As you probably know by now, we have been gearing up for a simpler life living full-time on the road. Over the past few months, we sold our house and most of our possessions. We’ve been to RV shows, countless dealers, researched hundreds of threads on forums, and tried out best to educate ourselves on the process of selecting a trailer.
We've explored many options over the last nine months (class A with a toad, class C with a toad, 5th wheel, travel trailer.) Once we decided on Fred the van, the next step was to find the right travel trailer. We're the first to admit that it's impossible to see into the future and know our exact needs a year from now, but that's why we spent so much time shopping around and discussing. Some of our talks together were way up in the clouds and but eventually we'd come back to earth and talk about the realities of living and working in a trailer.
In January we hit a breakthrough and before we knew it we were on our way to Mesa, Arizona with a deposit on a 2010 Airstream FC 30. After being on the road for about 30 minutes, we got a phone call from the Airstream Dealer in Mesa. He wanted to make sure we understood the flaws and issues with the trailer: the removal of the dinette, the missing trim on the couch, and a worn, faded makeshift desk someone put in. He seemed surprised that we were interested in it. He wanted to make sure we knew what we were getting into before we drove all the way down there. This was an unsettling conversation that caused us to have a minor freak-out moment. We had been so used to dealers masking the issues, that we questioned just how bad they must be for him to be telling us about them. We stopped the van and pulled into a parking lot to talk it over together. We hemmed and hawed and started second-guessing our decision. We considered calling the trip off and buying something newer. After half an hour of discussing, we calmed down a bit and decided that if we weren't absolutely crazy about this trailer, we would walk away and get our deposit back. Worst case, we'd get a break from the cold weather and our only expense was fuel.
We left Salt Lake at 6PM and drove 'till 2AM, where we stopped just outside of Page, AZ to sleep for a few hours. We woke up with the sun to a beautiful view of the red rock landscape surrounding Lake Powell. We pressed on to Flagstaff where we stretched our legs. An hour later we were passing through a forest of saguaro cacti. I found it hard not to interpret their gestures as oddly human. "That cactus is patting that smaller one on the head." "Those two are shaking their fists at each other." "That one is laughing and pointing another cactus who is hanging his hear in shame." As the temperatures outside went up, so did morale. Already the trip was feeling worth it.
We were relieved when we finally reached the Desert Autoplex in Mesa around 1PM. It took a couple more hours before they had the Airstream cleaned and ready for us to walk through. We were beginning to fear that the unit was going to have six years of wear and tear on it, due to the wear on the desk. We figured that if someone could put that much wear on a desk, they were probably running the fridge, A/C, heater, etc. for 6 years straight and that the trailer was going to be beat. However, after a thorough inspection we found it to be in great shape. During our inspection, we noticed a little bit of water damage where the aftermarket desk met the floor. We were worried that it had seeped into the plywood floor, so we asked the sales staff if they could removed the desk so we could get a closer look. They were happy to help, and in 20 minutes they had the desk out. We couldn't see a drop of water damage, so all our fears were put to rest. We were really happy about the condition of the trailer. While they were re-installing the desk, we headed to the bank to get our cashier's check. After signing the paperwork for what felt like hours, we were the proud owner of an Airstream. Our awesome sales associate, Denny, stayed late into the night to give us an orientation on every system on the trailer. We are so glad we got to work with Denny. He was extremely helpful and a great guy!
Prior to today, our towing experience was limited to occasionally hauling a few trailers to the dump. Now we found ourselves towing a 31 foot, 7000lb trailer through a city we didn't know... with a twitchy brake controller... at night. The drive was pretty intense until we got out of the Phoenix area, then we started to get the hang of it.
Eventually, we made it safely to our campground just outside Picacho Peak State Park, where Eric from GoneNomad was waiting for us. It was so nice to see a familiar face - even thought we'd only "met" him on Youtube. Once Eric helped us get our trailer situated, we said good night and hit the hay. We slept like a couple of logs that night. In retrospect, it's a good thing we slept so well that night, because getting our new Airstream home the next day would prove quite an adventure...
Steve and Tess love to explore nature, whether it be backpacking, packrafting, mountain biking, hiking, or just wandering. The more we explore, the more we realize just how little we've seen.