My new trailer is one of another in the “stable” for the family. My parents have had several trailers since getting into one 3 decades ago. Each one was an upgrade to newer models, with various features/accoutrements for the well-travelled retiree. They have traversed the US several times in the intervening decades with trips to both east and west coast, Alaska (twice) and one rail trip through Mexico. Being out on the road in this rig 6 months out of the year will test your relationship, but they have been doing it for many years. Each summer, they typically abandon our heat and humidity and attend the WBCCI International Rally. It is a massive weeklong gathering of Airstreamers from all over the US. There is a wide array of events/activities for all interests – golf, quilting, bingo, domino tournaments, tours, trailer workshops, craft workshops, flea market, band, etc. The rally is also a business meeting for the club where they review the operations of the club and vote on important business issues. My folks have been attending these rallies for over 20+ years so this is old hat for them. The rallies are typically held in various locations throughout the US which varies from year to year. A few of the places that they have been are:
- Portland, Oregon
- Bozeman, Montana
- Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- Joplin, Missouri
- Springfield, Missouri
- Biloxi, Mississippi
- Newark, New Jersey
- Lake Placid, New York
- Atlanta, Georgia
- And this year was in Sedalia, Missouri (just a short bike ride down the road from you, ShadowRun!)
While they try to spread these events out each year to make it easy for local Airstreamers to attend, they tend to stick to the mid US (aka flyover states) since it makes it sorta central to everyone. They also try to stick to the northern states as the southern states tend to get a wee bit warm in the summer, but this year was not the case. My dad sent a shot from his van over the weekend and his in car thermometer was showing 108.
Most of their Airstreams have all the comforts of home, except on wheels. Their current version is a 1997 34 foot Excella (Airstream model) with twin beds, ice cold a/c & heat, dinette table, satellite tv, refrigerator, full sized shower, indoor plumbing, stove, oven. Pretty much everything you would need to live on the road except a washer & dryer (there are a few high end motor homes out there that actually have those).
My brother bought his first Airstream at a swap meet back in 2000. After “tweaking” it up a bit and using it for a few years, he bought a newer rig from an aunt in Dallas who didn't use hers anymore and sold his old one to me (that’s the 79 we've had for 10 years). The he traded that one off for a newer one out of Alabama a few years later with a few more features and a bit longer. A few years back, he stumbled across a fairly new on that was basically unused (the guy fell ill right after he got it and had only used it less than a week) and for a relatively cheap price.
Now for my part of the saga:
We've been camping in the 79 for 10 years and it has been a good trailer, but we were ready to move up to a more current version. It was getting kinda crowded with me, the wife, and two very hairy dogs. In the back of my mind, I have always had my next trailer in mind. What features we want, what model, how old, how much. I would cruise Airstream classified, hit the local paper, watch Craigslist for any “deals”. Most were either too pricey or too far (I’ve looked one in Minnesota and another over in Oregon) but kept looking in state. I didn't want to drive cross country for a lemon. Three weeks back one popped up on Craigslist that was across town. My dad and I went over to look at it and we were very interested but I wanted to check out the history. It looked nice and had a few blemishes, but was in good shape. The lady selling it was doing it for her dad and had some story about it was a “one owner trailer and it had never been out of the state but when I checked the VIN on it, the story turned out completely different. It was previously owned by someone in the Airstream club (part one of her story didn't pan out). On top of that, my dad knew the guy and knew he took that trailer all over the states for the rallies (part two didn't pass the smell test). On top of that, I noticed the window had been broken out and was replaced by a cheap knock off (would have to be replaced). I originally made her an offer below her asking price (too high in my mind) and we were going to make a deal when I started questioning the title. I asked her for a few more days to do the background check on it. When I called her back on Tuesday, I challenged her story and she stuck to it. I was still willing to buy the trailer at my offer, but she told me that someone else came in and out bid me. It was a nice trailer, but not worth what she was asking for, so I let it pass. Was a mild disappointment, but as someone told me, when God closes a door, he opens a window. Right after we let this go, my brother spotted another Craigslist trailer in north Texas. I made a few phone calls and got a hold of the guy and we decided to take a 5 hour road trip to check it out. Turns out to be a much nicer trailer that was a year newer. In much better shape and no drama to the story. After about an hour of crawling all over/under it, I decided to make him an offer and he took it. Wound up driving it home that afternoon. I don’t think momma was expecting me to make a decision like that, but I thought it was a good deal. My "new" one, while looking somewhat newer is actually 16 years old (circa 1996). It is officially called an Airstream Excella Classic 1000. 30 feet long with twin beds, dinette, full size shower and beau coup storage compartments. I've been working the past week making it our home and should be finished by this weekend. Not sure when we will have a chance to road test her, the next 45 days are full of trips and events.
And just for all those curious minds:
|Twin beds - one for each dog|
|And a FULL size shower - very important for some|
|Not sure if you can make out the etching in the mirror|
We don' need no stinkin wheels!
On top of all of this chaos, I was left with a dilemma on what to do with the 79. Not a great or a classic trailer, but it is a solid Airstream. I dreaded having to post it up on the web and put it up for sale with all the tire kickers and people trying to make a deal (will you do loan payments?). When I first mentioned about the first trailer being a possibility, that news spread around the club faster than a rumor in church. Turned out that the son of one of the main club members was looking to get into Airstreams and was looking for a smaller (say 25 foot), older trailer for under $10k. My rig definitely filled that bill, but I wasn't sure he would want it, given it's age and quirks. My mistake, he drove down last week looked it over and made an offer on the spot. Even after I told him all of the dings and hickies on it and how it had a gaucho bed (futon) and lacked storage space and had become a home for two hairy dogs, he still wanted it. Turns out, he has a Golden Retriever as well and when they came out to pick it up Tuesday, the first thing the dog did was to climb in and pick a couch. I felt like I just adopted the rig out to a new home.
|I've seen bikes on roof racks...|