Once an Airstreamer, Always an Airstreamer

San Diego is home to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot where over 21,000 enlisted recruits a year receive their initial training in the United States Marine Corps, whose motto is Semper Fidelis* (Always Faithful).  The official motto of the Marine Corps League is “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.” For many of us who have or had an Airstream, that special esprit de corps rings true to us Airstreamers and is the theme in Rich Luhr’s post, One community, indivisible …, “I’ll keep touting the message that no matter which Airstream you own, you’re a part of Airstream Life.  Special interest groups within the Airstream community are cool, but in the end we’re all people united by a common love of travel, adventure, learning, socializing and —well, to be honest—eating.”

Airstream… it all started with a dream, words, and actions of Wally Byam as seen in Airstream’s new video, Airstream Anthem: The Creed.*  Our Airstream adventure began nearly eleven years ago with a trip to Southwest Coaches where we placed a custom order for an Airstream Safari trailer.  We entered a world of enjoying nature, stars, rainbows, sunrises, sunsets, birds, turkeys, bighorn sheep, sights and trails and meeting people and sharing ideas and food while appreciating the iconic beauty, form and function of Airstream.

Ten years ago this month, we began our annual fall-winter-spring camping season with a trip to William Heise County Park in San Diego’s Cuyamaca Mountains.  This trip is documented in my “SilverGate’s Safari is Home at Last!” thread, starting with post #295, which includes turkeys, the Plague Doctor, Día de los Muertos decorations, Flamingo Hat, cooking and a visit to the nearby town of Julian and the gravesite of Marshal South.  All of this came 3 months before I “welcomed aboard” readers to my first History Safari Express blog post in January, 2008!

HPIM1464 Desert view from mts

HPIM1473 Rig at Wm Heise Park

HPIM1507 Bacon in Brinkman Small Fry

HPIM1555 Halloween spirits

After 10 years of camping in San Diego’s beautiful beach, mountain, and desert sites, we listened to our minds and bodies and decided to lessen our workload and stress by selling our Airstream to a younger family who will use and love this Airstream as we have (See The Selling of our Airstream trailer).  We are currently researching the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid* as an alternative compact crossover sport utility vehicle to continue to enjoy our day trips (RAV4 stands for “Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-wheel drive”) . Although we don’t intend to tow, it’s nice to know that the 2018 RAV4 Hybrid can tow 1,750 pounds (enough for a Wolf Pack*) and the 2018 RAV4 Adventure all-wheel drive can tow up to 3,500 pounds (enough for a Basecamp or Nest, expected early 2018)!

So this “always an Airstreamer” will continue to go places and celebrate the esprit de corps of the Airstream community, indivisible, and Airstream Life by covering Airstream-related items on this blog, including highlights of past trips and tips, news and views, seasonal celebrations, interesting videos, and new, exciting products such as the all new 2018 Airstream Atlas B+, Airstream’s most luxurious Touring Coach to date. See the videos: Airstream Spotlight: 2018 Atlas Touring Coach* and Colonial Airstream’s Patrick Botticelli’s Walk Through 2018 Airstream Atlas B+ Touring Coach Mercedes Sprinter RV.*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

The selling of our Airstream trailer

In our younger years, we enjoyed tent camping, so shortly into our retirement, 11 years ago, we rekindled the dream of camping and explored the RV options that would make it more pleasant and comfortable.  After visiting dealers of pop up and white box, and finally Airstream trailers, we came to the conclusion that it would be Airstream or nothing!  After doing almost a year of homework and exploring all of the information and opinions in AirForums and Airstream Life, we bought a 2007 Airstream Safari SE 23′ trailer and brought it home in January 2007, as detailed in “SilverGate’s Safari is Home at Last!

HP Our Safari arrives home (Jan:2007)For the next 10 years our family enjoyed the form and function of this iconic trailer* while camping in the beautiful desert, mountain, and beach parks in San Diego County and meeting and making new friends along the way.

DSC_0130 Vallecito County Park 2008

DSC_0108 Wm Heise County Park 6:08

DSC_0017 South Carlsbad State BeachAs I entered the seventh decade of my life, my body began telling me that I should lighten the workload and yet still enjoy being a California day-tripper.*  So we decided to find the right person to buy, enjoy and love this Airstream as we have.  To this end, we first contacted friends and then placed our ad on AirForums’ Airstream Classifieds on September 13. The first responses were from dealers who wanted to buy it for resale.  There were 18 other inquires and I asked each one to tell me something about themselves, interest in Airstream, RV experience, how they would use the trailer, and what they would use as a tow vehicle.

IMG_0721 Our Airstream ad 9:13:17Two days after the ad was posted, we got a positive response that looked promising from a local, young family who came to see the trailer and decided after a few days of serious contemplation that this trailer would be a perfect match, and we agreed!  The transaction was completed with a cashier’s check, bill of sale, and the Notice of Title Transfer and Release of Liability.  I then reviewed with the buyer how everything worked and assisted in hitching up the trailer to his 2016 RAM 3500 truck.  I then followed him in our truck, filled with camping items that we no longer needed, and assisted him in parking and unhitching the trailer.

IMG_0669 Our Safari's new homeport

Our Safari was beaming, looking happy, and right at home in its new homeport!

IMG_0670 A beaming happy Safari!Also looking happy, the new owner said he and his family are absolutely thrilled with the trailer!

IMG_0672 The happy new owner!And we are happy and thrilled to pass this iconic Airstream trailer on to a younger generation that will give it love, good use, good care, and a good home!

*Encore YouTube videos: Paul McCartney – Two of Us and Transfer – Reflections of Home and Losing Composure

10th year wash, wax and treat!

This is the tenth year that our 2007 Airstream Safari has had a thorough washing, waxing and treating (filiform corrosion control and prevention), which has preserved its iconic beauty, even though it lives with us along the San Diego coast.  (Note: we routinely cover our trailer tires for sun protection.)

DSC_0061 Safari awaits 10th annual wash, wax & treat

As it awaited its big wash and wax job, it proudly flew the flag of the United States and the United States Navy.  I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman 1971-1975 and June 17 was the 119th birthday of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps!

DSC_0030 United States Navy flag

Last week I donned sun protection for my skin and eyes and climbed the step ladder to begin the attack.  A full report on how I wash and wax the trailer, along with a list of my tools, strategy, procedure, and the benefits, is seen in my post, “Wash, wax and treat II.”

DSC_0092 10th annual Airstream washOur three awnings were then deployed, washed and lubricated. See awning operation, safety, cleaning and lubrication in my comprehensive post, “Trailer awnings.”

DSC_0099 Awnings opened & washed

DSC_0101 Steet-side awning washedThe phenomenon of newer Airstream trailers (2001 through current year) being susceptible to filiform corrosion continues to be well documented in the AirForums’ 170+ page thread, “Corrosion problems with new Airstreams.”  The clear coated aluminum sheets can corrode beginning at the cut edges, rivet holes, and scratches where salt, water and air can enter. Early on, we limited the spread of filiform corrosion by washing and waxing the trailer regularly with a good quality wax and using corrosion retardants and protectants such as Boeshield T-9 and CorrosionX.  (See my comprehensive post Filiform corrosion.)

DSC_0114 Minimal filiform corrosion overallThis is the 10th year we have relied on Meguiar’s M20 Mirror Glaze Polymer Sealant wax to provide a beautiful sheen that feels silky to the touch while protecting the trailer. (See photos and details of the trailer’s first wash & wax job, June 2007, in my AirForums’ posts #182-188.)

DSC_0118 Beautiful wax shine & protection

DSC_0109 10th Annual Wax job!The Safari shine is an eye-popping, riveting experience!*

DSC_0130 Safari shine, an eye-popping experience!Airstream Travel Trailers: A Lifetime of Adventure*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Safari’s L-lounge and storage space!

What sold us on this 2007 23′ Airstream Safari were the many space-saving components such as the versatile L-lounge that can be opened up to become a large bed while providing abundant storage space, a concept seen in Japanese space-efficient designs.*

IMG_0407 L-lounge, closed position

IMG_0418 L-lounge, open position

We strengthened the supporting construction by replacing staples with screws and bolts, and installing hinged fold-down legs for added support.  (See bedding details here.)

HPIM1451 Lounge, legs down Bamboo floor mats have a nice feel and have kept the floor in pristine condition.  Large storage space is provided below, above and on the side of the lounge.

IMG_0416 Under lounge storage, pristine floor

IMG_0426 Over lounge storage

15 windows provide scenic views as well as abundant natural light that makes this trailer seem more spacious. Next to the lounge is the credenza with 3 large drawers and storage area for the roll-out dining table seen here.  Copious storage space is provided throughout the trailer, including over the galley and below the lobster sink (we added the fold-down cutting board countertop). Seen by the stove is a wood dish rack from Ikea.

IMG_0429 Over galley storage

IMG_0441 Under lobster sink storage

More storage space is provided under the oven, pantry with roll-out drawer, and under bed and wardrobe closet.

IMG_0446 Under bed storage

We mounted magnetic knife strips on the inside of one of the wardrobe doors for holding kitchen utensils.

IMG_0436 Magnetic utensil holders on wardroom door

The huge double wardrobe closet measures 31 inches wide, 60 inches high, and 28 inches deep at the base.  We added a hanging shoe rack for holding clothing articles such as insulated vests and parkas.  In the closet are complementary hats and jackets that we received from Airstream upon purchasing this 75th Anniversary trailer!

IMG_0433 Double wardrobe storage    IMG_0453 Vanity sink storageIMG_0496 Bathroom with shower

Next to the wardrobe is storage space above and below the Vanity Sink.  The shower is pristine because we use it for storage rather than showers (seen in the shower is the original 75th Airstream Anniversary carrying case filled with Owners Manuals)!

*This is a link to a YouTube video.           Note: All photos were taken by iPhone 7 Plus (except 3rd one down).

Our Airstream Safari systems review

Our 23′ Airstream Safari Special Edition trailer was made in December 2006, Airstream’s 75th anniversary year!

DSC_0080 Our Special Edition Safari

Our custom order through our local dealer included our Airstream factory installed solar charging system with two solar panels and AGM batteries.  Our records show that on most non-hookup days our AGM batteries are back to 100% by midday.  See how I changed our Lifeline AGM batteries.

Our Solar Panels curbside.40

Also see how I replaced the failing OEM Parallax converter with the Xantrex XADC 60A converter/charger.

DSC_0100 Our Xantrex converter

See how we changed out our hot Halogen lights to cool LED lights that use less energy.  Our LED lights are seen below, along with our new 10-year sealed battery smoke detector that I installed last January.

DSC_0211 Our LED lights

Last year I replaced our Dometic refrigerator’s brittle plastic drain hose with a more durable, vinyl hose.

DSC158 Drain tube top to bottom  DSC_0032 Dometic 5 cu ft RV refrigWe use neither sharp tools nor a hot air blower and yet easily and routinely defrost the Dometic RM2551 RV refrigerator (5 cu. ft.) in less than 30 min.

We are now on our second set of Goodyear Marathon ST215/75R14 tires, which have served us well with only one flat (due to a screw).  We monitor our tires with sensors and rarely travel more than 62 mph.

DSC_0213 New Marathon tires  DSC_0015 I" machine screw in tireOver the past 10 years, we have taken our trailer on 86 200-mile or less round trips for a total mileage of no more than 17,200 miles, which contributed to our good marathon experience!

DSC_0113 Wash, wax & treat tools

Modern Airstream trailers*, such as ours, have an exterior body of clear coated aluminum sheets that can corrode beginning at the cut edges and rivet holes where salt, water and air can enter. In our experience, the spread of filiform corrosion can be limited by washing and waxing the trailer regularly and using corrosion retardants and protectants such as Boeshield T-9 and CorrosionX.dsc_0052-annual-trailer-wash-2016

 

Additional improvements:

Strengthening L-Lounge

Cleaning & adjusting brakes and repacking bearings

 

DSC_0290 Safari awaits next safari!

This Safari celebrates Independence Day* as it awaits its next safari!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.