Monday, February 18, 2008

Maiden Voyage

I remember as a young boy, looking out the back seat window of our family car as we zoomed down the highway through the rolling Iowa countryside. I was always curiously enamored by those shiny silver trailers that I would sometimes see sitting in the back yards of farm houses.
They were so unique looking and different from most other camping trailers. I'd see them baking in the summer sun, often with weeds and grass growing up around them. Occasionally we would pass one on the highway; they always caught my eye and turned my head.

I was probably 10 years old when I actually got to see inside an Airstream trailer. While camping at a local fishing lake with my Grandpa, Grandma, and cousin, an older couple camping in an Airstream near us invited us over for some popcorn one evening. The Airstream was nothing like Grandpa and Grandma's utilitarian truck camper or our family's pop-up trailer with flexible plastic vinyl windows and canvas that flapped in the wind. The Airstream was stylish and aerodynamic with shiny metal walls and rounded windows - the epitome of luxury and comfort. In my young imagination, it seemed more like a futuristic rocket with its curved sides and riveted metal panels, than a camper. I was instantly hooked, and I dreamed that some day I'd have one of my own.

Fast forward 35 years, and that dream finally came true! I became the proud owner of a 2006 Airstream Quiksilver Bambi in February, 2008. I had sold my T@B trailer at the end of the last camping season, wanting to move up into something a little larger and with more amenities. At the time, I didn't think I would be getting an Airstream though! As it turned out, I found this gem at an Albuquerque dealer while diligently searching for months through ads and postings on the Web. It had been gently used by one owner and was in excellent condition.
It had everything that I could ever imagine wanting and more - a shower, water heater, toilet, stove, refrigerator, air conditioning, heater, awning, DVD player, and even a flat screen TV. All packaged together in a sexy, shiny trailer. It was love at first sight.

Long story short, I purchased the trailer, and we picked it up on February 18th. After a walk through with the technician, my head was spinning. I was overwhelmed by everything I needed to know about the electrical system, the stabilizer pads, the plumbing, the black water system, LP gas system, not to mention hitching, towing, and winterizing. This trailer was so much more complicated than my T@B, and for a short while, a pit was growing in my stomach as I wondered if I had gotten in over my head and if the trailer would be more than I could handle.

Once we were hitched up and on the road though, those feelings of doubt and anxiety passed quickly, and the excitement of a dream realized hit home. I was so thrilled to be towing my own Airstream trailer. Whoo-hoo!

On the way back to Boulder, CO, we stayed the first night, just outside of Santa Fe at an RV park. The campground was mostly empty this time of year, which was comforting because I had a lot to learn about maneuvering this new trailer, and the fewer eyes watching me make parking mistakes the better :-). It was also pretty cold out, so the first order of business was getting the furnace running. I flipped the switch on, turned up the thermostat, and we were soon feeling warm and toasty. Everything was working fine, and I was soon beginning to feel that maybe this trailer wasn't as complicated and intimidating as I had thought just a few hours earlier.

All went well, and we packed up and hit the road early the next moring. Much to my relief, the trip home was uneventful. However, the Bambi was already attracting attention, even at a fast food restaurant where we stopped along the way. We brought our Wendy's hamburgers and fries back into the camper to eat. It wasn't long before a nosey passerby came up to the Bambi, and not knowing we were in the trailer, he cupped his hands against the window and peaked inside. He sure got a surprise and made a quick dash back to his car when he saw me staring right back at him. We had a good laugh about that one.

I am looking forward to getting to know my Airstream better, and once I get a little more comfortable with towing, parking, and operating all the plumbing, electrical, and heating systems it is going to be a very fun and exciting camping season.