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Squire 04-22-2018 02:49 PM

Our new 27' Tommy Bahama
It has been about a year since we looked at our first Tommy Bahama. Since then, I have been lurking and reading many, many posts on this forum. Thank you all for this outstanding resource! I hope I will be able to repay, in a small way, with our future experiences.
I was set on a Rear Engine Diesel with a TOAD/Boat/Motorcycle Trailer, depending on the activity. My wife didn’t like any that we looked at or rented. She didn’t want to go camping in her living room – meaning that they were just all small houses on wheels. We had done RV Shows for five years.
One day, out riding the motorcycle in April, we stopped at Bill Thomas Camper Sales. BTCS is 30-40 miles west of St Louis on I-70, 16 miles from home, 14 of it on the highway. More about them later, but they have been awesome so far! BTCS had a Tommy Bahama on the showroom...My wife loves the beach…She and her best friend go to Destin every year or two…My brother lives in Pensacola...She stepped in that TB and it was the second time in her life that it was love at first sight (wink). My goose was cooked, too, no RED for me! My Honda Accord four cylinder became a Chevrolet Silverado HD2500 Diesel. Yes, overkill for the TB, but I now have my diesel, even if it is at the wrong end. And I won’t be that guy holding up traffic through the mountain passes.
As far as the motorcycling, my Harley Street Glide won’t fit in the truck bed, but I have a Sportster that may be traded in for a KLR 650 or maybe even a 400 something for puttering around without having to use the TV in good weather. Suggestions desired for a motorcycle solution. And speaking of two wheeled transportation, anyone have any experience with Bike Friday electric bikes?
Options on our TB are: two A/C units (having been a Naval Flight Officer in F-14 Tomcats, redundancy is always good - my background may also help explain my great appreciation of a bar in a trailer), Roadside Awnings, Back-up Camera and Solar. We passed on the Convection Microwave Oven and the Power Awning. Purchase price, with options listed, was $102,219 (WD hitch and Forever Warranty included). This forum told me not to get factory Solar. I DID hear (read) you. I understand I paid more and got less. I just didn’t know when I was going to be able to get the trailer fitted for better solar. Immediately, I don’t have to worry about batteries while in storage. Can’t store it at the house. The HOA says not everyone wants to see my TB. But, I said, it has two palm trees that go with it - Big Irma and Little Irma - from Florida, after said named hurricane. Go figure. Palm trees acquired before TB purchase, so we already had that frame of mind.
I went to the factory four of the five days our trailer was being built. I drove from St Louis area to Jackson Center on a Thursday morning, toured Thursday and spent the night, then toured Friday and drove home after the tour. Repeated this process Monday -Tuesday. Thursday, the six component (sides, end caps, roof and floor) shell had just been mounted to the frame and was getting the wiring routed and the roof mounted equipment installed. Friday, it was sitting outside by the building that houses the Base Camps builds (right of the factory looking from the street), waiting to complete the U-Turn and come back inside the factory. It had passed the water leak test (hopefully) and had the insulation and inside skin installed. Getting to take pictures of where the equipment is positioned before the cabinetry was installed was great! Monday, the cabinet construction had begun. Flooring was down, I was able to see the shower install and the bulkheads for the head and pantry. Tuesday it was a nearly completed trailer. The televisions and stereo were on, the lights lit. Mattress outside the door, waiting to be carried in.
The folks working on the trailer were all fantastic! The tours are near the end of their work day and they were still genuinely happy to speak with me. I am sure my ear to ear grin didn’t hurt. Many started the conversations, asking if this was my trailer. If you order a trailer, please, try to go the factory while it is being built. It is a memorable experience. I got the proposed build date back in January, we ordered in December, for online March 15 to offline March 21. Those turned out to be the exact dates. Took delivery April 16 because of our schedule. Could have had it delivered the end of March.
Delivery was set for 1 PM on April 16. I suggest you do a morning delivery on a comfortably warm day. Remember, wind chill affects your comfort outside as well as how comfortable you are with getting up and staying on the roof as well as awning demonstrations (how do people know these things?). Eric, who demo’d the trailer was great. Answered all our questions, all but two were correct the first time…no damage done. And found answers to others he didn’t know. BTCS has five camping sites with 50 amp service, so we spent the night. Can’t speak to how wonderful the A/C is, but the furnace is awesome! Eric was there Tuesday morning to answer our overnight questions before his deliveries that day. Tuesday was a great day for a delivery.
BTCS has been outstanding thus far! I would recommend them. I do not believe they are a Five Rivet Dealer, but I do not yet have a complaint. Our salesman, Jim, knew or found all our answers. Matt, finance, was very straight forward (no shenanigans) and was able to find a better rate than I was able to find myself, so if he made money on the finance, he earned it! BTCS offers a WD hitch (broken out) and Forever Warranty (not broken out) in the sales price. I understand I paid for the warranty, it wasn’t free, even if it was included in the sales price. It will cost me around $130, from BTCS, subject to increase, every year for the inspection. I am currently at the experience level that I will be happy to have another set of eyes looking at my trailer every year.
I was introduced to the Service Manager. I asked at that time for an appointment 30 days out. He asked what my issue was and I told him I didn’t have one yet, but that I plan on doing a shakedown cruise and I want to have a spot on their schedule to take care of anything that does come up. They obliged, and made me an appointment. The biggest issue I have at the moment, discovered on the trip home (16 miles, 14 of it highway and no curbs hit), are drawers staying closed. We lost a few glasses due to breakage. Suggestions appreciated here, too, please.
We are still undecided on a trailer name. Some background for naming potential. This is our first Airstream. I am Ken, my wife is Barbi (yes, Ken and Barbi). We will be getting a new Poodle on May 12. He will be Oscar (Gentle Friend) formally, Ozzie informally, and naturally, we are the Smith’s, so Ozzie Smith. The Silverado is black, I like Jack Daniels so I am leaning toward ‘Jack’ for the truck. Again, suggestions for trailer names are welcome!
I would like to thank The Naker, djarrett and RicknTrish for their helpful Tommy Bahama posts! When we make it to the Florida panhandle, hopefully moosetags (I have much appreciated your posts and noticed your proximity to the cradle of Naval Aviation) will, as are all other ‘Streamers, be available to stop by for some hospitality. I mean c’mon, we have a bar!
Fly Navy and Beat Army!

YippieKiYa 04-22-2018 05:00 PM


Regarding doors and drawers flying open, you can’t pull high-G maneuvers with this bird. Settle down, flyboy! Seriously, a little painters tape (blue tape) helps keep things shut. You can also ask that BTSC check the latches to make sure they’re adjusted correctly and holding firm, and you can even get stronger (higher effort) latches if you think that might help. If it’s the upper lockers, I think the TB’s have a tension adjustment on the hinge that will help hold them shut. They’re different than the FC latches and I think they’re different from the International, too. The FC is really easy to adjust the spring tension on.

Hope that helps.

pwlldvd 05-02-2018 08:35 AM


Congrats on the new trailer and truck!

Wife and I just bought a TB 27’. The old Suburban wasn’t up to the weight, so we bought a Tundra for TV. We also plan to put a bike in the truck bed some times.

I rode a Softail and then an Ultra Classic for about 10 years. For the last few years I’ve been downsizing. Turns out small bikes are a lot of fun! You mention some great bikes.

A dual sport is a great option, especially if you like to get off the pavement and away from the crowds, like we do. The lighter the better, loading/unloading and riding off pavement.

I like the Honda CRF250L and Yamaha WR250R (my bike) but Suzuki Kawasaki, also have great options.

If you’re going 2-up you probably want larger than a 250. They all have great options in 400’s and 650’s, they’re just bigger than I want to pick up when (not if) I dump it on the trail.



djarrett 05-04-2018 12:50 AM

Thanks for the shout out- We just returned from Topsail Hill Preserve for 8 days. It was fantastic. The roads from Nashville there and back, however, are not. That said, we had no doors or drawers open on us. I think you'll be ok.

I dig the idea of Jack for the truck. I like JD as well.

Hopefully, we'll cross paths and compare bars one day.


Cottage 05-04-2018 07:39 AM

Congrats on the TB! If you're available there is the Midwest AirForums Rally in LeRoy IL on June 8-10. Lots of fun, good food, lots of knowledge on new and old TT. Lots of MO folks join us. This is our 16th year. Hope y'all can make it.

RicknTrish 05-27-2018 11:19 AM

Congratulations on your new TB! Glad you found our posts helpful - we, in turn, greatly appreciated everyone who responded to our questions with their invaluable insights and recommendations.

We took possession of ours at the end of March. Would have loved to have been closer to the factory to watch it being built, but just too far from Southern Cal.

Hope you're having fun trying it out and figuring out the motorcycle transport. We love our TB. We've taken it on three short trips, with a couple more planned for this summer/fall, then a longer two-week trip in November to hit Prescott, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and finally Fort Mohave (Thanksgiving with relatives) in AZ. Can't wait until June 2019 when we're fully retired and can take longer trips more often.

Like you, still deciding on a name for ours. Think we just need to sit in it, crank up the music, use that bar, and let the creative juices flow.....

AFTER TAXES 06-06-2018 08:07 PM

Trailer name.....(maverick)

anlot 06-25-2018 12:02 AM

Hey Squire,

Congrats on the new TB! Ours is arriving in August. We will have the only 2019 with a manual awning. :lol: Special request! We are still debating going to JC for the build dates at the end of July but are leaning against it because it will be hard to get off work for one of us, and costly to do from SoCal. We figure we will make it out there some other time to watch other trailers being built... That said, would you be willing to share your photos of the process via DropBox or something like that? We would obviously be very interested in them!

An & Jeff

BobnGayl 06-10-2019 01:14 PM

Airstream TB vs. RED Motor Home
I enjoyed reading your post regarding your purchase of an AS Tommy Bahama. I, like you had my heart set on a MH, in our case a Tiffin Bus. BUT, when we really started debating the purchase, we decided that no, we wouldn't get the use out of it we want in order to feel good about the investment, plus getting reservations at the parks, esp. in prime season is becoming a nightmare. We have a cottage here in Michigan, so we are pretty set for summers, but we want options for traveling, esp. in off season. This was the basis of wanting a MH, but getting sites in the south during the winter is pretty difficult, not to mention many parks are pretty awful. So, we eliminated the RED motor home option.

We have been campers since 1980 with pop-ups, tents, boats, and travel trailers. We looked at Airstreams many times through the years but couldn't stand the old granny interiors and so never went the AS route. We saw a Tommy Bahama brochure on line and decided it looked pretty good so we stopped by a dealer in Tampa on our way home from Florida in April and they had a new one, already purchased, on the lot. We really liked it but were sorry to hear it was "discontinued" with the 2019 builds being the last. They had two coming in, so we discussed pick up options and pricing. Tampa is 1500 miles from us, so a long haul, esp. if we have maintenance issues.

When we got home I called the two dealers here in Michigan and the first said, nope, no Tommy Bahamas, they were discontinued. The other dealer, to my amazement said, yup, one on order and it would be there by the end of the month (April). Wow! Now what? Do we really want to invest in an AS? We have a cottage. We love foreign travel. But, we also love camping and there is a lot of the US and Canada to see, and much we have already seen we would like to revisit. So, we put down a deposit and picked it up a few weeks later. I would have done what you did and watched the build - that would have been great. But, ours was already finished by the time we found it, so that wasn't an option. Sadly we haven't had a chance to use it yet, but plan to shortly, before the summer mob hits. (Here in Michigan the month between Memorial Day and July 4 is pretty good camping - long days, decent weather, and low people count.) We have zero intention of using it during the prime summer season. Happily we have a cottage for that.

But back to your post - my wife calls the trailer the "Shiny Tiny" and named it "Tommy". As I said, the interior design of the TB sold us in about 2 seconds. Previous units we looked at were a major turn off for us, but we really liked this one. I understand many don't like it, and some even say they would feel foolish pulling into a campground with it. I find that an amazing comment, but to each his own. We love the rear hatch and the interior fabrics and color scheme, and of course as you said, the bar is awesome.

Enjoy your unit - I'm sure we will enjoy ours.

Knotflying 07-08-2019 10:42 AM

Glad to hear so many positive posts on the TB. We took delivery of our 2019 TB on July 2nd. First short trip planned later this month. Not retired, but plan to forge a lot of great memories in our 1st Airstream!

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