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Old 04-20-2012, 10:44 PM   #1
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First Unpleasant Incident

Well it didn't take long for us to have our first unpleasant experience towing our Airstream. The short and direct story is a tractor trailer couldn't stay in his lane and scratched the hell out of the silver bullet, knocking off the awning hook and cracking the range hood's outside vent shroud.

The longer version - we were heading down to Monterey, California and were about 40 miles north of our destination on Hwy 101. We were making a fairly sharp right curve when the road quickly narrowed due to construction. This was not a big deal at first as I was in the right lane and driving slowly and monitoring my position but then suddenly a tractor trailer blew past me in the left lane doing about 60-65 when he should have doing no more than about 40. At the time all I knew was that this idiot was going way too fast for the road conditions and size of his rig and he was way too damn close to my rig for anyone's comfort. Well that was the end of that and we continued on to our destination. So when I get to our spot, that's when I notice the damage. Didn't feel, hear or see a thing when it happened! A nice deep 8' long scratch with a walnut size dent and the damage I described above. On my brand new Airstream on its first big trip

Of course I was really bummed at first but then considered how it could have been a whole lot worse to the degree of not even being here to tell the tale. In total we traveled over 1500 miles on windy and winding roads, up and down mountain passes and through crappy unmaintained California freeways and through thick San Fran metro traffic with some of the world's dumbest drivers and it was one guy who caused me to file a $6000 claim to restore my AS because he was driving too fast on a narrow road. I always try to take the responsibility first and kept thinking if I could have done something better like hugging my right side a bit more, but due to the concrete barriers narrowing the lanes there was not much room. I had my rig in the fence rails and probably could have gained another inch or two and that probably would have cleared me but very hard to tell.

Anyway, stuff happens and I am glad to be here to relay this info on the forums. Other than this incident we had a wonderful trip, the AS performed very well and we were able to go thru the Redwoods for the first time up the northern California coast line. I will definitely go to Cali again but doubt it will be further south than around 100 mies north of San Fran/Sacramento.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:56 PM   #2
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That is, as they say, a real bummer; and on the first trip, too. I'm really pleased that it was just the Airstream with any damage because it's only the people that matter in the long run.

I put a long, 7 or 8 foot scratch and a dent in ours on it's first trip out, too, only that was my fault. I've left the damage as is because it's just superficial, if a little unsightly. As Inland Andy would say, at least we'll recognise our unit in a field full of Airstreams.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:57 PM   #3
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Airchief, so sorry. Our coach is new as well and I would be sick to have it damaged. Will your insurance cover any of the damage? I would report the incident to the state patrol just to have it documented. Glad you are allright.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:58 PM   #4
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Dang --- that hurts.

And it always happens to something shinny that needs no repair.

Just good you did not get crunched worse.

Dave


[QUOTE=AirChief;1136487]Well it didn't take long for us to have our first unpleasant experience towing our Airstream. QUOTE]
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:58 PM   #5
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Airchief

Sorry about your incident. Sounds like you were taking all the right precautions. Nothing you could have done to prevent this- with idiots on the road, these things will happen. Like my daddy always told me- "Danny it could have been a lot worse."

I put a scratch in my new truck, even before it left the dealers lot. Now if you don't think that I was upset about that- because it was my own fault; thats a tough pill to swallow. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth for a long time.

Hope you can get it repaired ok.

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Old 04-20-2012, 10:59 PM   #6
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That really sucks! Sorry to hear of the damage, but glad you are okay. Hopefully they can repare the damage to your satisfaction.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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I'm on my first trip this year in our 2012 "new toy" as I type this. I really feel your pain.

My first thought was how sad that you did not realize the damage until you stopped, would have been nice to have nailed they driver (or his insurance). I also agree it could have been much worse and aluminum can be fixed.

I know the stretch of road you were on very well, I can see what happened in my minds eye. We're up in Columbia (California) this weekend off Hwy 49, the drive took us on multiple narrow spots with heavy traffic. I made up my mind to stay at 55mph on this trip. The number of people blowing past me including big rigs and even other travel trailers surprised me a bit.

If you're in the Norcal area I'd be interested in hearing about the repairs and where you had it done.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:27 PM   #8
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Sorry about those California roads AirChief.. They make me crazy too and I live here. Some of the truckers here are very good drivers, careful and keeping an eye way ahead and others are what you experienced.

Hopefully the repair is quick and the quality is excellent.

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Old 04-21-2012, 12:03 AM   #9
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OUCH! I'm glad to hear that no one was hurt at least! Things can... and will... get fixed. There are plenty of bad drivers out there, irrespective of what kind of vehicle they're in, and it's too bad that you had a run-in with one.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:03 AM   #10
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I'm really sorry to hear that story. It makes me a little sick to my stomach. Since no one was injured, I guess all's well that ends well.

The inconsiderate drivers are everywhere, not just in California. All you can do is be as careful as possible, and enjoy the ride.

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Old 04-21-2012, 07:39 AM   #11
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My experience was different; someone burglarized my Airstream Interstate the first night I had it (See thread "Rocky Start" in the Member Introductions). Still, you have to be philosophical about these things.

Look at it this way; that semi took the "new" right off when he left that scratch, so now at least you won't be paranoid about dinging it yourself! Makes for a much more relaxing drive that way.
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:58 AM   #12
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My guess is that most of us could share an incident, in my case, several, that leads to a less than perfect Airstream. Since 30% of all Airstreams manufactured are no longer on the road, and at least 80% of those remaining have a little ding or two, you have joined a not too exclusive club. I think we all share your feelings though and the best we can hope for is minimal interaction with foreign objects.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:31 AM   #13
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Wink My dumb story...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrUKToad View Post
That is, as they say, a real bummer; and on the first trip, too. I'm really pleased that it was just the Airstream with any damage because it's only the people that matter in the long run.

I put a long, 7 or 8 foot scratch and a dent in ours on it's first trip out, too, only that was my fault. I've left the damage as is because it's just superficial, if a little unsightly. As Inland Andy would say, at least we'll recognise our unit in a field full of Airstreams.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
Airchief

Sorry about your incident. Sounds like you were taking all the right precautions. Nothing you could have done to prevent this- with idiots on the road, these things will happen. Like my daddy always told me- "Danny it could have been a lot worse."

I put a scratch in my new truck, even before it left the dealers lot. Now if you don't think that I was upset about that- because it was my own fault; thats a tough pill to swallow. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth for a long time.

Hope you can get it repaired ok.

Dan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
My experience was different; someone burglarized my Airstream Interstate the first night I had it (See thread "Rocky Start" in the Member Introductions). Still, you have to be philosophical about these things.

Look at it this way; that semi took the "new" right off when he left that scratch, so now at least you won't be paranoid about dinging it yourself! Makes for a much more relaxing drive that way.
Fran/Chief,

Most of us have been there, maybe this story will ease the pain a little and bring a smile.

Bob
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:56 AM   #14
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OK. 80% may be a little low.
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Old 04-21-2012, 10:36 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the nice thoughts everyone, much appreciated. Just so I'm clear and no one is offended - I have nothing against California! Its one the prettiest places I've ever been. It just happened to be where I was and the dumb drivers are everywhere and a metro area is what a metro area is. Being in the military for 22 years, I've lived in many a giant city and the bad drivers and roads could have easily been in DC, Dallas, Philly, etc. I was just relaying the location and the events.

To answer a few questions, I live in Oregon so our local AS dealer is doing the repairs and my insurance is covering it based on my collision in the policy and I will not be listed at fault but I suspect the rates will go up next go round but cheaper than $6000. I considered letting it be a first scar but with it being brand new and how much I'm paying for it, I decided I wanted it fixed.

Again, thanks everyone! Also, someone mentioned about not being as paranoid about damaging it and that is a little true - with such a long trip under my belt in multiple types of weather and terrain and a small accident - I have learned tons!
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:22 PM   #16
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Bummer, but boo-boos happen.

Take a deep breath, and keep on traveling.


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Old 04-21-2012, 04:00 PM   #17
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Sorry to hear of your problem. If it makes you feel any better, my first new car (1963) had the paint bombarded by gravel when a county gravel truck going the other way did not turn off the spreader as he went by. Insurance covered a new paint job, but it was not the same as the original.

I doubt your insurance company cares to investigate, but I wonder if there were any cameras at the construction site to identify the truck, or whether he was stopped for speeding nearby? Of course, that doesn't prove it was him, but narrows it down and if you can identify anything from the truck (company name, color, size, etc.) it might make it possible to find him.

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Old 04-21-2012, 04:19 PM   #18
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Sorry about your damaged trailer.

Speeding truck probably accumulates scuffs with little or no responsibility.

I think the quality of the construction zones at least here in CA are a big contributory factor. It sure doesn't appear there is any minimum standard for lane width, or lane consistency (or if there is its not followed). Cones are often randomly placed in disarray , rough surfaces, concrete barriers laid out in sloppy manner. Throw in crazy drivers and you feel lucky to get through it without damage.

If there is any chance the construction zone itself contributed in your instance, I'd sure attempt to locate the responsible party and complain.

To me this is a downside of owing a 102 inch widebody, especially one as pretty as the Airstream.
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