you're better off with a trailer that has been both well-maintained AND well-used. A trailer that looks nice because it's been sitting in storage for 5 years is likely to have more frustrating surprises in store for you than the one that's been out every month or two lately but may look a little scruffy. Sometimes beauty really is only skin deep.

When you find a trailer you're really serious about, take advantage of the resources here. There's an outstanding inspection checklist that I used in my search. If you feel like having another set of eyes on the candidate, or there's a trailer you're serious about that's too far away for you to inspect it yourself, many of us have volunteered to inspect trailers in our profiles. A forums member may be just miles from the trailer to take a look for you.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:06 PM   #12
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Hi Airdream!

I'm new here too but thought that I'd share a couple of links to people who are currently living the life your planning. I've been following them since before we bought our AS in March.

With a family of 6 and a local job I can only dream of full timing but others have proved that it can be done...in style!

Small space living in an Airstream International CCD travel trailer RV | Weaselmouth
http://whereiskylenow.com/

Best of luck on your search for a suitable AS and TV!

Brad
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:14 PM   #13
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"I work full time as a web designer"....

Well that should simplify things greatly! You should be able to keep that job and work on the road with the only added expense being a high speed internet connecton. You might choose to go part time, or to work as a 1099 freelancer on a project by project basis, or keep your current workload.

You've already gotten some great advice, I'll second the idea of renting an RV for a week or two before buying. It seems expensive, but it's far less than buying one and a month later realizing you can't stand it.

I've followed a lot of restoration threads - with admiration - but a reality check that I don't want to do that stuff myself EVER again. (Had "this old house")

I agree that you CAN live in less that a 25 footer - and if major travel with a smaller tow vehicle is your goal, that is the way to go. I would recommend a GENTLY used unit - 2 to 5 years old that doesn't need anything but possibly new tires and the bearings lubed. Rebuilding takes a while, and usually costs 3-5 times more than you expected. Anything 10 years old or older and the condition really depends on the owner being a maintenance fanatic. Your budget and your timeline can be really destroyed when you find a hidden problem.

Tundras make good tow vehicles, and aren't bad daily drivers. I also like the Chevy Suburban or Tahoe (though it's wheel base is shorter). Half ton trucks would work fine too. But the smaller the trailer, the more you rely on the tow vehicle to store stuff.

Welcome and best of luck, Paula
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:50 PM   #14
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I have a '76 Tradewind and live in Carlsbad. You are welcome to check out my trailer and ask me any questions. Just send me a private message.
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