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Old 05-02-2004, 01:25 PM   #1
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Smile My daughter and I are the proud new owners of a '72 Tradewind Airstream

I live in Anchorage, Alaska. On 4/29/04 I bought 1972, 27 ft. airstream.I don't even have a vehicle that will tow it. But I love the idea of being on the open road with an airsteam in tow. Have I made a big mistake? Supposedly, everything works. The first thing I have to do is get it to my house.Will I be able to hook and unhook it for traveling. Can a woman manage this alone?
I am looking forward to all the help and advice I can get.
Thanks,
LULU
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Old 05-02-2004, 01:55 PM   #2
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Congratulations!

Don't worry! 99.99% of owning an Airstream is about as complicated as taking apart a ballpoint pen. If you're ok with the pen, you'll be fine with the Airstream.

There's plenty of really, really dumb people who own travel trailers (other brands, of course - Airstream owners are all geniuses! ) and they get along great. All it takes is for you to be interested and hang out on this board with your questions.

You do want to pick your tow vehicle carefully. We have a 78 Tradewind that we tow with a 2001 Tahoe 5.3 liter tow package 4x4, and I would not want either a bigger trailer or a smaller vehicle, by even an inch. What with gas prices rising due to the dollar's fall against the Euro, you might want to strongly consider diesels...

Do some hitch research, too. I've got a Reese dual cam, and I love it. I would expect an Equal-i-zer to be just as good. For my purposes a Hensley or other super-expensive hitch just wouldn't make that much difference, and it would probably cost about as much as you paid for the trailer.

But DO NOT cheap out on your hitch! Your life and someone else's life may be on the line. DO NOT cheap out on your brake controller either. A Pridigy or Jordan Ultima are your choices. No need to consider anything else.

Welcome to the group!

-Don
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Old 05-02-2004, 01:58 PM   #3
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Lulu,
You can do it. Buy a decent tow vehicle, ask lotsa questions, and take your time.
This forum has a great search function.
Some search terms for you that might yield quick results:
newbie
towing question
tow vehicle
hitch
backing up
axles
tires
bearings
brakes

or, just browse the forums, open the topics that you have questions about.
I own a 1971 Tradewind, and love it's handy size, together with the huge storage closets.
Good luck to you.
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Old 05-02-2004, 03:38 PM   #4
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You go Lulu! I initiated the whole RV thing at my house, and I learned everything I needed to know here on the forum, and from a friend who had a trailer himself. Then I taught it all to my husband. There's no reason you can't get the hang of this stuff by yourself, and I'm sure you and your daughter will have a great time once you get past this steep learning curve at the beginning. Once you are comfortable with hooking, towing, and unhooking, it really is a lot of fun. Congrats on your find, and enjoy!
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Old 05-02-2004, 05:00 PM   #5
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Don't be afraid of having "too much" tow vehicle. Be afraid of "not enough" tow vehicle.
Seriously consider a 2500 series GM, Dodge or F-250 Ford pickup for towing that size unit. I like a beefier truck myself, as I haul horses and farm equipment with my GMC. You will never regret buying a heavier duty truck.
Good advice from those above me, especially Dr Boyd on the brake controllers. Others will chime in with more advice.
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Old 05-02-2004, 05:23 PM   #6
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My daughter and I are the proud new owners of a 72 tradewind airstream

Greetings LULU!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Have I made a big mistake? Supposedly, everything works. The first thing I have to do is get it to my house.Will I be able to hook and unhook it for traveling. Can a woman manage this alone?
You have plenty of company in the world of Airstream ownership, and there are a number of single owners both male and female. There really isn't anything about the towing or hitching process that automatically rules out any (properly licensed) driver from towing an RV. There are probably three areas of concern for the beginning solo-trailerist including hitching the trailer, backing the trailer, and the process of towing down the road.


Probably one of the three most daunting prospects for the beginning solo-trailerist is the hitching process. There are several aids that significantly simplify this process - - my favorite is the One Shot Hitch Spotting Mirror. The less expensive version that I have used for more than two decades is the Hitch Spotter hitch spotting mirror. Either one of these devices allow you to see the ball mount and coupler and align them using the rear view mirror in your tow vehicle or sighting out your tow vehicle's rear window.

Backing is something that typically causes concern for all novice trailerists. Practicing backing under a variety of conditions using the parking lot technique of setting up a course of "highway cones" and plastic refuse containers to back around. This concentrated practice helps tremendously - - just be sure to obtain the permission of the owner of the lot - - some owners will ask that you not practice on blacktopped lots during the heat of the summer as the sliding of tires on a tandem axle coach can damage soft asphalt. Even with practice, I still consider back-in sites as a last resort when in-transit to my destination as it can be a workout (in-and-out of tow vehicle multiple times) to get the trailer properly spotted in a tight spot, but it usually isn't terribly difficult to find pull-through sites by using a good guidebook to reserve your site for the evening early in the afternoon.

Again, towing isn't a great deal more difficult for the solo-trailerist other than the fact you often do not have an extra set of eyes to check traffic to the right. I have found that a premium set of mirrors help a great deal with this concern. After trying several of the less-expensive slide-on/clamp-on extension mirrors, I finally adopted the McKesh Mirrors for trailer towing. I have the optional convex spot mirrors on both the left and right side and find that they are absolutely wonderful for the Free Wheeler (solo-trailerist in WBCCI).

Don't let the fact that you will be traveling "solo" keep you from enjoying your Airstream. There are enough solo-trailerists that we even have an Intra-Club in the Wally Byam Caravan Club International - - our organization is known as the Free Wheelers. We have at least one or two caravans and Rallys/Pre-Rallys each year. Typically, there is a Pre-Rally that is during the week or ten days preceeding the annual International Rally - - there have also been a number of pre- and post- International Rally caravans for members. I don't know this for a fact, but have the impression that there are a few more women in the Free Wheelers than men.

Again welcome to the World of Airstreaming!

Kevin
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:46 AM   #7
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Thanks so much for the information. I feel so much better! I can't wait to investigage all your great tips.
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:52 AM   #8
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Thank you, I think its great you introduced airstreams to your husband! I am so encouraged by your positive response.
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:57 AM   #9
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I think your 68 caravel is beautiful!
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:59 AM   #10
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uwe, thanks, I have to figure out how to print or save your message. I appreciate the good tips.
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Old 05-03-2004, 01:04 AM   #11
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thank you Pick, I will remember your advice and keep you posted on what I end up with.
Lulu,
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Old 05-03-2004, 01:16 AM   #12
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Don,
Thanks, now I really believe I made the right decision. I was so happy when I came back to my computer tonight and saw that I had replies to my questions. I received a lot of valuable information . Everyone seems so very nice. I can't wait to investigate all the suggestions. Thanks
Lulu
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