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Old 05-12-2003, 03:19 PM   #1
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Smile Route 66 is Screaming for Me... !! Need Advice!

During my formative years, my father had an Airstream trailer. A Sovereign 32", I believe. Like a '76 or '77... I'm not sure. We went everywhere in that thing as a family: Myrtle Beach, Disney World, St. Petersburg, Upper Michigan, Appalachian Mountains (Skyline Drive), those were absolutely the best memories of my life.

Now, in my mid-30's with a wife and two small children, that same spirit of vacation travel is gnawing at me. I'm ready for it! This week I take delivery of a brand new Ford E-350 Chateau full-size van with a Triton V-10 engine in it, Class III/IV/V hitch, telescoping mirrors and more. I dream of getting a Safari A/S next...

Here's what I need some advice on: 1) new A/S trailers are so much money, are they really worth it in terms of durability? (both road worthiness and interior componentry/build).

2) My wife is so deadset against EVER taking a trailer somewhere, she's got the misconception that it's like "roughing it" or something. Any ideas on how I can convince her to try it? (without duct taping her to the front passenger seat!)

3) Lastly, A/S dealers are few and far between. How can I find one that's not gonna act like a used car dealer? Do they offer 15-year loans to keep payments low? --heck, has anyone out there "outgrown" their late model Safari and wants to sell it to me??!!

This forum is great. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Tony
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Old 05-12-2003, 04:21 PM   #2
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take her camping in the rain. poke a hole in her air matress. dump a 5 gallon bucket of water into the tent. when she wakes up soaking wet tell her you tried to get a camper.

The new ones are nice. Yes you can get long loans on them.

You might concider looking at a used unit. Because of the popularity of these campers you can often fine very well maintained units for a reasonable price.
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Old 05-12-2003, 04:32 PM   #3
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Last year our first tent camping trip was to a lake in August - right in the middle of mosquito season. When we got back I asked my husband what he didn't like about it - he said the hard bed, bad food, bugs, no bathroom - basically the whole 'camping experience'. However, he was not keen on the trailer idea either, as I recall the term 'trailer trash' kept coming up. The thing that changed his mind was a trip to the local AS dealer. He was 100% on board after seeing what new AS look like inside. They are so nice! We got a restored vintage unit, and if we really enjoy it we might move up to a new unit someday. But I'll tell you one thing, the sooner the spouse approves of the whole idea, the easier it's gonna be :-)

You might want to get the 'Go Rving' free video as well. It is almost funny in how it oversells the RVing life, but it's all very positive, and she can see how nice new trailers are. I'm sure you'll win her over in no time. If you have HGTV on cable, they've been showing an RV 2003 show where they show off all these fancy RVs. Some of them are nicer than our house!
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Old 05-12-2003, 04:46 PM   #4
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Tony,

You can get extended financing. Good Sam financing will do a 15 year loan on your new Airstream. I financed through them.

I just got done van shopping and looked at the E350 V10. It will pull 10,000 lbs. I decided on a GMC instead, mainly on the inside design (the engine cowling on the Ford intrudes more into the van and the front passenger footroom is better). My new van will handle 9,900 lbs.

Roughing it is an interesting question. In my wife's mind, roughing it is going to a site that doesn't have water, electric, and sewer. It just depends on what your style of camping was before and what your expectations are.

Its hard to think of roughing it when you have beds, microwave, shower, toilet, hot water heater, stove and oven, air conditioning, furnace and TV available to you.

We have stayed at some beautiful RV parks. One that comes to mind is Top Sail in Destin Fla. Another is Bryn Mar in St. Augustine Fla. just to name two. This type of camping is much different from a spot on an open field or roughing it in the wilderness.

I'm not going to get into the duribility issue but a new Safari, interior wise is similar to many other good trailers out there. Exterior wise its a different story and whether you go Safari or Classic the outsides are the same. Other that the typical scars of use, your A/S will be around for many more years than typical travel trailers.

Lots of hand labor and expensive aluminum in an A/S so its going to be pricey new. While buying new is nice, there is a depreciation hit you are going to take. In hindsite I probably could have gotten a fairly new used Classic line unit for what I paid for the Safari. Unfortunately at that time I was dealing with a situation where my existing van couldn't handle the heavier Classic.

You might want to consider talking to the folks at Bill Thomas Camper Sales here in St. Louis. They are good people. They also can be on the lookout for used units. The folks in our local WBCCI unit have often told Bill that they wanted a specific type of trailer, and as to what shape it is in. He calls them when one comes in and he pretty much delivers on what they are looking for.

I saw a beautiful 2003 used Classic and a 2001 Limited at his dealership both looking as good as the day they were sold. Both sold quickly.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Regards,

Jack
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Old 05-12-2003, 05:25 PM   #5
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I have the tent, backback, water filter, etc. all upstairs right now. They get used from time to time. However, I do not, and never have enjoyed sleeping out in the woods as an end in itself. When on long hikes there is no real alternative, but to go somewhere, pitch a tent, then pack up and go home never had any appeal to me.

But to go to a nice campground, level up the Airstream, and settle back to enjoy a weekend away... I need nothing else. Get a little cool? Push up the thermostat a bit. Got the munchies? Let's see what is in the fridge. If this is "roughing it", then bring on some more!

You mention two small children. There is a thread somewhere on camping with children that had some excellent points about the joys and problems.

Mark
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Old 05-12-2003, 06:02 PM   #6
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Great Feedback!

Thanks, everyone. Jack, I'm gonna call that dealer in St. Louis and tell 'em to keep an eye out for me -- just to see what comes across.

On a scale of 1 - 10, "10" being ready to buy right this instant... I think I'm still a 5.

Still, I want to see what's out there and have the chance to buy a unit if it's too good to pass up.

Thanks again!

Tony
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Old 05-12-2003, 06:02 PM   #7
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Wait, wait, wait!!!!

Did Stephanie say that she's got a restored vintage unit, and that she might "MOVE UP" to a new unit someday?????????


Blasphemy!!! Turn in your cyclo polisher right now!!
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Old 05-12-2003, 06:53 PM   #8
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financing

We have always purchased new in the past. Several reason for doing this.

1. Trade in on anther was very easy
2. New units are easier to finance over 15 years at a favorable rate. I think, that depending on the age of the used unit, you might even have difficulty getting a fifteen year loan.
3. The interest paid on the financing is deductable on your taxes as a second home.
4. The warenty for a new unit is 2 years.
5. It's just nice to be the first person to sleep in your new bed.
6. Anything that breaks, you broke it and you get to fix it. Rather than fixing someone else's problems.

I probably could just keep going on, but you know they just smell new.

Good luck
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Old 05-12-2003, 08:29 PM   #9
 
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It's just nice to be the first person to sleep in your new bed.
We bought a 1990, and we will be the first to sleep in our new bed.

We had twin beds, wanted doubles, and from what I hear from everybody about the quality of RV beds.......

I should receive any day soon my custom mattress, my choice of 2 layers of foam (medium hard + memory foam), for the total price of $237.91.

Cheaper than getting a new trailer
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Old 05-12-2003, 09:52 PM   #10
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Originally posted by 63flyingcloud
Wait, wait, wait!!!!

Did Stephanie say that she's got a restored vintage unit, and that she might "MOVE UP" to a new unit someday?????????


Blasphemy!!! Turn in your cyclo polisher right now!!

Well, you have to admit, I am starting with a really small vintage unit :-) For our first trip we're leaving the dalmatian at home with friends because I can't quite imagine having him getting all hyper in our 17ft of space! Of course, how big a trailer would I need to comfortably contain a hyperactive dalmatian?
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Old 05-13-2003, 08:19 AM   #11
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Originally posted by Stefrobrts



Well, you have to admit, I am starting with a really small vintage unit :-) For our first trip we're leaving the dalmatian at home with friends because I can't quite imagine having him getting all hyper in our 17ft of space! Of course, how big a trailer would I need to comfortably contain a hyperactive dalmatian?
Ohhhh come on! I'm going to contain a hyperactive 10 year old kid and her little sister in a 22ft! If it was just me an the wife we would be happy with a 17. We however inherited this unit and it was used in the family for the previous 20 years. That included my wife and her 3 brothers! The brothers slept in tents. Ours also doubled as guest housing when folks were visiting when my wife was a little girl.
We haven't take out youngest camping yet but the oldest we have in a 10x7 tent. 22ft that we can stand up in feels like the Tajmahal!
Take the pup! He will love it! Wish my old Seppard wasn't so old. I would love to bring her along. She just isn't as spry as she use to be and my back wouldn't stand for picking her up (She's 110lb...not really fat just a big dog) to get her in the truck for a weeks trip.
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Old 05-13-2003, 10:13 AM   #12
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The poor old girl. Time to build her a ramp!

Your kids have a lot of brainpower over the dalmatian. He gets 'bouncy' and bounds around the house when we least expect it, often running himself headfirst into things (furniture that's always been there, corners, us). He's really going to have to contain himself in the trailer. I've had him in it with me while I was cleaning it up and getting ready to go and he got so nervous he threw up on the couch! Maybe he's claustrophobic. Well, he's sweet, but he's really the dumbest dog I've ever met. Our little dog on the other hand, regularly outsmarts us.

I could see using the trailer as a guest house. I've already occasionally retreated to mine for a little bit of calm away from everything else. It's like as soon as you step into it, you're on vacation!
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Old 05-13-2003, 11:03 AM   #13
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The poor old girl. Time to build her a ramp!

Your kids have a lot of brainpower over the dalmatian. He gets 'bouncy' and bounds around the house when we least expect it, often running himself headfirst into things (furniture that's always been there, corners, us). He's really going to have to contain himself in the trailer. I've had him in it with me while I was cleaning it up and getting ready to go and he got so nervous he threw up on the couch! Maybe he's claustrophobic. Well, he's sweet, but he's really the dumbest dog I've ever met. Our little dog on the other hand, regularly outsmarts us.

I could see using the trailer as a guest house. I've already occasionally retreated to mine for a little bit of calm away from everything else. It's like as soon as you step into it, you're on vacation!
The 10 year olds biggest problem is her mouth. If I could duct tape it shut without going to jail it would solve 90% orf the problems. LOL.
You pup still young> took a couple years for my Sheppard to settle down.
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Old 05-13-2003, 11:09 AM   #14
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I have two Australian Shepherds in my 20' Globetrotter. One dog is old and battling cancer, the other is a rescue and has a lot of hardware in his back leg.
I have a ramp for them to get in and out of the trailer and a small fence so they don't have to live on leashes while we are in established campgrounds.
My old girl has been my camping buddy for 12 years and her hiking days are over, but she still loves to be with me laying in her dog bed in the shade of the trailer sniffing the air.

Here's a link for a great ramp. It slides into itself and is light compared to a lot of the other ramps. Use it to get your dog into the truck and then set it on the step of the trailer when you get to where you're going. You'll be able to open and close the door without the ramp getting in the way.

http://www.dogramp.com
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