Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Airstream

February 10th, 2013 by Brenda

I learned an expensive lesson this week:  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s Airstream unless thou intends to buy it.  And pay a price that you will both still feel neighborly about afterward.

Our next door neighbor (yes, right next door) has a 1965 Airstream Caravel.  How thou did not know that thy neighbor had this trailer, sitting right next door, still astounds me.

I consider myself an observant person, so I rationalize that I’m just not that nosy.  Since most home lots around here are more than a couple acres, and there is plenty of desert brush to conceal things as big as a trailer, I never noticed it.  Brian, being a man, is really not that observant or nosy, but he finally sees it after living here for 3 years.

It’s like when your kid comes home and says she wants a VW Convertible Bug the color of wasabi, and you swear you’ve never seen a VW Convertible Bug the color of wasabi, let alone many convertible VW Bugs.  But as soon as she says this, it’s seems like all the VW wasabi colored bugs that VW ever made are suddenly driving all around Phoenix.

“It’s the splendor of the conscious mind”, my good friend Denise tells me.  “Humans have the amazing ability to tune things out in order to prevent information overload”.  Hmmm… I have noticed that Brian’s conscience mind is extremely good at this when I am trying to tell him what to do.

That day back in September when I first Googled Airstreams, I will swear that I had never seen one before.  The pictures were so intriguing because they were completely foreign to me at the time. Again, Denise, whose profession deals with the subconscious mind, would argue that I have probably seen many Airstreams in my life, but I simply did not “process” them with my conscious mind.

So, apparently, deep down within this huge reservoir of stuff piled in my subconscious mind, there are all sorts of Airstreams roaming around.  Truthfully, I am a little mortified, thinking about what else is roaming around down there.  I also shudder to think about what happens to all that stuff when you’ve had too many cocktails, and your unconscious mind has taken over.

I do notice that since that day in September, whenever we are driving on the interstate highway, or even around town, it is not that unusual for us to spot an Airstream.  Even on television, I see them and I “process” them now.  I just saw one on a Nissan commercial. I would also tell you that I saw one on this season of “The Bachelor”, but then I would have to admit that I watched this season of “The Bachelor”.

Wisely avoiding really bad T.V., Brian has been diligently working on Elvis and he will be perfect someday soon.  I have been very patient, but my conscious and subconscious minds are still coveting the 1965 Caravel next door.  Albeit, there is not much more space inside of the little Airstream than our old tent, but I still want it.  BAD.  It has that cuteness factor that I just cannot resist.  Hazel and Stella are completely grateful for this weakness.

So, even though my conscious mind says loud and clear, “Brenda, you do not need another trailer!”, I make a deal with thy neighbor that we both feel neighborly about, and the 1965 Caravel is mine!  (Denise didn’t say that I had to listen to my mind.)

I am such a happy girl!  We can really go camping now!  Let’s just hope the bank feels happy about processing that check I just wrote.

Airstream Karma

January 13th, 2013 by Brenda

Chapter 10: Ever since we named Elvis, there’s been a nagging feeling in the back of my mind about disturbing the trailer’s Karma. Especially now that Brian is starting to put him back together and we can spend time camping,  I want to make sure that Elvis has a harmonious atmosphere.

I have a good friend that came to my former business and burned sage. She said it would help get rid of any bad Karma. I have another friend that recently hired a clairvoyant to come to her kids’ house and persuade the ghost living there to leave. I have a third friend that held a séance to speak to a ghost, and ask him if he would persuade the other ghosts to leave— I guess it was some sort of metaphysical chain of command.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, Brenda- you have a lot of strange friends. I know-right? Actually, they are all very dear people. They just want to have good Karma, less a few ghosts. Is there anything wrong with that? People sometimes do strange things to find peace and balance. The likes of Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins would be out of business if they didn’t. How many times have you heard of perfectly sane people walking barefoot across fire? A little sage burning sounds a lot more rational to me.

I remember a book that one of my friends gave to me on numerology. She gifted it to me right after I bought a new house. The book instructs you to add up the numbers in the house’s street address, and then it gives you enlightening information based on its number. My new home was a 1. The numerology principles say that houses with the number 1 are places of new beginnings. They inspire independence and ambition. I had to admit that this house was perfect for me at the time….

So I look up Elvis’ serial number- it’s the closest thing I have to an address for him. The numbers in it are 2+2+0+7+4+8. Reduced to a single digit, Elvis is a 5. The numerology book says that houses with the number 5 are solid and need little maintenance. Elvis needs a total transformation after 50 years, but I rationalize that Airstreams are definitely built very solid. The book also says that number 5 houses are busy and exciting places to live. They are lively and attract a lot of visitors. This is good news since I intend to make a lot of new friends at Alumafandango.

Next, I look into Feng Shui. When you Google, Feng Shui, there are over 52 million results. I click on an article called, “The ABC’s of Feng Shui”, hoping to get the Cliff Notes. Instead, I find an entire Feng Shui glossary. It also says I need a Feng Shui compass. I’m starting to feel the onset of information overload, but I owe it to Elvis to persevere. I don’t want his Chi messed up.

So I plow through several more websites. I find that you need to balance the five elements of wood, fire, earth, water and metal. Elvis has a lot of metal. We are going to have to work around that. Another important principle of Feng Shui is noting the position of your house, specifically which direction your front door is facing, and where the various rooms in your house are located. I would imagine when camping, one might strategically position their trailer based on the best direction for their solar panels or their satellite dish. But, how do I convince Brian that our trailer bed needs to always face southwest because it’s best for our love life? I won’t need to fear a cosmic curse, because he will shoot me first.

Finally, at the end of this day of research, I’ve learned that having good trailer Karma is something that I can certainly work on, but I can’t completely control. Divine intervention will always have the upper hand. Brian intervention matters too. What I can do, is try to manifest my own destiny by getting out of my house and into the Airstream. An adventurous life is out there waiting on the road. It is filled with both excitement and peace, and probably a lot less ghosts.

It’s too bad that I don’t know the exact day in 1962 that Elvis was born. Then I could follow his Horoscope. I really hope he’s not a fire sign though. Brian and I are both water signs and we wouldn’t be compatible.

Airstream Parties

January 5th, 2013 by Brenda

Chapter 9:   I subscribed to Airstream Life Magazine hoping that it would have some interesting articles for people like me just getting acquainted with the Airstream world. When leafing through the magazine, I noticed two things.

First:  Airstream enthusiasts like to make up words. Along with Airstream, they use words like “airstreamers” (noun) and “airstreaming” (verb).   These airstreamers, in addition to airstreaming, are also “full-timing” and “boon-docking”.

Second:  I have missed a lot of parties. There was Alumafandago in Denver this past July.  Alumapalooza  (I swear I am not making this up) in Ohio in May.  Most recently, there was Alumalina in North Carolina and Falluminum in Georgia.  Fortunately, there is a future event in February, and its in my home state of Arizona. — You probably guessed — Alumafiesta!

Had I known these airstreamers were such festive people, I would have looked into this sooner. I love a cocktail party. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #8).  I especially love party planning. My mind starts dreaming up events that can be added to the yearly airstreaming agenda:

How about a gathering for people, like me, who have just purchased their first airstream? It could be called Alumanewbie.

Or a gathering for people, also like me, that don’t have an airstream they can camp in yet: Alumawannabe.

A gathering for seniors: Geezalumina

A gathering for singles: Availabalumina

But what does one do after arriving at one of these events, with or without an airstream; with or without a spouse?   I find the Alumapalooza website and go to the FAQ page. “What happens at Alumapalooza?”  happens to be the first question.  It reads:

“For five days/six nights, we camp right on the field next to the Airstream manufacturing building.” — Group camping, in a field, next to a factory — Are they kidding?

“Two dozen informative seminars…” — What happened to the party part?

“Music” — Sounds good.  “Happy Hour” — Sounds better.   “Yoga” — Interestingly the only physical activity mentioned aside from drinking.  “Trailer open house and factory tour” — Brian would like this, but I’m holding off buying my ticket for now.

I go to the Aluminafandago website next.  They say their motto is, “Life is short, eat dessert first” — They sound like they know how to have a little more fun.

Daily Happy Hour, Roving Happy Hour, Yappy Hour — Much better.

Cyclone Roller Coaster and Live Entertainment — Alumafandango may just have my ticket.

Boot Camp and Fitness Contests — I’ve always thought Coloradans were in great shape.

Aluminum Chef Contest — and, guess what? —  an Airstream Bloggers Roundtable!

This is definitely the party for me.  I’m also buying a ticket for Brian and our two dogs.  Hazel and Stella love Yappy Hour!

Trailer Trash Quiz #9.

What is YOUR best party-going advice?

a. Don’t be the first to arrive or the last to leave; and never, never be both.

b. Stop drinking when the stranger you’ve been talking to knows more about you in an hour than your spouse has learned in a life time.

c. Lampshades are for shading the lamp. Period.

d. Try not to be the people your parents warned you about.

e. Other. (Enter your answer in the reply box below)

See my answer on the next post. Until then…..

Airstream Insulation

December 30th, 2012 by Brenda

Chapter 8: Brian and I make a good team. We have completed a lot of renovation projects that are beautiful and done right. However, I use the term “team” very loosely since we mostly do things independently. Our projects are the result of individual efforts. It’s a theme in our relationship. For example- in the garage, he builds cabinets while I paint. In the yard, he pours concrete while I plant. In the library, he installs lights while I sort books. Even in the kitchen, I cook while he cleans or he cooks while I clean. We engage in what Dr. Spock refers to as Parallel Play. We don’t really do things together because we would kill each other.

It was bothersome when I first realized that we couldn’t move our play beyond the toddler years, but now I know this works for us because we both get to be the boss. The Great Elvis Reno Project will be no different. I will design and he will build. More accurately– I will design and he will start to build. Then he will come up with some brilliant idea I didn’t think of, or I will change my mind. Then I will redesign, and he will rebuild. Throughout the process, I will do a lot of research. I am definitely the boss of research.

Last weekend when I visited the shop, Brian showed me what was happening with Elvis so far. Then I started asking him a million questions. It’s not that I don’t have 100% confidence in what he’s doing; I just always have a lot of questions. Maybe I am a toddler. It makes me feel secure getting really good answers. My father must have hated me.  Brian definitely wishes my mind was less inquiring.  He promptly asks me to “look into trailer insulation”. We are weeks away from needing trailer insulation, but it’s clearly Brian’s way of getting me in front of the computer and out of his shop. (I am on to you.)

So this weekend, while I am NOT camping, I am researching trailer insulation. The Camping Gods are punishing me for refusing to sleep on the ground.

According to Wikipedia, cellulose (not to be confused with cellulite) is the most common organic compound on Earth. Cellulite is fast becoming the most common compound found on humans (just kidding). Cellulose is obtained from wood pulp and cotton– it’s what your morning newspaper is made from. Please don’t shoot the messenger here, but many items on your favorite grocer’s shelves contain gobs of cellulose. Marketing minds call it “Dietary Fiber”. We humans have very limited ability to digest cellulose (unlike termites) so it basically all comes back out. Mission accomplished. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #7).

Simply put, cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper, sprinkled with some fire retardant. It’s a popular choice for “Green” building because it has the highest recycled content—thank you for putting your Sunday Times into the blue recycle bin.

The main competition to cellulose in the free world is fiberglass. Fiberglass insulation is that pink fluffy stuff that you see in walls that looks like cotton candy. It is actually made in a similar way to cotton candy but from glass crystals instead of sugar crystals. Owens Corning claims to use up to 58% recycled glass— thank you for putting your beer bottles into the blue recycle bin.

And finally, for the love of camping gods, the last insulation I choose to read about on this exciting day of research is foam insulation. There is rigid foam, spray foam etc. Today’s spray foam claims to be environmentally responsible and non-toxic. I even watched a guy eat it on YouTube. (Amazing what people will do to promote their product!)

There are pages of the pros and cons of different types of insulation. Its a bit more complicated when considering the application in a trailer with limited space, curved walls, and the fact that it will be on the move, unlike a stationary building. If you want to hear what the Airstream Cult members have to say about trailer insulation, go to AirstreamForum.com. They have a thread that goes on for years.

In the meantime, I will gather my stack of research, pour a glass of beer with foam, and wait for my parallel playmate to come home.

Trailer Trash Quiz #8.

How do YOU keep warm in winter?

a. I drink. Nothing beats a hot toddy on a cold day.

b. I eat. It packs on lots of natural insulation.

c. I put on lots of layers. I saved $35 bag check fee by just wearing all my clothes on the plane.

d. I shop infomercials. I just bought a Twin Snuggie, Matching Microwave Slippers and Glovers for Lovers.

e. Other. (Enter your answer in the reply box below)

See my answer on the next post. Until then…..

Airstream Extreme Makeover

December 18th, 2012 by Brenda

Chapter 7: Brian comes from a very smart family. His father went to Harvard and his father’s father went to Harvard. There are a lot of PhDs floating around. Not only was he born with a lot of gray matter, Brian was also born to build things. He’s a creator and a fixer. He’s still trying to fix me. What do you mean I’m not perfect? So buying an old 1962 Airstream didn’t scare him one bit. It gives him a whole swarm of new things to fix. I welcome the reprieve.

After pulling the trailer into the shop where he can get a good look at everything, Brian comes home and tells me that he has to take the entire body off of the frame. “What???” I ask.  “Why do you need to completely dissect my trailer?” Brian answers my question with a question.  I hate that.  “Do you want the job done right?” he asks.  I also hate rhetorical questions.

So Elvis will be undergoing what the Airstream Cult people call, “The Full Monty”. Starting with the chassis, he will experience a bionic transformation including frame, electric, plumbing, HVAC, flooring, cabinetry, appliances etc. etc. etc.  Brian is one of those people that has to do everything right. There’s no cutting corners.  Ever.  It may be 2014 before I get to camp.

For the next several months, while I am NOT camping, instead of pouting the entire time and calling Brian, %$#@! (My answer to trailer trash quiz 6), I figure that I can participate in this extreme makeover- Airstream Edition. Though I did not go to Harvard, I am pretty good at doing research. Generations before me relied on the advice of elders; I have the World Wide Web. So when Brian asks to me “look into” things like trailer insulation, I’m on it. I will meticulously comb the web to find the best insulation for the job. It will be the most boring research I think I’ll ever do. No, I take that back. The day will soon come when he will ask me to “look into” trailer porta-potties. I’m holding my breath for that. But I will be committed to making sure this little Airstream Safari will have the coolest RV toilet– if there is anything out there remotely resembling a cool RV toilet.

While searching the web, I did find this interesting extreme RV makeover. Pork sandwich, anyone?

Also, while searching the Web, I am keeping my eye open for other trailers in need. I am going to be the Angelina Jolie of Airstreams.

Chapter 7 Quiz

What would YOU like to see as the next hit TV show!

a. Extreme Makeover- Food Edition. 1001 ways to modify things to look like food and taste like food, but surprise, it isn’t food.

b. Extreme Makeover- Facts Edition. Starring an All-Star cast of today’s politicians.

c. Extreme Makeover- In-Law Edition.

d. Extreme Makeover- Bedroom Edition. All 50 Shades.

e. Other. (Enter your answer in the box below)

See my answer on the next post. Until then…..

Naming the Airstream

December 8th, 2012 by Brenda

Chapter 6. Upon my return from Las Vegas, I am so proud to be the new owner of the little 1962 Airstream Safari, and immediately I realize that I have to refer to it as something besides, “The Little 1962 Airstream Safari”. I’ve just discovered that I am going to be one of those people who names their trailer. After all, people name their boats. WWII pilots named their planes. I read that 25% of people in the UK name their cars. People give inanimate objects names because it adds a human quality and fosters an endearing attachment. I want this trailer to bond with us.

I scan the web for inspiration and there are several sites devoted to naming objects. One site is Confused.com and it lists the 10 most popular car names. It says that the top names are Charlie and Ruby. The site also lists some celebrity car names (as if it wasn’t enough to give their children ridiculous names). I learn that Beyonce’s Jaguar is named Honeybee, Obama’s Ford is named The Beast and Lady Gaga’s Rolls Royce is named Bloody Mary.

There is also a Car Name Generator, a handy little app that suggests a name for your car after you input the color, the type, the age, and the sex. The sex? I hadn’t thought of that. My little Airstream Safari obviously wasn’t born yesterday. I don’t even know how many previous owners it’s had over its 50 years of life. How often had it been named a boy and then undergone a transgender shift to a girl? Should I stick with an androgynous name? Will it create bad trailer Karma to keep changing it? If only this trailer could talk. They would all let me know if they were becoming schizophrenic.

Ignoring my growing concerns, I visit the Namely-yours.com website. It discusses 5 car naming trends.

Trend #1: Naming based on the color of the car. Try guessing the color of Smurf, Rosie, Kermit, and Jackolantern. Since all Airstream are silver, I think I would quickly run out of options using this trend.

Trend #2: Naming your car after someone you know. Since we will most likely gut this trailer, I think I will pass on this trend.

Trend #3: Choosing a name based on physical appearance. Same dilemma as #1.

Trend #4: Creatively naming your car based on make or model. Take a wild guess at Rover, Monty and Thumper.

Trend #5: Choosing a name based on a unique and usually undesirable characteristic or behavior. Examples are Crashy, Jinx and Putt-Putt.  Hopefully this trailer doesn’t have too many undesirable behaviors. (Thank goodness my answer to trailer trash quiz#5 is all of the above.)

Unfortunately, this website is not helping me at all.  So I am starting a new trend.

Trend #6. Pick a name based on the place where it was rescued.

Chapter 6 Quiz.

What objects have you named? Fill in the blank:

a. I once had a blanket named ___________________.

b. I have an imaginary friend named ___________________.

c. I have a body part named __________________. (Remember this is a PG site).

d. I sometimes call my significant other this name when I know he can’t hear me. _________________.

e. Other. (Fill in your answers in the box below.)

See my answer on the next post. Until then…..

The Vegas Airstream

December 2nd, 2012 by Brenda

Chapter 5. It’s a happy day! I came across an ad on Craig’s List for a used Airstream Safari. I immediately Google “Airstream Safari” and find a rock band in Missoula, Montana. I try again and find the information I’m looking for. The overall length of this model, “bumper to ball,” in trailer-man’s language is 22’ long. This means that the trailer body is about 19’ long. The width on the outside is 7’4”, so the approximate interior living space is about 130 square feet. My bedroom is bigger than that. I have to fit my “Must Have” list, me, Brian and 2 dogs…

We can do this.

The ad reads, “I hate to see this go, but I just don’t have time to fix it up… It needs a little TLC…” Brian can fix anything so I keep on reading. “Originally bought to go on road trips but I am no longer able”. I immediately start feeling sorry for the guy and hope he’s not in bad health. I envision a little handyman, checking all the wiring, leak proofing the plumbing etc. He says he’s already started ripping out the counters, and refinishing the cabinets but had to stop. So I send him an email.

I get a response right away. He says that the trailer is in storage in Las Vegas. He then signs the email with :-) Who signs their email with a smiley face? Young people, that’s who. My girls use internet slang like LOL and smiley emoticons. I don’t. I assumed this guy would be old enough and handy enough to be fixing up an Airstream, so straightaway, I launch into suspicious mode.

I get back on the internet and Google this person’s name (I won’t mention it here, but it’s an unusual, non-gender specific name which is why I let myself assume this was some old guy). And I find her. She has a MySpace account and she is very young and very beautiful.

Paranoia is such a buzz kill. I’ve gotten myself all worked up and convinced that these people (now there is more than one person) are waiting for someone like me to come along. Scammer guy places the trap- pretends he has a perfect trailer that needs a little TLC. Young beautiful decoy comes in and makes you feel safe to show up at some secluded storage place and then…

I will fast forward through the rest of the details, but I am obviously still alive. I spoke with her on the phone, flew to Vegas, and bought the trailer. Hallelujah! As it turns out, she is a very beautiful person. She was so pleased to hear that I would continue her efforts and fix up the little trailer. After I lectured her about the dangers of meeting strange people on Craig’s List, we hugged goodbye and promised to stay in touch. I will send her pictures and we will be friends. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #4).

So Brian and I drive back and pick up our trailer from the storage lot. We are now the proud owners of a 1962 Airstream Safari. What a glorious day! We only lose one window on the way home. (Fortunately it didn’t hit anyone). My first assignment is to learn how to fix window locks. I’m going to have to quickly learn how to speak trailer-man language. It needs a lot more than a little TLC. (Photos to follow soon).

During the journey back home, Brian has the little Safari under constant surveillance in the rear view mirror- he’s not convinced that other things won’t fly off. I am in the passenger seat day-dreaming about all the other trailers out there that might need our help. I could not stop thinking about how happy my new Las Vegas friend was when handing her trailer over to me. It was bittersweet, but she was genuinely content that it was in good hands and going to be brought back to life. She knew it would be turned into what she had always hoped it would be. And I wondered how many others were out there. How many more trailers had lost their way? What if we started a rescue group and saved them? —-Brian is going to kill me.

Trailer Trash Quiz #5.

Why would YOU date a handyman?

a. Handymen really do know how to fix things, they aren’t just posers. No one is harmed.

b. I never have to call Angie for her list again.

c. Handymen fix plumbing leaks without surprises- I’ve already seen the butt. Been there, done that.

d. I can toss all my DIY books into the new under-the-counter, pull-out recycle center he just installed.

e. Other. (Enter your answer in the reply box below)

See my answer on the next post. Until then…..

P.S. If any of you guys in the rock band in Missoula, Montana ever read this, I really enjoyed your songs.

Shopping for a “Vintage” Airstream

November 29th, 2012 by Brenda

Chapter 4:  The term vintage by definition refers to a season’s yield of grapes or wine from a vineyard. Nowadays, the word vintage seems to describe anything that is not new, but not antique– rather than just saying it’s “used”. Marketing minds prefer the word to make used things sound more desirable or important. Think of boutiques selling Vintage Clothing opposed to Goodwill selling used clothes. The word can mean the difference between you paying 50 bucks for a t-shirt versus five.

Even new stuff is described as vintage when it’s just made to look old. It reminds me of the clothing at Abercrombie & Fitch that my kids wanted me to pay big bucks for because they looked like someone had already worn them for years. My kids were so gullible. But now that I am searching for a used trailer, I find myself telling my friends that I am in the market for a “vintage” Airstream. I guess their mother is gullible too.

When I first start looking at used trailers on-line, the photos of the Airstreams from the 1950’s and 1960’s captivate me. I can feel myself starting to fall in love with their look. Yes, their bodies still had that same aerodynamic bullet shape, but the shine was magnificent on some of the older ones. I’ve learned now that the aluminum back then is different than the aluminum on contemporary Airstreams. When polished, these trailers have a perfect mirror finish. I could imagine the wow factor when you see one of these cruising down the highway. I couldn’t think of anything more romantic than spontaneously hitting the road to some unknown destination towing one of these nostalgic pieces behind. Sometimes, old things are just better. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #3).

So my search for a vintage 50’s or 60’s trailer has begun. We don’t have an Airstream trailer dealership here in Arizona, so I resort once again to the internet. For the past few years I have been diligently fine tuning my on-line shopping skills. Every month, Brian reminds me just how excellent I am getting. My AMEX bill mostly says Amazon, Amazon, and Amazon about 20 more times. However, I claim that Chevron times 6, reduced to Chevron times 3, is a direct result of shopping from home. After I get my Airstream, I’m looking into an electric car so I can break up with Chevron for good.

I wish my vintage Airstream could show up at my door in a cardboard box with the smile logo on it. It would be a very happy day. If only it was as easy as Amazon One-Click. But what’s different about buying a used trailer is that I want to see it in person before I decide. A lot of “things” could have happened to it during its 50 plus years of life. I would imagine that one person’s description of these “things” can be quite different from another’s.

The first places I start looking for a vintage Airstream seem very promising. As I had guessed, there are plenty of used Airstreams out there.

www.airstreamclassifieds.com

www.vintage-airstream.com

www.rvtrader.com

Unfortunately, every time I think I’ve spotted something, it turns out to be 2000 miles away. So this is not going to be as easy as I had hoped. No instant gratification here. I map out in my mind what my shopping radius is. This transaction is likely to require two trips. One to go look at the trailer and make sure that I can live with all its “things”, and a second to go back and pick it up. Maybe there will be a nice seller (who is not a scam artist) that is willing to deliver it. I have seen several ads on Craig’s List where the seller is “regretfully” willing to part with a photo perfect trailer- at a very cheap price AND is gladly willing to deliver it to you free of charge. THIS IS A SCAM. Believe me. Just try contacting them. They will only communicate via email- they won’t talk on the phone. If you say you will meet them to see the trailer- they will say they’ve already left town. They will say the trailer is stored safely somewhere ready to be shipped to you- free of charge once you pay them. You can pay them by Pay Pal or even through a “pre-arranged deal through Amazon”. (I hate that they drag Amazon into their dirty trick). If you insist on not conducting business this way, they will stop communicating and move on to the next sucker.

So I keep on searching, avoiding scams, and waiting for my vintage trailer to surface within a reasonable driving distance. I have my shopping radius drawn, and, my over-night bag packed– just in case.

Trailer Trash Quiz #4

Why do YOU like to shop on-line?

a. The shopping cart never gets full and I don’t have to push it.

b. People selling things on-line want to be your friend. It’s better than Facebook.

c. My UPS man is HOT!

d. Once you’re a regular, it’s like Christmas everyday- especially when you forgot what you ordered!

e. Other. (Enter your answer in the reply box below)

See my answer on the next post. Until then…..

Airstream Sticker Shock

November 25th, 2012 by Brenda

Chapter 3: And I was complaining about how expensive my memory foam mattress was… I was also bragging that when I want to buy something, I do. I officially take back that statement, in its entirety. A new Airstream trailer is NOT something you just put on your American Express card. Not even the smallest, entry level model. Nope. I also bragged that AMEX loves me—they don’t love me that much. So funding my new trailer fetish was going to take some creativity. Thank goodness for the folks down at the credit union— let’s hope they are feeling the love more than AMEX. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #2).

On a more serious note, the original purpose for this blog was to share knowledge as well as experience. So this seems like a good time to include some practical information that I am finding along this journey. The first bit I want to share is about travel trailer financing. If you’re like me and one of your general principles in life is to never get closer to a banker than the ATM machine, you may find this helpful (unless those crooks changed the fine print since).

Travel trailer financing:

  1. Financing can be found for up to 90% of the trailer value. (10% down payment)
  2. Financing is available for both new and used trailers.
  3. There are both fixed rate loans and variable rate loans offered for trailers.
  4. Most lenders, of course, will require proof of income and credit information.
  5. You can find financing for up to 20 years, but sometimes after a certain time period, i.e. 12 years, the loan could result in a balloon payment. Make sure you understand the terms.
  6. You can finance a travel trailer sold to you by either a private party or a dealer.
  7. If you buy the trailer from an individual, some banks may require you to complete the sale at the bank so that they can inspect the trailer before dispersing the funds.
  8. There are banks that do not charge an early pay-off penalty, make sure to ask.
  9. Travel trailer financing can qualify for the second home interest income tax deduction- be sure to ask your tax consultant.
  10. Some lenders are completely on-line. They claim to be easy and quick. I have no comment.
  11. Before making an appointment with a local lender, it is still wise to go on-line and see what other nationwide lenders are offering for the best rates and terms.
  12. If you are buying the trailer through a dealer, check with their financing department also. Some dealerships get “bulk” discounts from major banks and can offer you the financing at a lower rate than the local banks.

I wish you luck.

If the credit union doesn’t like you either, it’s time to look at creative buying. If a brand new trailer is out of the budget, maybe an older one is more practical. The great news is that Airstreams are designed to last more than a lifetime. They were intended to be handed down to the next generation. If your grandparents were cool enough to own an Airstream, then maybe you are the lucky one. If not, then maybe you can buy someone else’s grandma’s trailer. The Airstream Company claims that nearly 60-70 percent of all their trailers ever built are still rolling down the highway today. That means there must be a lot of used Airstreams out there!

Now I start to wonder, how old will my used trailer look? Personally, I think that anything I still own after 10 years needs an extreme make-over. But investigating further, it appears that Airstream still stands by Wally Byam’s motto: “Let’s not make changes, let’s only make improvements.” From what I can tell, the aerodynamic body style hasn’t drastically changed in 80 years. I’m sure all the Airstream cult people who know every detail of the trailers’ evolution may adamantly argue with me here, but for right now, my untrained eye can’t really tell the difference. I see no aesthetic change between one trailer body and another trailer body that is 20 years younger—now wouldn’t that just be marvelous if it applied to people?

I do believe now, that NOT buying a brand new Airstream and towing it off the dealer lot (along with its birth certificate and large bank note) is going to be okay. I know that there is a distant older cousin out there that can be adopted– and will come with a much smaller I.O.U. attached. Brian will be pleased.

Woman seeking used trailer.

Trailer Trash Quiz#3.

What is YOUR best reason to buy a used trailer?

a. Less Guilt. It’s already old and blemished, so I won’t feel as bad making a big dent when backing into a tree.

b. More protection. No one will want to break in. They will assume that everything inside is old too and they simply won’t be interested.

c. Some things are just better with age, like wine.

d. An old trailer will make my old truck look even better.

e. Other. (Enter your answer in the box below)

See my answer on the next post. Until then……

The Airstream Cult

November 22nd, 2012 by Brenda

Chapter 2: We were on our way home from tent camping, malodorous and weary from lack of proper sleep. I’m wearing my old favorite DKNY baseball cap. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #1). The moment we had cellular service, I pulled out my iPad and starting Googling travel trailers. Brian will attest, when I am determined to buy something, there is no stopping me. AMEX loves me. My first image search for travel trailers brings up an assortment of these silver-bullet-looking-things. I am intrigued. I click on one of them for a closer look and there it is… an Airstream.

They say that life changing moments are only apparent in retrospect. I didn’t realize it at the time, but typing in that one word, Airstream, on that post-traumatic tent camping day was going to change my life (and Brian’s life too, whether he wanted it to change or not). The word Airstream produced 2,380,000 results in Google. Wow! I had to know what this madness was all about, and I had just been given over two million places to look. So I dove in head first. My life had just changed from Woman Seeking Trailer to Woman Seeking Airstream.

At first glance, I was disturbed that this Airstream trailer group seemed a bit like a cult. Seeing pictures of “caravans” and “rallies”– hundreds of Airstreams gathering together was a bit creepy. Then I find out that there are “Airstream Only” RV parks throughout the country. I wasn’t sure how I felt about exclusionary camping. Aren’t all nature loving campers awesome people? Was it okay to be rejected because you own a Coleman Camper? Some parks even require you to have a WBCCI membership. What’s a WBCCI membership? I had so much more to learn.

I continued to scan the internet and found recent posts like this: “Airstream Owners Club plans its fall adventure…“ Seriously? I’m not a “club” kind of person, at all. I can’t remember being in a “club” since my mother made me join 4H. I don’t play Bridge in a club. I don’t read books in tandem with others. I don’t jog on a fleet of treadmills. I don’t even belong to Sam’s Club. Brian’s love for tennis drew him toward joining a country club, but I scoffed at the idea until he gave up. Join a trailer club? You’ve got to be kidding me. This was pure madness. But my inquiring mind kept me going- wondering why some people would?

Hours of reading later, and at the risk of sounding like an Airstream history lesson here, I will just briefly note what I had learned so far. Flashback to the 1950’s: Wally Byam, who was the inventor of the Airstream (and was also the WB in the WBCCI above), was leading a “club” of Airstream owners all around the world. The Caravans had literally been traveling together through Canada, Mexico, Central America, Europe and even Africa. These little “Made in America” trailers were going global– boldly going where no other trailers had gone before. I was impressed. My attitude toward this “club” and their trailers was beginning to change. Sometimes you just have to embrace the madness.

The one nuance that I was starting to pick up about the Airstream, was that it falls into the same category as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. Chevrolet move over– or hitch up an Airstream. Like apple pie, the silver-bullet icon screams American culture to a lot of people. The mini living spaces on wheels encouraged people to venture out of their homes and discover new places; form new friendships (i.e. join a club), and make their travel dreams come true. While I was still very opposed to ever joining a club, I did feel myself being pulled along a journey to becoming one of those people who idolizes these little silver things. Cult or not, I am Woman Seeking Airstream.

Trailer Trash Quiz #2.

Why would YOU join a club?

a. I don’t have time to read what happened in chapters 4, 5 and 6, so my book club buddies will be sure to tell me next week.

b. Instead of getting one bottle of fabric softener that will do 16 loads, I get one bottle of fabric softener that will do 220. (I don’t have to worry about fabric softener for the next 3 years!)

c. Clubs can pick and choose their members. Even my credit union doesn’t have to pick you.

d. I can exercise with, socialize with, dine with, dance with, wear the same clothes as, drive the same cars as and comprehensively compete in life with others who are named Jones.

e. Other. (Enter your answer in the box below)

See my answer on the next post. Until then……

About the Author

After searching for the perfect travel trailer to make camping experiences more enjoyable, I discovered the world of Airstreams. I’m not only learning a lot about Airstreams, but I’m learning a lot about myself, my relationships, and how an aluminum trailer added into the mix can change your life.