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Old 04-03-2014, 02:56 PM   #15
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I have to agree with the advice to rent or buy cheap for your first camping experience. I didn't want to camp, but my husband showed me a 1977 Airstream that I thought was pretty cool. We bought it cheaply, put some work into it, had a whole bunch of fun and sold it for what we paid for it. We decided to buy a different one that had more of the features we wanted. Again, a pre-owned. Seven years later we traded that one in on the one we have now. We got almost what we paid
for it in trade.
On the other hand, my brother-in-law bought a huge fifth wheel with a king bed, kitchen island, fireplace, etc. My sister hated camping and theirs got used about twice for trips.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:54 PM   #16
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You seem to possess the idea criteria for AS ownership, i.e....
- hate looking for motels
- hate Canadian winters
- have dog, will travel
- want to see some of the world while you still can
- appreciate the Airstream design and longevity

So, I'd jump right in. BTW, you do not need an expensive TV. I picked up my F150 for under 10k, installed a transmission cooler, and it has served me well.

But, I wouldn't sell the house. With interest rates being ridiculously low, you could always borrow against the equity. (Don't forget to put "We're spending our kids' inheritance" on the Airstream's rear bumper. lol!) Other institutions have some kind of plan where you don't have to pay anything back until you sell the house. (A growing trend here in Vancouver where the average city home is 900k).

I am probably younger than you; my only regret is the fact I didn't buy my trailer sooner.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:55 PM   #17
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Glamper

32 years ago, when I was a young wife, I tried to suck it up and tent camp....(to make my husband happy.) I didn't go very often, because as it turns out, I wasn't very good at it. 25 years later, my husband came home with a Duce and a half army truck, and we camped in that.....I still wasn't winning the "best camper" award. Finally after 29 years of marriage, and not a whole lot of camping, he mentioned that maybe we should get an airstream. I rolled my eyes in sheer disgust, but went along with his whim. We ended up buying a 1984 Avion in almost perfect condition. We used the Avion for 2 1/2 years. I began to enjoy our weekend getaways, although there were still a few issues... But I was well on my way to getting the "most improved" camper award. A year and a half ago my darling husband came home with the the airstream he always wanted........a 34' classic. I have finally reached the "happy camper" pinnacle and I look forward to every outing. If I had only known what camping would be like in an AS we would have gotten one years ago! I am looking forward to the day we can retire (12 years from now!) and full time it. For now, I just look forward to our next getaway...which will be Easter weekend at Jetty Park near Cape Canaveral. Trust me on this one.....you will love the AS. Nothing else compares! I am Glamper and proud of it!
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:02 PM   #18
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I would second the thoughts of looking at Airstreams for a day, look at some other brands for a minute, to get the idea of how much better an Airstream is laid out and built. Used units are a great way to get into one, same for a tow vehicle. Looking is fun, dreaming is better, and 'Streaming is best.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:02 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the helpful comments. I wanted to touch on some of the postings.

When we were much younger we did some summer tent camping and my wife was not overly thrilled. As we grew older, tent camping was too 'primitive' for her aging body. Never again. But ironically we have 'camped' several times in our minivan. It is a minor step up from a tent. She even wanted to travel and van camp this year for a month with 2 nights in the van and the 3rd in a motel with shower and bed. I'd rather not do it again, but instead have a proper trailer. I know she would really appreciate an AS trailer, but she says that she will NEVER drive anything pulling a trailer!

Since buying a new AS is not feasible at this time, it will have to be used. The decision is between a later model at half the price of new, or an older vintage in worse shape much cheaper. The trouble with older much cheaper is they are a lot of rebuilding work. Even though I'd only be satisfied with a custom AS build to our exact liking, the work and time involved to do so is large. I think I'd rather be off actually using the trailer a.s.a.p. rather than having to wait a year or two to complete a rebuild. Besides, restoring a frame and subfloor, axles, plus redoing all electrical and plumbing is not what I really want to do. Custom interior yes, but the other no. I am not into vintage as in original. I'm more restomod—i.e. wouldn't want a '68 original Camaro, but one with all modern drive train and interior. Same with trailers. We will see. Everything is a tradeoff and less than ideal.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:24 PM   #20
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What to do!

I second the advice given by others that the best low risk way to dip your toe into this lifestyle is to rent an RV for an extended period of time to see if this is for you. I would not worry too much about renting an AS for this experiment as such rentals can be expensive and may not be available where you want to conduct the trial. Renting a Class C motor home is probably the easiest and least expensive option (but it will likely cost you $500 to $700 per week based on my experience in my area.) Still, spending a thousand or two to validate what is likely a $30,000 to $50,000 investment decision is probably the wise thing to do.

If you and your spouse pass the test, buying used is definitely the most economical way to go. It's not always easy to find a good used Airstream so be prepared to travel and to be patient.

As far a the decision between a "ready to go" recent used model or the restoration of an older unit is concerned, there are many schools of thought. But a major renovation/restoration can be expensive and time consuming (especially if you aren't doing the majority of the work yourself.) And I've heard of restorations costing as much as a new unit! Not being particularly handy, nor in love with authentic vintage restorations, I would opt for a gently used but "ready to go" five to ten year old model (depending on your budget and availability.)

Good luck!
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:13 PM   #21
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For Cramar..
Just because you have a trailer doesn't mean your wife would have to drive/tow it... My wife watched me sawing at the wheel of our old Ford Bronco pulling a square box Nomad trailer years ago, and declared she wanted nothing to do with driving.. We negotiated an alternative "division of responsibilities" wherein I don't have to do much cooking or cleaning, and have put tens of thousands of miles on several tow vehicles and both the Nomad and the Airstream, and I've driven every mile.. When I am tired, we stop and rest, or spend the night... We take longer road rest stops for fuel or meals.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:55 PM   #22
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I'm realizing now - I'm going to need to negotiate - I am only driver and dumper of waste!!!!
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:52 PM   #23
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I'm realizing now - I'm going to need to negotiate - I am only driver and dumper of waste!!!!
Women keep men for only two reasons: open jars and fix cars....
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:35 PM   #24
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I thought killing bugs was one of the reasons...
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Old 04-15-2014, 05:13 PM   #25
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May need to start a new thread on sharing of duties.. Clearly killing bugs (primarily spiders...) is my responsibility as well, along with driving and maintaining the Excursion and Airstream.. I should add that all connections and disconnections and "fluid management" (fresh water in, non-fresh fluids out...) are also mine, along with electrical and video/cable hookups and disconnects.. Still beats cooking on toy stove or washing dishes in little sinks..


Oh, and again for Cramar.. It takes a "special attitude and aptitude" to start with a very vintage fixer-upper.. Many of those who abandon the dream start with a rusty 50's or 60's unit with holes in the floor and bad appliances... The secret to saving money for new owners is to go back about 15-20 years and find a used Airstream in really good condition.. Save the "We can save it!!" heroics for trailer #2 or 3, or let someone else try to bring one back to life...
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Old 04-15-2014, 05:43 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by cramar View Post
Thanks for all the helpful comments. I wanted to touch on some of the postings.

When we were much younger we did some summer tent camping and my wife was not overly thrilled. As we grew older, tent camping was too 'primitive' for her aging body. Never again. But ironically we have 'camped' several times in our minivan. It is a minor step up from a tent. She even wanted to travel and van camp this year for a month with 2 nights in the van and the 3rd in a motel with shower and bed. I'd rather not do it again, but instead have a proper trailer. I know she would really appreciate an AS trailer, but she says that she will NEVER drive anything pulling a trailer!
Dear MRS. Cramar;

Please open your mind to the possibility of a trailer - or if that just won't work a van conversion type of RV. The benefits of a trailer are enough space to do more than turn around, the ability to leave the trailer in camp when going exploring in the back country - or in a city where parking a van is next to impossible.

Even if you don't EVER want to be in the driver's seat when pulling a trailer - I'd urge you to get minimally competent. The first time I towed someone ELSE's trailer it was because hubby had broken his arm, collarbone and scapula and couldn't drive. His wife had never towed, so I took the trailer home to Richmond while wife followed in the car - driving husband. Luckily, getting him home wasn't an emergency. In an emergency, having 2 drivers even if one is only a backup can be a lifesaver.

MRS. - have hubby rent a utility trailer - even just an open one like the lawn care guys use to haul their mowers. Find an empty store with a big parking lot and practice driving, turning around lamp posts without hitting them, and backing into a parking space.

Don't drive if you don't want to, but just "practice" here and there when traffic is light. You may surprise yourself and find you don't mind towing at all. You might even join some of us on a "women only" rally. (Just to scare your husband you could tell him you and a couple of friends are going to the outlet malls and taking the trailer so you can really clean out the place!)

Best wishes, Paula
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:12 PM   #27
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Dear MRS. Cramar;

Please open your mind to the possibility of a trailer - or if that just won't work a van conversion type of RV. The benefits of a trailer are enough space to do more than turn around, the ability to leave the trailer in camp when going exploring in the back country - or in a city where parking a van is next to impossible.

Even if you don't EVER want to be in the driver's seat when pulling a trailer - I'd urge you to get minimally competent. The first time I towed someone ELSE's trailer it was because hubby had broken his arm, collarbone and scapula and couldn't drive. His wife had never towed, so I took the trailer home to Richmond while wife followed in the car - driving husband. Luckily, getting him home wasn't an emergency. In an emergency, having 2 drivers even if one is only a backup can be a lifesaver.

MRS. - have hubby rent a utility trailer - even just an open one like the lawn care guys use to haul their mowers. Find an empty store with a big parking lot and practice driving, turning around lamp posts without hitting them, and backing into a parking space.

Don't drive if you don't want to, but just "practice" here and there when traffic is light. You may surprise yourself and find you don't mind towing at all. You might even join some of us on a "women only" rally. (Just to scare your husband you could tell him you and a couple of friends are going to the outlet malls and taking the trailer so you can really clean out the place!)

Best wishes, Paula
Great advice! My wife doesn't mind sharing the driving issues, I don't mind cooking and dishes. She hasn't had the chance to try backing up in an empty parking lot with Silver 'Rita, but she did try with the pop up we used to have... In a pinch, we won't be stuck.
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:06 PM   #28
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Some KOA campgrounds have Airstreams they rent to people. You don't get to tow it anywhere, but you can get a taste of what it would be like to stay in one.
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