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Old 10-28-2004, 11:24 PM   #1
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2005 25' International CCD
Pope Valley , California
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Therapy needed: buying jitters

This is a great forum so I'm hoping maybe somebody has some words of wisdom to help me sort out my thoughts.

I've been fascinated for awhile with A/Ss. I just think they're cool. So I got the idea that I would get myself one in celebration of my 50 birthday. I did research and settled on getting a 25' CCD and a Chevy Silverado 2500HD Duramax. I'm single and have no real obligations that would stop me from going through with the purchases, but now I'm having doubts.

The doubts:
  1. It's a lot of money $90,000. $1200 a month when financed.
  2. I've never really been camping in a trailer, so I don't know if I'll really like it.
  3. What if I don't feel comfortable towing a trailer around?
  4. Will I use it enough to make the expense worthwhile?
The pluses are:
  1. I can travel with my cat
  2. There is a lot of this country I haven't seen yet, and I want to see it.
  3. I have about 14 weeks of vacation a year, to hit the road
  4. Airstreams are just plain cool... american icons
Any suggestions on making the decision to become an Airstreamer? Anyone with a similar experience?

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Old 10-29-2004, 12:06 AM   #2
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
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My husband was also very skeptical that he would enjoy towing a trailer around, and staying in a trailer on vacation. We also wondered if it would be worth the expense. So we decided to go with a vintage trailer, because the initial cost was much lower (though it has required tinkering to keep it all working). The end result: towing is no big deal, we love staying in our own place every night instead of a strange hotel room, and recently we travelled across the state for an overnighter and discovered it was actually cheaper to take the trailer than to take the high mpg car and stay in a hotel. Plus we had a spot by the lake when we got there.

My husband, the skeptic, adores our little trailer and insists nothing else could ever replace it. We spent two weeks in it this summer travelling halfway across the country and back, and didn't regret a minute of it, except when some well meaning friends along the way insisted we stay in the guest bedroom - I would have rather been in the trailer.

Good luck on your decision, but I say treat yourself and go for it. There's a reason so many people are so enamored with their airstreams, and you won't really understand until you have one.


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Old 10-29-2004, 04:19 AM   #3
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madison , Wisconsin
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The doubts:
hittin the road,

cost, you may be able to deduct the cost of the trailer as a second home, check into it.

the truck, who could complain about getting a new duramax 2500HD!

never stayed in a trailer before? lemme let you in on a little secret steph hit on, i travel for work quite a bit. every time i'm stuck in a motel i wish i had my trailer with me! at least i know who the last person that slept in the bed was!

towing, i have the unique experiance of towing every kind of trailer you can think of at work (power company) from small to way huge. some tow bad, some trailers are downright horrible and almost impossible to handle even with a 25,000 lb truck!

airstreams are a pure pleasure to tow, they are well mannered because of balance and areodynamic shape, you will hardly know it is back there! really!!

14 weeks of vacation??!!! i wish!! you will have plenty of time to enjoy both the truck and trailer!

you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 10-29-2004, 05:46 AM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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That "new car smell"...

If you don't mind getting a trailer that has more camping experience than you, you may consider getting a unit that is 5 years old or so. The initial cost will be lower, any "bugs" will have been found and fixed, and if, God forbid, you decide that camping isn't for you, you won't take such a huge hit on depreciation when you sell it.
As for the 2500HD, if you can use it for other things besides towing the trailer, go for it.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 10-29-2004, 06:26 AM   #5
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1974 31' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Go for it.
You don't need suitcases, load the trailer with clothes, and leave them there.
You know who slept in your bed last, and you have your favorite snacks and food behind you. You can stop anywhere to eat, and just stop to rest. You don't have to spend a fortune on motels, hotels, etc. We have a KOA discount card, and it takes 10 to 15 % off campsites. Not to mention you can stay in the airstream parks.
Besides, you can join the WBCCI amd meet lots of nice people like us.
IMHO it's the only way to travel.
Good Luck
When people lie to you, and refuse to honor their word, don't regret trying to follow a dream, new adventures and friends await you.
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Old 10-29-2004, 06:48 AM   #6
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It comes down to your personal financial margin of comfort. With just yourself to be responsible for you could go fulltime for a year if you want and still have a new truck and trailer at the other end. If you cann't be comfortable with the 90 then do the used trailer thing to try it. You can always trade up later if you like it. The truck will last 'til nursing home time.
If you try the WBCCI you may discover a new life style. With 14 weeks you could really do some streamin. By the way not all dealers are equally motivated to give you a good price, that is good for you. There are other threads here which have good info on buying, discounts, and dealers.

There is a yearly NAPA rally. I don't remember who puts it on but you might go over and get a feel for things. Seems to me it's in the fall sometime. Maybe the Vintage Club.
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:06 AM   #7
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Oakdale , Minnesota
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We spent a couple of years talking about RVs and other trailers. I wasn't even looking for an Airstream and the ad for a Vintage 28' Airstream smacked me in the face. We were just going to go look at the Airstream just to see what it was like. We ended up buying that very vintage Airstream after a lot of research (enough for me to figure out it was really a 31' trailer) and a ton of financial evaluation and several trips to see it. I even spent a day working on it trying to find out if this worked or that worked before we agreed on a price.

My wife thought our trailer was a 6-7 before looking in a new trailer and now she actually thinks ours is a 9-10. She love's our trailer now that she has something to compare it to. She can't believe what we got in a vintage trailer for the price in comparison to the nice new trailers that are spendy.

Bottom Line: Buy the vintage trailer (ours was in the $4000 range - invest $1500-$4000 in repairs (get the running gear in order, other safety items, and any required improvements - I repaired a few leaks in the plumbing due to frozen pipes - and next season will be $500 in a new water heater). Keep your receipts. If you don't like pulling the trailer or staying in it, you won't be out much money at all. You'll lose nearly the price of the trailer when you drive the truck off of the lot. It may also give you the chance to see what you like and don't like before investing the big bucks in a new trailer.

Just one man's opinion.
72 Sovereign: L couch, mid-twin, rear-bath
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it"
"It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much."
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:23 AM   #8
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2003 25' Safari
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Some thoughts:

- Try renting a camper for a one week trip. You probably cannot rent a travel trailer, much less an Airstream, but you could rent a motorhome. At least you can decide if you like camping! Note: we previously owned an SOB motorhome - cheap construction, noisy, poor handling, terrible gas mileage, and no car when you arrive at the campground - unless you tow a car along which seems excessive to me. We enjoyed the camping - but when we sold it we decided that next time we would own a trailer. The trailer has been a much better solution!

- Start with a used tow vehicle and a used trailer. You could buy a nice newer pair for 1/2 price. If you don't like trailer camping, or don't use it enough, you can always sell for minimal loss.

- Life is short, and you can't take it with you. We do not use our trailer enough to "justify" it's cost - because of work and we also enjoy doing other things too... like air travel and our cabin. So what! I am 48 so it won't be too many years until I have more time to use it. With our occasional use, and being stored indoors, in 10 years from now we will have enjoyed 20-30 trips and it will still be as nice as the day we bought it and ready for retirement travels.

- Towing a large heavy trailer is scary for everyone at first. It is amazing how fast the skills are learned and you are back in your comfort zone again. If my non-mechanical wife, who is afraid of almost everything, can drive our Ford Explorer/Safari 25 combination then anyone can!

Good luck! With 14 weeks of vacation each year - give it a try!
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:23 AM   #9
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Test it and consider options

Yikes! $1200 a month is a whole lot! Still, you are getting two brand new high-end items. I agree with everyone here--but here are some additional thoughts...

In reaction to your doubts, why don't you try renting a rig for a week or so to see how you like it? Granted, it's likely to be a motorhome (and probably some other brand), but it will give you a taste of the basic process--all the fun things like driving a heavier vehicle, leveling, dumping, etc.

By the way, your cats may not tollerate road life. Ours did not--so we still leave them home (there are lots of potential problems for feline trailer travelers--escaping to a strange surounding, getting spooked, not tolerating the movement, etc.). OTOH, some cats love it. It really depends on your pets. If you do take your cats along if you "test" rv life, be sure to be prepared to clean up (lots of cleaner, towels, stink remover) if they make a mess.

Now you can economize by buying either the trailer or the tow vehicle used. That said, used CCDs are scarcer than hens teeth--sad, since then you could avoid the immediate depreciation of driving the unit off the lot. Take into consideration also that there are tax benefits to trailer debt (it can be handled like a vacation home) but there is no advantage to the additional vehicle.

If you do decide to go used, there are a range of options. What you choose depends on your tollerance for fixing up and dealing with old equipment. We have an old trailer and an old tow vehicle. Both came in useable condition, but we found many things we found necessary to fix to get the unit in optimal condition. There are also things--like the plumbing--that needed repair soon after we got the unit. Also, the systems on newer trailers are distinctly easier to operate (and get spare parts for) than on older ones (unless you get a unit that has been completely rehabbed with all new systems).

For us, we decided to spend the least on the tow vehicle. We got an older Yukon and immediately installed a new towing grade transmission after installation. It's a car we use little outside of our trailering use, since it is so expensive for mileage.

That said, financing is tough when you are talking about an older unit. We initially had to take out a personal loan to cover expenses, since an auto/rv loan would not cover such old vehicles. Later, I ran into problems concerning getting the bank to honor terms stated. I ended up cashing out stock to pay for it, which is sad, since the bank's regional vice president ended up calling me to apologize for the error. Too bad--but beside saying sorry, there was little way to fix it (and I wasn't going to bring my account back to them).

Good luck,

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Old 10-29-2004, 07:37 AM   #10
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In general, buying a new anything is hard to justify economically: cars, rvs, houses, boats, etc. There are exceptions, of course. I found my new Duramax to be one of those exceptions. The resale value on the used market was so high and the dealer incentives were so strong that I could not make the case for buying used.

You simply never hear of anyone who sells their trailer because of towing problems unless they have a bad hitch setup or poor tow vehicle. The combination you describe will be a very easy tow. It quickly becomes second nature.

You do hear of people who simply do not like the RV life, or decide they should have gotten a fifth wheel, or motorhome, or whatever. I don't know how to help you there. In our own case we just somehow KNEW we would like it - and we have!

In the case of a used Airstream vs. new, certainly the financial risk is much lower in buying a used one. However, unless you like working on things, and are very handy, you would be better off buying a real late model. For a CCD that is the only choice anyway as they only came out four or five years ago. In fact, the 25' CCD was introduced just last year, or maybe the year before.

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Old 10-29-2004, 08:44 AM   #11
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From a financing point of view, taking loans out on fast depreciating investments is not a great idea - I know everybody does it, just not me.

I think renting a motorhome is a great idea - for about one months payment on your proposal, you can get a motorhome for about a week - take a nice weeks trip see if you like it - you will either get the bug or you will bag the idea. Like John I'll take my trailer anytime - if I NEVER stay in a motel/hotel again that will be OK with me.

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Old 10-29-2004, 09:32 AM   #12
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90 gees for a 25' CCD? Can that be right? I paid 58 for a 30' Classic and that's a lot more coach. Can't believe that price. $1200 a month? Holly smokes! I pay $350 a month. Something wrong here.

As for seeing the country, simply put THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO SEE THE COUNTRY THAN WITH AN AIRSTREAM. Period.

And yes, towing is nerve racking in the begining but the learning curve is steep and before long you will feel confident in ANY situation.

Best bet is go to a real RV show (not a fake one by one dealer) and check them out as well as everything else. And you can get a good price.
"It's the journey."

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Old 10-29-2004, 10:47 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Big Dee
90 gees for a 25' CCD? Can that be right? I paid 58 for a 30' Classic and that's a lot more coach. Can't believe that price. $1200 a month? Holly smokes! I pay $350 a month. Something wrong here.
$90k for the Airstream AND Truck...

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Old 10-29-2004, 11:03 AM   #14
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Happy Birthday,

Go for it. Did the same thing four years ago and I even spent the same amount of Money. Took a four week 11,000 mile trip last summer and could have stayed out till the snow flew. Me the dear wife and scout the pug. Can't wait till next year.

-Life is a journey, not a destination.
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