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Old 06-15-2015, 01:31 PM   #1
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2015 25' FB International
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What have we got ourselves into!?

Hello Citizens of the AirForums,

We picked up our first Airstream trailer this weekend (a 2015 Intl Serenity 25FB). This is also our first camping trailer, and the first trailer of any kind that I've pulled in 20 years. Everything is still a bit overwhelming. So much information to digest. I'm really looking forward to mining all the data captured in this forum as we figure this whole thing out, and, eventually, contributing what I can, when I can. I'll be sharing this adventure with my wife and four year old daughter.

-Kevin
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:34 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard Kevin! Many of us were in the same position as you not long ago, with relative inexperience, and I can say the learning curve is fast and a lot of fun. Enjoy! Joe
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:35 PM   #3
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Hi Kevin, welcome to the forum. I've towed a boat for many years and it still didn't prepare me for the first outing with our AS. Oh sure, I learned to look over my shoulder so I know which way to turn the wheel, but that's nothing.
How far can I back up?
Did I hook up the hitch properly?
What was that noise?
Is the antenna down?
Are the stabilizers up?
Are the connectors connected/disconnected?
What's that smell?
How far do I need to be from the curb?
Do I have enough clearance to get to the gas pump?
What was that noise?
What did we forget?
Why did we bring that?
What is that thing for?
WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?

Make a list or borrow one from the forum here. Follow it. Use visible controls (e.g. something visible to remind you to do something. We have a toy monkey we hang from the antenna crank.), take your time, coming and going. Keep to the right lane, better to go slow and have control. If someone wants to pass, it makes it easier for them. Every time you stop, do a walk around the vehicle and check your rig. It'll make you feel better if nothing else.

Finally, if you don't understand something, be sure to ask here on the forum. Try to search and find your answer but post if you don't

Good luck and again, welcome to Airstreaming and the forum
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:05 PM   #4
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haha.. oh, FLASHBACK!!!! ouch.. that's gonna hurt/leave a mark...

Hey, deeeeep breath... it's all good.. take your time .. and each trip will be more fun!!

Enjoy.. then come here to find answers...
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:13 PM   #5
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Welcome to AS life, hope you have many happy years ahead.
As CWF said, deep breath and relax a little.
Your biggest point for making a big costly mistake is transition from being parked/camped to hitting the road. Take your time during this transition and you should be good.
Make some basic checklists and operating procedures to follow, that way you won't be worried you forgot something or be stuck trying to remember how to do something. Fridge door latched, antenna cranked down, stabilizers jacked up, all hoses and electric disconnected and stowed, chocks out, tongue jack FULLY raised, steps up, door dead bolted(so it doesn't spring open in transit), before moving to begin with. Safety cables and breakaway cables attached.
Had a job operating a nuclear power plant, where we had operating procedures for everything and using them was MANDATORY. No matter if you did it 1000 times, you always referred to the operating procedure.
Had another one, pilot, and we used checklists ALL THE TIME. You may be able to knock out a bunch of steps, but always referred back to the list to be sure you didn't miss something.
A good idea for checklists is to start somewhere, ie the front of the trailer, and list things in an order that you could walk around and through the trailer and end up back in the same spot you started and go through the items in order.

One BIG checklist item for you, daughter, check!
Make sure she's accounted for when you move the trailer around. Backup cameras don't work 'around' the trailer.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:19 PM   #6
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I was a bit intimidated when I first started Streaming. I had worked as a SP Ranger, done a lot of tent camping and had pulled boats for many years, but I didn't feel like that was much of a resume for dealing with an Airstream. I spent many hours here learning as much as I could. At first I became more intimidated as there are many belt and suspender folks here who bring up a lot of scary stuff. But gradually I became more comfortable, at least in a book learning kind of way. But where the rubber meets the road is where the rubber meets the road.

I picked up the trailer several hundred miles from home and I will never forget the first drive out of Fresno. I found myself on a country road with 10' lanes which definitely kept me focused. The trip home proved to be uneventful though and now, two years and 10,000 miles later, I hardly consider myself an old pro, but the tension is gone.

I used to fly private planes and I use the same kind of pre-flight checklist and routine that I used then. The goal is to be confident without ever thinking I know everything. As the saying goes, "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots".

A major breakthrough for me was to keep it slow and enjoy the journey. I believe that how fast and how far you drive are inversely related to how much you enjoy the journey.

Airstreaming is a wonderful world with wonderful people. My wife and I have been blessed to have had a rich and varied life, from humble tent camp grounds to Four Seasons Hotels, and we have enjoyed it all. But this is our favorite thing of all.

Cheers,
John
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:21 PM   #7
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Portland , Oregon
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Hi Kevin. I have many years of towing a trailer and camping, but as a new airstream owner, I feel like I have to learn everything All over again. Whenever you are hooking up and moving the trailer, take your time and don't rush anything. Double and triple check everything and you will be fine.

Welcome to the adventure.

Mike
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:40 AM   #8
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Sherwood , Oregon
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Thank you all for the kind and welcoming words of wisdom. I think my first checklist is going to be a list of checklists that I need...

I read through all the manuals that came with the trailer and felt like I was wandering through a thick fog. Then I discovered that my dealer had included a copy of the "The Newbies Guide to Airstreaming" book (along with a nice gift box with wine, cheese and nuts to help calm the anxiety).

After reading that I was a lot more comfortable. Although the one checklist I wanted was not included; that being the one that ticks off everything I need to do when parking in the storage facility. I've been back to the lot a couple times to check and do things.

Our first see trial is this coming Friday. We're heading out to the Champoeg State Heritage Area (pronounced "shampoo-ey" (for non-Oregonians), where I grabbed the last available spot) for an overnighter, a whopping 12 miles from home. (Also the location of this year's Annual Fall Rally for the Oregon chapter of WBCCI. Hopefully we can make it there too.)

-Kevin
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:15 AM   #9
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Your last post bright a smile, as it is pretty much our experience. We picked up our AS on 6/6/15, and drove all the way to Wilsonville from Gladstone (about 8 miles for non Oregonians) to spend the night at Pleasent Ridge RV and check out the unit. Then backing into the storage place in Tualatin took 45 nail biting minutes, (tight turn, narrow space, 27 ft) but we made it.

Mike
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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One of the things I learned is to focus on the task at hand. Translation is that if I am in the process of setting up or breaking down, I don't engage in talking with others. Way to easy to get engrossed in the conversation and miss something. I've caught myself doing this and learned that when I attempt to multitask, I mess something up. Also to complete each task. Don't start to work on an awning and then walk away to do something else. Close up the awning and latch it closed. Too easy to roll it up saying I'll come back and latch it, and then forget because you don't notice the latch is not in place.

Secondly just before departure I do a walk around. I check the exterior for everything under the trailer, the sides, and finally rooftop. I recheck all the hitching components. I step inside an make sure everything is closed and latched, especially any sliding doors. I also make sure things like the water pump, antenna amplifier, and systems panel, water heater, thermostat are all turned off. Also that little pop up vent/unit that is easy to miss since you can't see it when viewing the roof from the ground.

Once I pull out of my spot, I walk back through my site and verify that nothing is left and I make one final check of the hitch. I also recheck the entry door to make sure it is latched and locked.

If your spouse is helping you, recheck the work they do and have them check yours.

Jack
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:45 AM   #11
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Ah yes! That first backing-in exercise!

Mine was the ultimate trial-by-fire because my wife ditched me at the last second (having a 4 yo, this happens a lot) leaving me to park the thing solo, backing into a spot that was 2 feet wider than the trailer with big steel post beams on one side and a box RV on the other side. This was when I really realized that my non-towing mirrors are truly inadequate (new clip-ons arrive today). I channeled all the Zen energy I could, struck some interesting yoga-like poses hanging off the driver's side running board on one foot while feathering the gas and brake pedals with the other and tending the steering wheel with one hand so that I could get a decent view. It was a fantastic exercise in meditation and patience. It took a while with a lot of: jump out, check everything, jump in, move 3 inches, repeat and adjust. But in the end, everything came together and I was perfectly centered (in spirit and in the parking spot).

Congrats on your new AS, Mike! May we meet on the road in the future (either by coincidence, or by plan)...

-Kevin
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:29 PM   #12
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Kevin.. rule 1.. prioritize.. wait till kid/wife are over the "issue-du-jour" so they can join... it is the family's journey.. and when kid calm, it helps all...and you NEED your wingman!

Get a notebook and use it.

Get walkie-talkie.. they work!!! words can be better than hand signals..trailer only moves when Ground spotter says.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:44 PM   #13
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Mobile , Alabama
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Congrats on your new Airstream!!
The only piece of wisdom that I can pass on is try to be were you want to be
Unhitched and parked prior to the sun going down.
Some of our most stressful camping experience is pulling into a strange campground after dark.
Driving into some tight sites in the dark can be tense.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:11 PM   #14
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Ha ha ha, we feel your anxiety Kevin! We'd never towed a trailer before last week. Picked up our 27' in Denver last weekend and promptly drove it 750 miles back to Dallas - through Denver traffic, the mountains, through dark unknown roads, into our first RV site in the dark and the rain, survived our first gas station experiences and managed to back that sucker into the storage spot in a shocking 3 attempts and we survived!! My poor husband, trial by fire indeed! But we made it back in one piece relatively unscathed so we'll be heading out for our next adventure soon, this time a little closer to home ;-) Everything from here on should be a piece of cake! Ha ha.
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