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Old 10-15-2020, 06:15 PM   #1
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2021 27' Globetrotter
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Audi RSQ8 towing 27' Globetrotter... Are we nuts or in love?

Hello! Very excited to be posting here as new owners of a 27' Globetrotter. We also have a beloved, new Audi RS Q8. We're thrilled to participate in Air Forums, finally!




Let's talk towing. The Audi is a V8 AWD variant of the Q8 with 591HP/590FP torque and a factory installed tow package rated to 7,700 lbs. Also worth noting that this car has air suspension with about 12 CMs of adjustment, and a "trailer mode" in the air suspension. Audi even did track testing with a trailer on this car apparently.

The Audi is an everything car for us: fast, functional and luxurious. We want to be able to go skiing, tow the Airstream, hit the track, and go offroad to reach distant hikes-- all with the single vehicle. We believe the RS Q8 is exactly that, with one issue. We're 100lbs over on tongue weight:

Audi RS Q8 with factory hitch receiver:
GVWR: 7,700 lbs
Tongue weight: 770 lbs

Our 27' Globetrotter:
GVWR: 7,600 lbs
UBW: 6,258 lbs
Tongue Weight (with LP & Batteries): 871 lbs

The dealer tried a weight-distributing hitch (Blue Ox) and none of us liked how either vehicle was holding the weight. So we tried a standard drop hitch with adjustable height. They fitted it, liked what they were seeing and let us drive off the lot, to their credit noting the risk of the tongue weight overage.

We've tested hitching with the air suspension's tow mode on and off, and it definitely seems much better with the air suspension in tow mode, with the suspension seeming to keep the car and weight more stable.

This combo (seemingly) handled very well in our only trip so far. We felt the wind from passing 18-wheel trucks on two lane highways, but didn't feel any sway or loss of control. The vehicle never felt low on power and temperatures were green while towing over a mountain pass during moderate outdoor temps. We didn't hear any groans or creaks, thankfully. This is obviously a very limited sample size...

We've talked to the fine folks at Can Am; they say reinforcing can affordably be done, and allow us to tow a 27' without concern. Too bad we're in the United States and the the border likely won't be open until 2022. We'd love to be able to tow with this vehicle until then.

We're small humans and don't bring too much when we RV. Does that mean our trailer's actual loaded weight and therefore tongue weight could be potentially lower than 770 lbs? Perhaps if we only towed with the black and grey tanks empty, that could conceivable push the tongue weight below 770 lbs? Can tongue weight of a specific vehicle/loaded trailer be measured?

So... I ask you, wonderful people of Air Forums: are we crazy to tow with this car or have we found our true love in pairing these two vehicles? Please help us in realizing our dream! Thanks in advance.

(And in case you wondered: we do plan to swap out those 23" wheels and tires for something smaller and a little more practical.)
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Old 10-15-2020, 06:34 PM   #2
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First off be aware the Audi towing guidance applies to European roads and speed limits, using European hitches pulling European Caravans that concentrate weight near the axles. Finally the 7,700 lb limit is set for licensing purposes not safety or capability, so we don't really know what the Audi guidance would be for US trailers, hitches and road conditions. We also don't know and should not assume the 770 lb tongue limit is due to a weak or flexible receiver mount unless someone can provide objective evidence to support that view such as photos measurements and statics calculations. My strong suspicion is the mounts are fine.

We can assume the Q8 is a bit more capable than the numbers indicate. And I know for a fact it is. So let's start with a few photos of the mount points to the frame and the reinforcements around the square receiver. This way we can be sure.

The 27' Airstream is most stable with a tongue weight between 1000-1150 when loaded for camping. You do not want to try to get it below 770 as it will be inherently unstable for sway above 48-50 mph. You surly don't want to take that risk even though we can take steps to address it.

I'll have more to say once you send some photos or describe how you are sure the receiver needs shoring up.
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Old 10-15-2020, 06:35 PM   #3
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It's hard to say, but if CanAm says your numbers are OK, then maybe you're OK. But if those numbers are off of the trailer's sticker, I would not trust them. As noted elsewhere many times, these trailers tend to run a lot heavier than Airstream says they do. I would strongly recommend getting a couple of weighings done at a CAT scale if you can: one with just your Audi and one with the Audi and trailer hitched up. That way you will know the true weights of your rig. Then compare these to your towing capacity, tongue weight, and GCWR values. Once you have these and post them, others with much more experience than me will gladly advise you. Also, as Brian indicates, the more pictures you provide, the more people here will be able to help you.

And ... congratulations on your new trailer - welcome to the forums!
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Old 10-15-2020, 06:38 PM   #4
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Audi owner here- have had several over the last 10 years.

I briefly towed my 27FB International CCD with my Q7 Diesel. My experience is that the tongue weight will vary depending on how full the tanks are and how much stuff you have inside. Andy was a good resource and although I did not reinforce my Q7 hitch it is something I would have done if I kept towing with the Q7, as I believe a weight distributing hitch is a necessity. Mine is the Reese Straight line - the one with the cams. I’m sure Andy could make the hitch reinforcement parts and send them with instructions to a shop in your area if you decide to go that route. That’s what I would do if I was in your shoes.

Good luck. My business partner has a Q8 - lovely car. Your version must be a rocket. I had the 4.2 V8 in an S5 with a manual shift back in 2011 and loved it. Spent some time in an R8 as well but that car was too impractical and difficult to drive sensible. I’m leaning toward the new to North America RS6 Allroad for my next Audi.

Don

PS - get your armour on for the waves of posters with towing advice
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Old 10-15-2020, 06:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
I'll have more to say once you send some photos or describe how you are sure the receiver needs shoring up.

Thank you, BayouBiker! I'm hooking her up again tomorrow and will upload several photos!
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Old 10-15-2020, 06:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMT View Post
Good luck. My business partner has a Q8 - lovely car. Your version must be a rocket. I had the 4.2 V8 in an S5 with a manual shift back in 2011 and loved it. Spent some time in an R8 as well but that car was too impractical and difficult to drive sensible. I’m leaning toward the new to North America RS6 Allroad for my next Audi.

Thanks; it's a blast. Any of those RS cars are just so much fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMT View Post
PS - get your armour on for the waves of posters with towing advice

I can handle it, I think! You should see the face we got at the RV park this past weekend.
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Old 10-15-2020, 07:59 PM   #7
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As djb75 says, it’s unlikely the tongue weight is 871 lbs when you are ready for camping. I have a 27’ Globetrotter with 2ACs and my tongue weight is about 1100 lbs (IIRC). Are you going by brochure weight or did you load up the AS and put it on a scale?

I have no doubt you can pull the trailer forward with your SUV. Based on friends I’ve spoken with and reports I’ve seen here—I think you will run into several issues handling the trailer with that particular vehicle and its sport features, but I’m not a tow vehicle zealot (or expert).

I’d check the rear axle weight rating too. If you’re already over on tongue weight, well, I’d hate to recommend that you bring a spare axle
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Old 10-15-2020, 08:03 PM   #8
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Jamies, congratulations on your new Globetrotter and Audi. That is one gorgeous combination!

Our 2019 27' GT's actual tongue weight measured on a Sherline scale is close to 1,100 lbs. loaded for camping. We started with a VW Touareg TDI (same 7,700 lbs. tow / 770 lbs. tongue rating) and a Flying Cloud 23FB. It was a perfect tow vehicle & trailer. We originally wanted a FC25 but backed away due to the 800+ lbs. tongue weight.

Eventually we decided the 23' wasn't enough and moved up to our 27' GT. We considered going the hitch reinforcement route but ultimately decided we needed a tow vehicle with enough payload capacity. We also had concerns about insurance coverage if there was an accident and we were over the limits.

We now have a 2019 RAM 2500 with 2,940 lb. payload and never worry about removing propane tanks or spare tires just to get under the tongue weight.

This is a decision you'll have to make for yourself after towing for a while.

All the best,
Jeff & Caryle
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Old 10-16-2020, 12:25 AM   #9
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Congrats on the purchase! All of my research has led me to a few key concepts and conclusions:

1. Tow capacity is rarely the issue in the towing equation, tongue weight is
2. Once you add people and gear to the tow vehicle, you have to deduct that from payload
3. Once you add gear and fluids to your airstream you change the tongue weight by hundreds of pounds.
4. A good sway system is both helpful and heavy, thus adding to tongue weight.
5. Traveling at freeway speeds and bouncing around typical bumps on highways changes your weight distribution and, thus, the forces on your tow vehicle second-to-second. At rest I know my tongue weight can be measured by the scale. At 60 mph the tow vehicle can experience much more force on the hitch than just the tongue weight that had been measured at rest. Meaning I needed a 20% safety margin to safely account for the ‘known unknowns’.

When I added this up I realized that, for my 2019 25’ Flying cloud, I wanted a 4x4 3/4 ton truck if I was going to do the sort of traveling I do (including boondocking and skiing) given all of the gear that comes with these activities. I don’t use the truck (2012 ram 2500 Cummins Diesel) as my daily driver, but that’s not really what it’s meant for. It’s meant for towing and it does this effortlessly with a fully loaded trailer up and down hill. It has the transmission, brakes, and cooling system to tow reliably and not break down somewhere where I might not have cell. Both of my friends who tried to tow medium term with an suv blew their transmissions and ended up in trucks. One got a very fancy truck that felt like a luxury suv on the inside, but they were trucks

There are LOTS of opinions out there. Listen, read, and figure out what makes the most sense for your situation.

Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:17 AM   #10
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I can see why you like to drive the Audi, I just can’t agree with using it to tow a 27’ AS.

I wish you well.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:24 AM   #11
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Great choice on trailer!!

Look, there will be people on this forum that will tell you you can tow a 34 footer with a heavily modified minivan, I'm not one of those people.

I think the Audi you have is a monster of an SUV/Crossover, power, performance, etc top notch.

Towing, sure it will pull things. In fact it too could *move* a 34' Airstream too, of that I have little doubt and given the giant brakes they put on it, could prob stop on a dime and get a nickle change, however.....

This vehicle, for all it's HP, torque and road worthiness has about a 117" wheelbase which is woefully short for a 27' trailer. Additionally the car is about 5400lbs (without passengers and cargo). The Aistream empty weighs around a 1/2 ton more than your car, and loaded over a ton (depending on how much you load into it). The rating as stated by Audi in your post suggests that after passengers and cargo are calculated (which deduct from tow capacity), you will have exceeded the rating of that vehicle with no margin for error. Additionally, IIRC, this is a unibody vehicle with a bunch of electronic gizmos and such. The unibody is not going to like 1100-1200lbs hitch weight and if like the other VW owned companies, there was a time when it was suggested NOT to use weight distribution on those vehicles. I do no know if that is the case but given Audi and Porsche are both owned by parent company VW, it's possible and something to investigate.

I have done what you are doing, and I will tell you flat out, it will work, but it's not entirely a safe bet. I got caught in some high winds and no matter what technology or suspension setting, it would NOT stop the tail from wagging the dog. It was a very white knuckle experience. In my humble OPINION, this would be a great TV for say **around** 23', but you loose a lot going smaller and I would not suggest it, which then returns the sight back to the TV.

I'm not suggesting you run out and buy a Mack truck, but every vehicle has a purpose and clearly with 2 vehicles costing over $100k, you appear to have the means to reflectively evaluate your situation carefully. My point is that HP and torque are meaningless if can't keep that power on the ground. If you find you have problems with the substantially heavier Airstream deciding it wants to go in a different direction than you do (with or without mother nature's help), between wheelbase, weight differences and exceeded tow rating, I would say conservatively, there are at least 2 strike against (really 3). The real world tends to behave a lot different in practice than it does on paper.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:41 AM   #12
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No matter what you do you are going to be close to 20 percent over Audi’s stated tongue weight. The reason for that limit is anyone’s guess. Some on here will tell you it’s fine as is. Others will tell you not to do it. I’m in the camp of choosing a different vehicle.
If I were totally intent on this combination I would look for CanAms advice. Possibly they could recommend a shop in the US to do some hitch work of their design.
In the end you have to be comfortable with the decision.
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:56 AM   #13
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Congrats on your new Airstream and your new Audi! Those are two exciting purchases. We're former Audi SQ5 owners, and it was a great vehicle for many years.

As you've seen already, tow vehicle choice is something that generates considerable debate on these forums. I've done a tremendous amount of research on towing Airstreams, and I've got a small amount of towing experience with my Airstream International 23FB over the last few months. Like some others here, I fall on on the conservative side of the debate. I'd rather have more tow vehicle than I need, with a comfortable margin for error.

In your case, you've already got your Airstream and your tow vehicle, and you're happy with them. Given those facts, your best pathway forward is likely optimizing your current vehicle to give you the best possible towing performance. I don't think there's anything wrong with this approach, but you need to be realistic with your expectations and you need to adjust your towing style to adapt to the limitations of your rig. Understanding the limitations of your tow vehicle and reacting appropriately are critical factors for safe towing.

Good luck, and I'm looking forward to hearing about how it works out for you.
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:17 AM   #14
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"So... I ask you, wonderful people of Air Forums: are we crazy to tow with this car"

In my humble opinion - Yes, you are crazy thinking this will work.

I have a 2020 X5 with basically the same specs as your RS Q8, pulled our Airstream with it twice. We now also own a Ford F-350 Diesel. My trailer weighs less than yours. Did it pull ok? It did, right up to the moment a semi passed on a turn and the weight of the trailer pulled the X5 3 feet into the opposing lane.

Your 27 Globetrotter will have a loaded tongue weight of close to 1100lbs ready to drive off. Filled with water and/or contents in the grey/black tanks this number will increase.

What does the yellow sticker in your doorjamb say for payload? Subtract the actual tongue weight (about 1100lbs) from that number, what's left is how much you can put in your Q8 (people, dogs, gear) my gut says you're going to be way over that number too. According to the European Audi website the payload is 1157, if that holds true for the USA, you've got 57lbs left for people and stuff.
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewk View Post
"So... I ask you, wonderful people of Air Forums: are we crazy to tow with this car"

In my humble opinion - Yes, you are crazy thinking this will work.

I have a 2020 X5 with basically the same specs as your RS Q8, pulled our Airstream with it twice. We now also own a Ford F-350 Diesel. My trailer weighs less than yours. Did it pull ok? It did, right up to the moment a semi passed on a turn and the weight of the trailer pulled the X5 3 feet into the opposing lane.

Your 27 Globetrotter will have a loaded tongue weight of close to 1100lbs ready to drive off. Filled with water and/or contents in the grey/black tanks this number will increase.

What does the yellow sticker in your doorjamb say for payload? Subtract the actual tongue weight (about 1100lbs) from that number, what's left is how much you can put in your Q8 (people, dogs, gear) my gut says you're going to be way over that number too. According to the European Audi website the payload is 1157, if that holds true for the USA, you've got 57lbs left for people and stuff.
Could not have said it better.. i tried not to comment.. this is a question of right tool for the job.
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Old 10-16-2020, 12:05 PM   #16
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Choices, choices!

The Audi is an awesome ride! And we love our 27' wheeled escape, too. If you can't get your rig to the venerated CanAm folks anytime soon, I'd consider options like leasing a truck or simply renting one for excursions, until every advantage is dialed in. I exceeded tongue weight on a trip here in AK with a car hauler trailer - empty - only to arrive with my hitch about to fall off the vehicle and tears in the unibody undercarriage. The repair was a welded hitch, including doublers for the unibody rails.

A lesson learned during my aviation career: just 'cause I can, and have many times without crashing, doesn't mean I should, even if others have. I was very sad to sell my little two place hot rod airplane in favor of a flying truck - and not as fun to fly - but it gave me margins.
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Old 10-16-2020, 12:47 PM   #17
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Such thoughtful, intelligent feedback from everyone, thank you.

I'll post some photos of the setup later today.
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:16 PM   #18
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Here is a snapshot of our Touareg TDI / F150 experience for your consideration.

We bought our new FC 25 FB twin from CanAm in early 2018. At the time we were driving a 2014 Touareg TDI with similar capacities to your vehicle (less power & torque). CanAm reinforced the hitch (“tank bar reinforcement”) and the whole system was driven and tuned by CanAm. Our tongue weight as measured new (and empty) was 1050. Our hitch system is Eaz Lift. The shank is drilled such that the ball is as close to the bumper as practical. Our WD bars are 1400 lb. We use Eaz Lift adjustable anti sway bars.

Over 16 months we pulled our AS with the Touareg through the US and Canada for over 17,000 km (10,500 mi), at times in windy and slippery conditions.

The Touareg / AS performance and handling was superb. One aspect that does not get mentioned much is the ability to execute rapid avoidance manoeuvres. The Touareg and AS were both excellent in this regard.

We now pull with a 2017 F150 3.5 EB. Why did we switch? We like to boondock. That meant a generator and a gas can - neither of which we wanted in the Touareg or AS. A propane generator was an option but we chose to avoid that route. Another key factor - payload. The Touareg specs meant we had to travel light - which was OK at the beginning of our adventures but became more of an issue as we gained experience (and stuff).

Are we happy with the F150 3.5 EB? Yes - very happy. First-off the F150 does not handle as well as the Touareg towing or not. It feels clumsy as a daily driver (relative to the Touareg) but it’s not horrible. On the plus side the F150’s increased payload, blind spot detection for the length of the trailer, the integrated brake controller (location on the dash and function), Tow/Haul mode, the ability to throw damp gear in the bed without worry and last but not least - the ability to carry our full size bicycles easily in the back seat - all of these factors have improved our travel experience significantly.

Would we consider a larger truck? No. We think *for us* a 3/4 ton truck is out of the question for a daily driver and too much truck (overkill) for our FC 25. No doubt many folks will disagree - we respect their opinion and the choice that is right for them.

We cannot give you the answer but we hope our experience helps you decide.
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Old 10-16-2020, 03:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamies View Post
Hello! Very excited to be posting here as new owners of a 27' Globetrotter. We also have a beloved, new Audi RS Q8. We're thrilled to participate in Air Forums, finally!




Let's talk towing. The Audi is a V8 AWD variant of the Q8 with 591HP/590FP torque and a factory installed tow package rated to 7,700 lbs. Also worth noting that this car has air suspension with about 12 CMs of adjustment, and a "trailer mode" in the air suspension. Audi even did track testing with a trailer on this car apparently.

The Audi is an everything car for us: fast, functional and luxurious. We want to be able to go skiing, tow the Airstream, hit the track, and go offroad to reach distant hikes-- all with the single vehicle. We believe the RS Q8 is exactly that, with one issue. We're 100lbs over on tongue weight:

Audi RS Q8 with factory hitch receiver:
GVWR: 7,700 lbs
Tongue weight: 770 lbs

Our 27' Globetrotter:
GVWR: 7,600 lbs
UBW: 6,258 lbs
Tongue Weight (with LP & Batteries): 871 lbs

The dealer tried a weight-distributing hitch (Blue Ox) and none of us liked how either vehicle was holding the weight. So we tried a standard drop hitch with adjustable height. They fitted it, liked what they were seeing and let us drive off the lot, to their credit noting the risk of the tongue weight overage.

We've tested hitching with the air suspension's tow mode on and off, and it definitely seems much better with the air suspension in tow mode, with the suspension seeming to keep the car and weight more stable.

This combo (seemingly) handled very well in our only trip so far. We felt the wind from passing 18-wheel trucks on two lane highways, but didn't feel any sway or loss of control. The vehicle never felt low on power and temperatures were green while towing over a mountain pass during moderate outdoor temps. We didn't hear any groans or creaks, thankfully. This is obviously a very limited sample size...

We've talked to the fine folks at Can Am; they say reinforcing can affordably be done, and allow us to tow a 27' without concern. Too bad we're in the United States and the the border likely won't be open until 2022. We'd love to be able to tow with this vehicle until then.

We're small humans and don't bring too much when we RV. Does that mean our trailer's actual loaded weight and therefore tongue weight could be potentially lower than 770 lbs? Perhaps if we only towed with the black and grey tanks empty, that could conceivable push the tongue weight below 770 lbs? Can tongue weight of a specific vehicle/loaded trailer be measured?

So... I ask you, wonderful people of Air Forums: are we crazy to tow with this car or have we found our true love in pairing these two vehicles? Please help us in realizing our dream! Thanks in advance.

(And in case you wondered: we do plan to swap out those 23" wheels and tires for something smaller and a little more practical.)
I would strongly suggest you hit the scales with your trip ready loaded Audi and Airstream and take it from there.
Reinforcing and special hitches do not increase payload capacity period.
Once you know your exact axle weights it will be a lot easier task to make an intelligent decision.
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:24 PM   #20
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Probably nuts, but I love that Audi! I am from the PNW and miss it horribly (I am now in MD) so I hope you are enjoying all that the area has to offer in that beautiful Airstream! I used to do track days at PR, Portland and Spokane; great fun!
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