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Old 12-07-2007, 01:47 PM   #15
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2007 25' International CCD
Sugar Grove , Ohio
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I keep thinking about the folks that have volunteered to do inspection jobs for others. Can you imagine the problems he (she) would be having right now if all this had been missed??? Unless inspecting is one's strong suit and I do mean STRONG suit, I don't think that's anything one should be involved with!

Best of luck with day three and four and however many more follow! What an adventure - for all of us!

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Old 12-08-2007, 07:46 AM   #16
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All I can add for you folks is once you find a rig that gives you decent reliabiity you were born for this type of travel. Most would have given up at this early stage.

Regarding mold. I am in the HVAC industry and working nationally for over 25 years in the business. Please be very careful with this issue. Some mold species combined with various individual allergies can be deadly or at best a sick building type problem. Best of luck in your decisions.

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Old 12-08-2007, 09:33 AM   #17
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1974 31' Sovereign
Phoenix , Arizona
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Arrow Day 4: Part 2

Actually, it's day 5... I was to tired to post a continuation last night. Kathy and I are in Tallahassee to conduct a seminar called "The Gateway Experience" and were setting up the meeting room until late last night. For more about our seminar you can visit our webpage: Welcome to Jerry Look for the "Tallahassee Gateway' link. You might also find the written or video testimonials pages interesting. Segments from my many appearances on FOX TV are included on the video testimonials page.

So, to continue with day 4:
I spoke with Jay. Once he saw the pictures and understood what had happened he has agreed too refund us all but $400. The $400 is being held for repairs he will need to complete. We now have hope.

Jay has been a gentleman about this, handling this unfortunate issue with integrity.

Monday we leave for Umatilla - 250 miles away. I'll post a followup once we have completed this leg of the trip.

Best Wishes
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:23 PM   #18
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
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Rotten experience

Originally Posted by XpeditionsTV
Actually, it's day 5... I was to tired to post a continuation last night.
I spoke with Jay. Once he saw the pictures and understood what had happened he has agreed too refund us all but $400. The $400 is being held for repairs he will need to complete. We now have hope.
Jerry, apparently you are more patient and trusting than most people. I can't imagine that what you explained could be fixed for less than thousands, many thousands perhaps. I wonder where the seller came up with $400? I don't know whether it was an "as is" deal, so maybe you're lucky to get the rest of your money back. I suppose it's possible Jay didn't know about the rot or the extent of it, but I'd be skeptical. The best thing is that you were only a couple of hundred miles away and had to be in Tallahassee anyway.

When we picked our Safari at the end of October, we were only 100 miles from the dealer when we discovered a window had blown out. The latch had not been adjusted properly, probably at the factory. Your story makes our mishap seem pretty minor.

Good luck with this experience. I'm sure you'll be reading a lot of threads for a while to learn what to look for and which Forum members do inspections.

Welcome to the world of Airstream. It can only get better.

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Old 12-10-2007, 08:54 PM   #19
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Day 6: The Final Chapter

The day started at 5am. Without a shower or breakfast we loaded a few items into the Suburban. We had already hooked up to the Airstream the night before (well, it was still nighttime, really...). Lights were blinked off and on and our brand new NAPA Auto brake controller was checked. Everything was good to go. If all went as planned we would arrive to Collins Tire before noon.

My eyes were really blurry. Semi's passed and almost blew us off the roadway every time they passed. We had decided to travel on I-10 to I-75. Even though there were few trucks so early, the ones roaring down the road were being driven by the same evil spirits we're all familiar with from that Stephen King movie "Maximum Overdrive". I actually saw the clown face on one big rig, grinning as once again we were blown to the right.

Pulling an Airstream is an interesting experience. Your first inclination is that you forgot to release the parking brake. Once you get past this odd feeling you try to accelerate and quickly discover that the word "quickly" doesn't apply. Instead, you gradually go faster until you hit 65 or so. A demon controlled truck passes again and you're back to 45 and overdrive kicks in... since we have those great plasma plus I suppose you could say we shifted in to maximum overdrive : )) Pulling an Airstream also lets you see how white the bones are beneath the skin of your fingers. They seems to glow in the foggy early morning light. I also have come to understand why there are already ridges on the steering wheel.

We arrive to Collins Tire by 11:30am (5 1/2 hours later). I explained to Bruce (the owner) that we needed to swap our brand new 8 ply Goodyear's for whatever he might have lying around. Within 30 minutes he had located a good set of replacements, tires were swapped out and we were on our way. The new tires were easily stored in the back of the Chevy.

Bruce commented this was a free service. He was really sorry for the trouble we had and wanted to do his part to ease our worries and expense. I was really surprised. In Phoenix and elsewhere we have traveled this would have been at least $15 a tire. I could see in Bruce's face he was sincere. John Wayne looked up as I walked by. Within a few minutes he had cleaned up and came out to say "Hi". I explained our current mission to him. As usual, he smiled warmly and told me he felt we were doing the right thing. "It's pretty bad when you buy something and it literally falls apart before you get far down the road." John is also a sincere person who takes the prize for honest and reliable. I can easily see how he and Bruce make a good business together.

We finished by 12:30 and headed off to see Jay. I had called to let him know when to expect us. He was standing in the yard as we pulled in.

After being directed where to park the Airstream we unhooked for the last time. The first thing he asked was, "What did you hit!?" The tone was tense and angry. It suddenly occurred to me he thought we had acted irresponsibly. Somehow, through incompetence, we had inadvertently bashed the tail of the trailer. Jay had no way of knowing we had towed a fully loaded 35 foot cargo trailer across the US a few years earlier. Kathy & I both had driven large trucks, towed huge trailers and navigated mountain passes without the luxury of electric brake controllers. Through rain, ice and snow we had never had an instance or accident.

I looked at Jay and explained we had simply run across a rail-road track at about 20mph. It was rough (like they almost always are) and within a few minutes, while accelerating down a hill, I heard a god awful noise... Well, you all know the rest if you've read this story completely.

To say the mood was uncomfortable would be an understatement. I was reminded of how I once stood too near a large wasp nest in the old barn behind our farm house. The wasps were buzzing my head and shoulders. I anxiously waited for the sting. Thankfully, I wasn't stung then or now. For most of us it's the fear of being stung that causes the greatest anxiety. I'm sure Jay felt as worried about being stung as Kathy & I.

After a brief inspection Jay handed Kathy the refund. Once counted we said our farewells and headed to the open road again. It felt very good to put this behind us... very, VERY good!

The Airstream glared at us in silence as we pulled away. Perhaps it was the way the sun hit that amazing UFO colored body.

We drove back to Collins Tire. I had the idea that perhaps Bruce could resell those tires. After all, they only had 500 miles on them - still new, really. I told Bruce to ask $75 apiece for those tires and send us a check once they sold, which he agreed to do. If anyone reading this needs a set of 4 new tires at a savings of $33 per tire I suggest you call Bruce Collins (352 669 3847) in Umatilla, Florida.

And so goes the last installment of this, one story from the road. If anything, I hope it might help another novice like ourselves understand these basic insights:

1. Never believe what you're told. We were told there was nothing wrong (so far as he knew) with the trailer. Nope, no rot or leaks that I know of... Untrue statement if you're told this. Think about it folks. If YOU had an Airstream trailer sitting in your driveway wouldn't you at least know if there was a gaping hole under one of the beds???? (!)

2. Take your time. If you're told (like we were told), "I've had another offer and if you don't decide now there's a fellow on his way to buy it...", you should walk away. You better take your time and make an educated decision, one based on YOU checking things like water pressure, lights, toilet flushing, holding tank integrity, brakes, suspension and water damage. YOU need to ask the seller to clearly show you what works. If you're shy, you'll be taken advantage of. Demand to see stuff working or proof it is in good working order. The costs to fix these things will add to your cost of the trailer. You don't want to spend an extra $2000 for a trailer? Buy a cheap one like we did and THEN you can spend that much or more to finally have what you thought you were getting. It's no joking matter... it's your hard earned bucks that will be flying out the door and your ego that will be bruised when your wife asks why you didn't check that in the first place.

I now have a completely bruised ego...

3. If you're not sure you should ask to tow it to an expert and PAY this person to tell you what the truth is. It's always more prudent to believe someone who is NOT in a position to make a bundle off you because of the sale.

4. Hook up and tow the trailer 100 miles. If the seller won't let you do this you should walk away. How will you know if the frame is warped, rusted thru or other issues if you don't have this experience? Besides, now you'll know how much gas you'll use, how much power you have (or don't have) and what you're needs are for successful towing (your brakes, trailer brakes and brake controller, etc).

I know many of you who will read this already have experience towing. However there are going to be those who are much like Kathy & I. You might have towed before, but not something like this... or perhaps never towed at all. You had better get a qualifying run in to be certain this is for you. Those demon possessed trucks can really freak you out.

Our experience has been tiring and more tiring... All together we spent about $1000 for this education and drove over 800 miles. Kathy has been a jewel the whole time. You see, it was more my idea to get this than hers. I appreciate her patience and humor. I also thank Jay for being a man of his word. He could have said "screw you..." but didn't. I'm grateful there are still those with this kind of integrity left among us. Finally, I'm grateful for all of you reading this. without your suggestions and support I would have felt pretty alone with all of this.

It's now behind us... Tallahassee is sure a nice place. Warm weather, sunny skies. It's kinda like summer here (85 today) while the rest of the US is freezing. I think I'll buy a motorcycle and ride down to Key West. I'm ready for a cheeseburger in paradise and a cold draught beer...

<Kathy is staring at me wondering if I'm serious... She's ready to go! >

Yes Kathy, I am

Best Wishes to you all and good luck

Jerry Wills
Xpeditions TV

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ELEMENT 115: You have to see this....
Element 115 - the band Classic-rock and Beyond from Phoenix Arizona and the Milky Way Galaxy
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Old 12-10-2007, 09:22 PM   #20
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Hi, sometimes you get a free education and sometimes it might cost you $1,000.00 but you will be much better off next time if you still have an Airstream in your dreams. And with the knowledge you just got, you will save yourself thousands of dollars on your next adventure. Or if you didn't learn, you could write a good book on all of your miss-adventures. You write an interesting story. Thank You for sharing with us.

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Old 12-11-2007, 05:45 PM   #21
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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That $1,000 was tuition for those important lessons. I've had to learn them over and over. You are hardly alone in making mistakes like you did.

Seems like you didn't have an anti-sway bar and that's why the trucks were making the trailer sway so much (or it wasn't adjusted right). I don't know what your first Airstream weighed, but I got the impression it was too much for your Suburban.

Also seems like you met some good people who helped you out and made this experience much more tolerable. Kathy sounds like a supportive partner and that's not always easy to find.

There are a lot of used A/S's in Arizona and Southern California. It might be better to restrict your search to be close to home. They're less likely to rot there too.


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