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Old 04-14-2002, 06:57 PM   #1
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1983 27' Excella
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How did you get into Airstreams & Airstreaming?

How did I get into Airstreaming? I went camping alot as a kid with my parents and those times are some of my most cherished memories as a kid so I wanted to start camping again and pass the fun of it onto my daughter so we went to an RV show and started looking. I just wanted a pop-up, but my wife said "I want solid walls and a bathroom" so we looked at trailers and there were some models we liked but in the back of my mind I knew these trailers were just screwed together with wood screws and will pull itself apart with all the twisting and bouncing from the road and if we ever got in an accident it would literally disintigrate as I have seen many times driving past an accident scene involving a trailer or MH. They just are'nt built to last.
Then I remember'ed my dad commenting once how well Airstreams are built and the search began. After not finding any used ones locally I went to an Airstream dealer near Kansas City and looked at the 27' Safari and we were going to go for it but the day before we were going to sign the papers we chickened out, it was just too much money. We then heard a friend of the family was selling their Airstream and after going through it three times we shook hands and the rest is history. Now we love to go camping (yes, even my wife) and my daughter thinks its GREAT. Although it can be stressful on a couple/family, packing unpacking, hitching/unhitching, getting lost, etc... I think its the best quality time a family can have.

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Old 04-15-2002, 07:46 AM   #2
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We were fortunate enough to inherit my parents 1980 Excella 2. This worked out well since we have four kids and like to camp. It was a nice gift and our family really enjoys it . We were also interested in a pop-up trailer but my folks had hauled the Airstream around the country a couple of times and were ready to settle down to time-sharing instead of trailering. When they asked us if we wanted the it we did not hesitate to say yes. I believe they were the second owners. They used it for about 15 years. It needs some fixing up here and there but all in all it is a nice trailer. it is 31' center bath with a queen bed in the back and the sofa pulls out in the front. Everything works and it has the slotted aluminum wheels (which I try to keep shiny..."it ain't cool if your chrome don't shine").
I agree with you John, some of my best memories and love for the outdoors came from camping as a kid with my family. Now I hope I can pass that along to my kids too. My wife chronicles our events with photos in albums (it won't let me spell "s****book")as a hobby and all the pages about summer fun in the book have our camping pictures as well as a few of the airstream too. Don
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Old 04-15-2002, 09:04 AM   #3
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We bought our first Airstream new last year. We have been camping since early 1970 using an old VW bus, tent, 2 pop up campers, a Hi-Lo, and an Electra travel trailer.

My wife and I had looked at Airstreams at the local RV shows in the past, but I never liked the inside tunnel vision from the rounded sides.

It had been years since we looked again but at last years RV show we saw the 70th anniversary slide out unit. This was the first time we saw a wide body from the inside and it knocked our eyes out. Well the price was well out of our ballpark and the weight of the trailer was beyond my tow vehicle capacity. So we sighed and I went back in for one last look.

While prowling around I found the Airstream booklet with the different models and dropped it in my RV show bag. Later on that week I resurrected the book and found the Safari line. I told my wife that there was a "light weight" Airstream that we could pull and asked if she wanted to visit the local dealership. She agreed and four weeks later we made up our mind to sell our Electra and buy the Airstream.

Jack
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Old 04-15-2002, 09:15 AM   #4
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I lived in TX. when growing up, was a Boy Scout and loved to camp out. I have tent camped for 22 years while deer hunting and finally got tired of the rain blowing tent sides in, twisting poles and putting pans on the floor where the tent leaked. I was always warm in my sleeping bag but those 14-20 degree mornings were rough getting dressed for the morning hunt. I finally had enough. Some of my friends were in popups and then graduated to the hardside trailers. I bypassed the popup and bought the Airstream and have never regretted it. It is the only Airstream in the hunting camp of some 50 trailers during hunting season and does it stand out. I've always wanted an Airstream and get chills whenever I see another one on the highway.
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Old 04-15-2002, 09:46 AM   #5
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I raced sports cars with SCCA from '68 - '85. When traveling around the mid-west to various race tracks my wife and I camped in the full size van we towed the car trailer with. When the kids came along we raced only in the local area so we could stay at home, as there wasn't room in the van. Comming home from the race track in August of '80 we spotted a used Airstream for sale and stopped and looked at it. The track where we were racing has a nice camp ground with water and electrical hook ups where many of our fellow racers spent the weekend. After talking to a friend at work who owned an Airstream we went back and bought the tralier. It was a 1965 22' Safari that need a lot of work. We fixed the trailer up and used it for 8 years before selling it (in '88) to a good friend who used it until 1998 when he sold it to buy an Airstream classic motorhome.

We had started to travel around the country with the Safari and found it was the best way to go with the kids, who loved to camp. We sold the Safari to purchase a '81 31' Excella II from another friend whose kids had grown and he had just gone through a divorce. This was a great trailer, it was a rear bath with center twin beds with factory installed upper bunks. This was great with the kids as they could bring along friends.

After the kids left home for college we decide to purchase a new wide body for our retirement years. In '96 we ordered a 30' Excella 1000 with rear queen bed and center bath. This is our current trailer which we enjoy.

Over the years we have traveled to 45 states and have many great memories. This August we will pick up the last three states when we travel west again. We are going to the Monterey Historic Races with one of my old race cars and after the race will be headed to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho which will complete all 48 states.

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Old 04-15-2002, 10:26 AM   #6
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In 1994 I bought a Ford Pickup with the factory tow package; my wife and I had been truck camping and decided to try a trailer. We looked at used pop-ups; I wanted something that was easy to tow. All of the used pop-ups we looked at were terrible! Even the new ones had the weird smell from all of the particleboard. So we started researching and found out that we could buy a used Airstream for about the same money as a pop-up.

We went to a dealer that was 5 hours away and purchased a '74 27ft Overlander. We loved it and trade up 2 years later to a 31ft Sovereign. We semi-retired in 1997 and full-timed in the 31 ft for 2+ years. After rejoining the work force we found we really did not have time to use the trailer and sold it.

We have recently re-joined the Airstream ranks and have a 28ft Argosy Motorhome. We love it!
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Old 04-15-2002, 11:07 AM   #7
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Camping???

I was one who said NEVER would I want to go camping. At the time my ideas of camping were a motel 6. I thought of it as work without the conviences of home. Well we bought our AS 31 FT MH and I love it. And how can you call it camping we have all the comforts of home plus a built in blender/food processor/knife sharpener etc. Micro convection and Ice maker. At the time (7 years ago) I didn't have some of those in my home. We have met wonderful people that you never would meet at a hotel. Carring and very helpful people from all walks of life. I wouldn't consider ever giving up our Airstream. Dave and Louise
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Old 04-15-2002, 11:16 AM   #8
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I have camped since my Boy Scout days also. I had a VW Vanagon, with the pop-top and ice box that served me well in the early 70's. Then a few Ford Vans I converted..hadn't camped in quite a few years, and then last summer I saw an Airstream motorhome in someone's driveway. I flipped around and stood there like a nut case trying to figure out how they got their trailer to look like a silver bus....after much research and realizing that yes Airstream did make a motorhome- we actually came across one for sale, after we checked it out, and realized the fun we could be having...I spent 2 months looking for one to buy. Found ours an 8+ hour drive away, and now we are having a great time working on it, and driving and staying in it as often as we can.
I too love to see the trailers on the road.
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Old 04-15-2002, 12:57 PM   #9
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A friend of mine, that was an officer in the Air Force, bought a 1966 30 foot Airstream, in the early part of 1966, from a dealer in San Antonio. He wanted the Airstream roof airconditioner installed. The dealer said "we don't know how." My friend said "I have a friend (me) that I think can do it. So the dealer got the Airstream AC, and my friend got the keys to that dealers shop. We went in at night time to get the job done. I had never seen an inside of an Airstream until then. I looked at a couple of other new Airstreams, to see how the factory did it. Seemed simple to me, so we proceeded, cautiously, with the installation. We did not finish the installation that night, so we came back the next night. We then saw that the dealer was also installing the same type of AC in another trailer, but went no further than we had gone. That second night, our installation was completed, and tested. WOW!! It work and work well. The next day, I received a call from the owner of that dealership, wanting to talk to me, the next night.
I went to visit that next evening, and he started off by asking me, what kind of work I did. After I told him, he offered me a job, working on Airstreams.
In one month, I was the "working service manager."
That was in June of 1966.
My life has not been the same since.

Andy
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Old 04-15-2002, 05:43 PM   #10
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In 1965 I bought a new VW bug & a tent & four sleeping bags for the family. We went our first camping trip to the Russian river in N Cal. The kids & I liked it, but my wife didn't care much for it, but kept going with us for a few years. We kind of just stopped after a few years. The years I worked, I kept planning on buying a RV when I retired. I retired in 1992 & my wife & talked about it. We decided on a used TT so we could sell it & not lose to much$$. We found a 15 year old 31' A/S. Rear twins & very good shape that I got for $7500. With in two weeks we took off for Oregon too meet up with some friends that use to spend the Summer in Netarts bay. For these ten years we get out for 4 to 8 weeks a year & a few week ends. My wife likes it better than she thought she would & I like it alot. Wife can only take about four weeks before she wants to come home. Its been great time. My 41 year old son loves it. We go out a couple of times a years. We always go to the Russian river to watch the world series. He has a 9 mo old son & can't wait to take him with us. I told him okay when he gets him house broke. He thought that was a good idea.
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Old 04-15-2002, 06:14 PM   #11
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Every summer my family tent camped in New England and E. Canada. I remember driving through NH when I was around 8yrs old and seeing a field of Airstreams camping. It was the coolest sight! Man I wanted one of them.
I became a backpacker and loved going on 5-6 day hikes. Two yrs ago while out west, a wind storm blew down two trees and they crushed me inside my pickup. I broke my neck and back in four places. I have 30% usage of my hands and a severe limp in my left leg. After a year of rehab, I got to the point were I could live alone and maintain the house. I knew that I just couldn't sit around, so I thought about getting a TT. Airstream was the first that came to mind but the price made me look else where. But after looking at the other manuf's quailty(I'll be fulltiming), I needed to look at some used Airstreams. After six months of watching the adds, along came a 1994 28' Excella. I called the owner and bought it sight unseen for $17K. My friend removed the front sofa/sleeper and built an L shaped cover for the convert/batteries. I put in a lay-z-boy and a swiel chair. I now have my home on wheels!!!
I'm leaving the 22rd of April for Revelstoke, B.C. via two-lane roads for the summer. I'm now disabled but I'm also retired at 43yrs old It's all how you look at life!
Happy Trails
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Old 04-16-2002, 10:48 AM   #12
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It's a long story...

Check out "The Quest" @ www.insideout-design.net/maxwell



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Old 04-26-2002, 11:34 AM   #13
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I have always enjoyed the peace you get by being outdoors in parks and lakeside areas. Then when I had finally slowed down long enough to notice how much more pleasant it was to go camping I bought my first TT. A big 31 footer and I have loved every minute of it. Even the repairs...

My wife said she would never go camping or eat fish... hmmm... well she has learned to love it also...

At some time though, I think I could enjoy a newer ASTT..
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Old 04-26-2002, 12:08 PM   #14
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A bit off topic...

tenrsingr,

Think long and hard before selling your 72 and getting a new one. I have talked to many owners of the 70's vinatge that "traded up" to a newer model and still lament the decision.

"Airstream, roughing it smoothly"
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Old 04-30-2002, 04:14 PM   #15
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I have been going to Mexico every year for the last 9 years. And I have thought about getting a RV instead of renting condos, tenting or sleeping in my van. So last year I rented some other brand (SOB) of travel trailer and it changed my whole experience for the better. So I decided I wanted to be an owner. I started looking at everything. I narrowed my search to A/S after a short time. And then wanted vintage only. To have a travel trailer and have a 60's or 70's vintage too was in my opinion awesome. And since A/S's have the history, were built to a higher standard, and are unique in the field the choice was made. On April 13, 2002 after a 1800 mile trip, I became an owner of a 1966 Overlander.

I have repaired the running gear, replaced the A/C, the refer, stove, furnace and cook top work. Next week I tackle the cushions and drapes. Then in the next couple of weeks I will look at the water supply system and the propane system. Last will be the water heater. I live in AZ.

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Old 05-07-2002, 08:47 AM   #16
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I too have camped, backpacked and climbed mountains since a boy. I purchased a little 19' SOB (Prowler) a few years ago to see if I would like a trailer, after swearing for years I would not ever own one. I have tho admired airstreams ever since seeing the apollo 11 crew in one upon their return from space.

The SOB actually worked out well, I tend to go camping during the off season, September and later . It always seemed with the tent system it would take a week to pack everything, drive like a crazy person to get where I was going and get camp set up before it was dark. Of couse then it was often rather chilly after that local star went over the hill.

The SOB cured allot of those problems, gear was in it all of the time, a couple hours prep time and down the road we went. Darkness was no longer a problem, it came with light and heat. Was much more comfortable to be out in late October in a foot of snow.

But, there was still that lingering image of the airstream trailers. Last winter I could not stand it any longer, I started looking for an airstream.

After countless hours of research, I settled on some paramaters for a 'new' trailer. I started looking in the 25 to 27 foot range. After 8 months of looking at web sites daily, many phone calls, and many trips to view trailers (even had a real nice airstream owner in San Diego looked at one for me) I still did not have a trailer.

Finally, a real nice airstream couple in the Seattle area (who had become close friends after I was number 2 on the list to buy their 27', number 1 bought it) called me and told me that they had found a Tradewind I might be interested in.

Strangely they had found it for some other friends some 14 years ago and their friends had now decided to sell it after it sitting for 10 years. The other couple wanted some help in selling it on the internet. It never made it to the internet.

I have learned some valuable lessons in this search. If you find what you want - move on it immediately. Airstream people are not 'normal' in a very good way. I have never met such a giving group of people in my life. I consider myself blessed to now be part of the community. I will do my best to uphold the tradition!

Les Brush
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Old 06-02-2002, 11:32 PM   #17
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Finally, an Airstream

I started with a tiny popup so I could stay at the glider field on Saturday nights and save a long drive.

I pretty soon "graduated" to a Scamp 19' 5th-wheel. The Scamp had beautiful build quality, but it came from the factory with the tires and axle overloaded. It was also terribly cramped and the bed was too short for me. Either my head or my feet would be bumping the side of the trailer. After about 5 years and a lot of modifications, I traded it for a TrailManor 3124KS.

The TrailManor had acres of interior room and pulled like a charm, but raising and lowering it got very wearing after a few years. It is a drag to not be able to use the toidy and grab a coke at a rest stop without popping up the trailer part way. The TrailManor just wasn't built for the kind of mileage I put on a trailer, and progressively deteriorated. After a trip to Florida this spring, things started breaking. I decided it was time for a change.

Before I looked at the TrailManor, I had looked at Airstreams. The Bambi was too small for me and all others were way too heavy for my (then) Dakota truck. My tow vehicle is now a Silverado, so the weight problem is alleviated. When I found photos of the 5000# gross weight International AS on the web a month ago, I was sold. I wanted a fairly small, 8' wide trailer since I travel a lot on hilly back roads and stay mostly in state parks with small sites that date back to the '30s. The 22' International was just what I was looking for and I fell in love with it as soon as I stepped inside. A week later (5/31/02), I owned the trailer.

My baby sleeps in the storage yard tonight (darned covenants), but Thursday she comes out for the maiden trip of 2+ hours to Kerrvile for the folk music festival.
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Old 06-03-2002, 04:02 PM   #18
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Congratulations John on joining the Airstream bunch. I grew up in Corpus Christi and spent many a summer in Hunt, TX. at summer camps. Kerrville wasn't far away. I've also spent time deer, turkey, dove, quail and javalina hunting in that neck of the woods. Enjoy your new camping attire, I know I have.
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Old 06-03-2002, 09:44 PM   #19
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I always though Airstreams were the coolest campers. There seem to be quite a few here in NE Ohio, and someone around the corner from us has a camp-in or rally with quite a few in a field next to their house. After looking at new and used campers, I found out what I always knew, an Airstream is the best value, so I searched for a good used one, found it and bought it.
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Old 06-10-2002, 02:58 PM   #20
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My first Impression

My childhood was spend, from birth to early teens, living with my grandparents. 'Pop', was an olde Army Air Force Officer who had traveled many a post and, with my Nana, so did I. We finally settled down in Southern Pines, N.C. in the early 50's when Pop bought a Ameco filling station plus a restaurant. It was right on THE major hi-way of the era, US 1 ,which went from Maine to Key West, FL.
It was a ritual thing for a group of Gypsies to travel from N.Y. to FL twice every year and, lol..they'd stop at Pop's place to drive him nuts..lmao, when they pulled in the call RUBY went out like in the circus..Stange but, wonderful people. I used to love to watch them in action. You see, we had many that would come into the store, buy milk, bread, you name it..Then, later bring back half the milk, half the bread loaf...all wanting half their money back..lmao.
I remember even once, this man came in with his daughter,who couldn't been more than 12 or 13 yrs old, wanting to trade her to my Pop for his exchange of food, gas, etc..My grandfather threw him out, I asked what would be the harm in keepin her..lol, silly me..<grins> He said that, "As soon as she had the chance she'd leave to join them again'. Wise ole man.
To get to the point~! The Gypsies all had Airstreams among them pulled by these big Cadillac..Impressive were the dreams of mine as I wondered where they went, the things that they saw in their travels, etc. Thus was born the desires for a Airstream.~
My very first Airstream was a 1953 FLYING CLOUD, Which I found listed in the local papers. Bought it sight unseen for 1500 and, turned right around ..listed it on the internet for 4500, sold it for 4000 cash. Thus begin my quest for the search that lead to the one I have now. Found it in El Paso, TX. Bought it with ernest money and, then I had to find a tow to bring it home. lol, I drove up to the local GMC dealership and, they'd just taken in this lovely(to me) Black Suburban 2500 4x4 diesel complete with all the leather interior, towing package..etc~ I was hot to trot to Texas now. Left early Sunday morning and, I arrived in EL Paso, late Tue evening..whew~What a drive thru TEXAS..It's as big as they say and, SOME~!! I meet the former owners and, had the most wonderful two days there ever~!! Turns out, Bob was an old Army AF serviceman during the time we were at the Army base. He and his lovely wife took me out for Mexican dinner that very night..Gawd, that was fantastic~~!! The next day, Bob and I hooked the A/S up to the Burb..Perfect mate..just like a choo choo train~ We drove down to get the brake controller installed, then took the A/S over to the local tire shop to have the wheelbearing repacked and, 4 new wheels installed/ balanced.
That night, Bob's wife had the inground hottub all lite up, glass of wine..We just all had a wonderful time that evening..Talk abt your Airstream owners as being "Special"~I lov'em!! We still keep in daily touch via emails. The stories could go on and, on till time ends. But, I wanted to close this with something that happened the morning we were hooking the A/S, 'Silver Turtle' up for the trip back to NH. As Bob and myself were walking around the A/S, making sure that everything was just right, he was 'teachin me' on the fly..Karin came out of the garage toward us, holding this Wal-Mart bag in her hand and, said " Vern, you forgot the covers for your balls~" Bob and I each turned toward each other and just cracked up laughin so hard~! Poor Karin just turned beet RED and, hid her face..But, we laugh so hard for so long, soon she was laughing as well..Gawd, I thought we'd never stop..Out of breath, I told Karin she just gave me the perfect gift, for now each time I hookup the A/S to travel, I'll always have a chuckle abt that day..I still do too~
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