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Old 02-12-2016, 11:23 AM   #21
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...So, to those who love boondocking I salute you and love reading your tails for those who love and enjoy "glamping" I equally enjoy reading your reports. Airstreams are what we make of them, despite their idiosyncrasies and parts that are not up to our standards we thoroughly enjoy and appreciate ours'. We are very grateful for each day.

Enjoy

Bud
Well said Bud! Boondocker here because I enjoy the solitude but I sure enjoy reading about what everyone is doing.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:07 PM   #22
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After reading your post see if you might agree with what I'm thinking: There may be two kindsa campers amongst us. Those of us who came up backpacking and tent camping and, who by good fortune and blessings, can now afford an AS who they will (at least try to) take into the back country like they are accustomed with their tents/VW buses (that would be me). Then there might be those who, by similar good fortune and blessings, decide later in life to see what all the AS mystique is all about. Given their older age and different camping upbringing, they might be a lot more comfy in trailer parks and on paved roads. So there may be two basically different kindsa folks.
One more observation re PKI's point re the paucity of AS on the roads. It always amazes me during my 2-3 trips across the country each year (Hailey, ID to Gainesville, FL) how few AS I see...its remarkable. I bet I don't see more than 6-8 on each 2,500 mile leg. Always amazes me. In any case, safe travels. jon
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:14 PM   #23
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Wonderful Post

Wonderful post and thread! I'd love to have this shared with others. Are you reading this Blue Beret and Airstream Life?
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:29 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
Wondering how many of the back-of-beyonders grew up with actual camping, whether with family, a rustic summer camp for kids, scouts, or back-packing. Learning how to make a wood fire and cook on it, backcountry hiking or paddling, and enjoying the Great Outdoors.

It's not their fault, but I think that many of today's RVers grew up with a far more urban life experience. They don't want the bugs & dirt, but a substitute summer cabin. (OK, we'll skip the bugs when possible, but accept them as part of camping.) So many RVers don't seem to mind the packed-in RV parks so long as they have television.

We don't want to ding up Bambi II, but by dint of scouting out areas in advance, we've found some great places for more primitive and scenic camping experiences-- just the way we like them.
I've been camping since I was a little Girl Scout. I was a Girl Scout Leader for 10 years and held a few Unit positions as well. I was a Leader in Cub and Boy Scouts for over 20 years, (3 sons kept me in longer), and a BS camp commissioner and outpost director as well. I backpack and fish and hike and bike. I use to climb rock, but I have too many injuries now. I remember when I said I would never RV, lolz. The Airstream was the retirement plan of my baby. Do the outdoors all over the states with the AS as home base.

p.s. The Boy Scouts use to call me the Bug and Spider capture and relocation leader. If there was a bug or spider in their tent I would walk in, gently grab it up bare handed, and relocate it outside after giving everyone a chance to see it up close. When I worked summer camps I was often asked to retrieve bugs for terrariums, part of a badge.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:35 PM   #25
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BOOmerang has a point. Some of us were brought up... camping.

My life began in the back forests of Montana. Had it been a trailer, it would have had more amenities that just some windows, a wood burning stove and a door.

My parents could not set up a tent. My mother was a WW2 War Bride from the Netherlands and thought the United States was like the movies she saw with Fred Astraire and Ginger Rogers. Dancing with fancy gowns and living in a Manhattan apartment. And... was she surprised when along the northwest shore of the Flathead Lake were Indians in their summer teepees in the 1940's. Living like the Beverley Hillbillies was the America she discovered. She was terrified, as the Cowboy and Indian westerns were also a European's America.

I built my first tent out of clear heavy plastic in the Canal Zone in 1958. I set up wood cartons to store collected insects and butterflies. It was a "green house" and unusable during the day. But I learned.

Trailer camping was never a thought, until I wanted to be able to stay a week or more collecting fossils on western ranches and rocks & minerals in areas that required more water and provisions I could carry in a vehicle. It was not by choice, but by NEED.

An Airstream provided what I needed and had a resale market that other trailers could not provide. The depreciation of an Airstream is slower and flattens out at about 8 years old and beyond. Actually increasing. A win/win.

For those of you looking... BUY a USED AIRSTREAM. A five year old Airstream owned by most owners has little use. Some are virtually NEW and depreciated not from use... but by the owners, being like my parents... discovering that a trailer was not better than a hotel room. It was not like the magazines, nor my mother's image of America. Still untamed wilderness with the threat of Indians and wild beasts in the woods.

Being a International Traveler gave me a great perspective of America. To travel it was safe. To travel there were roads. There were maps. Everyone spoke English if you went 100 miles or 2000 miles. I have been where I would not want to tow a trailer, even if it were possible. There are places where a trailer is not the brightest thing to do... the Arctic is an example. Some places, just plain ... suck, in layman's terms. Machu Pichu is wonderful by train... no road for a trailer, even if you thought it wise to do so.

Many Airstream Owners are like my parents. Safety among numbers. Montana and Wyoming for my mother... was not America. They settled for Independence, Missouri and President Truman's company. At the "edge of the American Frontier" was safe for them.

Myself... at 15 1/2 and a 1956 VW bug... was out exploring. I am still exploring and today have dropped my aversion of bringing others along to my favorite places in the western USA. Our culture is becoming more urbanized. I prefer still to live on the edge of urban and country life styles. I will not and cannot change.

I cannot dance well, but my wife makes the best of what I have to offer.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:50 PM   #26
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This thread is outstanding, thanks Ray for starting another one of "food for thought" threads! It took me a while to eliminate my compulsion to polish and wash our AS, after spending probably as much on it as I did in a lifetime of backpacking, tent camping, campers, and 5th wheels! After the first few dents in the rock guards, a few dings from Colorado Hail storms, I finally left the wax and ladder and rags at home as got back to the joy of traveling down unknown forest roads and boondocking on the brow of a ridge where we can wake up to a majestic sunrise, or watch a awe inspiring sunset, just like years ago when we went with only a backpack!

Sure we do use commercial campgrounds when just getting from point A to point B, or meeing friends and family that like the pool and swings for the kids. But when you boondock, the experience is amazing! After 100's of nights with the AS, there is no question in my mind, that it is is far superior to any of the SOB's we have had. Just what we need, nothing extra for these old bones that used to sleep great in a sleeping bag, but no more!
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Old 02-12-2016, 01:06 PM   #27
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I tent camped with my family as a child, then with my own children...movin' on up to a nicer something many years later, off the ground and out of the elements. It's what older people often do.

There's something about the Airstream silver.....almost ethereal, lending a special and unique quality to wherever you happen to be.


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Old 02-12-2016, 01:59 PM   #28
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Great post Ray!

I never camped until I left home but I made up for it with a vengeance living outside for the next five years. Surfing, hiking, climbing, kayaking, skiing, motorcycles, it has all been an adventure.

Boondocking in my Airstream continues the dream!
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Old 02-12-2016, 02:50 PM   #29
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Ray - That picture was taken at the last turnout before the extremely twisty section of HW1 that connects with HW101 to the North. We did the North and South HW1 coastal runs as shake down trips when we purchased the AS last Spring. Wonderful memories and we verified we could climb steep grades, make sharp turns, and cover enough miles to put smiles on our faces. Hope your friends like their trip too. Pat
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Old 02-12-2016, 03:07 PM   #30
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PKI... thank you for the update.

The only difference between traveling Miles and Smiles is the....S.

Living the Dream and Living IN the Dream are just how our imaginations can manipulate some discomfort with the freedom of traveling with an Airstream or any other trailer. Many on this Forum take it for granted.

Some see fields of yellow flowers as an allergy problem. Others beauty.

Death Valley rumors running rampant in southern Nevada is that this years "Spring Bloom" will be one to see. Maybe a bit too rampant for me. A mini bloom in Castle Rock, Colorado will do me just fine.
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Old 02-12-2016, 03:11 PM   #31
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Cruel and Unusual punishment!

This is not the kind of thread I want to read After just selling my third Airstream, and Before even finding my fourth. Good thread, should make me look all the harder.
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Old 02-12-2016, 03:29 PM   #32
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OldVW... look at it this way.

You made three new owners happy.
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Old 02-12-2016, 03:57 PM   #33
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OldVW... look at it this way.

You made three new owners happy.
Yes, the new owners are always smiling, I'm crying, and the dog always looks at me like....are you crazy?
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Old 02-12-2016, 04:10 PM   #34
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Boondocking

My wife and I own a 1995 Airstream Classic Limited that we bought new. We have been dry camping all over in CA and AZ for years. In 1996 I installed a 2kw Trace Engr inverter so we can make coffee and run the microwave in the AM without the use of a generator. In addition we have 400 watts of solar on top of the AS so in the spring and summer our generator use is minimal. When our grandchildren were young we would take them to a popular lake above Sonora, CA. The roads and campsites were tight for our trailer and TV so we would walk or ride bicycles until we found a suitable site and entry and exit. Now that the grandchildren have children of their own they still along with our own children join us for the camping trips. My wife and I have about 152000 miles on our AS which includes 5 trips to the east coast from CA. We both agree that in 1995 when we bought the AS we made a good choice.
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Old 02-12-2016, 04:14 PM   #35
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Ray: When I bought my 58 Caravanner I knew full well that no Airstream at any cost new, used, restored or highly modified would meet my needs which are: usable in the very most extreme weather conditions 24/7, have 11' ground clearance, simple, cheap, move all systems out under the awning for nice weather, no winterizing necessary, supportable with a trip to Wallmart, open concept and contents moved in tv, cook for 20 people. Now 2180 pounds and 1,000 in TV. So.... fuel: wood, kerosene, gasoline, D cell batteries, candles, propane in 1 lb bottles refillable from 20 pounder. Chassis: dual fuel 3500 watt electric start generator on tongue, spare tire on rear modified bumper. 100 % gut inside. Rig never changes weight, balance and CG. Twin independent air bag suspension w/11" lift, electric front jack. Fresh combustion air input and chimneys vent thru roof hatches each with a house attic wind powered turbine. Slant ramp entry. Inflatable furniture, folding: chairs, tables, stands, camp kitchens, and foldable "Little Red Wagon" Pure sine wave inverter , 100% duty air compressor. Trojan batteries. Some contents names: Coleman, Intec, Viair, NuWave, Cuisinart, Go Power, and General Electric. Rig has no tanks or water/propane/12v or 110v lines. Uses 40 milk jugs for water. 20 each 1 pound propane for point source use. Hot water for shower etc via pressurized 32 quart 45,000 Btu turkey fryer. Contents are set up/broken down as needed. Total invested: $11,000.
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Old 02-12-2016, 04:32 PM   #36
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It would be fun to hear from those who have taken their AS to Alaska - via the Alaska Marine Highway aka the ferry.

We ferried to Newfoundland this past summer and it was a great experience. I wonder if the on/off is as smoothe on the Alaska route.

Dwight
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Old 02-12-2016, 05:14 PM   #37
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Ray, thanks so much for this thread. I love it! It's making me proud of every dent ding & scratch. When I'm not in my camper I'm hanging in my hammock.
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Old 02-12-2016, 06:56 PM   #38
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Imagine the roads during the 1930's to 1950's in the USA. Imagine the Airstream during this same period of time. What has changed since this generation of travelers have retired and passed on a tradition, yet lost on Airstream owners today.

It is not the Airstream that has changed. Many of these older Airstreams are still being used and restored today. A larger percentage of older/antique Airstreams remain than any other single brand of travel trailer. Consider that thought.

People have changed. Each "new owner" has lowered their expectations of the current Airstream models as incapable of handling anything but "level paved road travel".

This is due to several factors.

-Cost of an Airstream.

-Concern that the aluminum skin can be dinged, scratched or clad in mud, dust, dirt, grit or cow paddy fenders.

-The convenience of RV Parks, paved roads to places that were not paved in the past and just a new generation of owners considering their Airstream is more of a status symbol than an actual "home on wheels" where there are no motels, hotels or RV Parks.

-The belief that the Airstream is no longer built to the same standards as the original intent and design, which was capable for all kinds of travel, weather conditions and taking abuse of unlevel, wash board and pot holed lesser traveled roads for Boondocking.

This is NOT why I have an Airstream, having a spotless clean trailer and parked among other spotless other trailer brands, RV's and Buses at an RV Park. There are some of us with Vintage and Late Model Airstreams that use our trailer for "camping". The original vision of a riveted durable aluminum skinned trailer.

A modern Airstream is much improved over the decades. The only limitation of your Airstream... is yourself. An Airstream is not a Fair Weather camper. Although an Airstream is NOT an All Season / Full Timing trailer for colder climates. Neither is a tent in three feet of snow at -7F.

An increase of optional uses for an Airstream has arrived and available in the Boondocking Thread. It is a learning experience, as many have never had an opportunity to learn that their Airstream has limitations, but not to the point of being safely parked in a garage and used for gatherings at a RV Park.

The tradition of trailer camping is changing with the smaller travel trailers on the market. These are populating the Off the Grid and Base Camps. They are no more or less capable than your Airstream. They are not limited by the owner's inability to push their towing skills further away from the crowded RV Parks. I have seen them increasing among a new, younger, more ambitious outdoor camper.

I just want to remind all Airstream owners alike... an Airstream is capable of whatever was possible in the past, today. It is the limitations of the owner, not our trailer.

I do not abuse the limitations of my 2014 International. I do not abuse my health just for getting a point across. Improve your options by pushing your limited abilities to travel and explore. It is not for everyone. So I need no lesson in restricting my travels so my Airstream is as pristine as the day we wrote the large check to purchase, sales taxes and annual renewals of plates and insurance. What a wasted investment in time and money to be "status quo".

Wear out your Airstream in the next ten, twenty... thirty years. Make it your mission this season to improve YOURSELF and maintain your Airstream to fulfill its purpose... to take your home wherever and whenever time permits. Sell it to someone who will restore or carry on the Airstream tradition... go anywhere, any place to where the roads become a trail and then camp there.

Some prefer to do be cautious and succeed in doing so. Others go beyond the limitations of the majority and understand that the only thing preventing their doing more at the present time is... time, not the want to explore the capabilities of their Airstream.
I always believed that my Airstream is better and tougher than the rest. And once I got past the first dent and panel replacement I got over my anxiety.
When they are new and shinie they appear to be somewhat vulnerable and delicate.
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Old 02-12-2016, 07:32 PM   #39
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Frankly, Frank... you have solved the Riddle of the Airstream Sphinx.

A little ding will do you, and me and everyone else.

I purchased my Airstream in Denver the end of 2014. New on the lot. A month later I attached two of these all weather vent covers on top. My Airstream is stored in our RV garage attached to our home.

Hail dents were found on the top and a few on the curved top aluminum. Maybe 10, more or less. I was not counting. The dealer probably would not recall any hail in the area, ever hmmmm... especially if they had any hail found on their lot, of course. Well, they did. I have the proof. They may have the insurance check as far as I know. Car lots in Colorado have regular hail damaged vehicle sales...

You are so correct in getting over those "medals" in active Airstream Service. They are visible to you, but not so much for anyone else. Getting that first ding, the first brush with a bush along the lower edge of our trailer is part of "breaking in our trailers".

I had an email from a guy who found that his 25 foot Airstream was a bit tight and opted to sell it and purchased a nice used 30 footer last week. On the way home he was in a tight spot at a service station while refueling a person offered to help guide him out.

Several thousand dollars of damage to the Airstream, later, and damage as well to the tow vehicle.

Those of you begrudging the ding or scratches on the side of your Pride and Joy... NOW have someone to compare with obvious damage compared to your dings, and so soon after possession.

I purchased a "spare set" of gravel guards that will fit my 25 footer. If necessary, I will replace the hammered ones with shiny new stainless steel panels, if ever necessary. That is what the panels are for... to take the gravel "hits" where you expect it.

Those of you ready to spend thousands of dollars to repair those less obvious dings and scratches... save it for traveling proud in your trailer.

Each of these distractions may be a mysterious UFO making contact and some have a story. Whichever... make a good story out of it and post it on this Thread. Why should I be looking forward to future dings... because it is proof that I am telling you the truth about Boondocking Adventures. That is why.

Airstreams are meant to be used, not stored in a sterile garage more than one week at a time.
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:36 AM   #40
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Ray: Hard not to gloat when a winning combination blows everybody out of the water. God love neophytes.
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