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Old 07-24-2015, 01:38 PM   #1
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Mothership Visit?

Doing an almost cross country trip, Seattle to Nashville. Major stop prior to Nashville will be Lincoln NE. So, from Lincoln to Nashville we're considering detouring to the Mothership (Jackson Center) just for a visit, no repairs, work, etc. Is it worth the side trip, and why?

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Old 07-24-2015, 01:51 PM   #2
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A few weeks ago I drove up one afternoon after a short work day to do the factory tour. It was interesting enough to be worth the ridiculously-extended (by weather and traffic) round trip. It was also a little chaotic, because they were still shifting stuff around after the recent factory expansion. It took about 90 minutes to tour the recently-expanded trailer factory and another 30 or so to tour the Interstate/Autobahn factory, which was the original Airstream trailer factory in Ohio. I also picked up a few items from the store for the 1949 Liner I'm restoring.
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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If you are an Airstream Addict, the tour is definitely worth the drive.
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Old 07-24-2015, 07:41 PM   #4
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Factory tours are good things, especially for anyone considering purchasing a product from that factory. Since you already own an Airstream you may learn a little bit about your coach. It might be worth it to see if you can have the service department give your coach a once-over, just in case.

How long will you be in Lincoln? Lots to see and do there. We grew up in Lincoln and still have family there. PM me if you are interested in some good places to visit.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:55 PM   #5
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As a banker, I have toured many factories, but the AS factory tour was the best. We were able to get much closer to the action, stepping over air hoses and dodging tow motors. My wife even got some aluminum shavings in her hair and a little water overspray from the water test booth. Our guide was knowledgeable and interesting. My favorite part was seeing the European-spec trailers on the line -- quite a bit smaller with unique features. Also, they may still have Wally Byam's gold trailer and other vintage AS on display.
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Old 07-24-2015, 09:16 PM   #6
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Absolutely worth it. You can overnight at the Terraport and do a tour of the plant. Careful in the store, it is very easy to blow your budget in there.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
How long will you be in Lincoln? Lots to see and do there. We grew up in Lincoln and still have family there. PM me if you are interested in some good places to visit.
Thanks. We have family there, too. Married daughter and a married son with two kids. We've enjoyed quite a few visits (non-RV) in the past, as long as it wasn't too hot. Actually, we bought our first RV there, an ultra-light KZ sportsman 14', driving it back to the Seattle area.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:24 PM   #8
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Thanks to all. Jackson Center is now on the itinery! Will contact the factory re. tour and inspection (in hopes that they have some old-timers around who would recognize a '99 Land Yacht. Terraport, is this connected with the factory?
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:07 PM   #9
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Terraport is their little campground. Water and electric supplied. They have a dump station if needed on the way out. They do have a small charge if not getting any service performed. Many have reported not being charged for an over night passing thru. They did some emergency work for me when I was on the way home after picking up my trailer. If they need more time to complete a job they will tow the trailer back out to the Terraport for you to sleep in.
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Old 07-25-2015, 01:29 PM   #10
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I took the tour last summer on the way home in the 1989 370 Motorhome that I had just picked up in Minnesota (before the factory expansion I guess).

Got in really late the previous night and parked at the Terraport. As I recall, the tour didn't start until 1:00pm, so there was time to kill in the morning. Lots of vintage trailers on display out front, and some cool stuff waiting for service and hidden out back.

The only downer for me was the lack of enthusiasm shown by the staff in the store/office. I felt like I was at a wake. Just a bunch of folks grinding through an eight hour job I guess.

The factory tour was great however, and overall it was definitely worth the stop.
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:19 PM   #11
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There is a metal plate on the ground behind each parking spot. It's a sewer connection, if your slinky is long enough. We had to use the dump station.

Parking is on a first come basis, $10 a night if not having service done. I think it's an honor system. They close at 5 PM but just find an empty spot and hook up. Office opens just before 7 AM, you can check in for service, tour starts at 1 PM. Register at the front desk for camping if you're not getting work done. They have a nice store off the lobby for lots and lots of AS stuff, practical and otherwise.

When coming into Jackson Center look for the Marathon station and turn left onto the access road just immediately before the station and after AS. If you pass it just keep going and look for a parking lot to turn around in or go around the block. It's Mayberry, not New York.

Look for the terraport on the right, about a city block from the highway. Don't expect shade trees and swings. It looks more like a parking lot. But it's very quiet and you can browse around the trailers around the service area and generally walk around for some exercise.
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:33 PM   #12
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You will need an appointment for any service work (the tour is strictly walk up and reservations are not needed for this.) You can call them or use the web site to make the reservation for service work. They have a big backlog of appointments so hopefully you are looking for something a couple of months down the line, or will be lucky that they have an open slot in your time frame.
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:01 PM   #13
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The tour is currently held at 2 PM, not 1 PM. But getting there a little early will let you park, use the rest room, gaze lovingly at the vintage Aistreams out front, browse the store, etc. Also, they had an 1935 Bowlus around the side when I visited - very cool.
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
Factory tours are good things, especially for anyone considering purchasing a product from that factory. Since you already own an Airstream you may learn a little bit about your coach. It might be worth it to see if you can have the service department give your coach a once-over, just in case.
Heard from the Jackson Center Service Advisor and we have an appointment. However, they don't seem to have a generic inspection protocol. Their labor rate is $125/hour so whatever time it takes, would be what I would be charged. I have some concern that a 1999 30' Land Yacht would be on their radar. as trailers and Class Cs seem to be their present focus. So, still pondering the side trip.

Any Class A-types have experience with this?
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