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Old 08-28-2019, 06:14 AM   #1
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The end of the journey

After ten seasons and 194 nights, I'm selling my Airstream. I'm taking it to the RV auction this morning after breakfast. This is my last post as an Airstream owner.

At airforums, as with elsewhere on the internet, active posters disappear after a while leaving those left behind to wonder what happened. (How did things work out for PBearSailor? What ever happened to Andy at Inland RV Center? etc.) I don't like to do that, so you get the rest of the story. And here it is.

Five years in I wrote a retrospective which covered many of the successes and a few frustrations. That part is pretty much unchanged.

So, what happened? Well....

My kids are growing up. The youngest starting her junior year in high school, the rest out on their own. The original use case of finding a reasonable way for a young family of 5 (plus a dog) to travel no longer applies.

We've been to the best RV-friendly destinations that are within a reasonable distance for a 7 to 10 day trip. I'm in the Minneapolis area, so that means: the Black Hills, the north shore of Lake Superior, some of the canoeing and kayaking destinations around Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the Chicago area.

We are finding that our travel interests have evolved and broadened to include destinations and activities that are unworkable for an RV because of distance, lack of campsites, or where some other form of lodging is part of the experience. Florida, New York City, the Caribbean, Europe. We'd like to take some boat trips on the Rideau Canal and elsewhere. As we have jobs and therefore a limited amount of vacation time we have found we travel in the Airstream less as the years go by.

Campsite availability has deteriorated over the last ten years for short, weekend trips. Two private campgrounds nearby have closed completely in that time and one other has been converted to seasonal only. I'm aware of no new campgrounds that have opened (except seasonal-only ones that operate on a condo-like model where you purchase a site). At desirable locations the holiday weekends get booked in January, and the non-holiday summer weekends get booked a few weeks in advance.

At the same time, the advent of AirBnB and vrbo have opened up non-RV travel options that simply didn't exist 10 years ago.

We lost our storage. I had a shed at my old house where I could park the trailer inside, plug into power, and leave the truck hitched up if desired. We moved but hung onto the old place as a rental for a few years, and now it's gone. I'm paying for outside storage now, further away, with no electricity and no room for the truck, which has eroded much of the convenience of RV travel.

Extended family has never embraced the RV style of travel. We're never going to be the kind of family that agrees on a destination and then book a bunch of adjacent sites for everyone's rigs.

We're acutely aware of the cost of a tow vehicle. This is the only real surprise in 10 years of ownership, and it's a biggie, with the maintenance and depreciation on the tow vehicle being more than the maintenance and depreciation on the trailer itself. Two years ago the transfer case failed on our older 3/4 ton Suburban, which had already been costing us more than $300 a month in repairs. We bought a new Ford pickup, which works great but costs us more than $300 a month in depreciation.

And so it's time to move on.



People contemplating the RV lifestyle always wonder how the finances work out in the long run. After major trips I sometimes figure out the cost. We think in terms of dollars per person, per day, including everyting except groceries. We're right around $150 with the Airstream trips, including all the depreciation on the trailer and tow vehicle, and storage, as well as the campsite fees, overpriced firewood, parking stickers, and admission fees for whatever activities we're doing.

This compares favorably to other forms of travel. For trips where we fly, rent a car, and stay in an airbnb we've spent $150-$200 per person per day. Cruise lines e.g. Carnival have worked out to a little more, around $225. Some unusually expensive big-city destinations have been more expensive.

I have no regrets. 194 nights, maybe a few more that I forgot to write in the log. I'm calling it 20 nights a year, which was what I used in the original planning back in 2009 before I bought it.

The photos are from some of the best travels. A stone's throw away from the Whitewater River. On the harbor at Lake Superior. In the shadow of a peak in the Black Hills. Scenic State Park. The tunnels and vistas of Norbeck Scenic Highway.


Fair winds, and peace upon all your wanderings.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:37 AM   #2
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Peace. Enjoy yourself.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:55 AM   #3
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Be well Jammer. Enjoyed your posts and thanks for this one to leave the mystery out of it. Have fun with whatever’s next!
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:59 AM   #4
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Happy Trails!


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Old 08-28-2019, 09:33 AM   #5
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Well done, sir.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:48 AM   #6
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Fair winds and following seas!
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:48 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the sharing. Have fun.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:52 AM   #8
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Thank you for your very comprehensive post. Have a great time at whatever you decide to do. Thank you for spending the last ten years with us.

Brian
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:53 AM   #9
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Why leave the forum? Be an active member and provide wisdom. Just because you no longer have it, doesn't mean you can't stay.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:14 PM   #10
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Good luck to you! I'm just starting my adventures (kinda late) with my wife and kids. I like reading everyone's perspectives and adventure stories.
Be good and maybe we will pass on the road.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:32 PM   #11
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Everything slips away eventually.

Cherish the memory.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
After ten seasons and 194 nights, I'm selling my Airstream. I'm taking it to the RV auction this morning after breakfast. This is my last post as an Airstream owner.

At airforums, as with elsewhere on the internet, active posters disappear after a while leaving those left behind to wonder what happened. (How did things work out for PBearSailor? What ever happened to Andy at Inland RV Center? etc.) I don't like to do that, so you get the rest of the story. And here it is.

Five years in I wrote a retrospective which covered many of the successes and a few frustrations. That part is pretty much unchanged.

So, what happened? Well....

My kids are growing up. The youngest starting her junior year in high school, the rest out on their own. The original use case of finding a reasonable way for a young family of 5 (plus a dog) to travel no longer applies.

We've been to the best RV-friendly destinations that are within a reasonable distance for a 7 to 10 day trip. I'm in the Minneapolis area, so that means: the Black Hills, the north shore of Lake Superior, some of the canoeing and kayaking destinations around Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the Chicago area.

We are finding that our travel interests have evolved and broadened to include destinations and activities that are unworkable for an RV because of distance, lack of campsites, or where some other form of lodging is part of the experience. Florida, New York City, the Caribbean, Europe. We'd like to take some boat trips on the Rideau Canal and elsewhere. As we have jobs and therefore a limited amount of vacation time we have found we travel in the Airstream less as the years go by.

Campsite availability has deteriorated over the last ten years for short, weekend trips. Two private campgrounds nearby have closed completely in that time and one other has been converted to seasonal only. I'm aware of no new campgrounds that have opened (except seasonal-only ones that operate on a condo-like model where you purchase a site). At desirable locations the holiday weekends get booked in January, and the non-holiday summer weekends get booked a few weeks in advance.

At the same time, the advent of AirBnB and vrbo have opened up non-RV travel options that simply didn't exist 10 years ago.

We lost our storage. I had a shed at my old house where I could park the trailer inside, plug into power, and leave the truck hitched up if desired. We moved but hung onto the old place as a rental for a few years, and now it's gone. I'm paying for outside storage now, further away, with no electricity and no room for the truck, which has eroded much of the convenience of RV travel.

Extended family has never embraced the RV style of travel. We're never going to be the kind of family that agrees on a destination and then book a bunch of adjacent sites for everyone's rigs.

We're acutely aware of the cost of a tow vehicle. This is the only real surprise in 10 years of ownership, and it's a biggie, with the maintenance and depreciation on the tow vehicle being more than the maintenance and depreciation on the trailer itself. Two years ago the transfer case failed on our older 3/4 ton Suburban, which had already been costing us more than $300 a month in repairs. We bought a new Ford pickup, which works great but costs us more than $300 a month in depreciation.

And so it's time to move on.



People contemplating the RV lifestyle always wonder how the finances work out in the long run. After major trips I sometimes figure out the cost. We think in terms of dollars per person, per day, including everyting except groceries. We're right around $150 with the Airstream trips, including all the depreciation on the trailer and tow vehicle, and storage, as well as the campsite fees, overpriced firewood, parking stickers, and admission fees for whatever activities we're doing.

This compares favorably to other forms of travel. For trips where we fly, rent a car, and stay in an airbnb we've spent $150-$200 per person per day. Cruise lines e.g. Carnival have worked out to a little more, around $225. Some unusually expensive big-city destinations have been more expensive.

I have no regrets. 194 nights, maybe a few more that I forgot to write in the log. I'm calling it 20 nights a year, which was what I used in the original planning back in 2009 before I bought it.

The photos are from some of the best travels. A stone's throw away from the Whitewater River. On the harbor at Lake Superior. In the shadow of a peak in the Black Hills. Scenic State Park. The tunnels and vistas of Norbeck Scenic Highway.


Fair winds, and peace upon all your wanderings.
No worries, no regrets!
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:30 PM   #13
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I remember back in 2001 my wife and I went up to pick up our new 27' Safari from our local dealership. I was 18 years younger 53, and excited on finally getting for us, our ultimate dream trailer. While waiting in the dealership we watch an elderly couple walk in the front door. I would guess that they probably were in their mid to late 70's. I was told that they were coming in to deliver their Airstream which they sold to the dealer. They no longer were up to physically travel anymore and decided their best course was to sell their beloved Airstream back to who they bought it from. A lot of sadness in their eyes and maybe I think I saw some tears. Gave me a lump in the throat at the time. Personally I really couldn't imagine at the time us being in that position in the future.

Well 19 years has gone by. The Safari was traded in for my Classic three years later and things have changed in my life. I'm now retired and was widowed just over a year ago. It's not "us" in our Airstream anymore, it's just me. There are still lots of places to go and the last year has gotten me back on the road again, both with the trailer and without it. I'll do 6 Airstream trips in the course of a year. Some to new places and some back to places that "we" used to go to. Your story sort of brought back a lot of happy thoughts regarding these last 19 years, and the reality of that old couple had to face that we saw so long ago.

The day eventually will come for me when I'll make that same decision that old couple was forced to do. In the meantime I'll cherish those memories from the past while I continue my journey.

My best to you Jammer as you make your new memories.

Jack
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:43 PM   #14
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"You don't know where you've been until you leave"...safe travels & be happy. 👍

Bob
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