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Old 10-08-2007, 10:25 AM   #1
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Some info is just coming so fast.....

For about four or five weeks, I've really gotten a LOT of information from the FORUMS. My wife and I are still looking for our first A/S and plan to purchase shortly after the first of the new year or sooner IF we can find what we are looking for.

As we keep looking, our learning curve is so steep that this info is coming way too fast sometimes. We're getting all these answers and we're not even sure of the questions we should be asking. A couple things have that come to mind, however, has to do with being OFF the cord. If we spend the night NOT plugged in, how long will the batteries last?? Will they re-charge while under way the following day? I understand that air condintioning wouldn't be used without the electricity but what about heat, etc..does the furnace operate off propane? So much to learn.

Another topic that continues to come up....during the past week-end, we visited nine campgrounds/RV parks to see, learn and understand. Eight of those parks, I would NEVER return too. One, for example, had 350 sites but also 300 full-time residents. It really was a trailer park filled with mostly broken down trailers! How do you know, in advance, that is the type of park you may have made a reservation in??? We would have been very disappointed if that was the place we might have paid to spend three or four days in. Does it simply take experience to understand how to read the info about RV parks?? Or is there something out there we haven't run into yet that would WARN us, in advance, of such a place???

Boy, do we need help. I understand that once we purchase our A/S, the owner's manual will probably help us out a lot. But, when starved for information and beginning at ZERO knowledge base, there is so much to learn and we want to keep ingesting as much as possible.

Another comment, in all the parks we visited over this past week-end, we saw ONE Airstream. We wanted to stop and talk with A/S owners, but they weren't around anyplace. Is that typical?? Do you often spend days "out and about" and never see another A/S owner?? All those A/S that are still on the road must be spread very few and far between!!

What we really need is a book: Airstreamin' for Dummies. That would probably help a lot. Thanks for listening and any info available would be appreciated. Keeping in mind, we really are BRAND NEW at this.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:51 AM   #2
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Hello Pilgrim,
Jesus! I sympathise! I went through exactly the same learning curve last winter and it felt like my head was going to burst. I would break down the learning process into two methods: Specific: Use the "search" function to get to keywords in your enquiry, and what I will call, "grazing". eg. picking up information as you go. On your specific questions: The length of time your batteries last is the "piece of string" answer. If you keep consumption down to a minimum they will last longer. The gas appliances: Furnace, Water Heater, Oven. require a electrical supply but they're all 12 volt - as is the water pump so they will run with, of course, propane where needed and your 12 volt supply. If you're connected up properly the battery will charge from the tow vehicle as you 'stream the next day. Good luck! Keep going! It's worth it! Lol!
Marc
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilgrim
A couple things have that come to mind, however, has to do with being OFF the cord. If we spend the night NOT plugged in, how long will the batteries last?? Will they re-charge while under way the following day? I understand that air conditioning wouldn't be used without the electricity but what about heat, etc..does the furnace operate off propane? So much to learn.
There is no easy response to this. It depends on a number of factors including the size and condition of your battery bank and your use of power. During the summer, I can stretch out past 4 days between charges, but my power usage is minimal during those times. On the other hand, if you run lights all the time and use a lot of power for radios and computers and whatnot, the time between recharges declines. If you are running the furnace much, count on daily charges as the blower runs off your battery bank.Oh yeah, the furnace is propane.

Will your batteries recharge underway? Again, it depends: how much were they drained and how long are you towing? Many of us who camp off the grid (ie boondocking) additionally use the new generation of quiet generators (thats a whole other topic you can search and read up on) to ensure maintenance of the battery levels. Some use solar, but my feel for the general opinion on that approach is that satisfaction is mixed. Some love it, some feel it is not a great solution.

As for campgrounds, I lean toward national forest, state parks, national parks and other public lands when underway so I really am not the best person to help out.

Don't feel bad about not knowing these things, the most experienced RVer alive started out not knowing a thing about it and still has more to learn. You are taking the right approach by trying to think things out. Pay particular attention to safety issues and get out there and use the thing! Good luck.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:57 AM   #4
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According to Google Earth, Sugar Grove is only 113 miles from Jackson Center. That would appear to be a natural destination for you.
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:00 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Hi,

Get a subscription to Trailer Life and buy one their books that list all the camp grounds in USA and Canada. This will help you to find good camp grounds verses the junk ones. There are a lot of junk trailer parks around that allow permanent trailers to stay on and on as long as they pay their bill. These we avoid when possible.
Regards from Russell in sunny Tucson Az.:ange l:
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:01 AM   #6
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What vswingfield said.
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilgrim
... How do you know, in advance, that is the type of park you may have made a reservation in??? ...
My wife uses the AAA guide when selecting campgrounds.

We have yet to be disappointed.

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Old 10-08-2007, 11:25 AM   #8
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Campground advice

There is a series of books published by Foghorn Outdoors that describes and rates campgrounds by region of the country. It rates parks on a 10 point rating scale and will give information about hiking, hook-ups, pets, handicap accessibility, fees, etc. It divides each region by state. You will find the books at any bookstore and can pick up the one on the region you travel in, ie, New England states, mid Atlantic, etc.

We have the New England edition and have camped in parks rated 7 - 9, the campground rated 9 was an Army Corps park that we thought was beautiful because it was a very natural setting without pools and game halls. So if you are looking for parks that have bingo on Saturday night and swimming pools for the kids the ratings will be lower in this guide book. It's just a values thing. The Foghorn publishers seem to prefer more natural, scenic parks to those that hold concerts and spaghetti suppers.

It is a good place to start checking out campgrounds, then you can also see if the park has a website for additional information.

Mary
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:25 AM   #9
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Pilgrim,

Take a look at Rich Luhr's blog at Tour of America They recently spent five days in Yellowstone, unhooked. He details his battery usage and recharging through solar panels. Also subscribe to his magazine Airstream Life, a great magazine.

Bill
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:02 PM   #10
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To those with sage advice - we've started buying a number of books and reading all that we can. It certainly helps! To VSPRINGFIELD who noted that Sugar Grove is only 113 miles from Jackson Center - we'll be there this Friday and have scheduled our tour of the plant. We plan to arrive early so we can visit with any that might be having work done on their A/S. Many THANKS to all that offered suggestions - we'll do it all. Please, don't stop now. Another thing we've wondered about - has anyone attached netting to their awning to provide protection against flying insects and other bothersome things on the wing that could bother you while sitting and enjoying the sunset??? Anything to screen in your "patio"?
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:00 PM   #11
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Have a good time Friday. Be sure to take photos during the tour and post them here.
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:08 PM   #12
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You might check out sites like this one that list reviews by common folks I have checked out alot of them I dont agree with a couple and so on ...SAM


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Old 10-09-2007, 04:40 PM   #13
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Pilgram, we are not too far behind you! We bought our first Airstream just under a year ago - in fact it was out first ever travel trailer or RV so I can relate somewhat. It is a lot to digest at first but it gets easier and is WELL WORTH IT. Airstreams are great.

Some of the stuff that seems hard to understand now will seem "DUH" once you have your Airstream. Pick things off one at a time. There is a huge amount of experience and help on this forum. You'll find lots of people willling to help and will learn to sort through opinion and advice.

For us, carefully deciding on new vs used was first big decision. And, when considering used, deciding on ready-to-camp vs repair/restore will be the next big decision point . My wife and I discovered a lot about how we wanted to use the Airstream in that process.

You never know - the thing that finally focused our decision was that we both wanted a center bathroom so we could have windows in the bedroom and dining areas - we'd have never guessed that would be the deciding factor going in!

I personally found the forum information on tow vehicles (TVs) the most confusing, not to mention opinionated and intimidating . I am still trying to sort through that. If you are in a position to choose your tow vehicle, your Airstream choices are wide open. If you have an exisiting TV or have specific TV criteria, start there as it might narrow your choices. The prevailing wisdom here and other towing sites is to get a 3/4 ton truck, but your choices are FAR greater - just look carefully at the vehicle and trailer specs and understand them.

The campsites we found so far are nicer than I'd ever expected. The review forum mentioned above is pretty good and in general, price is a good indication of what you will get. Look at the pics on the campground website and, post here for campground recommendations and advice.

..............Scott
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilgrim

What we really need is a book: Airstreamin' for Dummies. That would probably help a lot. Thanks for listening and any info available would be appreciated. Keeping in mind, we really are BRAND NEW at this.
WELCOME

It's against company policy to sell an Airstream to a Dummy.

Anyway you don't qualify, your already on the Forum.

It may seem like an awfully steep learning curve, but wev'e all been through

it and most have survived just fine.

One thing that helped us when shopping for our current AS was a log book.

First we listed the features, options, models,that we looked at while shopping

We took or downloaded pictures of the different trailers along with all the

+'s and -'s of unit. The process of elimination took quite a long time,

but I think it kept us from making decisions we may have regretted later.

Take your time, and be realistic, it's a big investment, first impressions arn't

usually wrong, but impulse buying can be very expensive.

No mention of your choice of tow vehicle for your new Stream, my advice,

decide on the Airstream, then match the TV to it.



There's plenty of good info right here on the Forum, ask and you shall

recieve.

If you'd like to DREAM while you shop, click here...........................

Colonial Airstream " Of New Jersey " Airstream New Inventory Updated Daily

HAPPY HUNTING AND KEEP US POSTED
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