We’ve got a fun home-on-wheels guest today, newbie Airstreamers.. Peggy & Derald. They’re brand new to traveling by Airstream and not only that, they jumped in with both feet, choosing a vintage model that they fully restored/renovated. They’ve documented their renovation process on their blog and have tons of good tips, be sure to pop over and see them! Thanks so much to you both for sharing your insight thus far!!
1. How did you decide on an Airstream?
It was an easy choice. My husband recently retired from the sheet metal trade and I knew a vintage Airstream would be a fun ‘project’ for him to ease into retirement. Metal or plastic? Metal.
2. What model Airstream do you have and what made you choose the one you have?
We are the proud owners of a 1962 Safari Land Yacht Airstream. This model has a twin bed floor plan manufactured in Ohio. We were looking for a ‘vintage’ model with a length around 16 – 20′ and this trailer is 22′. We had looked at one Argosy located in AK but I was dead set on the shiny Airstream. We scanned the web daily for trailers for sale and on Sept. 9th we found this one on Craigslist in WI. Sept. 11th we purchased it and were on our way to MO.
3. What do you love about having a travel trailer versus a motorhome?
The closest thing to a motorhome we have had is a Sportsmobile van. I do love the Sportsmobile, it is very ‘stealth’. You can park it about anywhere. It is a dream to drive, extremely comfortable on the road and has a mini kitchen with sink with running water, a stove top and a microwave. The dinette in the back converts into the bed. This model is set up to have a penthouse but we did not opt for the bed ‘upstairs’. The pop up top with surround windows is great, but the downside is no bathroom. A porta-potty is like a postage stamp for a bathroom.
I love the Airstream and all of its amenities. Derald has done so much custom work with metal (in ours) that is beautiful, yet we have been able to keep a lot of the nostalgia such as the 1962 Dometic refrigerator. He has refurbished that baby with parts from all over the United States to make it run. When you look at our blog and see the work he did on the inside of the unit you can really appreciate the work that has been done. This Safari model has a couch that converts into a double bed and two twin beds in the front that pose for the dinette as well. We have comfortably slept 4 adults and 2 Jack Russell’s for 4 nights! Every woman that has looked inside has marveled at the ‘bathroom’ with a sink, toilet, tub and shower! When you add it all up……PRICELESS.
4. What do you like the most/least about a travel trailer.
Most: Bathroom Least: Having to pack up to go to the dump station…. (; (We BOTH agreed on that one!)
5. What advice do you have for others who are considering purchasing a vintage model Airstream?
*1. Read as much as you can on blogs so that you have some tiny idea of what you are getting into. Tiny as it may be, you will feel better about it.
*2. Go to ‘vintageairtsteam.com’ and download the article on ‘price vs condition’ and have that in hand when you deal with the seller. If there is any sentimental value in the price you will need some leverage. Our seller had our trailer since 1963! He had it all the years he raised his family.
*3. Be a handy man or marry one. Or have lots of money to spend on the renovation.
*4. Don’t try to count the hours you spend fixing it up and don’t try to count the extra money you spend….just enjoy every moment of it.
*5. Go to a rally and check out all the models and years. Talk to the owners. Most all Airstreamers are more than happy to give you information.
6. Any camping tips to share?
Leveling blocks (we use rubber stall mats, 3/4″ thick, recycled tires, cut in to 8″ x 12″ chunks), dutch oven, trial run on the dump station using fresh water….just in case of an ‘episode’.
Clorox wipes, baby wipes, towels that dry FAST, a good mat in front of the door (on the ground), know how to take the awning down by yourself, understand where everything of importance is (how to turn on/off the hot water heater….etc.), how to level the trailer, have a check list to use every time (to make sure your windows are latched, refrigerator is buckled down, fantastic fan is latched down, step is up…etc.)
7. What do you tow with?
We originally towed our Airstream home with the Sportsmobile. It was a bit of over kill, like having a duplex. We recently purchased a 2002 Dodge Ram 3/4 ton truck and it tows the trailer like a dream.
8. Do you boondock or stay at RV camps more? and what do you like about each?
We have boon docked more, and have stayed in parks ‘in route’ to our destinations. We are really new at this so our parks are limited to 2 places. Our first park was our shake down trip where we realized we must have AC… MO has been very hot this summer. It was back to the drawing board on a couple of things. The refrigerator wasn’t cooling properly, venting hot air in to the trailer, plus no AC, it was HOT. We have since installed an AC and fixed the refrigerator. That baby will freeze ice now. Also, Derald had a bike and was in the process of trying to convince me that I wanted one. He enjoyed riding around the park on his bike on our first major trip to CO. If you have ever been to this state, a bike is a must! I found a bike on Craigslist and took it to CO. By the first week the bike had a basket, decorated with flowers I might add, and a proper name, Grace. I am sold on a bike when Airstreaming, it is a great mode of transportation when the Airstream is parked and you don’t want to use the big diesel truck to run to the market. Our boondocking experience was perfect. We were in the Crested Butte area which is simply beautiful in every sense of the word, wildflowers were everywhere, the temperature was perfect, about 83 in the day and 50 at night. There was a teepee near us but no one was ‘home’. We had the BLM all to ourselves for most of the time. There was a mountain stream within steps of the front door where Derald was fly fishing and every view from the Airstream was a painting waiting to happen. I was in paint heaven. What more could you ask for?
9. Favorite places you’ve visited so far?
With our limited experience I will say Colorado will be hard to beat.
10. Best advice overall for someone considering traveling in an RV?
Take a computer. You can find dump stations, parks, tons of information. Plus, I created a blog for our family and friends to live vicariously with us.
Take it slow and enjoy life!