I. History: When I was a youngster, my grandparents took us camping and traveling all over the eastern U.S. in their various travel coaches. My particularly favorite such device was their 1975 Airstream TradeWind. I remember going with my grandpa to buy it and remember being amazed at how unique and cool it was. It was nothing like I had ever seen before (even though I was about 9 years old at the time). The futuristic looking inside with the roll up overhead cabinets and the shiny mirror-like exterior made me awe in amazement.
Needless to say, we felt special wherever we went in the Airstream. (We were, right?) However, for as special as the Airstream was (and still is!), the fondest memory I have of that Airstream was spending nights with my Grandpa, him in one twin bed and me in the other. He would read me jokes and stories from Readers' Digest to help me fall asleep at night. That was of course when it wasn't raining outside and we couldn't listen to the awesome sounding pitter patter on the roof. Every time we used the Airstream it was an adventure and that spirit of adventure and freedom has persisted in me to this day.
II. My 1st Airstream: While I can remember wanting an Airstream since I starting taking my own camping trips as an adult, financially it seemed like a distant dream to a 20 something with college debt and just starting his career. This did nothing to diminish my determination or desire to 'someday' own my dream 'stream. Yes, most guys are into hot rod cars or motorcycles, and I admit I like nice cars, BUT my real passion has always been Airstreams. The aluminum fever bit me young and shows no signs of being cured. I'm okay with that.
So, as fate would have it, me and my first silver baby met by pure chance. On a sunny spring day in May of 2006 I was driving along a road near my parents' home where alongside the road there is a storage lot for boats and RVs... I nearly wrecked the car that day... I saw an Airstream and a for-sale sign in the window and my heart skipped a beat, or two dozen. It was love at first sight and I knew I had to have her. She looked lonely and a little neglected and was begging me to bring her home and give her the love she deserved. With a few phone calls and a few panic attacks worrying I wouldn't get to buy her, destiny intervened and brought us together. With a small loan from a dear friend and my stepdad's truck, I got to pull my treasured pod back to safety.
This girl was a charming 1972 Airstream Safari 23 LY. She provided me with many happy miles over the 5 years I owned her. Granted there were a lot of things I needed to learn about owning a travel trailer and the time and expense involved with maintaining a 30+ year old trailer. Nonetheless, I was eager to face the challenge to give that beautiful girl the love she (and all Airstreams) deserves.
III. My 2nd Airstream: 1977 Sovereign International 31': Having become an avid traveler with my first Airstream, it became apparent to me that my not so fleeting enjoyment of this mode of travel led me to pursue a larger, more spacious unit for my 2 dogs and my travel mates. This Airstream needed much attention and love to bring it back to life, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Sadly, with the passage of time, I was unable to keep up with the demands of owning an aging, vintage unit. My skills were not sharp and my finances left me in a tough spot of either deciding to continue to spend money to keep this girl on the road or finance my future dream of home ownership. The latter won out, but happily, my 77 Sovereign was sold to a gentleman who had just as much appreciation of Airstreams and the time and money to give her the attention she deserved.
IV. Visiting the Airstream Factory: Visiting the Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, Ohio, was like an inside peek of heaven! The craftsmenship and attention to detail that goes into building an Airstream is sure to impress even the most skilled builder. The workers show a true joy and love to building these silver bullets and it instills confidence in an owner that their Airstream will be with them for many years to come.
V. Where to Next?: In October of 2017 my Airstream journey took a pause while I pursued the joys (or stresses) of home-ownership. Traveling will always be in my blood, and I will never lose my admiration for these spectacular aluminum love bugs. An Airstream is an experience in and of itself, and one I have been very fortunate to experience first-hand. Perhaps someday, when my time and finances permit once again, I will set out on the open road with a darling Airstream once more. Until then, happy trails to all my fellow Airstream lovers out there!