So when I first met my husband, Tavis, he mentioned a few times in the course of our conversations, that he really liked Airstream travel trailers… a lot. So much, in fact, that he had lived in one full time for several years when he was active duty in the military. To his credit, his parents always had an Airstream while he was growing up and some of his fondest childhood memories were the family trips in the Airstream and out on the boat. I wasn’t quite sure what the hype was all about but I would politely smile and nod when he would talk about them (and in the back of my mind I was questioning why I was dating someone who would choose to live in an RV, in an RV park when he was financially able to live in a nice house…)
A few months went by and we were quickly moving down the path towards getting married and he started talking more seriously about buying one so we started looking at floor plans, layouts, the different sizes, what year models we could afford, just like getting ready to buy a car. Through our research we discovered that for two years only (2005-2006) Airstream made a Bunkhouse model. During those two years there were only 78 made (Airstream makes approximately 2,000 airstreams total per year) so the particular one that we wanted was going to be hard to find. We decided on that model because, although we did not have any kids at the time (we were only dating, remember?),we knew that we wanted to have kids in the future and this was the only Airstream that has two separate, dedicated sleeping areas. The dinette makes into a bed and if you opt for the couch (rather than the side flip up table and chairs) that makes into a bed as well, but who wants to have to wake the kids up and make up beds just so you can have somewhere to sit and enjoy your coffee?!?! (Here is a link to an ad that has the floor plan and some pictures, this is not the exact one the we bought)
So we decided that we wanted the Bunkhouse and we would just sit tight and wait until a used one came on the market. It was 2010 so the trailers would be 4-5 years old, we figured that people might be getting ready to sell them and upgrade. A few weeks after that, I traveled with Tavis and his parents up to North Carolina to visit his brother. He was returning from Afghanistan and we all wanted to be there to welcome him home. As we were traveling north on the interstate, about 10 hours into the drive Tavis points out a lot filled with old run down Airstreams and says “that is a 2005 bunkhouse on that lot” I immediately tell him that he is crazy and that there is NO WAY that he could possibly tell what type of Airstream that was from the distance that we were…much less when we were traveling 70 mph.
We spent a few days visiting with his brother, it was the first time that I had met him, and then we began the trip back south. We had taken note of where the dealership was on the interstate and stopped on our way back home. I use the term “dealership” loosely. It was more like a grave yard for Airstreams and other similar travel trailers. In the owners defense, they had once been a thriving dealership and authorized repair center for Airstream but the owner fell ill and his wife did her best to run things but it started to slip. They lost their Airstream dealership status but still had one new airstream on their lot that they and not been able to sell for 6 years… It was the Bunkhouse!! We couldn’t believe it… not only was it a Bunkhouse but it was brand-spankin-new!! It still had the plastic on the seats and that “new camper smell”!!! We took a bunch of pictures talked with the owners wife and exchanged info then continued on south down the interstate heading back home.
For the next few weeks we kept mulling over the idea of buying a “new” airstream. We originally had not wanted to spend that much but this was like a little gift had been handed to us. It was like God had been holding this one aside and not letting anyone buy it because it was made just for us… (it felt that way at least).
After doing our research we discovered that we could probably get this airstream as cheap as used one. To some extent it is better to buy a well loved travel trailer than one that has been sitting in a grassy field for 6 years with no power running to it, completely exposed to the elements. We contacted Airstream directly to see if that particular VIN had ever been titled and then we started the negotiating process. I’m SO glad that Tavis is good in this area because I am most definitely not. After weeks of back and forth he was able to get the price down into our budget and it became ours!! It was our first big purchase as newly weds, and it was our “baby”.
We planned another trip up to North Carolina to visit Tavis’s brother and picked her up along the way. We had to have the dealership put new tires on her because they were dry rotted from the years in the sun but other than that there were no major issues. We stopped to grab some fast food for lunch but just HAD to eat or first meal in our new ‘stream.
Tavis’s brother was going to be moving soon to his next duty location so he decided to buy an Airstream to live in full time until he was able to sell his house. As it would happen he picked up his airstream a day or two before we did and we had our first “rally” at his house in NC in his driveway. After a few days of visiting and helping Tavis’s brother pack his house for his upcoming move, we headed back south towards home. On the way we had to “officially” try out the camper at a REAL campground so we went to the only campground that could possibly qualify for this first time experience, Disney’s Fort Wilderness!!! (More on our Disney obsession later)
In the 3 years since we have had her, we have been on some crazy adventures… but there is time for all those stories later.