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Old 11-06-2014, 10:15 AM   #15
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I have out door storage near my home for $30 per month and if I want to leave it at CanAm RV its about the same.
Also when I went to YK I boondocked except for one night in Minot ND, the manager wanted $45.00, I told them "No thanks " and started to leave and got it for $25.00 so sometimes it pays to bargain.
I was a Long haul driver for 30 years so staying in truck stops is what I'm used to also I always carry my generator so if I'm at truck stop I can run my gen without disturbing the neighbours, lol.
Also there are several AS only parks in the USA that are very low priced.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:41 AM   #16
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what a wonderful and enjoyable read. Great review that really got me thinking right now. We are on day two of having become full time in our Airstream. Like many, we want to use state parks, LTVA's, natioinal monument/park system etc. as well as dispersed camping when appropriate (if ever!). You and the other replies really give us confidence that with some planning and particularly flexibility, this will all go well. thanks again, Jammer
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:34 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by BearScream View Post
Did you ever get stuck looking for a place to overnight, and have to find a Walmart or the like. That fear puts me off.
We have had to change our destination, sometimes by as much as 100 miles, but so far have always been able to find something. Unless we are headed to an unattended location we call ahead so there are no surprises.

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Did you find it works the same in the Pacific NW?
I have not taken my trailer outside the midwest.

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Does 5 gal/day/person apply if you navy shower once a week and sponge off in-between?
5 seems surprising. The emergency ration usually given is 1 gal/d/p.
We typically cook from scratch and eat three meals a day in the trailer, and take very short "navy" showers. A good deal of water usage is associated with food preparation and cleanup.

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I gather solar does not figure in your electric capacity figures...
Correct.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:04 PM   #18
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Reading through my post and the comments, I think one thing that deserves more emphasis is the cost of ownership for a tow vehicle.

For us, it's been a major expense. I tow with a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban 2500, which I bought used in 2010 and still have. While we do use it occasionally for tasks wholly unrelated to the Airstream, there's no way we'd own such a behemoth otherwise, and it's unsuitable enough as a daily driver that we have other cars.

Depreciation has been around $2,000 a year, and I've averaged maybe $500 a year in maintenance and repair costs even though I do my own mechanical work. A good deal of the expense has been replacement of things that don't even exist on the typical mid-size sedans most people drive every day -- like the rear A/C evaporator or the engine oil cooler lines. A good deal of the costs have been much higher than they would be on a typical passenger vehicle because of the special needs of a tow vehicle -- like tires and brakes, both larger and more expensive.

In 2009 when I was contemplating the Airstream purchase, I wanted to understand the financial picture, and was making the tradeoffs against other obvious ways to spend vacation time. With 3 kids there are substantial costs no matter how you travel. I'm happy with the outcome overall.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:05 AM   #19
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You are correct. A trailer tow vehicle is a major expense in the whole equation. Thank goodness you didn't opt for a diesel powered pick up like I did. Then the expenses become a "major major".

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Old 11-07-2014, 07:33 AM   #20
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My comments are directed to people thinking about purchasing a Airstream and Tow vehicle.
It is more expensive over the long haul than Motels! What you are paying for is privacy, cleanliness (just your germs), and we can bring our dog, we have never been turned away from a RV park cause of our dog.
Buy a Airstream because you like the looks, nothing else and you will be Happy.
Bought our tow vehicle and trailer new 6/09. Trailer insurance is $ 1100.00 a year through Progressive. Repairs were switches for the tongue jack $35.00 and removing a cracked flush line backflow preventer $5.00 with me doing the labor.
Tow Vehicle costs, for a diesel are Higher than gasoline. I average about 13 mpg towing. If I was buying another tow vehicle I would go back to gasoline.
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Old 11-07-2014, 07:51 AM   #21
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My comments are directed to people thinking about purchasing a Airstream and Tow vehicle.
It is more expensive over the long haul than Motels!
That depends. RVIA commissioned PKF Consulting to perform a study that compared the cost of various vacation modes:
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association: Vacation Costs
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association: RVIA Press Releases
http://www.airstreams4rent.com/pkf_consulting_study.pdf

If you only compare total cost to buy a trailer and tow vehicle vs. staying in a motel, you're absolutely right. However, the important comparison is the total cost per day of use. The study showed that, if you amortize the total vacation cost per day, travel trailers are about the third cheapest vacation mode, behind tent camping and pop-up trailers.

Plus, if yout vacation style was to travel to a destination and stay in a motel, eating restaurant food the whole time, how many nights would you spend in a motel in a year? Compare that to the number of nights per year you spend in an Airstream, eating homemade meals. Divide the cost by the time, and you'll see the comparison comes out a lot more favorably.
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:06 AM   #22
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The longer one owns TT and TV the lower it goes. My folks had one TT and two TV over a twenty-seven year period. One other car besides this.

Ownership really is nights aboard over miles travelled. On a per decade basis it works very favorably.

As to a diesel it too can work well. I recently rolled over 200k. Repairs have been ujoints and some fan wiring. MPG has averaged 21 the past 56k 50/50 town/ country. Depreciation has been 6k in eight years.

TT &TV will take quite a lot of money as I go along to upgrade and make repairs prior to failure, but this is far cheaper than a finance note cost. Much of it is optional. What I want versus what I absolutely must have.

The approach of buying used has dollar outlay in its favor albeit at a price in time & energy. Thus one sees the recommendation of an about ten year old A/S plus a 3-5 year old TV for minimizing cost at the outset. A project or three annually keeps reliability higher and pleasures received on an even keel.

I've shown in more than one post elsewhere that the discipline to improve solo fuel economy can underwrite my cost of fuel for 5k of vacation travel and that others operate vehicles with a higher return.

And there are some very good posts on this forum quoting studies on experiences versus things. We opt for the latter even though it is the former that weighs greater in looking back over our lives.

There is also the practical aspect of moving "home" in face of natural or man made troubles. Much easier to heat and cool and cook and clean in a TT during such. Or move away for an interim or for good. Or just to remodel. So don't overlook the practical aspects either.


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Old 11-07-2014, 01:10 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Craig Schrader View Post
My comments are directed to people thinking about purchasing a Airstream and Tow vehicle.
It is more expensive over the long haul than Motels!
Maybe. I suppose it depends on your tastes in motels, where you go, who goes with you, and how you eat.

It is my experience that it is, logistically, nearly impossible while staying in hotels or motels to prepare much food from scratch. It can be done for some types of trips, if you get a kitchenette and don't move around much. I've done it. But the reality, at least in my experience, is that on hotel/motel trips, most of the food comes from restaurants. I typically travel with my wife and three children. On the few hotel trips we've taken as a family, we've found that we need two rooms because fire codes or hotel management cap per-room occupancy at 4. Makes for a $500 a night trip including automotive costs, hotel, and restaurant charges -- even with fairly modest hotels and restaurants.

We have averaged around 20 nights a year in our RVs over five years. I don't think we're paying more than we would have for motels and restaurants, all things considered.

One of the tradeoffs not mentioned is that, while there's a good deal of overlap, there are some destinations where an RV works but there are no hotels (e.g. remote areas) and others where there are hotels but an RV is not practical (e.g. some densely populated areas and far-away destinations where airline travel is most sensible).
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:28 PM   #24
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Amen, Jammer!
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:34 AM   #25
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A apples to apples comparison is almost impossible. We each have our on tastes and comfort zones. Boon docking vs private campground costs. Restaurants vs home cooked meals. Fuel mileage debates, every vehicle and load are different. There is no right or wrong here, just what each individual enjoys. Amen! I was just giving my opinion on what a perspective airstream purchaser could expect from those of us that have owned our rigs for five or more years.
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:51 AM   #26
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I was hoping this would turn into a "Morning vs. Evening Shower Debate" thread... Darn!

Great post Jammer! I really liked what one person said about each style of camper having their own issues, so they stay with their Airstream. We've camped in everything from an OLD 60's pop-up that I bought for $200 and refurbed, to a 37 foot Class A diesel pusher with all the bells and whistles, (and literally everything in between) and each of them had their own quirks and maintenance issues. All of them leak at some point or another, and all of them, except the pop-up, have had me sitting on the side of the road for one reason or another... That's camping!

Love my Airstream! Since getting her back on the road, maintenance has been about on par with everything else I've owned. It tows better than the square boxes I've had. I get 10 mpg towing at 55. And I love the community we have here on the forum, and in the campgrounds. It's fun to run into other Streamers and meet someone else with the same passion I have for a stupid aluminum camper...

-Red, Airstream fanboy...
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Old 11-08-2014, 08:19 AM   #27
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We started Airstreaming 8 years ago. We knew absolutely nothing. The one thing we did right was to join the local WBCCI group and go to some luncheons and rallies. That put us in touch with people who have been there-done that and gave us confidence that we could actually do it.
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Old 11-08-2014, 08:55 AM   #28
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I'm 1 year in as a totally RV newB

No big surprises for me

I'm pretty sure I asked enough questions for 2 years give or take on this forum to cover most things - and this saved me a lot of would be headaches!

Booking sites has proven a tad annoying for me - it just requires booking in advance - sometimes FAR in advance! I did not fully imagine just how popular RV'ing is!

We are having a blast and looking forward to year #2

We are full time working parents and look forward to one day more leisurely lengthy trips......it'll be a while


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