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Old 01-11-2005, 04:27 PM   #15
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Lot's of folks quote what "they" say about lot's of things. I have never figured out just who "they" are.

In this case the more "they" are then the less crowded the camp/RvPark ect. will be and that is just fine by me. I didn't want "them" around anyway.


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Old 01-11-2005, 05:18 PM   #16
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Got too many miles and years to say more...

about camping than has been already said "except" this; "No sticky fingered hotel/motel room maids to worry about when travelling with valuables!"


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Old 01-11-2005, 05:48 PM   #17
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Cabin in the woods

My brother was always gloating about being able to use his cabin in the woods and not have to stay in a trailer. Well I went with him to his cabin, twice in one month and all we did was repair broken stuff. Vandalism from breakins and sweeping up rat poop off the floors, not to mention the stale smell of a closed up building. Good thing I brought my trailer so I had a place to sleep without hearing mice running across the floor at night.
"No good dent goes unpunished."
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:13 PM   #18
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We find something absolutely predictable and yet unexplainable in the thrill of pulling out of our driveway, looking back to see our trailer following us, packed with provisions for the days and weeks ahead; looking ahead to the bends of the road that lead us to new discoveries, new friends, and old; grinning ear to ear at how well life has treated us and how in love we are with each other and this wonderful adventure of vacationing in our Airstream home. Come on, Spring!
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:42 PM   #19
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We looked into boating as a way to see our country but were limited to waterways, distance per day of only 60 miles and lack of transportation when you dropped anchor for the night. We tried timeshare and golf packages. Never new anyone when we got there and met very few on a very personal level. Bought our first Airstream and met like people. We still travel solo but usually meet fellow Airstreamers while out. We go to local as well as regional and national rallys and always see familiar faces. The friendships that we have made in the last 5 years Airstreaming will stay with us for the rest of our lives. In the 10 years that we have traveled prior to owning an Airstream I cannot think of a single person that we have met that we have kept in touch with. Its just an entirely different lifestyle for us.
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:22 PM   #20
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It's an Airstream thing

I don't worry about justifing my actions. I simply have the reply "It's an Airstream thing you wouldn't understand." Although none of my good friends are
anything less than accepting.

I know why I go the way of RV travel, I can get away from the controlled and generic environment that is the norm for this country. And I have my cabin at the beach, lake, forest... all in one.
Mike Martin
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:50 PM   #21
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No one tells you this part! This is the EXACT reason I just talked my husband out of looking to buy property with a cabin on it. I told him I would settle for some land that we could park the trailer on, but that I'm not interested in taxes, insurance, maintenance, repair, for going to a cabin in the woods in the same place vacation after vacation. If we did have the money falling out of our ears, which we don't, I'd still want to fix up the airstream, pull it onto that land which requires no maintenance, but have the option of going many many other places I haven't seen if we want to. We may still buy the land, for investment purposes, but unless vacation property is for investment income, it's usually not worth it. There are probably exceptions but nothing I want to jump into!
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe
The more research we did, the more it became clear that our weekends would be spent driving to and from the cabin, and once there, working on general maintenance items for a good share of the time. Yes, it was an investment that would show a return, if you ignore the time invested in upkeep.
"Let's look Death in the face and say, 'Whatever man.'"
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:12 PM   #22
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Smile Not for everyone, though...

Well, some great reasons to own an Airstream, and I love mine. But there are many reasons that an Airstream, or for that matter, the RV lifestyle might not be everyone's cup of tea. And no one seems to be interested in mentioning them, so I will. For example, and just to present both sides of the coin here, a few tradeoffs of RV travel in general that I have discovered in the past few years are:

a) Well, you have to pull it (trailer), or drive it (motorhome) or carry it on your back (truck camper). They are big and cumbersome. I have owned several types of RV's, and with the exception of my Westfalia, which I am not really counting, none of them have been as speedy, maneuverable or as much fun as travelling by car (or motorcycle) alone. You have to be really aware of what you are driving, especially in towns. It is a major hassle to stop suddenly or turn around and go back for a photo of something you just passed. Parking can be a hassle, especially in crowded areas (duh!).

b) When you really want to enjoy the road, or go off-road for that matter, they are not much fun. Unless I plan to stay put somewhere for a few days I often prefer to take my car or motorcycle and do the motel thing. I am not particularly worried about germs, (c'mon, they are everywhere!) and the fuel savings, time savings, and driving pleasure more than make up for the difference between a $60 motel room and a $20 campsite. I often find great little lodges to stay in for a few dollars more that I would never try out if I have the trailer behind. I can fly down twisty two lane roads. If I take the SUV, with a tent, a whole new world of camping off road in National Forests and BLM land opens up. If you want remoteness, that is where you find it, not in a campground or RV park.

c) With an RV, I have found that one has to plan more carefully in order to ensure site availability along the way, or risk a hassle. This makes it very difficult to be spontaneous, especially in the peak seasons. It is especially difficult to find a trailer-sized spot in a state park or other campground at the last minute, whereas tent sites are frequently available. It can cause stress. Often you end up in RV parks with hookups, which may be fine for some, but are not to everyone's taste.

d) One can become focused on RV travel, to the exclusion of other modes, such as car camping (with tent), backpacking, bike touring, going overseas, etc. All of these other modes of travel have their own rewards, but once you have an investment of this size, you naturally want to maximize it, for obvious reasons. I have found in the year I have owned my trailer I have not done much other travel, partly due to the investment in it. With the trailer in the driveway I am less tempted to just throw a tent and camping gear into the car, or on the bike, and hit the road like I used to. I haven't flown anywhere except for business. I miss doing those things, you might not.

e) RV's in general require a whole new set of skills and knowledge to maintain and use. They tend to cost a lot to own, keep and maintain. As a result, they also tend to engender a certain lifestyle, frequently (but not always) based on comfort and convenience. It seems everyone is always trading up, both RV and tow vehicle, especialyy with other brands (SOB's), not so much Airstreams. But it can become a major, depreciating investment which will exclude other options unless you are really well off. Many compare to a cabin on a lake, but last I heard, most lakefront real estate, in most parts of the country, is going up in value, not depreciating.

f) There is also the whole issue of fossil fuel consumption which goes against the grain of those who tend to think environmentally. Gas or diesel, it takes more fuel to travel with a small home behind you than not. When parked, they use a lot less energy than a second home or cabin, but when moving you are fighting the laws of physics. On the road, my motorcycle gets 40mpg, the car gets 30mpg, the SUV gets 20mpg, and pulling the trailer, 10-12mpg. Most RV's get somewhere around that, or less. Yes, a diesel will do a bit better but not that much better. Of course a flying vacation is the worst, but some folks won't do that either if they can avoid it.

g) One certainly meets many great folks this way, but I have not found this to be the exclusive domain of the Airstream trailer (although you guys are the best!). Many special interest groups qualify, especially if they support a particular hobby or lifestyle, and have an internet forum. I have met and maintained friendships with folks from my motorcycle touring group, sailing club, and from owning both Westfalia and Alaskan Campers. And I have never met as many perfect strangers as simply travelling by motorcycle, which is similar to the Airstream - everyone had one, wants one, or knows someone....

I am not knocking RV travel, especially Airstreaming, as I have really enjoyed my travels in the Safari this year and met many new friends. It is a wonderful concept, with many benefits, that requires no justification. But I do want to point out that this form of travel, really a lifestyle, does have some trade-offs, especially from the perspective of someone who likes to travel in other ways, too. Night and day differences in some ways. Hence the reason some people don't understand it. Just wanted to present both sides.


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Old 01-11-2005, 09:47 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by 71_safari
f) There is also the whole issue of fossil fuel consumption which goes against the grain of those who tend to think environmentally.
This is a far more difficult issue than one might think. There is the energy costs of building, maintaining, and heating/cooling those motel rooms and all the ancilary facilities. This is why rationing and price controls always come a cropper - it is just too difficult to figure out what is and is not efficient. Price, I can figure. Environmental impacts I can't.

Originally Posted by 71_safari
But I do want to point out that this form of travel, really a lifestyle, does have some trade-offs,
Oh boy does it ever have trade offs. I really do not understand how anyone who is not "handy" can deal with an RV. New, old, it doesn't matter, there is a just a lot of stuff that can and will go wrong.

And anyone who buys an RV and dreams of paying for it in travel savings is likely going to be disappointed.

Not everything appeals to everyone and we have no more right to criticize those who choose NOT to use an RV for travels than they do us. Likewise, not all RV'ers have the same uses. One thinks of the many planned RV communities around the country where the unit is purchased, towed on site, and left for years and years. Or the people whose job takes them here, there, everywhere, who use an RV to have something like a "home".

It's not always a travel lifestyle. In our own case, we don't use the Airsteam for "travel". We use it for a get away. We don't go to meet people. We don't seek adventures. We just want a weekend or a few days in a low maintanence, low pressure environment.

Yes, there is a cost involved, but I find it reasonable. The truck I have to have anyway. The coach was bought used, and has actually appreciated - something I did not expect, nor do expect to continue. Vacation properties do appreciate, sometimes. Sometimes they depreciate. Either way, there is a significant interest cost in the money tied up, the taxes, insurance, and the maintanence.

Choices. We're all different. That's why, in a free society, we have choices.

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Old 01-12-2005, 08:11 AM   #24
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Our Evolution – A different take

This whole thread struck a chord with me in a big way! My apologies in advance for what will most likely be a long post…..

Back in 2001 my wife & I set off to attempt a “Thru-Hike” of the Appalachian Trail. At the time I sneered at “Weekenders & Campground Campers”. I initially had the “Thru-Hiker” arrogance that today completely turns me off.

While we found many things to enjoy while hiking 750 miles of the AT, my personal thinking changed greatly. My best memories from the trail are of the trail towns we stopped into along the way, the kindness of strangers in each of these towns, and the people who lived in these places we were passing through. I've found all the same since we have become Airstream owners as well.

Each time we departed trail towns my heart sunk a little. Not just because I was walking away from tasty pizza and a never ending supply of Mountain Dew (although that did make me a little sad too). Erin and I would walk away back into the mountains talking about coming back and spending more time in each place! As we walked we found more and more places that we wanted to spend a longer time in, and the demands of a Thru-Hike didn’t allow for enjoying any one place for a long term.

Also as we made our way we met many great “Trail Angels” at road crossings who offered their help, their food, and their friendship. Many of these fantastic individuals usually had a trailer in tow, or were in their motorhomes enjoying a view when we walked out of the woods. We found more kindness among the “Weekenders” than I’d ever imagined.

On one of my toughest days in the Smokies one trail angel saved the day. There was only one road crossing in the entire park, and it was located at New Found Gap. We’d been sleeted on, rained on, sleeted on some more, and generally frozen to our cores. I really started asking myself what we had gotten into. But I also knew we’d get to New Found Gap and find a way down to Gatlinburg for the evening.

When we hit the road crossing a big man with a booming voice greeted us. “I’m called Pappa John! Are you Thru-Hikers? Come on over, grab some food, get out of your wet socks, and take a break!” Pappa John had a really great truck camper setup in the parking lot, several tables set out with food, soda, and beers. Many of the folks we’d been hiking with were sitting in the lot sharing stories, and receiving great kindness from a sizable group of “Weekenders”. What started out as a terrible day was saved by an act of kindness from a man who enjoyed popping into the Smokies from time to time to give a hand to the crazy hard core Thru-Hiker crowd. My evolution in thinking was well under way.

By the time we decided to end our hike I learned a lot. Many times we’d stop in a beautiful spot and wish we had more time to spend there. But as usual we’d have to keep moving if we really wanted to complete the hike within 6 months. It was very disappointing sometimes to have to “rush through” places we liked. I started thinking about how we could come back and spend more time in each area, really explore it, and really get to know the people who called the place home.

After we returned home I started considering ways we could enjoy the places we’d walked through more. Our first solution was a Eurovan Weekender. In 2002 we spent a month on the road traveling West. When we reached Banff, Canada I decided the Eurovan wasn’t enough. In Banff I realized I wanted to spend at least a month there! We’d need something much more substantial. After returning from that trip I started researching travel trailers, campers, etc. I then found Airstream!

I think I’ve followed the same path as a local New Hampshire writer, Mike Dickerman. His book, “Why I’ll Never Hike The AT”, which is a collection of short stories from the White Mountains, reflects how I now look at traveling in the mountains. Like us, Mike loves hiking and exploring new places. But at the end of the day he likes to return home for a warm shower, a good meal, and his cozy bed (and at home you never have shelter mice running across your sleeping bag….eeek). I now agree 100%, and the home I like returning to is our Airstream! I can still hike, go to remote places, and enjoy meeting all the great people along the way. And now I don’t have to rush through the area!

Plus the Airstream helps keep me close to Pizza and a never ending supply of Mountain Dew, and there are no shelter mice on board! Did I mention the bathroom on the Airstream is much better than any privy we ever used along the trail??? The Airstream is sheer luxury!

We’re now looking forward to putting a pad on our property in Jefferson, and bringing our portable home up for longer stays. I agree completely with all the comments regarding cabins, maintenance, and vandalism made so far on this thread!

Thanks for this thread! I’ll never again knock what I have yet to try….The old AT expression for that was, “Hike your own Hike”. I get it now.
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Old 01-12-2005, 01:09 PM   #25
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Great post, Rich!
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"When you come to a fork in the road, take it"
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Old 01-12-2005, 01:59 PM   #26
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I recently described our travels as going everywhere, but always being home. There is nothing more depressing than a sterile hotel/motel room. At the end of the day I'm drinking a cocktail from my favorite glass, lounging in my own bed, and dreaming of what tomorrow might bring. When it does rain, we spend our time reading, solving puzzles, talking, etc. Its also the best night of sleep in the world.
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:38 PM   #27
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What a fascinating trip your through hike must have been, Rich, that is truly something most people will never get to do. I have read books about doing that, though am likely to never do so myself, but had not heard about RVrs coming out to meet hikers and offer them some comfort. Very interesting!

TDOW, I agree, there is nothing like sitting out a rainstorm/thunderstorm in a cozy Airstream, surrounded by all the comforts of home!

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Old 01-12-2005, 03:42 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
TDOW, I agree, there is nothing like sitting out a rainstorm/thunderstorm in a cozy Airstream, surrounded by all the comforts of home!
As long as there is no hail!


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