Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-17-2004, 04:06 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1
So here's the story...(need airstream advice)

In less than a year, my wife and I will be be making a radical lifestyle change which includes living primarily in northern Maine but also 3-4 months (Xmas through early April) of each year in northern coastal Florida.

We have good friends who will allow us to set up a trailer on their acreage. They feel something around 25 feet would be acceptable. My wife and I are large people and have never camped or lived in a trailer before.

The trailer will sit empty (in FL) most of the year. We have a Ford Explorer Sport with 80K miles on it. We have 2 cats and a dog and could spend up to $10K if necessary. What would you fine folks recommend. Air conditioning! Anything else?


Double R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 05:44 AM   #2
Rivet Master
Davydd's Avatar
Tonka Bay
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 767
Images: 13
Smile First, Welcome

Double R,

At up to $10,000 and 25 ft you are describing a vintage TradeWind like I have. The actual shell of a TradeWind is about 21 ft in length so you could probably stretch your look to an Overlander size of 27 ft overall. 60's, 70's and maybe 80's trailers can be found for under $10,000 in good conditions.

The Explorer which is similar in size to my Trailblazer could possibly pull a vintage TradeWind. Any bigger might be a stretch.

Two cats and a dog! That part scares me. Our two cats drive us nuts in our 2,700 sf house.

2015 Sprinter Class B Camper Van
(Former 1971 vintage Airstream Owner)
Davydd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 05:59 AM   #3
Rivet Master
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,474
Images: 19
I suspect that almost any 25' coach of any vintage is going to be a stretch for an Explorer Sport - but is that an issue? Sounds like you are only going to move it once. If you pay someone to move it on site for you, you will not have the expense of a hitch.

Are you going to be connected to water and sewer? If so, the vintage coaches with their limited or non existent waste tanks will be no problem.

You would be well advised to budget perhaps $2,000 for repairs for any used coach.

And the point above on the nominal size vs. size of the coach body is important.

Good luck, and welcome to the Forums.

j54mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 06:50 AM   #4
Silvertwinkie's Avatar
2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,326
I agree, it can be done, but it may cost over 10k after it's all said and done.

For example:

A vintage coach with some work needed could cost $4-5k. As indicated, budget a few thousand for upgrades/repairs/maint issues.

Now look closely at the tow issue, particularly if this is going to be a regular tow from ME to FL. The Explorer is going to have issues here, esp if it is a V-6. A tow vehicle that could do the job without question, used, would cost at least $4-5k. If it's a V-8 Explorer, I think it would be close to it's limits and I think it would surely need some upgrades.

I spent upwards of $2000 alone to get the basic needs covered to upgrade my tow vehicle to where I felt it would be ok to pull the added weights of a 25' coach (gears, driveshaft upgrade, cooling upgrades, springs, shocks, front and rear lower control arm upgrades, computer PCM modifications to accept the gears and turn secondary cooling fans on sooner).
Silvertwinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 08:36 AM   #5
Rivet Master
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,310
Images: 4
Welcome, Double R. By coincidence, you are planning to do just what we did 4 years ago. Friends in Northern coastal Florida invited us to put a travel trailer on their acreage. We spent $10,000 on a 1988 Airstream Excella, and live in it from December to March. We are near Trenton, in Gilchrist county, about 25 miles west of Gainsville. I agree with what the others have said. We have spent $3000 on restoring our trailer to a high standard, (spread over 4 years). We built a pole barn to protect the trailer from the elements. This used 8 lengths of used telegraph poles for uprights, with $600 for timber and a steel roof. We use a septic built from a 50 gallon plastic drum buried in the soil with an outlet to a gravel leach field. We installed an underground pipe to conduit electricity and water from the main house, and installed a meter to calculate the quantity of electricity we use. If you stay in North Florida, you will not need air conditioning during December to March. You will need to winterize the plumbing systems if you leave it during this period. The temperaturre drops to the mid-20's for a few nights each winter. Getting a trailer delivered to site for you after purchase would solve a lot of initial worries. We decided that the late 1980's trailers offer the best balance of value, design and quality. If, like us, you decide to travel, then you will have a new set of challenges (brakes, bearings, tires, hitch, sway control, load distribution etc, etc.) I strongly advise you leave the trailer static for the first year or two, while you learn about the complexities (and joys), of owning and maintaining an Airstream. Your nearest Airstream dealer will be Sanders RV at Alachua, where Chuck at the parts dept will soon be a friend. Their is a great salvage yard for Airstreams at Bob's RV, just North of High Springs, Alachua County. My wife and I have a wonderful time here each winter, and I hope and trust you will too. You will get all the help you need from the great people on this forum. Best wishes, Nick.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
"The price of freedom is eternal maintenance."
nickcrowhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 09:33 AM   #6
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
Rog0525's Avatar
1966 20' Globetrotter
Saginaw County , Michigan
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,555
Images: 11
Exclamation Have you checked the zoning laws?

I know from personal experience that the state of Florida has zoning laws that prohibit the hookup of an RV on private property for use as a residence beyond a specified time limit (perhaps 2 weeks).
I believe that if the RV is occupied or hooked up beyond the time limit, it is considered a residence and violates the law unless the property is zoned for that additional residence.
A friend of mine once hooked up his MH on another friend's property (12 acres) with expectation of an extended stay. Two weeks later, a county inspector stopped in to tell him he had 24 hours to remove the MH or face a stiff fine. This was in Summit County, Florida.
I imagine that nickcrowhurst was aware of the zoning laws and took necessary legal measures, otherwise it is possible that the local inspectors haven't spotted the RV because it is enclosed in a pole barn.
I can't recite the law chapter and verse, I'm just dropping a word to the wise.

Rog0525 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 11:52 AM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Pick's Avatar
1972 31' Sovereign
High Springs , Florida
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 2,310
Images: 36
Send a message via AIM to Pick
Rog, most zoning is done on a "local", i.e, county or city basis. Have never heard of "Statewide Zoning".
2003 GMC 2500HD 4X4 D/A Ext. Cab
Propane Powered Honda EU2000i
Lots of Hot Sauce!
Air # 283
WBCCI 1350
Pick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2004, 02:43 PM   #8
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
Rog0525's Avatar
1966 20' Globetrotter
Saginaw County , Michigan
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,555
Images: 11
Quite correct, Pick

I should have worded that "some if not all counties within the state of Florida have zoning laws that ...blah, blah.
Actually, I think it would be wise to check the local ordinances in any state before setting up an RV as a residence, guest house, etc. The friend I mentioned lost a good chunk of money in clearing the lot and hooking up the electric, water and sewer before he was made aware of the local zoning law. He had even poured a concrete pad.


Rog0525 is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.