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Old 01-07-2013, 03:07 PM   #41
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If this thread is still alive and kicking--go for it Lindsay! My husband and I and our young Doberman are now living in our 1986 34' Limited for the 9mo academic year (2012-2013) in College Station, TX, and are very comfortable. We are in an RV park, and short of buying land and paying for a septic system and a well to be installed, that's the simplest way to go. We're paying $400/mo and that includes water and electricity, cable TV. We buy our own propane for the stove and furnace, but the AC (electrical) has a heatpump that does a good job unless freezing weather lasts more than a day or two. There is a laundry facility here and shower rooms, all pretty nice, and this is much cheaper than building your own for the relative short term.

The people are friendly here, too, and look out for each other when people are gone. This friendliness and back-watching is also an improvement over apts or a lot in the boonies. There is just a camaraderie among trailer folks that doesn't seem to show up reliably in other groups.

And of course nothing beats an Airstream, whether going down the road or stationary and hooked up. I think you have a smart idea if you can find a reasonable RV park. I wish you all the best!

Vivian
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:47 PM   #42
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I'm doing this too, 2 years and counting. I wanted a "Tiny House", but it was much easier to buy and transport an Airstream. And Airstreams have a better resale value when you eventually decide to cash out. I considered a fiberglass RV, but they don't feel the same, and don't hold their value as well. Airstreams are special, particularly the CCD models. I regret the lack of insulation when it's cold, but I deal with it.
I'm in a park that allows indefinite stays, but I had to really look for one. The first one I landed in had a time limit, and then you had to move. But that gave me enough time to find a better park.
Keep in mind that parks that allow indefinite stays can have "trailer park people" problems, like drugs, drunken late-night police raids, etc. Really research the park and neighborhood carefully. Management of a long-term-stay park can also be less, umm, quality-oriented, than at a resort campground. But despite all that, people are equal no matter how much they earn, and if you greet your new neighbors without prejudice and an open heart, you'll probably be meeting someone very nice.
As far as maintenance, you will need to tow it to a dealer about once a year for waterproofing, or else find someone experienced to drive to you to do it. (And check your tires and brakes before you tow it after all that sitting around!)
And you'll have to wash and polish your house! Frequently. Or pay someone to do it. CA sun really ages the seals on the roof, and there are a lot of seals to maintain! Just because it isn't raining doesn't mean you shouldn't keep up with the seals. All it takes is one downpour to saturate your chipboard floor, and then it's game over.
And I can attest to the floor rot problem. It's my greatest fear and biggest reason for keeping up with the waterproofing.
Based on my research, most good communities have zoning laws that prevent camping on residential property. You can store a trailer on a domestic-zoned lot, but you can't live in it. YMMV.
I pay more to stay at a park than in someone's back yard, but the hookups, internet, and convenience are worth it to me. PM me for more details on anything.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:56 PM   #43
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:57 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Protohyp View Post
Check your messages
And how you do that is....
Look in the upper right hand corner. Click on "Private Messages" when the screen opens, select each unread private message. (She's a noob fellas. So were we all once. Now I'm an "expert" Rivet Master - but of course an Expert is just a former drip now under pressure)

So - New vs. used. There's "gently used" there's "Used" and then there's "Effen Used" which includes some, most or all of the following:
  • rear end separation
  • floor rot
  • frame broken, bent or rusted out
  • missing or leaking holding tanks
  • the gentle scent of mouse urine
  • missing interior or worse - it's still there and looks like an elephant gave birth on it
  • "PO (previous owner) creative "fixes" that can be such charming things as old garden hose replacing a broken pipe, propane lines sealed with hope, prayer and duct tape, wiring done with a free "tingle" included, ad nauseum
  • missing windows, skylights, home appliances installed by chopping the S*** out of parts of the interior or windows, etc.
  • axles that have sagged and frozen
  • territorial raccoons
  • lice, hanta virus, used condoms or other abandoned "novelty items"

So if you see a "basket case" or "insurance totaled wreck" run like crazy. If at all possible go with gently used and get a volunteer inspector from this forum to help you do your initial selection.

Learn how to seal your own seams - even if you'd regularly prefer to hire that out... you CAN do it... and it's a good thing to know. In a pinch (the middle of 7 rainy days when your skylight starts leaking and it's too wet to USE sealant) you dry the roof seam with a microfiber cloth, and lay down a strip of aluminum tape. Or several pieces if you can't spot an obvious source! The rain stops, you get up on the ladder, get the tape OFF, use WD-40 or a gentle solvent to get off the glue and re-seal.)

The two best ways to find the right Airstream for you are to go to a RALLY - or a big dealership. Some WBCCI rallies are open to potential owners so ask, virtually all forum rallies are open to future Airstreamers. Most people love to show off their Airstreams at rallies, and there are usually "open houses" at most rallies. Folks in California can tell you where you can see the biggest dealerships. And what they haven't told you about yet are the places that do custom Airstream work but of course that isn't "economical". None the less, put on a drool cup and check out Area 54 or one of the others just to torment yourself. If you'd like to go online and look... well New Airstreams for Sale, Used Airstream Trailers for Sale, Airstream Mercedes Sprinter Interstate for Sale, Flying Cloud, Bambi, Classic, Sport has the best website but is on the wrong end of the country. Websites will only tell you so much. You really need to walk through and sit in an Airstream before you choose it or it chooses you. There are some where knee room and door openings to bathrooms are real issues.

Do a lot of reading here because there are a few models with known problems.

Gently used - ideally still a bit of the original warranty left. People bought impulsively then employment, health or life changed and the RV turned into yard art.

Good luck and happy trails. Paula

PS when touring anyone else's Airstream - kicking off shoes at the door is a signal that you get it!
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:25 PM   #45
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Lindsay,
I just acquired a 1966 Overlander and plan to refurb and live in it. I like living in small spaces and have even lived in a treehouse for a few years. The first thing I did when considering this was to look for RV parks (I'm in Florida). I visited several and spoke to people in the parks. I found one that I really liked and submitted an application. I was accepted, but then lost my job and was unable to move it there. I'm currently in my father's driveway. Not so bad, except not being able to hook up to the water here due to septic tank regulations. I say... go for it! Live your dreams!
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:33 AM   #46
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Right now I'm privy to a severe leak and floor rot.......
via the park model which is on the same property.

Why be "normal?" Living in an Airstream is way kewl. For how long? Depends on the stubborness/eccentricities of its inhabitant(s).
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:13 PM   #47
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I like the post up there about people with imagination! Be sure you research the year and model. Some of them have huge problems. I've only been on here for a few weeks and I notice it's a continuing theme to tell women who ask questions about living in Airstreams that they should move into trailer parks and a mobile home. Ugh. Or they can travel around with packs of other women in Airstream clubs, etc. Phooey. Airstreams are awesome. You are on the right track.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:36 PM   #48
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I LOVE living in my airstream. I've lived in it for 18 months and I love it. I'd do it again tomorrow. I wish I'd done it years ago.

For me, it was a steep learning curve (I had never towed anything substantial, nor had I ever even camped in an RV). And! it has always been my dream to own an airstream. I've trolled the classifieds for years and years. And in November of 2011, I purchased my 2011 20' Flying Cloud. I had always thought I'd buy used, but eventually the benefits of a warranty and the reliability of something new without existing unknowns and problems won out.

Side note: I've wanted to write a supplemental book to the "Airstream for Newbies" because I found it was missing critical information for those of us (just me?) who had never RV'd before. Ever.

I'm 38. I'm single. I live in "Opie" with my 70 pound dog. I have parked in a "full service" park with sewer, water, electrical, and cable for the past 18 months. I wake up smiling every day. No one told me to change my dreams because I'm a woman.

Side note: why are people members of an airstream forum promoting less reliable RVs and double wides?!?

I do wish I'd bought the 23' flying cloud because I hate (read: loathe) making the bed. The walk around bed could change my life.

I spent weekend after weekend walking through models at the airstream dealer in Covington, WA. I knew the color, year, and layout of the trailer I wanted and waited until I found one that was priced right.

Happy to share more of what I have learned (septic, water heater, towing, security, and more) if its helpful. I also find it very liberating to use the outdoors as a second room. We eat and work outside a lot!

So, I'm happy every single day. Every single day.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:20 PM   #49
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I had a Nature's Head composting toilet installed in my Airstream. No longer dependent on any hookups. Good thing because there is no running water on the ranch where I live.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #50
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2 years in an airstream

I can tell you from personal experience, and as I write this sitting in my 1969 airstream. It's very doable. More then doable. My husband ,my dog and my cat have been living in our airstream for 2 years. We actually love it. We're newly weds and getting on our feet. Saving to buy a house. As we have lived in it and as the seasons have past wev fixed things here and there. I would say when buying your airstream the most important thing to look for is make sure all the plumbing is up to date and newer and that the floors are solid. Those two things are the hardest and biggest deals to fix. Other then that's its just cosmetic. You will enjoy making it your own and comming home to your own little space. We found and rv park that allowes full time Parker's. meaning u can stay as long as u like. They have a thing u plug your airstream into for electric and a place to putt your plumbing into the ground so we just put a real toilet in and flush it down like a regular system. We live right off the lake and swim in the summer and cozy up on our couch to watch movies in the winter. Our electric bill is about 100 a month and our rent to park is 325. We live in Texas so it's probly different pricing there. I say go for it. Airstreams are so much cooler then any old camper or rv. Very Americana
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:35 AM   #51
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"Side note: why are people members of an airstream forum promoting less reliable RVs and double wides?!?"

Because they are bigger and cheaper, if you are not moving all the time you do not need the features that make an Airstream special, like streamlined body and light weight.

They offer better value for money if you are going to stay put.
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Old 08-07-2013, 12:03 AM   #52
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I've looked at lots of fiberglass RVs, but find all that puffy velour upholstery, brass accents and oak trim depressing. I envy the slideouts and storage compartments, but I like my CCD!

And -- honestly asking here -- what about resale value or longevity? Is an Airstream truly longer-lasting with better residual value, or are some fiberglass units as good?
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:56 PM   #53
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Hope Lindsay has pursued her dream. Anyone hear from her?
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:36 PM   #54
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I haven't heard anything, but I've enjoyed reading through the thread!
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Old 07-14-2015, 07:03 AM   #55
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Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum but found this thread to be very informative. I am exactly where Lindsay was when she wrote her first post, and I'm wondering: if you're there Lindsay, can you please tell us how it's worked out for you? I am thinking of going with a new Flying Cloud because of warranty, but I don't know how to start looking for land or an RV park in Los Angeles? Any tips would be much appreciated. And for those of you doing this, thank you for all your insight, it makes a long-time dream seem actually plausible
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Old 07-14-2015, 03:01 PM   #56
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"And -- honestly asking here -- what about resale value or longevity? Is an Airstream truly longer-lasting with better residual value, or are some fiberglass units as good?"

One way to check that is to look at resale value of a five-year-old airstream compared to what it was new and do the same for whatever you are also looking at. ALL vehicles will depreciate quite a bit in this time, but some are better than others. Is a five-year-old RV worth 50, 75, 90% of new? Now do the same thing for a 10-year-old coach. If you really want some fun, do the same thing for a 25-year-old coach.

To address the last point about whether another brand might be as good as an Airstream, the intended use is key. How many adults, children, pets all are factors in picking the right RV. How often will you be moving? Where are you going to be visiting? Are you full-timers? What physical limitations do you have? An Airstream is a great coach, but it isn't the perfect one for everyone. If it was, Airstream would be the only RV manufacturer in the country. I would venture to say that every coach made is absolutely perfect for someone, somewhat close for some, not really right for most, and absolutely the worst possible choice for someone else.

Whether you are looking to buy new or used, spend some time seriously analyzing your intended use of the coach. Be as honest as you can with yourself. If you have a champagne taste and a beer budget you are going to be looking at high-end used coaches. If you just won the lottery you can buy whatever suits your needs.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:09 AM   #57
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My advice; just buy an Airstream! I personally believe an Airstream in your
life will be the best decision you will ever make. My Airstream changed my life. I'm happier now than I have ever been.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:09 PM   #58
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Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum but found this thread to be very informative. I am exactly where Lindsay was when she wrote her first post, and I'm wondering: if you're there Lindsay, can you please tell us how it's worked out for you? I am thinking of going with a new Flying Cloud because of warranty, but I don't know how to start looking for land or an RV park in Los Angeles? Any tips would be much appreciated. And for those of you doing this, thank you for all your insight, it makes a long-time dream seem actually plausible
I'm in the same boat. I've been researching and saving for almost two years. As a teacher, I really want to be able to head out on the road during my vacation months and get the most out of it. I am tied to my job in Ventura county for 9 months a year, though, and I will be until my student loans are paid off.

Finding a full-timing spot is really difficult. You can check Walnut Creek in Northridge, Valencia Travel Village, or Castaic Lake RV park. They all cost in the $850-950/mo range though, which isn't much in the way of savings over an apartment.

It drives me a bit crazy that I can't just buy a bit of land and live on it. This state is impossible sometimes.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:27 AM   #59
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Really SAVING money.

Living in my Airstream costs less on a day to day basis than having a house payment, but then I want a new tow vehicle. BIG chunka cash. I'm betting that in the real world the tiny house movement isn't quite as dramatically economical as it's portrayed. I think people who are trying to find a simpler life may not quite get how little they are really able to give up to get that simple life.

There IS a tradition that still exists - taking in family when they are in distress. When I was a tiny girl we had a baby sitter who was a widow with no resources. She lived in a relative's garage that had been nicely converted to an efficiency apartment. There were lots of "mother-in-law suites" or "guest cottages" that started life as sheds, garages, basements or stables. Some were very primitive, but most had plumbing and heating added. For the most part, the zoning board didn't intervene as long as they were family and not "renters".

Look around. There are a huge number of people that are one inch above homeless - living in vans and minivans for the most part. When it comes right down to it, almost all of us could fall that far - due to serious depression, mental health issues , or a major natural disaster. Lots of people who went through Katrina DID, and some still are trying to crawl back into "regular blue collar" lifestyles.


If saving a huge amount of money is your goal - here is a way to be an urban commando with a bit more of a plan.

I just met a man who DID succeed in urban living for 18 months. He graduated from college in 2008 as the economy was tanking and was unemployed/under-employed for years. Interest on his student loans kept accruing and then he got injured and had no hospitalization. You can't get out of a student loan by going bankrupt so he decided to go underground.
He did it in the Washington DC area of all places, paying virtually no camping fees, by adapting a plain old box truck and parking it here and there in commercial neighborhoods/lots. He stayed out of DC proper for obvious reasons, but spent a lot of time in the Virginia suburbs.

The vehicle? NOT an RV, more a camouflage survival pod. I would probably have abandoned the effort at a month, but his goal was to "go Galt" and slide under the radar of rent/taxes/camping fees so he could get his student loans paid off and not still be broke when he hit 40. He bought a box truck for about $2800 which was quite aged and had been a U-Haul at one time. Getting it through a state inspection must have been interesting. He added two fantastic fans in the roof (opaque covers), and had only the cab windows with a standard grid between the cab and the box, and two small windows in the roll down rear door - heavily tinted.

Amenities?
  • No A/C except in the cab. In the summer he always tried to park in shade or on the north side of a building. Survived with the roof fans and a small 12 volt fan.
  • some kind of toilet - whether cassette, composting or a mere porta potty I'm not sure. He disposed of the waste at truck stops as needed.
  • a makeshift shower - water supply was 5 gallon water cooler jugs, with a hand pump and hose he showed under - water at room temp. Gray water went into a shallow container and was then discreetly siphoned onto the ground or into a storm sewer at night (gallon or two? more like a sponge bath is my guess).
  • bed - mattress on floor
  • splurged on 2 Yeti coolers for food & drinking water storage.
  • storage - cheap hanging wardrobe, plastic trunks that doubled as seating
  • did not normally cook but had a small camp stove for the occasional hot meal.
  • TV, radio, media - hung out at coffee shops, etc.
  • paid a friend $25 per month for the use of his address for bills, etc.
  • technology: smart phone/I-pad tethered to it or on free wi-fi.
  • cameras and peepholes - exiting the truck via the rear door was something he avoided doing when anyone might have an opportunity to see IN so he did have a couple of cameras, and peepholes.
  • he had a bike for recreation, exercise, etc.

The truck stop and laundromat were his friends - for a REAL shower once a week or so, and to get his clothing cleaned. He told me he just made sure to blend in, and not to wear out his welcome by staying in the same spot for days or weeks at a time. During the coldest part of winter he parked at an auto repair shop and with the permission of the owner he ran an extension cord for a space heater. I think he might have paid $10 per night for that period.

His boss knew what he was doing in sort of a vague way, and he used a friend's address for snail mail, driver's license address, etc. The friend had a virtual roommate who never left his socks on the living room floor.

He told me he paid off almost all of his student loans, and was within $300 of getting the hospital's bill paid, but then the truck's engine died and he decided to sell it for junk and return to real life.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:37 PM   #60
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So LindsayStove how has this worked out for you? I know this is an old thread but the subject came up again on this forum and I'm sure many people would like to know how you are doing. I hope life is good for you even if you didn't get an Airstream!
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