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Old 07-05-2020, 02:37 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
2015 25' Flying Cloud
2018 33' Classic
​2020 Atlas​
Pullman , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 65
Moving from AS Trailer to AS Motorhome?

We have had 2 AS trailers (25 ft Flying Cloud and 33 ft Classic) and are considering moving to a Class B Motorhome - probably an Airstream Atlas.

I am curious as to impressions (strengths and weaknesses) in making this move. We are used to parking our trailer and moving around using our Tow Vehicle. It is a hassle to drive around the Class B once it is set up? Do people tow a smaller car behind to use for moving around?

I like the idea of a bit smaller size and the getting rid of the hassles of messing around with a trailer hitch sounds really good.

I would love the hear thoughts on the trade offs between these options.

For what is is worth - there are only 2 of us with a small dog when we travel.
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Old 07-05-2020, 02:41 PM   #2
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2017 28' International
Jim Falls , Wisconsin
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I guess it depends how you use it. I wouldn't want to hook and unhook anytime I wanted to go some place while camping. To me the motorhomes are for those long trips and just a few nights here and there. I could see the benefit of this being an easy way to travel from A to B without worrying about hotel rooms etc. Or if you go somewhere and you aren't going to leave the campsite much.

And plus now you have the issue of doing other maintenance on a vehicle such as motors, oil changes, etc. And if you live in a cold area of the country are you going to winterize it? keep it in heated area?

I think if I was going that route I'd buy a Class C and pull a small vehicle. For the price of an AS motorhome you could get a pretty nice Class C.

But again it's all in how you use it. For some people it's the thing to have.
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Old 07-05-2020, 04:03 PM   #3
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Austin (Hays County) , Texas
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Posts: 7,070
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I have a GT and I tow a car on some trips. I started with a smart. When the smart died, I replaced it with a Ford Fiesta.

Whether I take the toad, depends on just what the trip may be. I go on a 2-week trip to my daughter in Missouri with 2 overnight stops each way and not take my toad. In the evenings, I may drop the power and electric and drive to a restaurant or to a movie.

For state parks and the like, I may or may not take the toad, depending on location and local attractions.

For Airstream rallies, I always take the toad to run to various events and dinners he club has scheduled.

Pulling the Fiesta costs about 2 mpg. Hooking and unhooking it is a 5-minute chore. I can't tell it is back there without the camera.
John W. Irwin
2018 Interstate GT, "Sabre-Dog V"
WBCCI #9632
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:16 PM   #4
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2013 Interstate Coach
Idaho Falls , Idaho
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I too tow a Ford Fiesta as a toad. My coach is very easy to drive around. I even parallel park it. However my wife and I decided part of the enjoyment of travel was the exploration and doing it as comfortable as possible. We find we are more apt to go and explore with Freida the following Ford Fiesta than unhooking the coach. Many think the reason you get a class B is not to tow anything. To each his own.
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:28 PM   #5
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2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
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Travel trailers are optimized for short distances and long duration stays such as a week or two at a regional lake. Class B motor homes are optimized for long distance (cross continental) tours and short stays at multiple destinations.

The beauty of the Class Bs (and to a lesser extent the B+s and Cs) are their ability to fit into parking lots. This gives you tremendous flexibility you can’t get with a trailer or Class A. If you want pulled pork in Memphis, it’s no more trouble that adding a new destination into your mapping software. You can also back up if needed so planning your way in and out of gas stations is much easier.

You also have a bathroom onboard so you only need to stop to swap drivers. If we had a trailer I wouldn’t be able to eat a burrito on the road for fear of losing 40 miles at a rest stop.

Another benefit of a small motor home is not needing campgrounds and being able to better integrate with the local culture. We were checking out an old lighthouse late one afternoon and the curator invited us to stay overnight in one of the two parking spots over night. If we had a trailer we would have been in a big truck, never gotten the invite, and would have had to drive 30-40 miles back to our campground that night.

This doesn’t apply to the Atlas as much as the Interstate, but the modern Interstates look more like people movers for group trips than stereotypical RVs so you can get away with camping in less traditional places (stealth camping - lite). One year we were traveling over spring break and couldn’t get a campground reservation. Instead we purchased a back country camping permit and ‘camped’ at the trail head for the better part of a week.

We rarely use hooks up in our 2007 Interstate. We installed lithium batteries, installed a DC fridge, and enough solar that our boondocking is limited by how much fresh water we can cary. Of course, this only works for cool climate trips. In hot weather, electrical hook/ups are still required to run the air conditioner.

But we’ve done working trips in the Texas heat where we had to unplug and relocate every morning. It’s 30 seconds of light labor coiling up the electric cord and hopping back into the van. No load distributing hitches, or any of that nonsense required. We can usually find a level spot without the need for blocks so that saves time as well when packing up.

Of course all this assumes you’re traveling solo or with someone you get along with pretty well. You can’t get much alone time in a small van and you can’t easily leave someone at the camp while the other drives for groceries, etc.... For that a toad would be needed.
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:53 AM   #6
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2004 22' Interstate
Tipton , Iowa
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^^^^^ What LB 3 said. ^^^^^

It all depends on your travel style. I had trailers for twenty-five years. Now we have motorhomes. I have two; an '04 AI Sprinter and an '06 Born Free 32' rear island queen Super-C on a Kodiak chassis.

They have different purposes. We use the Born Free like we used to use the travel trailer... long trips with several night stays, and I pull a Jeep as our "expedition vehicle" for trips from base camp. I use the AI for cross-country runs, staying in Walmart and Cabelas on the way, and where I have a place to stay for several days at the end of the journey. I also use it for staying at one of my apartment buildings 300 miles from home when I make trips up for maintenance. I can tow the Jeep with it as well if I want to. I don't usually have a need.

When all is said and done, no RV is perfect for all travel. That's why there are so many kinds available. You have to decide how YOU want to travel most, and what limits you're willing to put up with when you're going to use your RV outside your "regular" use patterns. Class B motorhomes have generators and are perfect for overnighting in rest stops and parking lots. Trailers have space for a leisurely week at a resort. Small class C motorhomes are too large to park in a parking stall, and don't have the room of a Class A or large TT, all of which brings to mind the song:

AIR 2053 Current: 2004 Airstream Interstate "B-Van" T1N Sprinter & 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:17 AM   #7
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2014 19' Flying Cloud
Reseda , California
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Short answer: sounds like you answered your own question in your comments.

If you are looking for validation, others have.
"No job is so simple that it cannot be done wrong."
"Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."
"Either I will find a way, or I will make one."
WBCCI 9164
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:04 AM   #8
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2019 Nest
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Home of the Falcons! , Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 3
Angry My AS Class B was nothing but trouble!

Hi. I bought a brand new 2016 Interstate and had one problem after another. Way too many problems for a $150k vehicle! If you are considering the new Atlas, I would look at a Leisure Travel. Airstream has put a price tag on the Atlas that just doesn't make cents. : ) I love the nostalgia of any Airstream, but they really need to up their game with quality control. Everyone is having way too many issues with any new trailer or Class B van. Best wishes.
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:11 AM   #9
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Brookhaven , Georgia
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Here's something about the Atlas. I haven't watched this since it came out, but I recall them saying that the tankless water heater wasted gallons of water before heating up. If this isn't the episode, then it's around this time.

I could live in my Interstate for a long time. You just have to condense. You will find it easy to drive and park, and it accelerates over the Continental Divide.
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:56 AM   #10
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2016 Interstate Lounge Ext
Green Cove Springs , Florida
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Whether a tankless heater wastes much water before you get heated water depends largely on the type of tankless heater. Our Truma AquaGo has a setting that allows it to maintain a small amount of hot water in a little tank so you get hot water as instantly as possible without a recirculating hot water system. As that pre-heated water is consumed, the on-demand portion of the system kicks in and follows it so you get an uninterrupted flow of hot water. Works great! So, if you get an RV with a tankless heater look for that feature, or even better, a recirculating system that truly provides instant hot water.
Rocinante Piccolo is our new-to-us 2016 Interstate Lounge 3500 EXT
(Named for John Steinbeck's camper from "Travels With Charley")

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Old 07-06-2020, 12:27 PM   #11
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Reidsville , Georgia
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No one has mentioned the Class A motorhomes, so thought I would chime in. Mine is a diesel pusher and I started out towing a Jeep Grand Cherokee now swapped to a Wrangler. Very simple hook up and go. Like others already said, bathroom, bed, and kitchen is ready anytime you pull of the road. Generator is a push of a button and everything comes alive!

It all goes back to how you travel and where your going. I have been cross country 3 times and lived on it fulltime for almost 3 years. Mine even has a washer dryer. Good luck with your decision and keep us posted.
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Old 07-06-2020, 01:02 PM   #12
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​2020 Atlas​
Cleveland , Georgia
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 48
We have a 2020 Atlas and, so far, we really like it. The internal space is not generous but adequate for living for days at a time. The murphy bed is very comfortable. The on-board bathroom and shower are terrific (though it does take a while for the on-demand heater to kick in which fills up your gray-water tank quickly). The galley is convenient and the recessed TV is neat. We travel and camp as a couple with two poodles. They like it too. The rig drives very comfortably and the view out the windshield is great. Parking is easy.

We have had some trouble with the slider that somehow got twisted and required replacement of the frame. Airstream was NOT helpful on this, resulting in a month-plus delay waiting for Airstream to supply the parts.

One other thing about the Atlas is that it is a gadget-lover's dream or maybe a nighmare. There are little electric motors for everything from the macerator to the footrests to roof vents. Many things to break down. The rear-view camera (which substitutes for a rear-view mirror) gives a rather hazy view.

We are planning a cross-country tour for September -- Covid permitting -- and will have more to say when we get back to Georgia.

We plan to tow our Prius V behind the Atlas for convenience but we haven't actually pulled it yet. Dealer says towing is fine up to 5,000 lb.

Good luck with your Atlas or whatever you decide on, Krikati
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Old 07-07-2020, 05:34 PM   #13
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1992 29' Excella
2010 22' Interstate
Van By The River , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,183
LB_3 and others have given excellent descriptions of traveling in a Class B (or C) motorhome. We have a 29' Airstream trailer and a 22' Interstate. We tow the trailer with a truck. We don't tow anything behind the Interstate. Both work well for us but we do like the van for many of our travels.

We've always been the type that go from place to place, never staying very long 2 - 4 nights at one stop unless we were volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in which case we are in one location for 1 - 2 weeks.

The trailer clearly wins out for the Habitat trips and for some other trips. The van works in either scenario but if the trip involves lots of miles and short duration overnight stops the van is clearly the winner.

Regarding hooking/unhooking from utilities... we avoid campgrounds if we can, so many times our travels don't include utilities. We keep our fresh water tank topped off every few days and dump the waste tanks when needed. Even if we stay in campgrounds the only thing we connect to is the shore power. Just use the water tank and pump. One less thing to connect.

Disconnecting the electric cord to go the grocery store is not a problem. We're probably leaving the campsite anyway... on to our next destination.

We also find the van is much more forgiving of being level (or not) The only thing we worry about is making sure our heads are higher than our feet and ensuring the shower will drain properly. If that means driving into a campsite instead of backing in that's fine. Side to side usually isn't a problem. Consequently, we very seldom use leveling blocks.

The van is a great way to cover lots of ground without feeling rushed. Leave your overnight stop in the morning, do some sightseeing, stop to visit friends & family, you're in a new campsite several hundred miles down the road and it doesn't seem rushed at all. Each night is potentially a new place, new experiences, new food, over the next hill, around the next bend in the road, etc. What's not to like?
Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic / 2010 Interstate
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
2018 GMC Sierra K1500 SLT, 6.2L, Max Trailering
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:12 PM   #14
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2013 Interstate Coach
Indianola , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 156
I’ll echo nvestysly’s sentiments. We also have a travel trailer and an Interstate, traveling with our 2 kids whenever we travel. We usually love covering a lot of ground to see as many things as we can in only a week at a time bookended by weekends. The van is perfect for that. For trips where we stay in one spot for several days at a time, and make day trips with our truck, the travel trailer is usually preferred.
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Old 07-07-2020, 08:52 PM   #15
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​2020 Atlas​
Walker , Iowa
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 23
We have a 2020 Atlas and love it. About 5,000 miles on it now. Very comfortable and luxurious but yes pricey. Quality seems very good but full of electronics so I expect a few hiccups as with any house on wheels. We haven't towed but rather have matched E-assist Specialized bikes on the back hitch with cool bags for groceries etc. IMO this is a pretty neat way to travel and no it is not a big hassle to unhook and sight see but the E-bikes make things so much easier and the look on the biking enthusiasts' faces as a 63 y/o guy and his wife pass them up on the bike trails with ease is quite rewarding. Bike range of 50 miles or so makes day trips easy and no car parking hassles. Fuel mileage of the Atlas is around 16 mpg and with a diesel generator running off the fuel tank, and solar panels stopping off the grid is really easy. Amenities inside are substantial. Great vehicle for two people and a French Bulldog having recently retired and beginning new adventures.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:32 PM   #16
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We went from a 23 to a 33Tiffin Motorhome. We do not plan to tow a toad anytime soon. The value of a Class B is that it is your RV and your cruising vehicle. If you can't make that work, then I would reconsider the move. Pat
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Old 07-10-2020, 12:45 PM   #17
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​2020 Atlas​
Greensboro , North Carolina
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Posts: 42
Started with the 2020 Atlas and not wanting to tow anything, but decided that some trips we'll tow and not on others, depending on where we go. When we tow we use a Jeep Cherokee. The Jeep weighs 4200 and the Atlas pulls it just fine.
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Old 07-10-2020, 08:13 PM   #18
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
2018 33' Classic
​2020 Atlas​
Pullman , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 65
We placed our order today for a 2021 Atlas - so we are off to the races!
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Old 07-12-2020, 01:31 PM   #19
1 Rivet Member
Clinton , South Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 7
25FC to 30Classic to Interstate GT😁

We have had 2 Airstream trailers and loved them! Went from 25 ft FC to 30 ft Classic for more room. Pretty quickly learned we really didn’t need all the room and did not enjoy setup one day and takedown next morning in fast travel. Also, wanted to stop at sites and/or restaurants along journey and difficult with truck and long trailer (55 ft to park!). So have ordered a 2021 Interstate GT (Tommy Bahama), and we are over the moon excited to get it. Will not be ready until October🥴. Very grateful for the insightful comments y’all provided. Travel safe!

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Old 07-12-2020, 03:49 PM   #20
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2019 ​Interstate Nineteen
SARASOTA , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 12
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
I guess it depends how you use it. I wouldn't want to hook and unhook anytime I wanted to go some place while camping. To me the motorhomes are for those long trips and just a few nights here and there. I could see the benefit of this being an easy way to travel from A to B without worrying about hotel rooms etc. Or if you go somewhere and you aren't going to leave the campsite much.

And plus now you have the issue of doing other maintenance on a vehicle such as motors, oil changes, etc. And if you live in a cold area of the country are you going to winterize it? keep it in heated area?

I think if I was going that route I'd buy a Class C and pull a small vehicle. For the price of an AS motorhome you could get a pretty nice Class C.

But again it's all in how you use it. For some people it's the thing to have.
We own a 2020 AS Interstate 19, are “newbies” at this and enjoying every trip. The 19 is compact for sure with limited storage but the Benz diesel is powerful and nimble.Just the 2 of us and bike rack! When we camp it’s easy to unhook small discharge hose (macerator system) and electric and locally shop and site see area and the return. We camp at National and state park’s with both full or limited service. We like the 19 since we can park and shop anywhere including our home driveway. Great for both short and extended trips, but be prepared to become a minimalist! Enjoy
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