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Old 07-26-2014, 01:36 PM   #1
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Finding the First Airstream - The Journey is the Reward

We are looking at adding an Airstream to our list of toys and are at the very beginning of the search. We live in Santa Fe NM and enjoy a gorgeous private home but we love to head out for adventures. We have been doing early research on the short list of potential Airstreams for us (he's 6'4, she's a great french chef and we have a beautiful German Shepherd who demands to come along) and were thinking of a used 2012-2014 25-28FB International Serenity however it's early..We have a newer Ford F150 Ecoboost to trailer with.

Any specific models and/or years for us to consider? We like larger cleaner spaces and the ability to be on or off the grid.

Also, any suggestions on where we could go to see a lot of Airstream models? Here in NM it's pretty thin so we'd be fine flying somewhere so we could study different configurations in person. Are their specific dealers anyone would suggest to accomplish this? What about Airstream conventions and such to visit as well to build up our knowledge before we purchase?

Thanks all!
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Old 07-26-2014, 02:08 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Look at the bottom of the Portal pages for rallies - they are listed by date, not by area so you might have to do a bit of searching to find one withing 200 miles of you. That's what I'd consider to be a reasonable drive to visit without an Airstream or other RV to stay in.

Forum rallies are generally open to anyone who applies (and pays any reasonable fees for food, booze, amenities). WBCCI is the Wally Byam Caravan Club International - and their rallies are generally reserved for club members though some do invite "lookers" in the hope of converting them to "pod people". Call ahead and ask, you might be very welcome. If a particular rally is closed their next one might not be.

Dealers - I'm on the wrong coast for those in your neighborhood however even though you didn't specifically ask, check the "Classified section" here. Sadly life happens and eventually illness or disability convinces a lot of people that it's time to give up their GENTLY USED campers. Of course others buy a bigger, better unit or downsize depending on changing circumstances like children who've moved out, etc. You can save a bundle $10K or MORE buying gently used and if for some reason you decide you've made a mistake, backing out or upsizing/downsizing will be far less costly. If you LOVE your gently used A/S... well you've got an extra $10K + to travel on. Even at today's prices that's a lot of gas and campground fees.

If you can find one locally, the arid southwest is a great preservative for floors, etc. Once you start looking you might be surprised at how many you find. Check all of your local campgrounds that offer storage. If you find that one looks like it's been sitting for six months... you might find someone who would let the camper go if someone walked up and asked him about it. The campground management will usually contact the owner and pass on your name, e-mail address and phone number. A respectful knock on the door of an owner, and dropping a business card if no one is home cannot hurt either.

It's far far better to SEE Airstreams in person than to drool over them on the websites, so your plan of action is good. The first time you visit a dealer, it's wise to leave the wallets, credit cards and pens home. Duct taping your writing hand into a closed fist so you can't hold a pen is also a good idea.

Again, happy hunting. Paula
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:23 AM   #3
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Our unit (4CU) has rallies several times a year in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe skies RV Park. You're apt to see up to 30 different trailer configurations there.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:19 AM   #4
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We have a 27FB Flying Cloud...had the money at the time, and if I had do over's I would have popped for the Serenity. We also pull with a Ford 150 Ecoboost. The 27FB is working well for us, but I'm not crazing with the couch situation. I take the longer side (I paid for it) and partner gets the short side. He says it's (Okay.) What I would really like is a 30FB (they don't make it) with the two recliners. The upside of a model like that for us would be more comfortable seating, a work desk for computers leaving the dining area uncluttered, more counter space in the kitchen, and a little better looking bathroom. The down side is the bedroom. We don't like the wardrobes which makes the bed more difficult to make, and for some reason it seems like there is less room around the end of the bed and the wall directly in front of it. If your wife is a gourmet chef, she might not like the small counter space is something smaller. Again, if I had do overs, I would drive/fly to Colonial Airstream in N.J. I think they have the largest inventory on the lot is the U.S. You can only tell if you would really like something by walking through and trying them all. Good Luck. When they come out with a 30FB, no wardrobes, bigger bedroom, I'm going to push my partner to buy!
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:26 AM   #5
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I'm also shopping for my first AS. Hoping to be an AS owner REAL SOON!
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:29 AM   #6
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You might want to lean more towards the 27/28 there if you have a German Sheppard. And Monica from Just Five More Minutes, is a chef I believe and seems at home in her 27ft International : Just 5 More Minutes



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Old 09-05-2014, 11:06 AM   #7
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Now I see why some folks need so much storage space.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Now I see why some folks need so much storage space.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:13 PM   #9
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I don't think I have that much stuff in teh kitchen in my HOUSE! And I DO cook
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:19 AM   #10
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As much as I like that look, just remember. When traveling, everything on that counter needs to be stored away before taking off. We keep a minimalist kitchen for just that reason.
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:24 AM   #11
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If you have time and means, consider traveling to Colonial in NJ as they are sure to have the largest in stock selection to view. Maybe couple it with a trip to NYC or other eastern venues to make a flight and time off worthwhile, and have some vacation and some hunting. But for starters, their website along with youtube videos of each model is a very good resource.

One thing it is difficult to see on a floor plan is the amount of light, lines of sight, and how open or closed-in some models feel in comparison to others. For that reason alone I think it is worthwhile to see as many models as you can in person.

Also, the beds, the orientation of the beds (across the trailer or lengthwise--remember that trailer world is not as flat and level as your bedroom at home), and the view from different places inside the trailer, I feel, make a big difference in how they "feel" when you are in them.

We have no dealer in our area, but have stopped at dealers when we travel to view. It is very helpful, and also you learn a lot from speaking to different salespeople. It also helps to decide which dealer you might consider or avoid for service work after purchase based on their knowledge and expertise.

Based on your requirements, consider the twin beds, which offer the widest per person surface area for sleeping. And some owners have even modified the platform to eek over a bit toward the nightstand and added a wider mattress (though this means a narrower aisle between the beds). If you don't like the twins, or if they are not long enough for himself, then look closely at the models with the double windows by the long bench on the lounge side area. These models have a longer area there for seating and for that pullout bed. That bed, when pulled out, could have a very tall sleeper also using up some of the dinette seating area to lengthen the overall sleeping area available.

And of course there are the queens with different orientations to look at as well.

Now some folks want to snuggle, and this may be moot. But I think for you that figuring out what beds you like best will be the most critical factor.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:22 AM   #12
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I would also recommend Colonial. I lived in Napa, Ca and they definitely gave me the best price out there for my Airstream....
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:24 PM   #13
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I would consider traveling to Buda, outside of Austin. It is near the airport and easy to get to. That's where we bought our 25FC after searching and searching. They have a great selection and even pulled the two models we were most interested in side by side and left us alone to look and think. We were trying to decide rear bed vs front bed and it was a great help.

On a side note, we just came home from Santa Fe. Loved it there!
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