On the Road Again...
I have always wanted a Recreational Vehicle (RV). Not just any RV, but an Airstream. Not just any Airstream, but the silver bullet styled motorhome which hasn't been produced since 1992. In that year, Airstream moved toward the more ubiquitous boxy style and unfortunately (for me) never looked back. I have been thinking (all right, obsessing) about owning one ever since our first family road trip out West in 2011. While we weren't/aren't much of a camping family, we love driving long distances together. Wouldn't it be great to do that in your very own Airstream motorhome?
For some time, I was in hot pursuit of the perfect Airstream. Truth be told, they are not easy to find. My first opportunity was a sad shell which would require a complete overhaul, well outside of my budget. The second deal fell apart as the owner was evicted from their home and needed to live it in for a few months. The third time was a charm. I saw this beauty (above) based in Cleveland, OH. I flew there not knowing what I would find, or what I would do with it.
I made an inquiry to an Airstream that was listed online. Two weeks later I heard from a purported representative of the Seller. We exchanged emails and pleasantries for a couple of days, but soon he took my inquiries as annoying, and I took his responses as hostile. Most people would have let it go, but I am not most people, so I bought a plane ticket to Cleveland. I had an off-duty police officer escort me to the meeting place (thanks, fellow Louper Jason H.) and at least I was safe. I inspected the vehicle (there was no available inspector within 200 miles of the vehicle), and it seemed fine ... as a layman. I decided right then and there that I wanted the vehicle, so I wired the money. They handed me the title and the keys, and I was on the road again! At 6 pm, I began my solo journey from Cleveland to New York City (much to my wife's chagrin, given that I had no idea how to drive an RV, nor that it was safe to drive). I muscled through and learned the old-fashioned way by doing, and alas I drove this 37' long, 8' wide, and over 17,000 lbs bus all the way to Manhattan, pulling in at 3:30 am. I was exhausted but exhilarated.
When you know the market for something, sometimes you just have to make your move. I made my move and fulfilled a long-standing dream of owning an Airstream. You may ask, "What the hell are you going to do with an RV in New York City???" The answer is I am not sure, but first I had to renovate up to the Missus specifications. To do so, I enlisted the services of the ultra-hip Brooklyn based architectural/design firm Glickman Schlessinger Architects and experienced design/renovation expertise of Timeless Travel Trailers.
In this week's Loupe, I clue you in on the critical resources and apps for ... road tripping!
Colonia Airstream, 1121 NJ-88, Lakewood Township, NJ 08701
You don't have to go vintage, the new trailers and coaches are plenty cool and certainly the easier option! Afterall, Airstream has been making great campers since the Great Depression. They are like no other motorhome on the market in terms of design, authenticity, and quality. For me, it is the silver bullet styling of the current line of trailers, but to each their own. They stopped making the classically styled motorhome in 1992.
Buy Used and Renovate
Timeless Travel Trailers
12250 W 52nd Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
If Airstream doesn't currently make what you want (or need), then you need to find yourself a used motorhome or trailer and renovate! Find yourself a classic silver bullet, like me, and enlist the services of Timeless Travel Trailers. They are based in Denver and have made a business out of refurbishing motorhomes and trailers, with a particular emphasis on vintage Airstreams. They have great style and are master craftspeople. They understand the constraints of your land yacht and can make the most out of it. They took special pride in my project and produced a beauty!
Rent vs. Own?
Of course, you don't need to buy one to enjoy an adventure in an Airstream. Many (not me) believe that it is smart to rent before buying. I'm a two feet in sort of guy. Yet, the fine folks at Autocamp allow you to sample modern airstream camping in luxurious digs. They have taken the hassle out of camping in an RV (and believe me, it's a hassle!) by doing everything for you. They have renovated classic Airstream trailers with everything you might expect in a beautiful hotel room, and even more impressive ... with a ding, ding, ding ... mid-century feel (three code words for cool). These trailers are located in gorgeous locations in California (a la the Russian River, Yosemite, and Santa Barbara). The best part is that you don't have to lift a finger; no driving, no plugging in, no dumping black water, etc. This is the perfect way to check-out in the great outdoors with a minimum amount of effort on your end. What's that expression, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Ok, not free but not the price of buying your own!
See you on the Road!
When you own an RV, you have very different things to worry about then most cars on the road. For example, my Airstream is a little below 12,' and therefore I need to know where I can and can't go. For example, I can't take a shortcut through Central Park since the highest overpass in 11'! If you are planning on staying overnight, you need to know where you can park, most Wal*Marts accept overnight stays but not near New York City and who wants to stay in a Walmart? You also need to know where campgrounds are so that you can hook up overnight ... I am not sure I would even know what to do! Nonetheless, Allstays is the app made for RVing. It has all the information that you need to create the perfect road trip, and to give you (much needed) information along the way.
The key to a great road trip is not only the ultimate stops but the places in between. What did Emerson astutely say, life is a journey, not a destination. While the known destinations are well covered by most guides and travel apps, for the places in between, I go to Roadtrippers. Roadtrippers allows you to plot your trip on a map, and then it will show you fun things to do on the way. The app provides critical information and more importantly rates the stops. This is an invaluable resource for planning your very own road trip!
The Roadtrip (from Hell) Movie!
Lost in America
I don't know how I missed this classic film, but it indeed fell through the cracks. Fellow Louper and filmmaker Debi W. reminded me of its existence as we were discussing RVs. It stars the amazing and humorous Albert Brooks. Albert Brooks is to Los Angeles what Woody Allen is to New York. The idea is he and his wife drop out of their miserable, unrewarding jobs, and buy an RV to follow in the path of Easy Rider. Unfortunately, for them, they soon find that the rest of America may be even worse! Hopefully, this isn't a harbinger of things to come (for me), but it is a great movie to see if you are contemplating a road trip (or just love Albert Brooks)!
I now have my first RV road trip under my belt, and I assure you this is not for everyone. Everything from the driving to the setting up camp to the camp itself comes with its benefits and its drawbacks. But, as you know by now, I'm searching for authentic adventures, and that it was. Consider Airstream, Timeless Travel Trailers, Autocamp, Allstays, Roadtrippers, and Lost in America Found!