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Old 10-26-2006, 11:15 AM   #1
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Huntington Beach , California
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What are we in for?

Hello folks,

Boy, am I glad I found this site! My partner and I have been living full time in a 24-foot 1995 Fleetwood travel trailer since April of this year. We are currently parked in Newport Beach, California, while she works a very lucrative job at an oil refinery in the L.A. area. Our evil plan is for her to retire in a few years (when her youngest is out of college), and then for us to split our time between building rental houses for investments/income, and being modern-day gypsies, traveling the country in a trailer.

A little wrinkle has recently arisen. Our current trailer sure seemed like a great deal. We bought it from an old friend for $3500, replaced the tires, fixed up the interior real spiffy-like, and hauled it from our native Louisiana out here to sunny California. Everything on the trailer was functional, but we knew that the roof had leaked in the past, had been patched, and was going to need repatching soon. What we didn't know was that our friend had patched right over wet wood and insulation. When my partner got on the roof to rip off the old patch, she discovered that most of the roofing members and a good bit of the walls were very badly rotted! It's kind of a wonder that the thing has held together this long.

Yes, I suppose we should have walked around on the roof and checked it out for weak spots. Hindsight, 20-20, and all that stuff. partner ripped out a bunch of rotted stuff, applied lots of bleach, replaced some roofing members and wall studs with new lumber, and put in new insulation (that bubble foil stuff) and plywood. She's almost done buttoning everything up, caulking, and applying coolseal. However, that's just a temporary quick-and-dirty fix. This trailer clearly isn't going to last much longer unless the entire roof and much of the walls get ripped off and rebuilt. Doesn't seem worth it somehow.

So...we went to the recent RV show in Pomona to check out the latest and greatest in travel trailers. Pretty much everything turned us off: flimsy, crackerbox construction, poorly conceived layouts, unbelievably tacky interior appointments, nauseating fumes from the new carpets/paneling/furnishings....none of the new trailers seemed worth buying.

Except, of course, the Airstreams. Finally, trailers that appealed to our aesthetic sensibilities, clearly made from quality materials, built to last, and way, way cool.

Then we looked at the sticker prices. Whoa.

It seems that the most sensible way for us to proceed is to buy something used and fix it up to suit our needs. We had a lot of fun redoing the interior (and fixing some plumbing issues) on our current trailer, and we can certainly do it again.

So I've been looking around for used trailers, and I'm very heavily leaning toward Airstreams over any other brand. What can I say, I'm a sucker for pretty things, and I really value durability.

I plan to peruse this forum extensively for information, and hopefully join in on some conversations whenever I have a question or something to contribute.

We are planning to get out to Santa Barbara this Sunday to have a look at this 1956 Flying Cloud:

We want something in the 22-26' range. In many ways, a trailer that is essentially a shell would work great for us, though I'm leery of the time and effort it would require to install or rebuild the water, waste, electrical, and HVAC systems...

Thanks very much for any of you who have read this far. My apologies for being so long winded. If any of you happen to have some advice, encouragement, or admonitions for us, that would be great! I'm also going to go through as much of the info already here on past threads as I can.


Nina (Accipeter)
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:34 AM   #2
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Yucca Valley , California
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Welcome. Look at the classified section. You can get a real nice AS in the 7,000 to 22,000 range....
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:45 AM   #3
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Nina, take a close look at that Santa Barbara trailer. Hmm, looks like a bigger project than you already have. Check under the beds, rear compartment, under/behind the couch for back flooring. Look at the floor in the closets, open all the windows, run the appliances. Look at the ceiling panels for loose or missing rivelts. By the photos, this one looks rougher than you might want.
Have you considered the Argosy? Every much an airstream, they, in some cases, sell for less even in great shape. Do you have a current tow Vehicle.?
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:55 AM   #4
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1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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You might look at also, there is a classified section with many trailers for sale.

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:58 AM   #5
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Huntington Beach , California
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Thanks for the advice, Coloradobus! I'll be sure and check everything out. I'm also concerned about the integrity of the frame and underbelly.

We are capable, skillswise, of replacing/redoing a lot of the interior, including wiring and plumbing. However, I don't know yet how much of a project we want to take on. In some ways, a trailer whose interior we need to completely redo appeals to me, because the layout of many of the older Airstreams isn't what we'd want -- for instance, we really don't like the twin beds in the hallway on the way to a rear bath concept that most of the 60s and 70s trailers seem to have, from what I've seen so far online.

But of course, the more we have to do ourselves, the more time and money spent, obviously. We do need to weigh the tradeoffs.
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Old 10-26-2006, 12:02 PM   #6
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Oh yes -- we are currently driving a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 6-cyl 2wd pickup. We just bought a much bigger 3/4 ton diesel Dodge Ram -- I forget the model -- that had been repossessed by my partner's credit union. Her son is currently driving it, but we plan to trade trucks with him if we need the bigger truck for towing. The 1/2 ton did fine with our Fleetwood 24-footer, but it was just about at the limit of what it could do, especially in the mountains.
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Old 10-26-2006, 12:03 PM   #7
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And even Ebay
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Old 10-26-2006, 12:05 PM   #8
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Just wanted to say how jealous I am of your plan to retire and travel like gypsies!

Welcome to the forum!

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Old 10-26-2006, 12:07 PM   #9
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Thanks y'all, for all the links and the nice welcome!
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