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Old 10-30-2020, 12:50 AM   #1
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New to Airstream and forums

Hi! I'm very close to buying my first ever RV which happens to be a 2020 Caravel FB. 55 years old, female, mostly retired writer/editor/musician.



I'm looking to go fulltime with a base in southern Arizona. I'll definitely join the Four Corners group.


I am not great at learning new mechanical skills and I'm flying solo so I'm expecting quite a learning curve. But it's still much more appealing to me than buying an overpriced, over-regulated condo.
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Old 10-30-2020, 04:38 AM   #2
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Don't do it.

Wow, that sounds harsh, even to me - and I am a 72 year old single female who did exactly what you are planning when I was slightly older than you.

Here is why you should modify your plan. ALL trailers and RVs (motorized models from vans thru massive mohos) are selling at record levels - double or triple normal volume. The quality issues even with newer Airstreams are horrid... and because of that, the repair services usually have six month waiting lines to get an appointment. A huge number of people who want to full time are waiting in hotels, apartments or a friend's barn or basement. Additionally,, there are regions where a good place to camp is booked for a year in advance. (That varies a lot, some places are almost vacant.) Right now, the full timing dream is a Twilight Zone - strange, weird and with no easy way out.

And camping neighbors? Veteran campers are great neighbors, the ones who have just gotten into the life? When a neighbor is parked less than 15 feet from your door and tries to burn diapers in the campfire... projectile vomiting occurs. So you get the camp manager to move you, and the new neighbors are loud militant drunks or own unmuffled Harleys. You may start to yearn for those anal retentive condo boards.

Most telling... what if you wake up 8 months from now and realize you hate your camper and all it represents. The future is an enigma. You may be able to sell up at little to no loss - or the market could change and it could take you a year to sell even with a big loss. (Hail damage?)

Last negative. Can you travel? AKA "snowbird" and spend the winter in Arizona, Florida, Texas, etc.? I wintered in Eastern Virginia before retiring and true winter was only 6 to 8 weeks long. Even after buying 2 extra 20 lb. Propane bottles I never ever ran out of propane except late at night. I finally learned to change one or both when I thought I only had "a day or two" left.... and to take the bottles to a farm supply chain that charges by weight, not flat rate by tank size. Now I have 30 lb bottles, and oh joy, they are heavy. I see seniors who lift 40 and 50 pounders, but I also see a few who pay premium rates for the delivery truck which fills them in situ. (OH, and good campgrounds have LOTS of regulations for safety and appearance reasons.)

So it is still a dream you want to try? Great! Get a fiberglass "egg" style trailer. CASITA and SCAMP are the best known brands followed by a newer entry, the OLIVER. All may seem really too small, but for six months to a year, eh? And all three normally sell within 72 hours of listing, for historically almost no depreciation. They can also be pulled by regular trucks or cars. Tow vehicle debates here go on forever - but in the end more people surrender to the big honkin' 3/4 ton diesel than peraist in keeping their smaller specially equipped sedans. Why spend money on a tow vehicle if what you already own will work? You will LIKE getting 30 mpg when not towing. Once you have had a year on the road, you'll know whether you want to go big, or.go home, or go home and spend every weekend it the tiny trailer that fits in your garage.

There are other egg trailers including Airstream's now discontinued NEST. Bad fail, Airstream did right to dump it.

None of the brands I mentioned have a dealer network. Call the manufacturers,, and all will find an existing owner/ambassador near you who will give you a tour. You order yours from the factory with exactly the features and trim you want. Six month wait and go pick it up or have it delivered. I have camped next to one Casita rally, and another "scrambled egg" (all brands) rally. Like most rallys, everybody helps newbies and shares knowledge, labor saving tips and clever ideas for customizing the interiors.
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Old 10-30-2020, 04:39 AM   #3
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Hey Casitas are made in TEXAS.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:30 PM   #4
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Welcome to these Forums. I find the people here are very knowledgeable and very helpful.

Thank you Foiled Again for your excellent expo'se on full timing. You've done it for years. Your description fits living in a trailer the same way I see it at the trailer parks we stay at. One advantage of your own trailer is that if you don't like where you are at, you can easily move to the next one. And full timing is likely more expensive that apartment living. We did a budget some years ago and figure about $3500 a month for full timing in an Airstream. It is not the cheapest way to live.

So testingfire: give you plans serious thought and make sure it is the right decision for you.

David
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:01 PM   #5
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Good luck and enjoy.

We started this 2 years ago but we bought a used one and it was taken care of well. I am mechanically inclined. Does help alot. Enjoy your time.....
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:14 PM   #6
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Testingfire, welcome to the Forums and Airstream Community! The Caravel is a wonderful combination of features and trim.

My wife’s dear friend lives in Colorado Springs and bought a NuCamp T@B 320 teardrop trailer three years ago. Joyce had never towed a trailer and is not mechanically inclined. But, she had the desire to learn and did so. She towed it with a stick shift Subaru Forrester for two seasons. She hitches up and camps with a bunch of retired teachers twice a month from spring to fall.

She said she got tired of getting the “double middle-finger” from cars passing her in the mountains. This year she upgraded to a Honda Ridgeline V6 pickup and loves it.

This week she winterized her trailer all by herself from notes she took while watching the dealer do it last time.

Bottom line, you can do it if you want to. I can’t offer any advice about full-timing but if you check YouTube, you’ll find some great advice. Look for “Keep Your Daydream” and Irene Iron Fitness for example.

Wishing you all the best of luck in your adventures!
Jeff & Caryle
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Old 10-31-2020, 12:21 AM   #7
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After I finished my post, I went to the Casita website and priced them. Less than $25,000 loaded for the top model. Then there is a new Ford F150 with max tow package you shouldn't need to buy. Most Airstream + tow vehicle purchases get really close to $100,000 - and more if you go 27 feet or longer. Even gently used ones are selling for really.big money now. The "bargains" are generally in need of a major renovation that can take two years IF you know what you are doing. Generally newbies are regarded as targets by sincere acting con men. Jump into the water - at $25K for starters and look for a Dream Stream LATER.

Right now, rallies are generally not happening, which I REALLY miss. Most WBCCI Airstream Club rallies are open only to Airstream owners - Forum Rallies are generally open and you could always wrap a Casita in aluminum foil as an aspiring owner. The Four Corners Unit will welcome you and help you drink the Kool-aid . There are 2 Airstream Only parks in Texas and a couple.more which opened to all brands but still have many Airstream members. Members who "age out" will often sell their treasured trailers to a newbie who is dedicated to preserving the brand.
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Old 10-31-2020, 07:11 AM   #8
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IIWY...I would do as recommended by FA.

Do what Mikey did try it...The Scamp looks like a nice first try option. That little 5th wheel, offers some extra room with the benefit of excellant towing ease & safety. (less sway, important w/single axle)

Bob
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Old 10-31-2020, 08:20 PM   #9
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I'm glad I came back in here and read the replies.



I'm over on the Airstream groups now, reading tales of door handles breaking, trapping people indoors, and awnings deploying at 60 mph... and figuring out how to make that not terrible.



Gonna chew on this a bit over the next few days.
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Old 11-01-2020, 05:38 AM   #10
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Donít let the doom and gloom scare you. They are great trailers, iconic and well built. Will you have a few minor issues? Yes. Will your trailer fall apart around you? Not a chance.

The Caravel is the right choice for a couple, and can be towed by most trucks/large SUVs. If you want something that can be towed by a mid-sized SUV, look at the 2019 Sport model instead.

Take the plunge and start having fun and making memories!!
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Old 11-01-2020, 05:55 AM   #11
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One great piece of wisdom given to me by a tired sales person on an Airstream lot....all Airstreams are basically Flying Clouds with interior design differences.
What!?!
Turned out he was right. I purchased a FC26 and pocketed the money I saved from getting that International or Globetrotter.
Before committing to the Caravel, take a look at a similar size Flying Cloud. You might be surprised.
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Old 11-01-2020, 05:55 AM   #12
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CHEAP FULL-TIMING

Seems like another good "reality check" that fits into this thread. So..
Cheap fulltiming is possible, and not QUITE as unlikely as winning a $40 million dollar lottery. There seem to be two real models, and I have found one.

I am a shareholder at Travelers Rest and Resort in Florida. Used to be Airstream only, now it is open to all other brands. Now "park models" are in a majority, SOBS and Airstreams are about equally split. The annual dues are almost $4,000 in my section and I do have to pay electricity and supplement the park's basic lawn mowing (weeding a flower bed in Florida IS a serious ongoing chore!) It costs $4000 per year, whether I am actually here one month, or stay 12 months. To save big? Stay put. Avoid travel costs and camping fees. Attending Alumalina for 4 days would have cost $1000 or so in total. And I wouldn't have gotten a free helicopter ride to Walter Reed if I'd caught the Covid-19 cooties. I'd rather be a live chicken than a dead duck.

My section is the Cabana section. I have what amounts to a one room building, and a utility shed. I own the Cabana and can sell it along with my share... and I could move into the Park Model area or even the Village (big lots, big pre-fab homes). I cannot get insurance on a cabana - it is like an outbuilding or shed, contents can be covered but in a hurricane it would be a loss. Many cabanas have been extensively upgraded, and I WILL add a small bathroom and re-side mine, and add new windows (cheaper/faster than rehabbing original 40 year old stuff). Again my risk... but if I sell, I will get more for it than the other un-upgraded ones. There is also a section called Golf View. It is a field where trailers and mohos can stay by the month, or even shorter periods. Normally it is booked solid for the winter early every year. Occasional vacancies happen, and anyone can come in. This year? Time will tell. 40 or so Canadians won't show up until their government says so, and that will depend on a well-tested, effective vaccine.

This campground is NICE and well managed and regulated enough to make hoarders move out! The crazy code enforcers don't get a free hand either - good balance. I normally would not have spent the summer here, but - Covid. HOT as hades, but Covid. A Gated community suddenly has lots of appeal, and being restricted to over 55 age is an added safety margin.
__________
Around the Dade County there are a huge number of RV Parks ranging from luxury to absolutely scarey bad. The words "white trash" may not be politically correct, but I cannot find an accurate term that is close to accurate. The occupants have to be hopeless, destitute, without family to help them, illegals, fugitives - or simply mentally ill. They are cheap, but I wouldn't want to see my worst enemy sentenced to live in one of those.

Wandering and camping is expensive, even if you boondock or use Walmarts, etc. Fuel cost for a gas guzzler or diesel is very costly, insuring a trailer and tow vehicle is going to be a shock. Having any medical emergency on the road, cha-ching! And there are always times you MUST stay in a campground - whether it is to dump your tanks or to wait for a week for major repairs on your truck. Finding a dentist who can take you in less than 3 days can be a challenge.
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Old 11-01-2020, 07:38 AM   #13
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All I can say is....We spent $3500 on the "Frantic Banana" our first AS. We spent 18 Seasons deciding if we liked Streaming, we did and purchased "Cloudsplitter".

Point being...you don't have to spend a ton of $$$$ to confirm if the lifestyle werks for you.

Bob
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The Banana behind the barn where we found it...
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testingfire View Post
I'm glad I came back in here and read the replies.



I'm over on the Airstream groups now, reading tales of door handles breaking, trapping people indoors, and awnings deploying at 60 mph... and figuring out how to make that not terrible.



Gonna chew on this a bit over the next few days.
You are always going to find quirks and other problems with anything you get whether it's SOB (some other brand) or an AS. Best advice would be to buy a slightly used/newer AS, maybe start with something smaller like 16ft to 19ft to get a feel for. It could be the one you stick with, or you may find that down the road you want to go a bit larger.

We bought our 2018 22FB Sport this past summer and love it!
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