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Old 11-07-2018, 07:16 AM   #1
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2019 25' International
Providence , Rhode Island
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We have a build date > JC: What to do?

We just got our VIN number and build date ETA for late Feb, 1st of March time frame.

The wife and I plan to do the factory tour.

Few questions for those that saw it being built/factory tour:

1. We want to see ours being built, how exactly does that work, do we have to ask for that in advance or during the tour?
2. How many days did you stay?
3. What else is there to do around there when not on the tour or in the AS store?
4. I see some have photo close ups of building on the line, is this something you ask for?
5. Anything we should "buy" while we are there vs. getting elsewhere?
Since we are from Rhode Island, we know snow, ice, dress layers, etc. etc.....

Few question about JC itself:

1. Any gotchas for visiting in the winter time?
2. Is the factory heated like a garage, or do we need to dress for a furnace?
3. Any attractions in that area worth seeing?
4. Any restaurants that we should check out?
5. Recommendations for hotels in that area?
Misc questions:

1. How close to the build date should we check on ensuring our flight lines up vs the build time based on their schedule projection of start and finish dates?
2. Anything I missed to ask?
I know there a lot of questions here and there will be a wide range of responses, that is going to be very helpful to help us form an opinion on how we should handle our trip based on your experience & feedback.

Thanks in advance for any help/tips you can provide.

Best,
Chris
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:04 AM   #2
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Port Dover , ON Canada
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Generally you should coordinate the factory visit through your dealer as they are the point of contact since you are the owner until after delivery.
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:18 AM   #3
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Hi

The factory tours aren't very crowded in March .

The factory is heated, but there is a lot of outside waking as part of the tour. Plan on jackets appropriate to a hike in whatever weather they happen to be having (rain / snow / hail / sleet/ blizzard / nice sunny day ...).

There is not a lot in thriving town of JC to get into while you are there. It is a typical small Ohio town. They are doing ok, but are not tourist oriented. Dayton is a bit further down the road, Cincinnati is a bit further still.

The store at the service area is a bit underwhelming. Main items to shop for:

1) Airstream logo rock tamers for the back of your truck
2) Key blanks for your trailer (but no pre-cut keys ...)
3) ... ummm ..... errrr ... ummm .... AS logo coffe cups ???

Most stuff you might want to stock up on (sheets for instance) is not for sale at the store. I've found more useful goodies at the parts counters of various dealers than I could get at JC.

Big thing to bring - a camera or two. You want to take lots of pictures of the inside of the trailer as it's getting built.

The build process is about a week, If you want to see the whole thing, you will be there for a while. Since all the trailers get done the same way (they do them in batches), even a single day visit will give you a real good idea of what your trailer would look like further up or down the line.

Bob
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:31 AM   #4
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Hi Chris,

Having recently gone through this I'll try to answer some of your questions. Congrats on getting your new trailer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
1. We want to see ours being built, how exactly does that work, do we have to ask for that in advance or during the tour?
As Adventure.AS suggested coordinate with your dealer regarding what day to visit JC. Depends somewhat on what state you want to see your trailer in and what the factory tells the dealer. The trailers are actually built pretty fast so the time window to see it on the line is pretty narrow and you might not have tons of notice. So you may need to be pretty flexible.

In general I think you would want to see the unit towards the end of the line after all the interior stuff is installed. We saw ours while it was waiting for quality checks so pretty much everything was done. Would have been cool to see it a little earlier in the process. So one thing to consider is going on the tour twice if you can time it, maybe to see it after the body is put on the chassis and they are doing all the plumbing and electric harness installation and then the next day or so after all the interior stuff is installed or while it is being installed. Discuss with your dealer. Airstream may give the dealer only one date.

The factory tour starts at 2PM and you want to be there probably 25 minutes early. When you get there to check in for the tour tell the tour guide (probably Gary Byrd) that your unit is on the assembly line and give him the last six of your VIN. AS does not have any sort of system to tell the guide where your trailer is on the line. He will check along the way with the different foremen to find your trailer.

I will say it is definitely worth doing. For me it was a special and emotional experience after wanting an Airstream for so long. Plus you can take pictures of your trailer on the line. Otherwise no photography is allowed on the tour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
2. How many days did you stay?
In our case we drove straight to JC getting there an hour before the tour, went on the tour and saw our trailer. Since we had not made any arrangements we went to Wapakoneta for the night, then drove to Columbus and checked into a motel since that was where our dealer was. We did some site seeing in Columbus area, went to the zoo, and hung out at the dealership and got our "training" on using the trailer. We were at the dealership when our trailer was delivered which was kind of cool.

Other than seeing your trailer on the tour there is not a lot of reason to stay in JC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
3. What else is there to do around there when not on the tour or in the AS store?
In JC itself, not much. If you stay at a motel in Wapakoneta you can visit the Armstrong Air and Space museum. That is a worthwhile visit. Columbus has a decent zoo and some other attractions. JC is in a rural area, surrounded by fields of corn, alfalfa, soy beans, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
4. I see some have photo close ups of building on the line, is this something you ask for?
You can only take pictures of your own trailer being built. Otherwise no photography is allowed in the factory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
5. Anything we should "buy" while we are there vs. getting elsewhere?
There is a small store that sells some parts and AS swag. So if you want you can get T-shirts, floor mats, etc. You can buy some of the usual RV stuff there but you can probably get it cheaper elsewhere. You might want to pick up a bottle of Walbanizer or whatever it is called, the polish for your AS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
Since we are from Rhode Island, we know snow, ice, dress layers, etc. etc.....
The tour does go outside so dress appropriately. The factory temp itself is moderate. You'll see some workers in T shirts, etc. Depends on what their job is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
Few question about JC itself:
5. Recommendations for hotels in that area?
You will need to either go to Sydney or Wapakoneta. Nothing in JC. The Holiday Inn Express in Wapakoneta has a $99 a night deal for AS customers if you can get a room there. There is a brochure for that in the reception area of the AS service center. The Holiday Inn Express in Sydney is brand new, so a bit nicer. They do not offer the $99 deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
1. How close to the build date should we check on ensuring our flight lines up vs the build time based on their schedule projection of start and finish dates?
In our case we were originally given a certain date from our dealer and made plans based on that date. Then a week before were given a date that was a few days earlier and we had to change our plans. As we were moving out of our home that we had just sold, putting our stuff in storage, and heading straight to JC, we were just able to make it to JC in time (an hour before the tour started) since we could not adjust mover dates. So try to plan on flexibility and check on dates with your dealer. You may want to drive instead of flying since that gives you the most flexibility.

That's what I've got. So again, congratulations and hope you get to see your trailer on the factory tour.

Steve
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:37 PM   #5
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Given all the changing production schedule due out dates we got I'd never plan to make the trip based upon that information.
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:03 PM   #6
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Just curious....why did you decide to build rather than buy one off of a dealer lot? Were you looking for something unusual?
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billrector View Post
Just curious....why did you decide to build rather than buy one off of a dealer lot? Were you looking for something unusual?
We wanted a serenity 25rb in espresso with 2 ACs/50 amp, solar, and convection microwave.....No one had that configuration and we didn't want to go to NJ from RI. Believe me, we went back and forth multiple times about Colonial, but opted to stay "local".

Our dealer is only 8 miles from our house (Pete's RV in Attleboro > a remote of Airstream VT I believe) and we had a checked out a few dealers "locally" including NH, NY.....

Most of all, we wanted something that no one has walked through or been "sitting" around on the lot or been demo'd (as silly as that may sound to some). We wanted something from scratch we can call our "own".

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Old 11-07-2018, 06:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overstreet View Post
Given all the changing production schedule due out dates we got I'd never plan to make the trip based upon that information.
We will keep a short leash on the schedule and plan accordingly. We really want to see it being built....

What happened on your end to mention that?
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:32 PM   #9
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@Steve,

Thanks for the feedback, the wife read it and it was very informative and helpful!

TY!

And everyone else who replied, thank you as well....
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:22 PM   #10
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Uncasville , Connecticut
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My wife and I did the Airstream Factory Tour today. Our International Serenity comes off the line Monday. It was a great experience. We are going back tomorrow and Friday. We also bought our Airstream from Pete’s RV, we are from CT. Hope to meet you sometime! Enjoy the Factory Tour experience!
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
We will keep a short leash on the schedule and plan accordingly. We really want to see it being built....

What happened on your end to mention that?
Perhaps I'm jaded. This is not our first RV. We had another we continued to use. I don't get excited when I see a bald eagle anymore ……...cause they live in the neighborhood. I don't get excited over factory tours and trips to see them cause I've been there.

My first factory tour was in the sixties at a Walleye manufacturing center. (bomb/missle like a Maverick) Then there were three McDonald Douglas tours for F-4, AV-8s and F-14. I've been to the Roof top air-conditioner plant to see RTUs built, our order. Some but not all. I've spend 45 years waiting for units of various descriptions to be manufactured and delivered. Many were on schedule, many weren't. It often depended upon supply channels, labor relations, weather, you name it. A lot of times when sales was the contact point over ambitious optimism was prevalent.

Our AS sales rep promised a 4 to 6 week delivery. I said to the wife, 8 to 12 week would be normal for an ordered unit to be manufactured. Four turned to six, six turned to eight………… It came 11 weeks.

When we ordered the plant was putting out 50 per week. When we toured the plant last summer it was 100 per week. They are building a new plant because the old one is too small and , by my observation, doesn't flow well. Finding your unit would be interesting. Finding it by the tour guide asking as mentioned above would be hit or miss. Finding it, VIP style, would need production manager/scheduler involvement.



Good luck on your quest. You need to be talking to your point of contact and the point of contact at the factory. Not the forum.
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
Most of all, we wanted something that no one has walked through or been "sitting" around on the lot or been demo'd (as silly as that may sound to some). We wanted something from scratch we can call our "own".
I understand.
I almost went that direction, but a nearby dealer had mine on the lot and having sat for a few months, I figured I'd see any leaks or missing parts. Also, I could see that all the doors and hatches closed properly, and it didn't suffer any damage on delivery.
There's both sides, and it's a coin toss.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:49 AM   #13
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What to do in Jackson Center? According to Trip Advisor, the #1 and only "thing to do" in JC is the factory tour. It's a typical, nice small town, and unless you had family to visit close-by, or weren't a streamer, I'm not certain there is a reason to go.

But, as you ARE going with a purpose, you might drive over to New Bremen, about 20 miles from JC, on the other side of the interstate. We stopped in June a couple of years ago on the way to Escanaba, and were absolutely floored at how pretty the town is.....not sure it could be appreciated as much in the winter. But, the real reason to go is the Bicycle Museum of America. Hundreds of bicycles representing one of the largest private collections in the US. We were impressed. Enjoy!
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:51 AM   #14
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Congratulations! We did tour on Thursday and Friday of March 2018. Colonial was dealer and told 6 months before delivery once we purchased (October). We picked up at dealer in May. Seems Colonial does good job ensuring unit ready for us and stayed in lot too.

Our 1st RV ever so we were excited. Did contact JC to ensure we would hopefully see it being built no guarantees but in end we only had those two days and sounded like it was supposed to be built between Wednesday to next Monday. At that time average build time was over 5 days from cutting AL and riveting through end. We stayed over night about 45 mins away near Honda factory (mostly to avoid extra drive time if stayed further west). Thursday morning we checked outside areas including terraport (sites RVs can stay prior work at JC or anyone if Ron for small fee), and AS store. After lunch did tour and older gentleman (opps forgot his name) helped best he could to find it for us. Unsuccessful so we returned Friday and found it.

Helpful things - note the last VIN no digits as you tour plant they are built consecutively. Monday-Thursday workers busy so there are some areas where tour cannot go. Friday workers leave early prior to the tour so our tour guide at one point let the two of us go to find our unit...the VIN digits really help. At one points trailer gets sent out for tow bar area to be painted black and possibly another time too so chance you may miss your unit. Might have been where ours was on Thursday. Friday it was in the area where the insides were installed. Also as we walked by some areas could see sheets with VIN numbers of units that section was working on which may also help pinpoint your trailer.

Tours allowed take pictures outside and only inside at start of tour of AS sign. Plus if find your unit allowed take as many pics as you want of own.

Lots to do in various areas Ohio depending what you like, not so much directly in area. There are other factory tours in OH http://www.ohio.org/content/factory-...can-do-in-ohio

Honda Museum
http://www.hondaheritagecenter.com

Cuyahoga Valley National Park - we enjoyed Blue Heron Rookery, hiking, etc
https://www.nps.gov/cuva/index.htm

Enjoy the tour and hope you find yours. The entire year is exciting from purchase to cramming information-lots great you tube videos, vloggers, this group- to pickup.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:58 AM   #15
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When we went there to pick up parts, we stayed in downtown Dayton (1 hour away) $99. There's a nice casino there. Wife won enough to pay for the room and our gas.
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Old 11-09-2018, 06:34 AM   #16
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Hi

If you have the number on the trailer, there are a number of points on the factory floor with big tracking charts. As each trailer moves through the area, that gets noted. I'd bet that just by looking at the first chart in the series, they can guess roughly where the trailer is going to be.

Bob
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