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Old 05-22-2008, 02:56 PM   #15
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Natchitoches , Louisiana
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The next morning we departed Natchez Trace SP westbound on I-40. Somewhere around Memphis we started talking about Airstreams and camping and the next thing you know we are on I-55 northbound headed up toward the turnoff toward Searcy to visit Airstream of Arkansas. I convinced my wife we needed to do this because our shower had developed a little leak and I needed to discuss this crisis with an expert. But in reality I wanted to look at some BIG airstreams, like a 19 footer, or even the 20 foot model. Why, I don't know. Anyway we found Searcy and AS of AR after the hardest part of the entire trip......driving down East Race Street twice after missing the turn into the dealership. Remember we had nine days of quiet state parks behind us, and suddenly driving in traffic was uncomfortable. But we found the dealership, took about 3 minutes to talk about the shower leak, and then took a tour of the larger models. The Safari 19 looked HUGE to us. Then we looked at a 23, which was over the top to us at this point. If we had stepped into a 25 I probably would have passed out. The guys at the store recommended that we spend our last night at DeGray SP close to Arkadelphia just north of I-30. And when we arrived there just after 5 PM the registration office was closed so we drove on over to one of three camping loops. We had to pass a huge golf course first. There were no other campers in the section we chose. Zero. We had the entire place to ourselves. Plus water and electric. Just before sundown some storm clouds started showing up and one of the pics shows me covering up the bikes in anticipation of the storm, which arrived after dark. Our last night on the road and it rained for the first time, and rained a lot. The next morning we stopped at the registration office on our way out to pay our campground fee. Looking at a map I noted that this lake is very large, has three separate campgrounds (I think), a beach, and a golf course. It seems to be a place I would like to re-visit. We drove back to Natchitoches via Texarkana and Shreveport. I was home by noon and back at work by 1PM.

In my next (and last) installment I will mention some things I like and dislike about our Airstream, and I will quote some costs associated with this trip.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:19 PM   #16
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Natchitoches , Louisiana
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We were on the road for 10 days. Stayed in 7 state parks and 1 national park. At Carolina Beach State Park we were guests for 3 nights. Everywhere else for one night. Our total driving miles was 2551 and we averaged 11.9 mpg, which means we bought 214.37 gallons of gas on this trip. Which cost $780.31. The average was $3.61/gal.

Things that went wrong. Fresh water petcock broke. Shower leak developed (small leak onto the bathroom floor). Fresh water pump very very loud inside. Power converter fan too loud, annoying at night when trying to sleep. We had not noticed the noise before because most of our trips were where we used our ac, which is in itself also sort of loud. Everything I listed above has been address several times on the forum and I anticipate that I will have a fix to try before our next trip in June.

Things that went right. the little airstream tracked perfectly. The mpg's posted above were within 1 mpg of what I get with no airstream being towed. We didn't get hit, collided with, or squashed by anything. We didn't hit, collide with,or squash any other vehicle, person, wild animal, bird or bug larger than tiny flying critters that came off the windshield at gas stops. We enjoyed every campsite we stayed at. We enjoyed every hour together on the trip. Didn't get into a single fight, argument, or disagreement on the entire trip. Didn't meet a single person on the entire trip that we later wished we had not met. Met several new persons that we found enjoyable to be with, and some we hope to see again. We had 4 hours of rain in 10 days, and we were able to enjoy that after dark in our airstream. I didn't turn on the windshield wipers once during the entire trip for rain. I didn't drive a single mile in rain.

More than 2150 miles were on roads that we had not driven on before.

Within hours of arriving home we were planning our next trip.

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Old 05-22-2008, 08:43 PM   #17
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Sounds like the perfect trip, JD!

So which AS will be your next purchase???????
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:12 PM   #18
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Well, thanks for the story, jdthor. It sounds like you and the missus had a good time, lovely to see how successful the battleship restoration and maintainance program is going.

I love to hear stories about trips like this, it's what I hope we will be doing in the near future.

That's a lot of truck you have there. Did you plan originally to get a larger trailer?
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:25 AM   #19
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Natchitoches , Louisiana
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So which AS will be your next purchase??????? we drove westbound we were wondering if we could ever work things out so we could take my 82-year old Mom along with us on a trip or two. That's when we started thinking about a replacement for the Safari
Sport 17, and that is the real reason we drove up to AS of Arkansas. As I mentioned the 19 looked huge to us, and would allow us to have my Mom with us for short trips. The real issue is whether or not she would be comfortable riding in the backseat of the F250 crewcab.

Anybody on the list travel with older parents or relatives? I am 58, my wife is 51, my Mom is 82. She's as sharp and smart as anyone I know, but has poor eyesight and other health issues one would expect with older folks. We both enjoy spending time with her though and I think she might have fun on a camping trip with us under the right conditions.

So, to get back to Lew's question, we liked the Safari 19. I also liked the 20-foot model, but that puts both beds right next to each other. Mom could be more comfortable in the real bed, but she would have to walk right past us on the way to the bathroom. The 19 allows us to close off the "bedroom" in conjunction with the toilet and might give her a bit more privacy.

Another factor for consideration: one of my biggest disappointments with the Safari Sport 17 is the lack of ground clearance. About 6 inches. Both holding tanks reduce the clearance, as does the spare. When I was in Arkansas I crawled under the 19 and noted the extra space. The 20 also appears to have significance "clearance", at least for my needs, and certainly better than the Safari Sport. This is important to me because of where I often camp, back on swampy land way way way off the beaten path. These days I use my little Casita 13 when I go back on my land, simply because the Safari Sport just doesn't make the cut (there is a discussion of this on the new member intro fourm, I think).

I am not unhappy with the Safari Sport. My complaints are not in themselves serious enough to require another trailer, but I do like to dream of that "perfect" solution. Some salesman at some Airstream dealer will eventually offer a sweet deal that I will take.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:02 PM   #20
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Natchitoches , Louisiana
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Aage asks, "That's a lot of truck you have there. Did you plan originally to get a larger trailer?"

Nope. I live in Louisiana, and we all drive too-big trucks with big wheels and tires and monster engines, none of which we can afford. That's why Louisiana is the poorest state in the universe, with the richest car dealers. We also fry everything we eat. It is not unusual to put in a lunch order for fried chicken with french fries and fried hush puppies, plus a diet coke.

But I do use the truck to go offroad. There's some discussion about this in "Casita vs Oliver vs Airstream" in "Member Introductions".

Glad you liked hearing (reading) about my trip. We really did have a great time.

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Old 05-23-2008, 03:29 PM   #21
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Enjoyed your trip story.

Airstream of Arkansas is pretty neat isn't it? Have you ever considered a 27 FB SE? Your mom would like that! The end dinette makes a really comfortable full bed, and you can drape a sheet from the overhead cabinet down to the floor so she can have a private "pullman berth" (clip the sheet to the inside bottom rim of the cabinet.)

If you're keeping the Casita you need an Airstream that's a real contrast!

You've got the truck for it. Paula
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:54 PM   #22
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Natchitoches , Louisiana
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From Paula: Have you ever considered a 27 FB SE?

The largest airstream I've ever actually been in was the 23. I would probably get lost in a 27 FB SE. Remember you are talking to a guy who thought the Safari Sport was a huge trailer compared to my Casita 13.

I just got off the phone with my Mom and I have no doubt she would go anywhere we would want to go if we traded up to one of those larger trailers. We would have a blast. Let's see, banks are closed Monday, hmmmmmm.

By the way, all next week wife and I will be at a conference in St. Louis. Does anybody know of a fair airstream dealer in the area?

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