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Old 02-11-2016, 12:35 PM   #1
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Airstreams: Regaining a Reputation Long Lost

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.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:46 PM   #2
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amen.

I want to camp with you.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:03 PM   #3
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Ray,

Awesome post! I too want to camp and travel with you. Reminds me of the saying

"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for".

Drew
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:06 PM   #4
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Angry

One time a darned bird pooped right on the side of my freshly washed and waxed Airstream!!
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:17 PM   #5
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Ray - An AS is a travel trailer and they are best in that element. Your encouragement for folks to take their rigs off the beaten path needs an element of restraint. It is easy enough to do considerable damage pulling in and out of a fuel stop or crossing a railroad track. Traveling unpaved, rutted and irregular tracts can ruin your future travel plans. A structure that will not support a spare tire on the back certainly is a questionable off road solution. There are better options, including 4x4 campers and high ground clearance trailers.

However, encouraging folks to get out and travel with their rigs is certainly a valid position. While they might shine sitting beside the house, they catch more light traveling down the road to new adventures. Agree completely with wearing it out in 10-20-30 years. Only wish we had started sooner.

We have been very surprised by the small number of ASs on the road. We saw a lot in the West around Yellowstone, but our sightings were much more limited as we moved East. Maybe that is just because there are so many more roads in the East and ASers like to use secondary highways while we traveled a lot on Interstates. If you scatter them out, you don't see as many where you are traveling. Not a bad thing. More smiles in more places.

Appreciate your encouragement for folks to use their AS. It's a very good thing. Pat
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:17 PM   #6
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Airstreams: Regaining a Reputation Long Lost

Ours gets washed and waxed every couple years, whether it needs it or not.

The TV gets washed by the dealer when he changes oil or does maintenance.

The wrinkle in the curbside rear from a bump in a narrow driveway doesn't leak, so it's still there.

I don't obsess on the appearance. I go camping....and enjoy the view outside the AS. We get compliments even when it's covered in bug carcasses and mud.

So be it...we are a tall ship, with a star to steer it by, and we will go in harm's way. (To mangle a few quotes)


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Old 02-11-2016, 02:44 PM   #7
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I'm still working on all my posts, but I have been thinking of doing a "Ultimate Family Boondocking Airstream" thread to use my past years of experience boondocking and dry camping with a family. We haven't had hookups since July.

Although our poor Airstream needs a bath, she hasn't been cleaned since August and I'm starting to feel guilty. Still have mud on the front lower Rock Guards from Colorado.
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Old 02-11-2016, 02:51 PM   #8
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I have towed my airstream places that haven't seen cars in years..in one case, we had to walk head to remove fallen logs, rocks, and debris in order to make it through nearly a mile of road..No hope of turning around, just forging ahead in a forest service road that had 2 ft growth in the ruts ! I'll have to post a pic.

I expect my airstream to go to these places where I couldn't even take my Vw westfalia, otherwise why did I bother? Lol
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:12 PM   #9
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I see two things, the obsession with polishing older Airstreams and then hating it when it gets bird poop on it. Its not a freaking mirror ball and the campground is not a disco.
Yes I like polishing and mine is shiny. But I am not obsessed with the look.
I camp in it!
Also the rage to buy an older Airstream, and then GUT IT!
What the heck is up with that. There are so many unfinished projects, gutted shells, and all that. Please people...don't buy one if you don't have the means and skills to redo what you ripped apart.

Vent over
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:08 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:10 PM   #11
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Right-on! Agree completely with post 9.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:31 PM   #12
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drew05... been to Peculiar, MO a few times before moving to Colorado. A name of a town that is hard to forget! Lees Summit, MO may also sound... peculiar.

PKI... I see your photo driving Highway One along the California coast. I spoke with new 2015 Airstream owner last week in Tucson, AZ that plans to follow the coast line from California to Washington. Jim & Sue... enjoy your new Airstream!

Skiing the slopes of Colorado as a beginner, starts with an instructor. Green Runs progress to Blue to... well Black Runs and beyond. It is a SKILL progressing on more difficult ski runs as Boondocking is to a travel trailer.

You find someone to take you along... the instructor.
You become comfortable with the "green skill Boondocking".
Blue becomes Off the Grid and Black... well... Base Camping within the Blue.

There is a shortage of instructors for Boondocking. Not a shortage of those who have the skills, but it is difficult for many to describe HOW to Boondock, camp Off the Grid and Base Camp. You must do it to learn how. This is why the Airforum is an asset to new travel trailer owners and those ready to progress into a different kind of experience.

It is more dangerous towing from southern Phoenix, AS north through Surprise and safely into the empty Sonoran Desert on the way to Las Vegas, NV on Highway 93. IF YOU HAVE TRAVELED THAT 50 MILE STRETCH... YOU HAVE THE SKILL TO BOONDOCK your Airstream!

Opportunities to learn come up from time to time within the Boondocking Thread.

You might find Boondocking stressful at first. It can take driver and passenger working together to watch the road, the sides of the road, over hanging tree branches and in the distance the plume of dust from an oncoming vehicle on a narrow road. After a short period of time... it becomes automatic. A reflex rather than a conscious decision.

Even Ski Schools have one, two... ten students. Everyone learns from the other. Risk to damaging tow vehicle and trailer always exist... parked or traveling. A service station is a dangerous place for a trailer in tow. Eventually you plan ahead and know which pump offers a clean entry and exit.

The Rocky Mountain States provide millions of acres of... potential options. Begin with Forest Service dry camps as a Base Camp. Explore further into the forests and make notes of private camp sites while exploring. One step at a time.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD View Post
I see two things, the obsession with polishing older Airstreams and then hating it when it gets bird poop on it. Its not a freaking mirror ball and the campground is not a disco.
Yes I like polishing and mine is shiny. But I am not obsessed with the look.
I camp in it!
Also the rage to buy an older Airstream, and then GUT IT!
What the heck is up with that. There are so many unfinished projects, gutted shells, and all that. Please people...don't buy one if you don't have the means and skills to redo what you ripped apart.

Vent over
Sorry if my irony about bird poop contributed to your venting. I agree with Ray completely.
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Old 02-12-2016, 07:08 AM   #14
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Irony and sarcasm are sometimes difficult to identify on a forum. Many of my posts are misinterpreted also.
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