Thanks for forum admittance and we're looking forward to new adventures and friends as we engage the airstream community. We have been enjoying this forum for a while and leveraging the shared knowledge. We are getting closer to retirement and hope to take more trips in the meantime.
Below is our starting point and present reasoning for your reading pleasure
Airstream Model – We ended up choosing the 26U Queen primarily for the comfort and size of the “U”. We original liked the 27FB floor plan but switched to 26U once it became available. Ideally, we would have preferred a 26UFB if there was one. Ordered options included were Wild Honey motif, second AC, window awning pkg, and rear view camera. We presently own a 2012 TAB teardrop (now on Craigslist) but want some additional comforts/conveniences and room for our grandkids on occasion.
Purchase process – We ordered a 2017 26U which is due at our local dealer toward the end of Jan 2017. The lead time ended up being 2 months. We ended up with about a 21% discount with a WD/anti-sway hitch/installation included. Originally obtained a quote (22% discount) from Jessica at RVdirect.com (RV One) in Fla. and were prepared to buy from them if our local dealer offer was unreasonable. This is very useful to have as your bargaining base and worst case, you get a trip to Florida. :-) We were fortunate the local dealer met our price as it is the better option for convenience, contact, service, etc. Actual experience is still to be determined at closing and beyond.
Hitch - We chose to start with the Equalizer 4-point #1200 and may dial it back to #1000 depending on the actual performance. Eventually we may switch to one of the higher cost hitches as we gain experience.
Tow Vehicle (TV) – We presently own a 2013 Ram Laramie 5.7 Hemi 4x2. Ideally we would move up to the Ram 2500 6.4 Hemi 4x4 as the 1500
is a bit close to the spec limits for towing and cargo. The options (especially a gas vs diesel) we prefer don’t seem to be available in online inventory so we’ll start with what we already own for now. Our biggest concern is dealing with mountainous terrain, incline need for power and drivetrain match, and decline for motor braking that the diesels are so well adapted to. We presently have a trifold BAKFlip CS-F1 which allows the addition of a rack when we need to carry our kayak.
Tow Mirrors - I ordered the “Longview” towing mirrors from autoanything.com (had 20% off + free shipping) which can be added when towing and removed for daily use.
Bike Rack - Need help here as none of the research thus far rings true.
Generators – We presently have a pair of Honda EU2000i companion so we can add wattage (if needed beyond battery refresh) and still be easy to move.
Other items either already in our possession or in queue on our Amazon shopping list:
Insect screen for heater exhaust
50A Power conditioners/ surge suppressors (installed vs portable is tbd)
30A to 50A pigtail
15A to 30A adapter
Spare fuse set
Cordless impact driver and socket
External water filter
25’ fresh water hose, 10’ water hose, “y” fitting.
Sewer hose (20’) with fittings + snake ramp
Level indicators (bubble based and/or electronic)
Anderson tire levelers
Flojet macerator pump + 5/8” hose + adapters (to empty black/gray tanks (uphill) at home via cleanout)
Bungees and cross bars (to keep ‘stuff’ closed and in place during travel)
Linens, kitchenware, decorative, etc…
Enough already. Looking forward to new adventures...