Outfitting the Airstream: #2

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We made a trip to Camping World about 30 miles south of our home where they have all things RV. It’s pretty cool, but we were the youngest ones in the building. We found a lot of stuff for Margaret: collapsable bowls, extra fuses, hitch pads, suction cup thingys, RV toilet paper, an LED lantern as backup, and we checked out the different generators that I think we’re going to need if we go boondocking a lot. It looks like the Honda 2000i is the one to get. We’ll have to save our pennies for that one.

I have a feeling we’re going to be spending some time at Camping World in the near future!

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Hofmann Architecture and Santa Barbara Auto Camp

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I dropped by Hofmann Architecture this weekend while I was in Santa Barbara to meet Wally who I’d been emailing with while I was in search mode for our Airstream. They have quite a restoration project going on with roughly 9 different vintage Airstreams in their yard in various stages of repair with more on the way.

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Wally and Matthew, the owners, could not have been nicer and their crew were all busy at work while I was there. It’s quite a production. Hofmann Architecture’s approach with clean lines, durable fabrics and modern living features updates these classics quite nicely. They have a wide variety of clients looking for a travel trailer to take on the road, provide an out-of-house office or extend their living space for visiting guests. Some want all three!

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SANTA BARBARA AUTO CAMP

I also checked out their other project, Santa Barbara Auto Camp, which contains 5 vintage Airstreams all restored, remodeled and updated to today’s lifestyle, and each named for the Channel Islands that sit just off the coast. Each trailer is unique and offers a different living experience. Each are nicely landscaped with a deck, seating area, and has an outdoor bar-b-que.

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They are available for nightly rentals and each one comes with a couple of cruiser bikes to ride around town or head to the beach.

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The location is uptown and boasts easy shopping at Trader Joe’s just a couple blocks away, world famous McConnell’s Ice Cream down the street, and many coffee shops to choose from. The historic Santa Barbara Mission is an easy bike ride away, as are the beautiful beaches that the central coast is known for.

Each vintage Airstream is clean, comfortable and extremely efficient. If you want to experience what it would be like to live in one for a weekend before actually purchasing a trailer, this is a great place to discover the excitement and comfort of ‘streaming before you’ll end up wanting to buy your own!

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While I was there, Wally Hofmann had me give a copy of my book to one of his clients who were there inspecting their vintage model that was found in Alabama. It was just starting on its journey to being renewed.

Shakedown Glamp #1: Alpental, Snoqualmie Pass

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John and myself decided to go on a few short trips before a longer Glamp to assess our abilities, see what we forgot and improve on our Glamping skills prior to really biting off a big chunck ‘o Glamping. So, I’m going to post on them and let the chips fall where they may.

We were only an hour late on our drop dead time for leaving, which was 3pm on Friday afternoon. There was a LOT to do. Besides making a couple of meals, including a delicious potato soup that John made, we had a lot of things to do to ready Margaret for her initial journey.

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THE GOOD

We had plenty of food. We got a great spot at the Alpental Overnight Camp area, which is very close to the ski area. Margaret was very comfy. The bed topper was a big improvement. All systems worked like a charm. The snowshoeing and weather couldn’t have been more incredible. The rugged mountain scenery. The people we met were all very nice and had lots of tips and one guy, Ian, shared his Knob Creek bourbon, which I happened to like very much! John and I had a lot of fun, and Buster has been wiped out since we left. Buster had a lot of playtime with the other dogs and he really took to the Airstream this time and knew where to find it. We now have a very long list of things to find, procure and do to the Airstream prior to Shakedown Glamp 2. Rich Luhr’s book, The Newbies Guide to Airstreaming. The guy with the very cool propane-fueled campfire. All the kids, and some adults, in costume for their final days of ski school this season. The beauty of Source Lake Basin and a truly spectacular view of Chair Peak (pictured below) from just below the ridge overlooking Snow and Source Lakes.

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THE BAD

I did not load up enough water despite John telling me to load more. (I was afraid of being too heavy). John was right, and we ran out of water Saturday evening. No sponges. Big Box generators right next to our quiet-as-a-church-mouse Margaret. We were the only Airstream in the whole lot! : ( Unfortunately, Monica was under the weather and was forced to abandon plans. We already have twofootitis (a disease common among ‘streamers wishing they got the next size up). The guy who felt like he owned the lot and parked his big box RV like an ass. I almost drove off with the back two stabilizers down. We ran out of battery just before leaving, which caused us to have to hook up the car to get the trailer hitch to work.

THE UGLY

The people next to us with the Big Box camper let their dogs out unsupervised all the time, who then proceeded to poop and pee everywhere and their owners never cleaned up after them. The lunch we ate at Alpental gave me a bad case of the you know what.

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Outfitting the Airstream #1

We’ll be outfitting our Airstream a lot over the next year or two and we’ll update you on some cool items we’ve found. Currently, we’re looking for bedding that fits the Airstream bed, which has a unique shape. But here’s a couple things we’ve found already!

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Cool camp chairs for under the awning! Comfy and with a handy fold-up tray for a cocktail and appetizers! $39.00 at Outdoor Emporium in Seattle.

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REI Camp Table that can be a coffee table or Potluck table or room for a casual dinner for four! Rolls up quite nicely and stows even better! $79.00 at REI.com

 

I hope to stop by and say hi to the gang at SB Auto Camp and see their work first hand when I’m there in mid-March. Until then, here’s something I blogged about earlier when I was still vacillating between a new or vintage Airstream on Word Incident.

Tom Schabarum | Writer

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I’ve been searching for a 1970’s era Airstream for some time and came across one on Vintage-Aistream.com. When I inquired about it, I got a great note from Wally, one of the partners of Hofmann Architecture, who’d not only read my novel, AIRSTREAMING, but had kind words for it as well. Unfortunately, they’d sold the Airstream I was looking at. A 1970 Overlander Land Yacht is featured in AIRSTREAMING. I’d done research on this particular model through the web, but also by a great book called AIRSTREAM: The History of the Land Yacht by Bryan Burkhart and David Hunt.

Hofmann Architecture is just now embarking on a new venture of an Airstream Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA, which is great! I lived and worked and went to school in Santa Barbara before moving to Seattle; my Grandparents lived there for 40 + years. Looking through their site, their work…

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Bringing Margaret Home

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It was an amazing experience at Airstream of Spokane picking up Margaret. She is a beautiful Airstream both inside and out just like her namesake was – my Grandmother.

Nick and Karyn Dietz of Airstream of Spokane spent hours with us going over every detail and getting us squared away on getting her back to Seattle in one piece. Our tutorial session was over 6 hours long and our questions were many. Nick was patient at every turn and is a fantastic resourceful guy. They set us up for the night outside of their building where we spent our very first night slumbering inside. Buster seemed to enjoy it although he woke John up at 4:30am to see what was up.

It was the first time I’ve ever trailered anything and setting her up with the 4Runner went pretty smooth, although Toyota’s placement of the electric wire is not very intelligent and pretty far from the hitch, which Doug at AS did a great job of changing it. They also installed a bike rack primarily for John’s love of mountain biking. Starting this spring, I believe it will be used quite a bit!

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We left AS and began our journey home without any problems whatsoever. Buster fell asleep because he was chasing John and myself while we tried out AS’s Pedego electric bikes, which are very cool. If I ever have to commute to work, I’ll think about getting one of them. We stopped at the Wild Horses Monument (closed for the winter) and went over to look at the Columbia River Gorge and got this great shot of Buster.

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Going up the grade out of the Gorge was a little tricky as I was learning when to shift into a lower gear, but we went slow and made it up just fine. When we got near Snoqualmie Pass, the weather was awful and you couldn’t see the lane lines on the road. A bit of a white-knuckler for me, but we ended up just fine.

Backing her into the driveway proved to be another great challenge, but we have plans to make it easier despite having just widened it. After we fix what we need to fix, it will be a lot easier. Today was all about doing little chores and make her landing a little nicer. We gave tours to many of our neighbors who were all as excited as we were. It was a lot of fun!

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We still have a ton of stuff to do to outfit our Airstream (like getting a topper for the bed, which is not her best quality), but we’re going out again next weekend up to Snoqualmie to hopefully meet Monica Bennett, who has one of the best Airstream blogs going: Just Five More Minutes. If the snow is great, we hope to go snowshoeing again. We love the Source Lake Basin up near Alpenthal to hike in.

We are true ‘streamers now and are totally in love with Margaret. On another note: I was amazed and delighted that Karyn of Airstream of Spokane read my novel Airstreaming the night after I gave her a copy. She couldn’t stop reading it and didn’t get to sleep until 4am. Nick said she was wiped out the next day. Sorry Nick! And Karyn wrote that she was “riveted.” Nice! Oh, and if you’re in Spokane or ‘streaming through, stop by and pick up a paperback copy!

If you are thinking of buying an Airstream, I highly recommend Airstream of Spokane. It was a great experience.