Our Airstream Caravan touring Alaska, Yukon, and B.C. stopped two nights in Smithers BC. Near the end of our epic sixty three-day tour together, we agreed to conduct an open house at this stop. We would hide our dirty laundry (plenty of that) and money (not much of that), maybe leave a snack on our table, and head out to see others’ Airstreams for a couple of hours.
We have in our caravan group a 1961, 1964, several 1970’s models, a few 1980’s and 1990’s, and a bunch of 2000’s models. All the trailers are tow-behinds. Although Airstream very briefly sold a fifth wheel, none are on our caravan. Airstream also manufactured a bunch of Argosy trailers, same shape as ours, but beige or white instead of silver. Airstream also made some square ‘streams, both under Airstream and Argosy names, neat roomy RVs. None of these are on our caravan either.
Trailer sizes on our caravan vary from 22′ to 34′, with a preponderance of 25’s (the size of ours too). There are four 34s, five 23s, a 24, twelve 25s, a 26, and nine are 28′ through 31′. We also have four motorhomes but we don’t know as much about them. I’ll get back to this.
Of our 32 Airstream trailers still on the caravan (two have left early), 26 participated in our open house today. Several had pressing obligations and couldn’t join in. We missed them, but I’m not sure how we could have visited more than 26 in the two hour time frame. Or how we could have eaten six more brownies or cookies, or pieces of fudge, or jelly beans, or crackers and cheese.
Here’s the trick — no two Airstreams are alike. Even if their floorplan were identical (and some are), the factory is almost reliably inconsistent about arranging some details within. Some floor plans are only offered in certain years, as are certain finishes. Some years oak is offered, others hickory, and some of us have no natural-finish hardwood at all. Our 25′ model, the CCD International Sleeps Six, is no longer available, and our floor plan is not available in any of Airstream’s lines.
The owners invariably add and subtract to suit themselves and their vision of RVing in their Airstream. We are therefore blessed with tremendous variety of ideas for customization and enhancement for our own trailers based upon seeing, firsthand, how our fellow caravaners have made their improvements.
Examples include a nifty thumb lever to unlatch the screen door in a single motion; very cool cast cabinet pulls in a twig pattern; new (and old) ways to keep drawers and doors from opening while traveling; arrangements for catalytic heaters; replacing sofas with more comfortable and supporting chairs; more efficient lighting choices; fun with fabrics; and on and on.
Some very smart Airstreamers carried pen and paper (way to go, Shelley and Jim!) and took notes on what they liked. Others took pictures to remind them of their favorite features. More than fifty of us passed each other many times criss-crossing between parking sites, comparing notes on what we liked best about this trailer or that.
The day was cool and bright, bugs were few, and brief morning showers quickly passed to provide us a perfect day for this fun sharing. We saw some features we might adopt and enjoy, and many many great ideas that perfectly suit their owners’ styles. It was fun to see the great variety of vintages, sizes, floor plans, treatments, (and snacks).
I was a little surprised and disappointed none of the four Airstream motorhome couples in our caravan expressed any interest in this fun event. If the same ratio of motor homes as trailers had participated, three of the motor home couples would have been in. Maybe they do this sort of thing at FMCA events and don’t really have as much interest in Airstream trailers? They might not realize we relish the chance to see their big cool RVs, so different from our own. The Airstream motor homes are really nice inside, but we didn’t see any this time.
Maybe next time we’ll work a little harder to make sure everyone feels very welcome to participate. And we should strongly encourage those who don’t feel comfortable showing their RVs, they are very welcome still to visit with us. We like to show our places off to almost anyone. And we know if you’ve seen one Airstream, you’ve only seen one.
Jim and Debbie
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