(At the moment, I do not own any Airstreams. I have trimmed down to only two aluminum airframe trailers, a '55 Airlight 15' and a 1956
Spartan 8' x 50' two bedroom model. My early 60s Bambi I gave to a friend back in the 'nineties; I heard he sold it. Sure would like to find a Bubble or a Wee Wind, or even a Cruisette, though pipe frames give me pause.)
Sitting on my desk next to me now is a Camp-A-Float brochure postmarked 1978. I believe they went out of business shortly after that date. Quoting from the brochure: "The CAMP-A-FLOAT Cruiser is a 5-ton boat specifically designed to accommodate recreation vehicles on board, up to 31 feet in length and weighing no more than 9,000 lbs, for conversion to houseboat status. The CAMP-A-FLOAT Crusier is built on twin steel pontoons providing a total displacement of 30,000 lbs. Each 40 foot long pontoon is made from 8 individual sections welded together with addtional bow reinforcement using steel plates and rods. The twin pontoons are connected by 30 steel beams which also support the 38 by 12 foot, 1' thick vinyl clad deck. This are is totally enclosed by 100 feet of safety rails and gates, 28" high. The CAMP-A-FLOAT Cruiser has a 100 gallon sewer tank under the deck and 100 gallon fresh water with a pump to supply water on demand. With your RV connect to the Cruisers services you can CAMP-A-FLOAT without interruption or frequent service stops. The CAMP-A-FLOAT Cruiser is powered by an outboard marine engine which is controlled from a helm stand in the forward corner through rack and pinion steering and a combination throttle and shift lever. With 40 gallons of onboard gasoline you can cruise for up to 20 hours at speeds to 12 miles per hour. (Our average renters use less than 15 gallons of gasoline on their cruise.)"
The brochure illustrates how the rental manager secures the RV to the deck with a "hitch tree" and then "secures the RV attachment devices that bolt through access holes in the deck to the steel sub-structure." Then he connects the sewer and fresh water.
But the way you get onto the , well... barge
is very interesting. It is winched out of the water level
on an incline railroad set up. A motorized dolly places the trailer onto the, uh... barge
LOcations for this enterprise were: ON THE EAST COAST -- Lake Hartwell-Georgia / S.Carolina. IN THE MIDWEST -- Lake Ouachita, Arkansas. And announcing a WESTERN expansion opening July 2, 1976 on Lake Havasu, Havasu Springs Resort in Parker Arizona.
Here's something interesting (if you've read this far) The rate was $40/day or $250/week (rates do not include gasoline).
When I started researching this back in the 1970s -- this brochure was sent to me and I actually saved it all these years -- I thought that I could tow my trailer out to lakeside (Lake Powell, AZ was what I had in mind) with a truck loaded with sufficient supplies. I would build ferro cement pontoons -- I had seen houseboats in Sausalito, CA on such pontoons which worked great. Construction of ferro cement is low tech. And I owned a small trailer. It was a project I though I could handle.
But then I started a family and had to build a house -- no time for horsing around with pontoons on a desert lake. Now the kids are fully launched, maybe it's time to revisit some of my interrupted schemes...