After searching for nearly eight months, looking at everything from a 1957
22-ft. Flying Cloud to a couple of nearly new 19 & 20-foot Bambis, we found Loretta, a 1993 Sovereign
21, parked on a tiny lane off Loretto Rd. in Jacksonville, FL (hence her name - we thought Loretta sounded better than Loretto). This was in mid-April and two weeks later, having never towed a trailer before, my wife Marcia and I set out on a cross-country trip from our home outside Orlando to northern California. We'd already sold our Chrysler Town & Country mini-van and purchased a 2010 Dodge Ram 4x4 with a hemi motor, so TV-wise we were ready to go, but more than one experienced Airstreamer, including a guy who runs an excellent RV service shop not far from our home, told us we were nuts, or at least rolled their eyes when we mentioned our plans. But what's life without a little adventure? So, off we went, and 3225 miles later here we are comfortably holed up in our cabin on the Russian River in western Sonoma County, ready for a couple of months of serious road biking along with a bunch of work on Loretta who's securely moored in the woods a few yards away.
I've been a member of AirForums since around last August and haven't posted much, but now that Marcia and I have towed an Airstream through mountains, through the Mississippi Delta, across the plains, in heavy rain storms, as well as 50 mph winds in the Mojave Desert, not to mention rush hour traffic in Oklahoma City (Marcia at the wheel) and across San Francisco Bay on a Friday evening (I drove that stretch) all without a single problem from either our trailer or our truck, I do have a few things to say about what I think made our trip a success.
However, I'm going to save most of that for a later post. What I do want to do now is send out a heartfelt thank you from both of us to this forum in general - I've spent a good deal of time over the years on various forums on the internet and in terms of helpful, friendly, knowlegable and articulate members, none compares to AirForums. From our decision about which trailer to buy (or not buy) down to minute details such as which grease works best when re-packing a wheel bearing, we would have been lost without AirForums and its wonderful participants. So, at the top of my list of what made our journey a success, I'd put the great folks on AirForums.
I'd also like to send out special thanks to several special people in particular: Shari Davis, Airstream restorer par excellence, who guided me through Airstream 101, her unbelievably inclusive compendium of information regarding what to look for in a used Airstream; Virgil Turner and his wife Sheila who, as volunteer inspectors, spent an afternoon checking out a trailer for us in Colorado and saved us from making a very big mistake; and Bob Saltzer, whom I met here on AirFolrums. I read a well-wrought post of his on towing one night, checked his profile, and realized he lived about five minutes from my house. Among all the other help Bob and his wife Julia gave us, he provided me with invaluable hands-on experience in all manner of Airstream maintainance and necessary equipmnt while I assisted him in installing a Reese W/D hitch along with the Reese dual cam anti-sway system on our rig. Thanks as well to Ann (enduroryda), a fellow Sovereign
21-er, for her cheerful encouragement.
This post, I realize, is getting kind of long, so, as I said above, I'll save particulars of what we did to and bought for our trailer and TV for subsequent posts. I'm also not sure if I put this post in the right place on the forum. If it should be somewhere else, thanks in advance for moving it. I'm also going to attempt to attach a couple of photos - one taken the day we bought Loretta and the other taken at a campsite in Natchez, Mississippi.
And finally, in case it isn't already evident, we love traveling with an Airstream. On our trip from Florida to California, we were basically hauling butt, so we stayed at campgrounds with electricity and water hookups, but when we leave here in July we're heading for...well, we're not sure but it will be mountainous, remote and definitely in the boondocks.