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Old 04-24-2009, 11:05 PM   #57
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We got off to our usual early start at 12:30. I slept late and felt like a human today instead of the zombie I was yesterday. Barb's zombie day was Wednesday. A 100 miles from home we stopped for lunch and opened the door to greet the table on its side on the floor. Three screws had come loose from the leg, the mounting was bent and I began to curse Airstream QC. I stuffed some paper into the holes, banged the mounting plate flat and put it back together. Seems more stable than it was before. I expect the table is made of some sort of fiberboard and once screws come loose from fiberboard, they never can be tight again. Either use a larger screw or fill the hole with glue, a solution not practical at a rest stop. Another item for the ever growing list for Jackson Center.

Traffic on I-70 was light today and we got through Denver easily just after the height of the rush hour. We're presently in Strasburg, Colorado at the KOA and just finished a wonderful dinner (what a wonderful cook I married).

The stories on TV tonight about swine flu are worrisome. Not a good time to be traveling because of possible exposure. Our remote home in western Colorado is a lot safer if there's a virulent virus about because we have much less contact with the outside world. First reports—usually wrong—are that young adults are most susceptible, just like in the pandemic 91 years ago. Mortality rate in Mexico City near 7% and that's very high. My mother, who was about 8, did get the flu in 1918 and her lungs were damaged, though she lived to 89. This has a personal connection for me.

The roads were traveled today are in the worse shape I've seen in Colorado. I-70 eastbound over Vail Pass was exceptionally bad with potholes, big long ruts and rough "pavement". This was the worst stretch of a lot of bad sections on the highways. We are a low tax state and we fall further and further behind in keeping the roads in good condition. Instead of paying higher taxes, we pay more for vehicle repairs and a bad ride. We traveled west on I-70 a week ago and the road is much better in that direction.

It's about 1,200 miles to Jackson Center and we should get there Monday afternoon. It looks like a cold front will be chasing us most of the way with showers, thunder and some wind. We'll try to outrun it. We did about the same distance (JC to Denver) on I-70 last June not towing in about two days, part of the time going about 85 trying to avoid a tornado (we beat it).

Gene
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:23 PM   #58
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humming on the road again

Gene,

Glad you are finally on the road, you are going to have such a blast. The tables AS puts in are not worth much I am afraid. I rebuilt mine using the old one as a template. I used oak veneer plywood and love the result. Maybe you can get JC to make one for you . Keep us posted and give us some eye candy from the trip.

I head out in two weeks, lots to do and I lost a curved window to the Oklahoma winds today. Yay . Like you, I will be glad to be on the road again...
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:53 PM   #59
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Tornados again? Last we were here, bad weather from Indiana to Colorado.

We made it to Junction City, Kansas, crossing 430 miles of green and brown hills from eastern Colorado. Not an inspiring drive. When we got here, turned on the TV to tornado warnings, flash flood watches, severe thunderstorms. The good news is it all is about 50-100 miles east of us. Tomorrow more of the same, so we'll get up early and blast eastward hoping to beat the afternoon heat and more storms. Fear of hail abounds.

Sorry to hear about your window, Rodney, and I hope none of this weather has hit you in Oklahoma.

A word about LED's. We replaced just about every light in the main cabin, bathroom and shower with LED's. It was not cheap. The glaring recessed lights are now just right in brightness. True of the other lights too. Now the light is pleasant, we use far less electricity and they will last as long as I do. Next year the bedroom.

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Old 04-26-2009, 08:04 AM   #60
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Are the items on your list for Jackson Center covered by warranty, you can just go in there and get them fixed, or is it the per /hour repair deal? Also, is it easier to get warranty-covered replacements at Jackson Center than it is from a dealer? Our experience has been abysmally slow in getting parts.

The swine flu is a worry, we have a social worker daughter in NYC, where there has just been an outbreak.

Take of yourselves and enjoy your time on the road.
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:13 PM   #61
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doug & maggie,

Almost everything should be covered by warranty, though we are having an "extrusion" with the chrome colored insert put on the beltline to prevent corrosion there plus the toilet fountain needs to be fixed.

Dealers have to order a lot of parts because they don't want to tie up money in stocking them. In the past, form us that meant 2 round trips of 480 miles to a dealer—a dealer we won't go back to. Since we were planning to go to Michigan, Minnesota, etc., this trip fits to JC.

It's unusual for flu to show up in the Spring, though the 1918 Spanish flu actually started in the Spring—a lot of it brought home to the US by soldiers coming home from Europe. What we heard today was a much, much lower mortality rate. Maybe the virus is unstable, evolving or whatever. We heard today there were cases in Winnipeg, a place we plan to be in a couple of weeks. Anyplace travelers are would seem to be a place where you would be more likely to get it since it's travelers who spread it around. Airports and planes are something to avoid. It seems to spread quickly, so we'll see what happens. I haven't seen anyone wearing masks, though you need an antiviral mask for the flu, and they would be harder to find.

We woke up today to dark skies, wind and tornado watches. Actually, that was the 2nd time I woke up since each morning a train went by about 4:30 with the horn blaring and blaring. We rushed to leave and got ahead of the weather, though driving in the wind was difficult. The Airstream seemed fine in the crosswind, but we could feel the truck being buffeted. 509 miles and we are in eastern Illinois at a KOA in Casey. Unseasonably hot here—80˚ at 7 pm. Can't get any TV, hope it's not the TV. Works fine on cable, worked fine in the past to pick up local stations.

Tomorrow we arrive at the Terraport, only a couple of hundred miles.

Gene
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:19 PM   #62
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We made it to the Terraport. Three days and 2 hours after we left and I'm exhausted. The repair list keeps getting longer and longer. The fabric on one the dinette cushions is stretched, moves around and Barb can't get it clean. Part of the problem (besides cheap cloth) is they don't line the fabric. The kitchen sprayer is leaking badly. I guess despite my blowing it out and putting antifreeze in, there was water in there and froze. I'm not sure how to prevent that in the future because disconnecting it requires miniature hands and being able to see around corners. This item needs a drain to make sure the water comes out.

I'm getting to the point where I can't trust this trailer not to have things break or go wrong. It seems like we find a new problem every day. There has been a lot of discussion about QC and design issues and I fully concur.

The shop opens at 7 am and we're still on mountain time, so it'll be 5 am. After that, we'll have to stumble into a breakfast restaurant. There two other trailers here from Colorado, apparently traveling together. Both with the same Yukon.

Nice to be surrounded by all sorts of Airstreams, almost all of them bigger than ours.

The spell checker on this Forum always shows "Airstream" as a suspect word. Isn't that strange?

I must sleep…

Gene
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:26 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post

I'm getting to the point where I can't trust this trailer not to have things break or go wrong. It seems like we find a new problem every day. There has been a lot of discussion about QC and design issues and I fully concur.
Gene
I have much the same problem with my '68
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:51 AM   #64
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Sitting in the customer lounge at the Mothership. We went over all the problems with a service guy this morning and it seems like he will do whatever can be done to fix things. As I have heard, everyone is nice here. Glad to hear the 2 possible propane leaks couldn't be detected with a pressure test. This may take 2 days, but the price is right at the Terraport. One thing about the Terraport—the sewer connection is farther away than a standard sewer hose will stretch. You need an extra long hose. The heavy rains that have been following us seem to have dissipated.

Lots of people to talk to and pass rumors around. We are hardly the only ones who have had many problems with new trailers and the word was that the service guys never get to talk to the factory guys and aren't asked on how things can be improved. We heard about the dealer who split a three axle trailer in half and had to buy the owner a new one. Same dealer we've had problems with. Many complaints about that dealer over the years are ignored here because of a long time friendship between a Thor exec and the dealership owner.

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Old 04-28-2009, 12:17 PM   #65
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Hmmmmmm. Although admittedly, comparatively naive about all things Airstream, it is quite disconcerting to hear numerous complaints about quality control at the factory. If the right hand is not talking to the left, that is well known and the consequences of it, what the h--- is that about??? How easy would that be to fix? Has to be there is some vested interest somewhere at the Mothership in tolerating a certain level of sub-standard quality---in a product highly valued and long-reputed to be top-of-the-line. Do they really think their customers don't see this for what it is?

Although we love our Interstate, there were some cosmetic issues which should not have existed when this buggy left the factory, in our comparatively naive opinion. If we could see them, they could see them. Getting replacement warranty-covered parts through the dealer was always a "5-6 weeks" deal, with parts being ordered by Airstream from whomever manufactured them rather than coming from Airstream itself. Two cabinet doors became only one arrived, the second another 5-6 weeks out, assertive former state caseworker finally called customer service to complain--who then took it off the line and shipped it. Pipe to the toilet was cut too short initially, causing an immediate leak, etc., etc.

We thought there was something unusual about the number of issues we had, all but the toilet of which were strictly cosmetic, but apparently not. We see through these forums that going directly to JC gets things fixed/replaced quickly, no 5-6 week order time.

Mothership, are you listening to your customers, and do you care???
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:08 AM   #66
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The above post is a bit of a rant, I apologize to any offended reader and for hijacking Gene's travel report. I am really old enough not to be so disappointed in people and entities who don't do what they should.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:58 PM   #67
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It's okay doug&maggie, I suspect I hijack myself at times in my ramblings. (Air)stream of consciousness rules.

The rest of the repairs were finished early this morning and then the new trim (extrusion with insert) was installed at the beltline. They are using one slightly narrower than the one at the bottom of the aluminum panels and it looks great. It's on the Flying Clouds and all the other trailers. It was a preventative measure for us because a lot of filiform starts at the beltline, but we like the look of it, so that's a bonus.

Everything was fixed to our satisfaction and they are very easy to work with. The tech, Bill Schmidt, was cordial and made sure everything got done to our liking. Unlike the dealer's service dep't, they just do it, do it right, and don't make any excuses. We got to talk to Bill in the shop, go over everything in detail and it got done quickly and properly. At the dealer it was talk to a service writer and hope he told the mechanic what I told him—I'd never see the mechanic and instead of being a person to him, it was just another job on another anonymous trailer.

It was crazy coming east because so many things were going wrong, but better to have them happen before we got to JC. So, if you're having problems with a dealer, the place to go is JC.

We had to go out to eat a bunch of times and it just confirms to me that restaurant food is to be avoided most of the time. There's a pretty decent Mexican restaurant, Cazadoras, in Sidney (about a block or two west of the interstate just before Walmart) and a Chinese place (House of Szechuan) in downtown Bellefontaine. Next to the Airstream building on Ohio 274 is Hobo's, barely adequate for breakfast. Meals are cheap in this part of Ohio compared to Colorado, but my culinary standards are pretty high and not often met in restaurants. Among other things, restaurant food is loaded with sugar and salt and after a couple of days neither of us feel very good.

We took the tour again and we saw more this time. Probably a combination of fewer people and we had a better idea what to look for. They had 3 or 4 European models on the line. They use thicker window glass and have a very different tongue—does not have the power jack, but has a hand brake on it and a bar below the front window to pull it by hand. They are much lighter. It would seem to be a good idea to offer them here. They are about 7 1/2' wide. What I really liked was they have hot water heat. It probably takes longer to heat up, but would be a lot quieter than that forced air fan which makes me constantly adjust the volume on the TV. What may have been the last 34' with a slide out was also on the line. I gather they get very few orders for them anymore and it isn't economic to stock the parts for them, including the slide outs. Seems like 2010 Classics will only be 27' and 30' models. The FB's are the most popular models in all the trim lines now.

Because we have a Safari, I was looking for differences with the FC. They all have the trim at the beltline, something the Safari's didn't have. The steps are now curved a bit, a touch I like because the curve matches the curves on the trailer and is not as severe as the rectangular steps they've used for years. The 25' FB now has the round sink which we don't like. Last year I asked Don the tour guy about corrosion and he acted as if he never heard of it; this year I told him we were getting the trim to prevent corrosion and he acknowledged that was a good idea. Times do change.

They stepped up production to about 15/week from 12 a little while ago. If they stay at that level, considering the closures earlier in the year, they'll be hard put to make 700 trailers this year, about 1/3 the amount of a couple of years ago. A year ago they had reduced production because of gas prices, so 2007 may have been their best year. At that time they had 400+ employees and are down to 100+ now. It did seem quiet in there compared to last June.

We met three people there from Colorado—a couple and a guy who was just making a round trip to get work done. Pretty amazing to have three Colorado trailers at the same time. One had two tires go bad on a stretch of bad road in Illinois, but he had mystery tires he had to buy when he got some flats some time ago and couldn't get name brand ones. On the tour there were two British couples who didn't know each other, another strange coincidence.

We came to JC frazzled and annoyed at the QC and left happy. Rain got really heavy by the time we got to Lima, then slowed down and we made it to Ann Arbor. The excessive heat and humidity has disappeared, so the weather looks better, though we hear there's a lot of snow up north and in Montana. We went to Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor and stocked up stuff we like. Tomorrow we go to Mackinaw City and fortunately the ferries are just starting to run to the island. Barb would not have been happy if they hadn't been running. Weather looks cold—40's—but that sounds better than 80's to me. No more 500 mile days for a while.

Gene
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:11 AM   #68
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Hi Gene,
You are in my neck of the woods! We live 15 min west of Ann Arbor. Where did you stay last night?

Enjoy Mackinaw. What a beautiful time to be going to the island. The ferries are good but are they making fudge yet???

Enjoy the great state of Michigan!
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:21 AM   #69
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It's okay doug&maggie, I suspect I hijack myself at times in my ramblings. (Air)stream of consciousness rules.
Gene
Thank you for your kind forgiveness, I promise to be better behaved in future posts. So nice to know that JC is the go-to place for warranty work, although not a short drive for most owners, if what needs to be done is done without delay or aggravation, that is very encouraging.

Enjoy the UP, can't wait to get back there.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:33 AM   #70
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Hi Gene,
You are in my neck of the woods! We live 15 min west of Ann Arbor. Where did you stay last night?
We only went to the Trader Joe's, as tired as we have been, so we only saw a little of Ann Arbor, but it looked nice. Can't get used to all the lakes and trees; not at all like the high desert we live in. We are at a former KOA, Detriot-Greenfield, but we still got the KOA discount. No gravel, so it's muddy here. Better get out soon before the rains come. Our first time in Michigan and going for the north.

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