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Old 04-15-2016, 07:45 PM   #1
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Restoring an Old Tent into an Airstream Trailer

I had one of the first igloo tents using the curved aluminum snap rods that needed no internal support system. Same kind used at Base Camps on Mount Everest. It had a fly covering the exterior so the interior could breath and provided an air barrier insulation. It had a vestibule for our Blue Heeler as a second bedroom at the entrance. It was comfortable, portable and was our home while boondocking.

I had a battery operated radio with a broken antenna, but worked if you knew how to move the broken antenna with part of a metal clothes hanger for 'enhanced' reception.

This igloo lacked a dining table, seating, vent fans, a sink, shower... well it lacked everything, it was a TENT. All of our stuff was stored in the back of the pickup with the shell providing a temporary shelter during a mountain downpour. After years of using cardboard cartons as a pantry, a pack sack for a temporary closet, an ice chest as a refrigerator, several five gallon water jugs for drinking water and a plastic milk case to hold a watermelon from rolling away on its own... it was our home with a beautiful view that changed from day to day.

No black or grey water tanks... as those were unknown terms to us.

We had all we needed. Until... we saw a itsy bitsy trailer. It was 'off the ground' and was more expensive than an inflatable air mattress, but luxury on one axle with a tire on each end, yet a possibility, if, we understood how it... worked.

It had a door. I suppose a table, seating and maybe a light, or two... We did not want to appear as if we were casing the trailer, so just imagined what a big upgrade this 8 to 10 foot 'home on wheels' could offer for home comforts. It popped up with canvas and mosquito netting. Must be campers from Aspen, Colorado??? John Denver, maybe?

Today 2016... what kind of toilet paper should I use?... is the discussion. Should I have Solar to power my satellite dish, televisions and remote access to the Airforums 24 hours a day. Showering once or twice a day... is a big issue for some. Two batteries or... four?

Do I need to upgrade the Marathon tires so an extra 450 pounds of bicycles, canoe, row boat, outboard motor, mopeds, an ATV on the back of the tow vehicle, a wet bar, propane 1,000,000 btu super Vegas Buffet grill and on and on.

Yet... it is not enough. We need back packs, boots for climbing, ropes, fishing waders, firearms, four kinds of hats, playing cards, books, maps, how to fix and restore a tent manual with a DVD, how to use your flushing toilet, manuals to operate the switches and which outlets are 110v, electronics that glow at night... are TWO tanks of propane enough to... get by? I want a King size bed and they only have most of a Queen, or is it a tiny double bed?

I woke up in a sweat. It had rained that night while we were inside our tent and our Blue Heeler was let in by Nancy. We needed venting and opened the side access openings for drying the tent out to be packed into its small bag with poles to break camp that morning.

"Honey... I had this terrible dream last night."

"We had bought an Airstream. Imagine that... pretty weird dream, wasn't it? I wondered if we could of afforded the accessories needed to fill it?"
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:28 PM   #2
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Ha ha I thoroughly enjoyed that. There is much truth in your words.
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Today 2016... what kind of toilet paper should I use?... is the discussion. Should I have Solar to power my satellite dish, televisions and remote access to the Airforums 24 hours a day. Showering once or twice a day... is a big issue for some. Two batteries or... four?
A great chuckle to start my Saturday, thanks.

Gary
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:34 AM   #4
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Loved your tale! Especially the part about the blue heeler having her own room.
You can't deny the dingo!
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:17 AM   #5
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Restoring an Old Tent into an Airstream Trailer

Well Ray, some of these amenities can make the difference between taking a week long trip and being so glad to be back to the comforts of home again, and taking a six week trip and your first thought on getting home is "when can we head out again?"

Also, to put it in perspective, and this is a true story, my neighbors got the bug 5-10 years ago, and gradually moved up in size until they were traveling around in a mid-six figure motor home. Recently, they took a trip back to Georgia to pick up their new one, which is even bigger than their old one. Their main complaint with their old one was that "it only had two televisions and no fireplace." Well, there's only two people who travel around in it. I was wondering if the third TV was for the dog? Of course, this is the same guy who advised me to join the Elks when I got my AS so I could stay free in their parking lots at night.
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:17 PM   #6
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I had one of the first igloo tents using the curved aluminum snap rods that needed no internal support system.
Good Morning, Ray
This brings back memories of camping in an old Sears Roebuck canvas tent that hung from on outside aluminum frame in the early '60s. Although the design was actually pretty clever, the weight of the 9x9ft worth of heavy canvas and camping in the Florida summer sun was a bad combination. Did I ever think I'd have a camper, much less an AS? Never ever. We are so fortunate....and, like you're implying, should be re-evaluating what's really important. Safe travels. jon
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:29 PM   #7
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Love my airstream. Tent is up above garage storage space. Want it? Come get it!
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:42 PM   #8
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Great post Ray!! We have all been down that trail
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:18 PM   #9
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Everything is... In the Trailer... if I cannot find it

When the Spring snow is blowing and piling up, you need a good sense of humor, after plowing the heavy wet stuff off the driveway today, to get grounded again for those things that are really necessary when Airstream 'camping'.

Tent camping and Back country hikers understand more than most people, who are so fortunate to own a trailer today, Airstream or other, for their current camping options. What use to be a very short list of needed items, becomes a small newsletter in tiny print.

If I need a tool... it is in our trailer.
If I cannot find my hat... it is in our trailer.
If I cannot find a jacket... it is in our trailer.
If I need Elmer's glue, WD40, Duct Tape... it is in our trailer.
If I cannot find a rock pick, small sledge, magnifying glass, flashlight... you guessed it.

Our home was stripped to fit possible future needs into our trailer. The trailer has indeed become a 'home on wheels'. Much like the pickup truck with shell and tent that needed the bare minimums. Oh, how we forget and it will be nearly impossible to go backwards and clean out 40 pounds of unnecessary dead weight... only if we thought we may never need any of it in the future in our Summer Home on Wheels.

Tweezers for pulling 'goat heads and prickly pear needles' from the paws of our Heelers in the Southwest is a must when traveling. Good tweezers. Maybe a couple to be found... IN... the trailer.

Finger nail clippers are necessary for men. I have carried finger nail clippers in my pants pocket for fifty years, or more. I can actually wear them out. One commercial air flight several decades ago... they took my finger nail clippers as it could be used as a weapon at the Airport or on a plane.

Finger nail clippers are great for tying flies in a stream, trimming line... and even trimming chipped finger nail edges. I keep the fly fishing clippers tied to a string and tied to a button hole in my shirt while fishing mountain streams.

I lost my Sear's flat disc multi straight edge that was attached to my car and home key ring that was a, proven, convenient tool for a straight edge to pry and for straight edged screws. Coming into the Douglas County Colorado Court House I was asked to remove it and take it to my vehicle about a block away. I removed it and stepped outside and stashed it behind a bush, to get it later. When we came out... it was gone. Obviously they have a camera watching my every move. Why was I there? For my concealed weapons permit that was ready to be picked up.

My wife had one on her key chain in her purse. They did not even notice it through the XRay machine. I asked why I needed to give up my handy little tool. "Because criminals could use it to break out of the County Jail." Must use cheap Airstream outside storage locks at the jail.

Our Airstream is much like our tenting experiences. It is a way from the nonsense that has invaded the lives of hard working, honest Americans.

Have some of you wondered why when traveling close to the US / Mexican border between Arizona and New Mexico passing through the Border Patrol inspection station they are looking at the back seats of vehicles, yet never once asked to look inside our Airstream trailer.... Maybe looked innocent enough, yet in our home town we lose a simple tool and finger nail clippers as suspicious. (I left those clippers in my truck when going to the Court House, but never imagined my flat disc was soon to be missing in action.)

When you find a thread "What did you buy for your Airstream today?" None of our stuff was for the trailer. It has become necessary now to haul along with us. Some day in the Forest... we will have a Trailer without a Garage... Sale. We will make a killing... from those of you who did not stock up for any possible need and now... it is IN the Trailer.
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:57 PM   #10
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Ray, you've written another winner! Insightful...and funny!
Interesting...how when in our youth....backpacking...carrying everything we need...up and down the mountain trails.....we needed so little. Now, in our senior years....with the luxury of our AIRSTREAM.....we must have ...everything...just in case! It amazes me...that traveling solo, even.... My just in case list gets longer each year.

One major NEED that I had when choosing my Interstate....you guessed it....a lot of storage space! Go figure!

My Pathfinder is still full of ....more just in case supplies....that MUST GO INTO "Goliath"!
WILL THIS MADNESS NEVER END? (Do we really want it to?).

Just stop snowing...so we can get out and explore! (With all our take along crap...just in case we might need....anything you can possibly imagine!)
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:51 PM   #11
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I still love both types of camping.
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:56 AM   #12
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Ray....your latest post surely rings true!

Having just traded in my 1966 Airstream for a new 2016, I have had the opportunity to look at the inventory of things I removed from the old one in preparation for setting up the new one. I am amazed at how many things I had in the old Airstream that I never used. In 10 years, I filled every crevice with something. I have greatly reduced the amount of items going into the new Airstream. I mean.....really....does a guy need 5 spatulas, 4 flashlights, etc....

Thanks for the great post!
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:36 AM   #13
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Great posts! Thanks for sharing! Had a former wife who believed that "roughing it" was an overnight at the Ritz Carton!
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:36 PM   #14
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Tent camping can be avoided, by saying Not Again.

Four flashlights is a good number. One will have fresh batteries. Two will have batteries that are ready to quit. One has been dead for a couple years.

Bring more batteries and two flashlights.

The freshness dates on:

Chips... add two years if sealed. Six months if half empty.

Cookies... if they last up to the expiration date, throw them out, they suck.

Honey... add water, mix and it will last longer than your trailer.

Dry Goods... you have them stored in plastic containers and what you do not know, will not hurt you.

Fruit... Dates last forever. Bananas... maybe ten days. Apples two weeks, plus.
Water melon... do not go for the 35 pounders, you will go bad before it does.

Peanuts... and mixed nuts... avoid Costco sized containers. You will live.

Soda, Beer, Wine... ignore labels. Mix them, drink unmixed, expired- offer to others.

Book Marks for traveling... use $1 bills. After five years you will discover that you never finish any book. Each time you start a new book on each trip you find another $1 bill and managed to save $20 to play in the Slot Machines in Las Vegas. If you use $5 bills to mark your place, you will discard the book as it was dull and use the $5 hoard at the Craps Table pass line minimum and enough for five times Odds in Las Vegas.

Bottled Water... after seven days, give to your pets. Why even have bottled water, when there are cheaper alternatives to drink, like soda, beer and wine. With these options, ignore the price stickers as these are investments to your health and are health aids when used as directed by your relatives.

Ritz Carlton... is roughing it when your credit card was rejected and the sixth floor is a bit too high to climb out and beat paying... for yourself, although low enough for the ex-wife to avoid embarrassment.
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