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Old 12-14-2016, 10:53 AM   #1
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Airstreaming in upcoming retirement, inputs welcome.

Recent memo to my wife. I welcome your community comments.

Having vetted multiple RVs, I have lost all interest in Class A, B+ and, C RVs, the product types, and their constraints.

If we were to proceed w/ the RV idea at all, I recommend we would only do so w/ an Airstream and do so in a “first class” manner w/ a new or very gently used 25FB (or perhaps a 26U) plus new top of the line SUV tow vehicle (Denali), creating a strong safety buffer for pulling plus a luxury ride for travel and secondary transportation. At this point, I am leaning toward this combination.

FYI, I have subscribed to Airforums daily updates, Airstream Life Style Magazine (on-line), and have done substantial reading across all topics. I have begun to investigate pricing.

My supposition is that we would do this for, at least, these reasons:

This can be a “hobby” we would do “together” for the foreseeable future; Airstreams are highly unique; they offer their own brand of social connectivity via clubs/caravans; this hobby is non trivial in planning/execution (i.e., there is continued maintenance and upkeep and a myriad of operational considerations on the road and at home); we can explore and travel across the US, Canada, and Mexico; we can eat healthy and maintain a lifestyle that is our own while enjoying a level of self sufficiency; we can follow the weather (e.g., avoiding Phoenix in July/August); we can come and go as we please; the idea of unhitching and then having destination transportation is an important factor w/ all this (I am totally turned off to the idea of a lumbering, difficult to maneuver plastic “box” style RV similar to the thousands of others on the road); you or I could still “work” via on-line connectivity, if we so choose; Airstreams are pleasing to be in; I can always have my bike w/ me; importantly, the preliminary idea has been endorsed by our kids.

These are pertinent facts:

Based on my research and per my envisioned scenario (AS trailer type, add-ons, gear, and tow vehicle style/class), there is a very substantial acquisition cost/investment required for this and, thereafter, an on-going need for attention, care, and expense. There is also storage expense for the Airstream in AZ, assuming we cannot keep it at our new home. So, we would/should feel the desire to regularly do this “hobby” w/out feeling compelled. No, not full-timing, but yes, frequent intelligent and enjoyable use.

Using an Airstream seems to become a lifestyle. It’s a community and an environment, both on the road and at campground facilities. I’ve recently endeavored to grasp/experience that lifestyle by extensive reading. If we don't buy-in or enjoy this, we would then have a wasteful expense to only exercise occasionally by allowing the AS to just sit. Though the SUV I have in mind would be very nice to drive and travel in, the only real reason we would have for such a car is its tow capability/safety.

The current investigation period needs to continue. We could also “rent” an AS/SUV for a day or two, if we desire, to prove out the concept. However, realistically, I’ve already calculated in my brain my own disposition toward doing this. You need to do the same.

If we were to proceed, I believe we would be less inclined to put lots of money into our next new home as “custom” and then be locked into its maintenance and care (particularly the land/landscaping). Rather, a lock and leave type home may better suit us.

We are not now making a firm decision. For your edification, these are simply my thoughts and an update. If you are on board, we can press on with our inquiries/reading. That’s it for now.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:47 AM   #2
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Looks like you have the aluma-lust and she needs convincing

You might consider finding a local Airstream rally and dropping by. Chat up the folks, tour their rigs... you will learn a lot and your wife may find that she likes the community as well as the rigs.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:31 PM   #3
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It doesn't hurt to think out loud to help one organize their thoughts. We went through a similar process for 2 years before deciding on an Airstream. For us a gently used 25 foot Safari / rear twin was the correct choice. We chose the AS because of durability. When well maintained used units retain a reasonable percentage of purchase price. It helps to be able to do some of the maintenance for yourself. Information here / member posts have been very helpful. As for the AS lifestyle; it can be as active or remote as you desire. Learning to embrace a traveling lifestyle takes some time. I would encourage you to give it a try. Good luck on your preferment.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:35 PM   #4
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Whew! How can see refuse, the rest of the journey is easy.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:18 PM   #5
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RBaldwin welcome.

The 4CU and Arizona Unit are quite an active group of Airstreamers belonging to the WBCCI.

4CU is havin a rally over New New Years Eve weekend at Picacho Peak if you'd like to take a day drive down and meet some fellow Airstreamers.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:39 PM   #6
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Smile Re: Memo to your wife

Answer: JUST DO IT. Remember, "its even better in an Interstate." Your husband has already realized this. My wife agreed to attend the 2016 Tampa (Florida) RV show with me last January. I had decided a Class B was the right thing for us as we had recently retired. She was not aboard. Day One at the show we took a look at all the Class B's -- and as we were leaving after a grueling 8 hours, she stopped to take a second quick look at the GT-EXT. The salesman approached her - and she bought it on the spot!

Said she realized I wanted this, so she had better make sure she gets the one (RV) she wants! And she did!

Drove it out of the dealership a week later. Have now spent over 100 days on the road -- since February - from Florida to Cape Breton and back. We are both loving it and wondering if we need our house.

Have made the AI our "home-on-the-road" and it is great. Even got used to the shower and bath and most often choose not to use campground facilities for shower and hygiene matters.

SO go ahead and just do it. Post your questions or send me an e-mail or give a call.

Remember, "it's even better in an Interstate!"
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:48 PM   #7
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Our 25th anniversary is less than a month away. 👏. Over the years I've started conversations like yours with "so I'm thinking...." to which she 👀 eye rolls.....

😄

But we both pretty much instantly agreed on an Airstream after 4 other RVs over 12 years. Thank goodness! I wish you the same and hope you get out there 'Streamin soon!


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Old 12-14-2016, 02:21 PM   #8
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We're on eight years retirement travel 6-7 months a year and loving it. Three tow vehicles, three hitches, two Airstreams, and a factory seating/cabinet conversion to our present Airstream, we have our dream setup for our travel.

Great information here but do know everybody likes the Airstream model, hitch, and truck they have best, until they get something else. Then that's the best. Take your time and sort out the chaff, there's plenty of it. Make up your own mind.
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbaldwin View Post
Recent memo to my wife. I welcome your community comments...
Welcome.

Can I ask what kind of RV experience you and your wife have? As in, have you spent weeks and weeks in close proximity?

Point being, every time questions like this come up about "what AS should I buy", I typically respond the one that is right for you.

Of course, without relevant experience, it's very hard to make a decision. So an option would be (if cost is a factor, and it sounds like it is) buy a used unit, as well as a used TV. That way, the sunk cost and depreciation is not as big a hit.

As well, you have the option of "trying out" a layout. What feels great on the showroom floor doesn't always work out on the road.

Of course if you just want a shiny new (or nearly new) AS and TV, no problem.

In our case, we've spent the last 24 months going from a used 2009 Some Other Brand 22' Class B Sprinter RV, to a new 2016 27' Flying Cloud Front Bed Twin, to a used 2016 30' Flying Cloud Rear Bed Queen with dinette.

I bought the truck (Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 with Cummins diesel) when The Boss wanted the AS. If she flips the FC for a Classic I should have enough truck.

Anyway, welcome to the forum, be interested in how you approach this and what you end up with. No matter what you decide, there are folks here on this board that have pretty much any answer you might need any time night or day.

Rich
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Old 12-15-2016, 12:37 PM   #10
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It pains me to go against the advice of a fellow commenter, but take A1Joe's advice of "just do it!" at your own peril, especially given the amount of $$$ involved. First of all, how can she say "no" to such a thoughtful memo, and the other advice re taking her to a number of RV shows to get her enthusiasm up. On the other hand, if you decide to "just do it", you have my admiration. Wish I were half the man you are.
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Old 12-15-2016, 12:38 PM   #11
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Just say "I'm the man of the house and you do as I say", then put your foot down and cross your arms. Then stare at her in an aggressive way.
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Old 12-15-2016, 12:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cazual6 View Post
Just say "I'm the man of the house and you do as I say", then put your foot down and cross your arms. Then stare at her in an aggressive way.
... and then consider a smaller rig - 25 feet may be overkill for a solo RV'er
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Old 12-15-2016, 01:10 PM   #13
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Great advise from Hittenstiehl, plan a visit to the New Years rally and meet the group. If we don't get snowed in, we will be there.
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Old 12-15-2016, 01:19 PM   #14
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Welcome to the Airstream world. Reading your post reminded me of the process we went through a year and half ago. In my case the Airstream was a bucket list item and a lower priority for my wife. My thinking was that if I couldn't have an Airstream, I really didn't want to go camping! After a year of diligent study we agreed on purchasing new because we thought we'd have enough time wrapped up in learning about this method of travel, logistics, maintenance, and destinations. We didn't also want to add the burden of repairs on a used model. The most helpful thing we did was to approach this as a temporary adventure rather than a permanent lifestyle change. We are now one year in to a five year plan and it is evident that we are both enjoying ourselves. My reasoning is that at the end of 5 years, i will have seen the places that I really needed to see. If we then feel like we have had enough, we can sell the truck and trailer and move on to our next adventure. If we are still enjoying this activity, we can keep on camping for as long as the fun lasts. For us, the attitude going into these decisions makes all the difference. Good luck!
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Old 12-15-2016, 01:34 PM   #15
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We are in the exact same boat. In fact I retire in two weeks. Sold my firm.....I am 56 and my wife is 53. My wife is up for the idea so not too much convincing needed. It is funny that she favors the idea of sleeping in her own bed at night without having to pack and unpack with everything in its place. I look forward to pulling up to a stream and enjoying the view.....realizing that RV parks are crowded at times and that the postcard view is not always a reality.

In any event an AS is the only RV for us and we have focused on a new Int'l Sig 25FB. Probably buy a 2017 or 2018. We are renting one from Haydocy Airstream in April, 2017 before we buy. Having never pulled or slept in a trailer we wanted to try it out before buying. They have a 2016 25FB for rent and we are taking for a week to go down to Nashville and back. If we buy, we intend to take trips in the spring, fall and winter. Summers are spoken for already. In fact even thinking of storing it in the south (maybe Savannah) for the winter. We live in PA. Let me know how you make out. By the way, we are not the only ones. Take a look at a chart of Thor stock (THO) over the past year.

In any event good luck.
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Old 12-15-2016, 02:32 PM   #16
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go for it

RBaldwin -- we were making the same decision process a few years back (I finally retired this year). Because the resale value stays high, We jumped early on the Airstream once i found a fantastic deal on a slightly used one. Since these are rare (slightly used at a great price) - figured we could resell if we found that we didn't care for the RVing. Same concept with the truck (found a fantastic deal on a new Diesel RAM in Idaho) so actually bought before the AS. Thus - like several others comments; i would bite the bullet and just start shopping. Typically might be a while to find a good buy. If you find it's not your thing once you start --- can typically re-sell without losing your shirt (which can't be said for many other trailers).
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Old 12-15-2016, 02:49 PM   #17
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There are many things about Airstreaming that are compelling to me - I'm not interested in owning any other RV. Couple of the high points....

They're an American icon. As a lifelong collector of vintage Porsches, another icon, I evidently have a thing about iconic items. There are a number of reasons why things become icons, one of the strongest is when form follows function and form is beautiful. And when properly maintained, Airstreams hold up in both form and function. As a result you buy one and use it for many years.

When you own an Airstream you immediately become a member of a community, a kind of tribe. You can participate in as much or as little of the social element as you like, but it's always there. And it's an interesting tribe, with interesting demographics. I don't have an analysis to explain it, but while being a diverse group, there are inordinate numbers of interesting folks. Maybe it's because they're willing to pay extra for an icon, I dunno.

And not only interesting, but as egalitarian a group as you will ever find. There is a total absence of ego tripping at Airstream rallies, at least here in the NW. Blue collar, white collar, brand new top of the line Airstream or 30 year old Airstream with an old tow vehicle - no one gives a damn. Terrible environment for the status seeker, unlike some of the other RV groups I've seen.

To me there is Airstreaming - and RVing - and they are completely different things.

Best of luck,
John
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Old 12-15-2016, 03:03 PM   #18
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I retired 3 years ago an started Airstreaming 2 years ago. My wife has no interest and has not got in my tow vehicle to go, even once. That is her choice and I respect it. So I am a solo traveler (and I go a lot). Some think that is odd, and some say "how sad". So, get into it and maybe she will like it. If not, I will see ya on the road.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:04 PM   #19
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Pecan I would be one of those people to say to bad or so sad.

I also give big kudos to both of you for not holding it against each other and respecting each other's differences.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:25 PM   #20
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We too took our time to decide on Airstream

We too spent about 2 years researching different brands and finally came up with the only obvious choice (to us at least) to buy an Airstream. Since we had to also buy a towing vehicle, we could not afford a new Airstream. We wound up taking over a year to find the one we wanted after we starting looking seriously for a Airstream. We found it over 1,600 miles away. We have written over 32 blog posts at www.LivingInBeauty.net on our journey to living full-time on our 2001 30 foot Excella Airstream in April 2016.
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