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Old 06-22-2010, 06:11 PM   #21
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Ray,
Great thread! Being an off-roader myself, I have had a few laughs reading your thread thinking of some of the things we have learned as well (although not with an AS in tow).

When we were in Utah running the trails with a Jeep, we made sure we got a the "Jeep Trail Guide" for each area. It has the road markings, levels of difficulty and MOST IMPORTANT, direction of travel. On the roads with only 1 lane, it is important to know which direction traffic is supposed to run so as not to have a head to head meeting with another driver and need to backup next to a cliff for a mile or 2. I couldn't imaging doing that with an AS in tow. Beautiful country though.

For the stovetop grommet, our new stove is the same way. A slight push on the grill and the grommets fall inside. They make a grommet that has a smaller overlap on one side but the other is much wider eliminating the ability for it to drop inside. This site would have something for sure.

Will continue to read this thread!
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:28 PM   #22
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Rockdocker versus Boondocker camping

I read in the Airstream Forums Boondockers complaining that their television requires a generator and the furnance uses up the batteries faster than their generator can recharge the AS batteries. I almost want to laugh... digitally as I cannot laugh out loud on the forum. Posting comments on a Boondocking forum would be out of place, because Rockdockers are a very small number of AS or trailer campers.

That is just one difference, but you understand the difference. I Rockdock and do not need television. I have yet to see ANY Rockdocker in the back country with a television, an air conditioner running or a satellite dish for internet computer operation. Maybe... that is why people confuse Boondocking with camping. Boondocking is going from point A to B and wanting the convenience of living at home, hooked up to the power grid. Where we park our AS, there is NO television. We are lucky to find an AM radio station! At night I will find a high wattage AM radio station that fades in and out, but I can get some current news and weather report. I have noticed that Spanish language stations come in strong and clear... What's up with that... but I wander.

What ever I have in our AS on our off road camping "adventures" have been filtered through years of tent camping and five years of trailer camping. My tools out number our stainless steel kitchen utensils, for obvious reasons. Airstreams have a tendency to shake interior hardware loose, as well as plumbing and cabinet screws. Airstreams were built for Boondockers. Not for off the electrical grid and gravel back road camping. Rockdockers need to modify some of the original hardware to keep the AS road worthy. I have never encountered another AS in the back country, off the asphalt roads. Hunters seem to avoid the AS for camping due to the cost, and you are not putting an ATV or two in the back for traveling! I understand... I do. But when a Boondocker is complaining, read into the complaint. Such as, "my wife likes long showers while traveling"... Not while Rockdocking you don't! Our AS is lit up like a Las Vegas Casino at night... not while Rockdocking, you don't. If you are a practicing Boondocker, please, it is not necessary to tell me about the hardships of needing a flush toilet and WiFi connections to a tent camper or Rockdocker... I appreciate the fact that 95% of trailer owners ARE NOT CAMPING off the beaten path.

Whew... I do feel better now.

I understand that I am an odd ball among AS owners. I compared trailers at RV Shows in Denver and the AS was better built. Better built does not mean... well engineered. But no cardboard walls and floors that strained under the weight of a mouse. I see the AS Boondocker traveling off the grid like seeing a new Corvette on a 4x4 road in the mountains (which I have done in a 1964 red Corvette Convertable). When you see a Silver Toyota Tundra and Airstream covered with dust... you have just encountered the Last of the Rockdockers heading to the next wilderness outpost that I will just call... the 21st Century American Frontier.

Added: The best thing with AS camping... the refrigerator. Now that is living in luxury! Ice Cream just outside a wilderness area... remarkable.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:47 PM   #23
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If I am not mistaken Ray, I had a VW Vanagon Westfalia one time that had 'D' range 14'" tires on it, they were BFG All terrain tires, it was an 1986
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:13 AM   #24
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Lighten the AS Gross Vehicle Weight- Rockdocking

I do not recall mentioning some alternative uses of AS factory equipment in the past. At times I cannot keep up with what day of the month, within a day or two of the actual date. While Rockdocking you will discover that traffic is coming up to camp on a Friday PM and departing on a Sunday. So we like to arrive at a destination on a Thursday and leave on a Sunday or other weekday. Just prevents getting opposite direction traffic and finding a "comfortable" spot to pull over and let traffic pass.

Micro Wave: We took out the microwave above the refrigerator, as we never use it. The wife put a curtain over the opening and filled the space with disposable plates, bowls, paper towels and toilet paper. Although light, these require a lot of volume.

Oven: We never use the oven. This area is for storing bread, muffins and other soft foods that you do not want flattened, crushed or transformed into a useless clump of breading.

Bed: We always use the bed, so there are some AS items used for the purpose intended! While traveling from point A to point B, we will put anything we want to keep cool under the pillows (produce in plastic containers), water melon ride very well in the middle of the bed. Also a sleeping bag on the floor of the shower will keep a melon in one piece. The cutting board covering to the sink rides on the bed very well. Left on the sink it will be on the floor immediately as you turn off the asphalt road.

Hauling extra water: The water containers fit well into the heavy duty plastic containers that were originally used for one gallon milk delivery's are the most stable. Some hardware stores sell them. Just check to see if your water jug fits. Nothing like having 6 gallons of water getting loose in the back of the pickup. These plastic containers, flipped over are good for reaching for the awning lock downs and re-rolling the awning when getting ready to leaving the camp site.

Five Gallon buckets: You know, the usually white ones with a plastic lid. They could have had pie filling to stucco originally. On windy days and the awning is kept out for rain/sun shelter. Tie a good nylon rope to the awning and to the bucket filled with rocks. Keeps from bending your support rods. A metal rod can be driven into the ground at an angle and the rope tied to it. The bucket will weigh less and can be a portable table, seat, water hauler from a river, short ladder or just to put those interesting rocks you keep throwing into the back of the truck. They stack very well and if you put a tennis ball inside each one, the buckets do not get locked in as tight while hauling them. A bucket to stand upon to tighten down the rolled awning is a light substitute for a heavier ladder.

Bow Saw: A bow saw, an extra blade, for cutting back brush and branches that would otherwise leave a good scratch from one end of the truck and trailer. Also some long handled tree branch trimmers work well for the smaller branches. It will save your AS finish.

Wheel Bearings: Keep an extra set of inner and outer bearings and seal, wheel bearing grease and know how to take out the inner oil seal with a hammer and available soft "punch" to remove the oil seal. This is when you have a wheel bearing go bad. You might do no worse than a professional mechanic in an emergency in the back woods. Having the small tool to back off your brake shoes helps, but a screw driver will do in a pinch... Remember. The nut holding the bearings with the cotter pin do NOT need to be tight. You will find that they are put on finger tight... as you will discover if you tightened them too much and burn up the spare set of bearings. Maybe watching someone pull the bearings, cleaning them and packing them with grease would help. The first time is the hardest. After that you are an experienced wrench head.

Ladder: The tube ladder. It compacts into two feet and extends to ten feet. Light and easily adjusted for getting on top of your AS, if necessary.

Antenna: The factory 12 inch or less provided antenna... stinks. Find a two foot metal whip that screws onto the threaded nut. Your reception changes from ZERO to UNLIMITED in seconds. The threads could vary, so find the whip antenna you like and just figure it will be there for the life of the trailer. Cross threaded or not, it will not fall off!

And... just a preventive maintenance advice. The rear tail lights. They fill with water over time. The water gets in through the tail light seals... a misnomer. I took an electric drill, and drilled a drain hole at the base of each of the rear tail lights. The water will then drain out. An 1/8" drill seems to do the trick. Just find the area you would expect the water to drain the best and go to it. Starting with a small hole and then the larger drill makes a cleaner hole and easier to get a hole that is closer to where you want to drill.
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