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Old 10-10-2004, 03:54 PM   #1
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Newbee Seeking Wisdom: 19' Bambi - Home for a Year!!??

Hi All!

I'm brand spankin' new to the board & I love it!! Glad you are all here ...
I want to start my membership by bouncing a general idea off of all of you!

here it is ...

... I am considering hitting the road for a full year with my land rover discovery and a new Bambi 19'. I am a female, and would be traveling by myself, but my plans would include many stops with family and friends throughout the united states, and sometimes I'd be staying in one place for maybe a month or more.

So far in my research, I've read a few troubling threads about what snow & salt on the roads will do to the underbelly of an airstream! This makes me worry that during the winter months I may not be as mobile as I'm imagining & I'd have to stick to Florida or California (or pay very close attention to the weather reports to make sure I never tried to cross the country where I could hit bad weather). Any thoughts?

I'm also wondering how a 19' Bambi would affect my gas mileage in general -- what would I be in for (as far as a potential cost/mile increase) there ... ?

Are there other expenses that might surprise me?

What kind of maintenance problems could I have?

Would I eventually come to feel extremely uncomfortable? (considering, hwvr, that i'm expecting to be very low maintenance in my needs!)

Would my indoor house cat go crazy being with me the whole year?

What about adding a microwave?

What about the sewage hook up & dumping process? -- will this be easy enough for me to handle alone?

What about adding satellite tv or satellite wireless internet?

ANY insights on these questions, OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT COMES TO MIND TO SHARE WITH ME would be GREATLY appreciated ... if you are so compelled to share, thanks in advance for your wisdom! I'm very much looking forward to the possibility of making my idea a plan

all my best,
- rover girl

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Old 10-10-2004, 04:20 PM   #2
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Our daughter is thinking of doing the same with a new 19' Bambi and her Toyota Tundra pickup after graduating from college this Spring. She is initially planning for 6 months, but she might extend for a year.

Satellite INTERNET is very expensive, and I doubt you have the rood space for that antenna. I'd recommend a notebook computer and using a 802.11 WiFi wireless location, a GPRS mobile connection, or a good-ole dial-up.

You can put a satellite dish on your roof, or have a small tripod and dish next to your unit. But most RV places have cable. You will find some of the parks even have it. When more remote, why have TV, especially with routine INTERNET connections? You can play DVD's in your notebook. Our daughter spent the 100 days this summer without TV, and she watched many movies.

Microwave convection oven option is wonderful Our daughter cooks all sorts of stuff in ours. She cooks a nice roast in the convection.

I'd stick to the South during the winter. Why spend time in the cold unless you're enjoying cold weather sports? My daughter is planning to stay south for winter and go north during summer.

On maintenance, you will have some. Plan on it for the Rover and Bambi. Most should be under warranty. You need to plan on time at the shop in your travels. That means some time at homes, in hotels or with friends.

Our daughter spent the entire summer in our AS while interning. She handled the sewage stuff without any problems. It was her first trailer experience.

I can't say about a full year in a 19'. Our daughter found our 30' to be quite comfortable for her 100 days. How are you on independence?

I can refer you to her if you have other questions.


Gus - KR4K : Mary - K5MCL
2004 30ft. Classic
2017 Infiniti QX80 Limited
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:24 PM   #3
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I deleted your identical post in the Bambi section because I think your questions are more suitable "on the road" than about a Bambi in particular.

Your indoor cat will do just fine, however, you will find that a Bambi is mighty confining for such a long period. There is very little storage space and where to put the litter box is a challenge. Ours is in the shower, but we have a sliding door that can stay open without blocking things.

You should have no problem hitching, unhitching, and handling utilities. There are planty of females alone in much larger trailers that do just fine.

Gas mileage will probably suffer about 30%, however, the short wheelbase of the Land Rover and the soft, long travel suspension are worrisome to me. I would not choose a Land Rover for a tow vehicle. If you do use it, make sure you have a top-line anti-sway hitch. I normally consider Hensley an overkill, but in your case, I would consider one.

For my previous A/S, I bought a little square Sharp microwave that is sold for college dorm rooms. Much smaller than the usual nukes and takes about half the counter space.However, in the confines of a Bambi, even that MW would cause a space problem.

The trailer is set up to accept an external satelite dish, so that should be no problem.

If I were you, I would look for an older, lighter, and somewhat longer A/S. Less money and a lot more comfortable.
John W. Irwin
2014.5 Touring Coach, "Sabre-Dog IV"
WBCCI #9632
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:28 PM   #4
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Pretty much ditto everything Pahaska (John) said.
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:35 PM   #5
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Snow and road salt should not be a problem because you really do not want to be on the roads at all when snow and ice covered.

Mr. Irwing mentioned something that should, perhaps, be emphasized - the lack of storage space in a 19' coach. It is tempting to look at the floor plan and convince yourself that you, as a single person, could live there. And so you could. But when full timing you simply need more storage than the 19' will allow. A few blankets, some changes of clothes, a bag of cat food and one of kitty litter, and you will be out of room.

But I wish you the best of luck,

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Old 10-10-2004, 04:36 PM   #6
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I concur with John's comments, especially on the Rover's short wheel base.

Gus - KR4K : Mary - K5MCL
2004 30ft. Classic
2017 Infiniti QX80 Limited
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:40 PM   #7
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I should also mention that our daughter is considering a new or used 25' Safari or 25' International CCD. She can tow both with her Tundra. With the length of her trip, she believes that a 19' bambi may be a bit too small. But she sure thinks a Bambi is cute!


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2004 30ft. Classic
2017 Infiniti QX80 Limited
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:44 PM   #8
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The 19' is a great little unit. We had one and enjoyed it very much. As those have said, you can get by with it. We opted to go larger based on more storage and more room with the two of us and the pooch. I don't however think your Land Rover should tow anything more than a 19 foot coach based on what has already been said.
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Old 10-11-2004, 08:35 AM   #9
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hi r.g.....welcome! ill never forget my first road trip, although time is erasing the memory somewhat....i hope yours will be the same!....a couple things you should get.... go to walgreens and pick up a box of surgicle gloves to use when dumping your tanks... think safe...go to home depot and buy a 14v drill(i bought a drill and light combo for around a 100 buckolas) and a socket to use for raising and lowering your stabilizers... save you a lot of sweat... i also bring a cooler for my barley pop so as to use my reefer strictly for food although the stoli in the freezer is for medicinal purposes only.... feel free to ask more questions, i have learned a lot on this forum, and am still learning...
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The only true nobility is found through giving good food to your friends- Anton Careme

beauty is in the eye of the beerholder-cosmo fishhawk

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Old 10-11-2004, 09:21 AM   #10
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Newbee Seeking Wisdom: 19' Bambi - Home for a Year!!??

Greetings Rover Girl!

Welcome to the Forums!

While I can't offer much advice regarding your proposed tow vehicle, I have had experience using both a 6.0 Metre (19' 3") as well as an Overlander (26' 8") for extended periods of time. Either coach is comfortable and quite functional for periods of several weeks, but the Overlander would be my choice for longer-term accommodations. There are two big reasons that the larger coach would be my choice for any continual use period of more than two months - - the larger bath area and the separate bedroom that allows the bed to be made-up at all times (the process of converting the sleeper-sofa can become a bit monotonous after a few weeks). I actually found the storage space to be less of an issue than the sleeping/bath accommodations (I too am a Free Wheeler) - - the tow vehicle can become something of a wardrobe on wheels with the smaller coach (the wardrobe capacity on my smaller coach has been its biggest storage limitation). While my smaller coach doesn't possess this feature, I know some do - - if the bath is of the "wet" type, it can become something of a chore to maintain when long-term living is involved (one of my earlier Brand X coaches had a "wet" bath and I have tried to avoid them in my later coaches). I know several Free Wheelers who do travel for significant portions of the year in Bambis or slightly larger single axle coaches with great comfort - - it just takes some adapting to the repetitious chores of dealing with convertible sofas and in some cases the wet bath.

So far as trailer/tow vehicle maintenance is concerned, I have learned that maintaining a preventative maintenance schedule results in minimization of problems. My tow vehicle is maintained according to the "severe-service" recommendations in the owner's manual - - I am not mechanically inclined so searched about to find a mechanic whom I can trust (he has done all of my major work for more than 20 years now), and have him perform routine maintenance according to the schedule with at least two major "front-to-rear" inspections each year. With the help of my mechanic, I have been able to keep all but two of my tow vehicles on the road for more than 200,000 miles without major motor or transmission repairs. I followed the same basic routine with my coaches - - establish a maintenance schedule and find a mechanic whom I can trust to carry out the necessary tasks - - again following the suggested maintenance in the owner's manual (I do go a little beyond with my LP appliances as I don't trust gas appliances - - they are cleaned and inspected on an annual basis by a technician).

Learning the basics of living with your coach won't be difficult. There are numerous "tricks" and techniques that Free Wheelers can employ to simplify most tasks that some might think require two. There are several excellent devices available to assist with hitching - - I have three different styles of magnetic and permanently mounted mirrors that help make hitching a simple one-person operation and there are numerous other devices and techniques available. There is a group in the WBCCI, and intra-club called the Free Wheelers that is composed of single owners of Airstream products. At many of the larger rallys, the Free Wheelers will offer seminars for persons new to the Free Wheeling experience where many of these techniques and "tricks" are discussed and illustrated. Dealing with your coach's holding tanks will probably be one of the easiest tasks to master.

Good luck with your investigations!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 10-11-2004, 09:33 AM   #11
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Hey Rover Girl.

What my wife and I would give to do a year on the road!

We did a month, but in a VW Eurovan camper, but A few things here apply to RVing as well.

First, pack half of what you think you need. We brought clothes for one week, with the intention of stopping at laundromat in a town. This is also a good time to replenish supplies, food, water, and so on while your unmentionables are on spin cyle.

In most towns you can ussually go to a library to check email and that sort of thing. Satelite is to damn expensive and cumbersome. We were trying to get away from as many trappings of our electronic world as we could. We almost got a certain pleasure knowing that there was no cell phone service, which meant no calls to or from Mom to talk about Dad's gall bladder!

You can also stay at any of the KOA's. We have not, but I understand that they have hook-ups for just about everything.

Make sure you have a current copy of Woodall's Campground directory. I think Trailer Life has one to that is almost identicle in information.

As far as safety, I think if you have the Bambi LS it comes with a spare tire. Check inflation on that.

For movies, yes, we to use a 15" Powerbook for all our entertainment. I even installed a gadget that allows you to play the sound through the Bambi's speakers.

You might want to consider a generator, or at least a 300watt inverter (about $75.00) to charge up everything rechargeable every now and then. If you are in one place long enough, you will certainly have to charge the coach batteries somehow. When you are on the road, these get charged as the Bambi is towed by the tow vehicle. The ussuall generator recommnedations are either of the two Honda's- eu1000i or the eu2000i
or a Yamaha. If you don't think you will worrying about using the airconditioning if you are boondocking, you could get by with one honda unit. We have a eu2000i that we are going to use this week while camping.

If it were me, I would spend as much time in the south/southwest where temps are more camp friendly, without fear of freezing water lines, etc.

Dump stations are really easy, and is a humbling experiance, at least for me! Before hitting the road, empty the gray/black tanks, and if you are schlepping alot of stuff, maybe drain the fresh as well. Just make sure that the next stop in your adventure has water and a dump station.

When we were on the road for that month, we always thought about our plans a day or two in advance, looked into campgrounds, inventory, meals, etc. So there are no suprises. Travel early in the day, and pull into your site mid afternoon, while it is still light out, and relax.

Also, if you are in a warmer climate, you can relax OUTSIDE the AS, making the size of your trailer irelevent. Camping= being outside.

As far as the cat, have you tried a leash/collar thing so he/she can sorta be tethered, and be outside as well? Our cats wouldn't tollerate that method, and I have the scars to prove it. Make sure the feline is caught up on shots, and make sure it has a rabies shot too. Check for veterenarians in cities/towns that you might be near just in case. The shower sounds to be as good a place as any in the Bambi. Easy clean up to. Try not to get kitty litter in the drain, as that could cause probs.

These are just my suggestions and opinions, (and Mom, if you are reading this, I hope that Dad's gall bladder is doing well, and yes I did change my t-shirt today.)

Did I mention that I want to do what you are doing.

I'd better get back to work before I have to fire myself again!

Hope this helps. Let us know if you need any info on anything else.

Sometimes I wish I were living in the stone age. Then I would know I'm the smartest person in the world.
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Old 10-11-2004, 11:24 AM   #12
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Have fun!

Sounds like a blast! Our family just went to a "mini rally" with the OR state WBCCI, we met a 81 y.o lady who has been AS'ing for over 30 yrs. She went to Panama with her 60's Bambi for over 4 months. She's still using it now. I guess it depends on how much space you need. The vintage Bambi, while it works for her alone, sure seemed small to me (it's even smaller than the new Bambi). She tows, hooks up, and does her own maintance all by herself! Now, at 81, THAT's inspiration!

Personally, I think a 22ft CCD would work for one person well (has workspace, separate dinner spot, and own bedroom). It's small enough, is slightly narrower than the bigger 25ft+ ones, and fairly hip. You should be able to get a "good" price on a slightly used one. BUT, I could see living "small" in a Bambi (19ft CCD for me) as well. I'd also think about how often you will be hooked up, vs "dry camping." A larger grey and black tank would allow you to shower without worry of how often you need to dump your tanks.

What year "Disco" do you have? The "basic" model without the air suspension would probably be firm enough, however, the Rover's V8 isn't all that strong, and mileage is a weak spot - I think 13 mpg not towing is expected, you'd probably get around 9 towing. A used Tundra (v8) would be fine for the Bambi or a 22ft (but not much bigger). Again, we ran into a retired couple of ladies who have gone around the states for 5+ months with their Tundra extended cab with their 24ft (or so) vintage Tradewind. My wife and I got really interested in full timing after talking with these folks. However, we have 25 yrs+ before retirement!
Here's to the good life!
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Old 10-11-2004, 12:39 PM   #13
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I am currently travelling and living in a 1971 23 ft. tandem axle Safari for combined work/pleasure, and find it has a lot more storage and "visual" space inside than a Bambi. Believe it or not, a 30 year old Airstream, if well kept, can be very functional, clean and comfortable, and is well under $10k, leaving more for living expenses and other investments. It also won't depreciate if maintained properly, and I frequently get offers better than what I have into mine.

The older 70's models like mine have the kitchen and living area up front, a separate sleeping area midships and a small bath at the back. It is an awesome layout because it provides a "separation" of living spaces and tremendous storage, as well a a long visual space so it doesn't seem as cramped. The only drawback to mine is the wet bath, so I generally use showers in the campgrounds and RV parks I stay in. I am also carrying two bicycles, hiking and biking gear, some business attire, and a fair amount of reading material. It all adds up pretty quick and I find I have to watch the weight closely (especially books) so as not to overload my capacities. I also travel with minimal fresh water and always dump the tanks before hitting the road. When done with books and magazines they get donated back somewhere appropriate.

I am pulling with a new Ford Explorer 4x4 which is not ideal for this trailer but does suprisingly well overall. I much prefer it for my everyday driving than the F250 Super Duty I was using before, although it certainly does not tow as well. Since I am staying in one place for a week or more at a time, it is a reasonable trade-off. With the Explorer I get 10-12 mpg towing in frequently windy and mountainous terrain here in the West, and 16-18 running around town and on day trips. I would also be cautious and do your homework on pulling with the Disco due to the height and short wheelbase.

For Internet access I use an old Sony Vaio with a $50 Linksys 802.11G card for WiFi access almost anywhere. Works perfectly and can also use dial up if necessary. Just be careful about using a firewall and doing proper file cleanup, as these public networks are not that secure. A better approach is T-mobile, available in most Starbucks, although there is a monthly fee for that service. I use both, but do not logon to my banking and investment accounts when on non-secure networks. As others have mentioned, libraries usually have internet enabled computers for doing research and checking email.

I use the Woodalls directory to find RV parks in the cities I am visiting, and their rating is fairly accurate (as to cleanliness, amenities, etc), however I must say that after three months I am getting pretty sick of trailer parks. I try to stay in a state park campground at least one or two days per week, on my way to a new location, and find the natural surroundings and scenery invigorating. Fortunately, a 23 ft trailer can fit into most state campgrounds and for 2-3 days I can get away without hookups. Would not want anything longer and frequently contemplate somthing smaller when I am done living in it. For now it is a great trade-off between towability, roominess and flexibility.

Any questions feel free to email me as I do not log onto the forum that often right now.

Currently living in SE Asia
1971 Safari 23 (sold)
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Old 10-11-2004, 04:57 PM   #14
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did i see you?

Originally Posted by 3Ms75Argosy
Sounds like a blast! Our family just went to a "mini rally" with the OR state WBCCI, we met a 81 y.o lady who has been AS'ing for over 30 yrs. She went to Panama with her 60's Bambi for over 4 months. She's still using it now. I guess it depends on how much space you need. The vintage Bambi, while it works for her alone, sure seemed small to me (it's even smaller than the new Bambi). She tows, hooks up, and does her own maintance all by herself! Now, at 81, THAT's inspiration!

Personally, I think a 22ft CCD would work for one person well (has workspace, separate dinner spot, and own bedroom).

Marc, I couldn't make it to the rally but I went by Cascade Locks on Sunday, just hoping you all were still around. I thought I saw an Argosy heading west on I84 around noon. And I think I saw the little Bambi not far behind. In Cascade Locks, parked on the side of the road, was a long-ish Sovereign. I'm so sorry I missed you!

Rover Girl, I will be fulltiming in less than a month and I have spent about 5 nites in my 25' Tradewind. Bit by bit I'm moving things in - mostly I just sit there and wonder where I will put everything, how I will organize my "stuff". The Tradewind (a double) has lots of storage but is it enough? We'll see. Mostly lacking is kitchen storage, I think.

My ideal airstream is the 22' CCD.

As far as the cat goes, I have to leave my cat with a foster mother because he was a feral kitty and has never been away from home except for vet visits. I wish more than anything that I could take him. I hope you can bring yours along.

I plan on heading to the southwest in November so do keep in touch. I'm anxious to meet other airstreamers for the "inspiration" that Marc mentioned above

Amado AZ
1975 Tradewind
1997 E350
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