Airdreaming


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It’s been quite a while since we updated Airdreaming!  In the last couple of months, we packed up and relocated back to Portland, Oregon.

No – we didn’t end up buying a tow vehicle.  We used U-Ship to get the Airstream back to Oregon and drove our Subaru.  This was probably a good call for a couple of reasons, notably – being new RV’ers we knew that having our first time towing the Airstream be across the entire country in the middle of Winter would be no fun.

While we mostly drove straight through, we decided to take some time to see the Grand Canyon – picture below with Zoe marveling at the great expanse.

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The typical cross-country route for Tampa, FL to Portland, OR takes you diagonally across the country, usually I-70 or I-80 up to I-84.  That is the way we traveled to Florida.  But that was in the middle of the summer.  With the wacky weather across the country at the turn of the new year, we took a more southern route, I-10, to I-20, to I-40, and then up I-5 in California.  Even going this longer route, we only stayed about 12 hours ahead of some pretty gnarly weather.  We managed to arrive in Portland just a few days before Snowmaggedon 2017.

Our Airstream left Florida a week after we did and was not so lucky.  It hit some heavy snow, ice, and really cold temperatures – which resulted in the demise of our water heater and the pretty dirty exterior pictured above.

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Fortunately, we have awesome family that is putting us up until our new water heater arrives and we can get it installed.

So far we have not found an RV park to call home.  The closest to work for us has some pretty good reviews and does allow monthly reservations, but it doesn’t allow campers to hook up internet through the on-site cable.  What about the WiFi you ask?  Well, they admittedly let us know the WiFi only works if you have a spot near the office, and even then you can’t stream anything.  So not really an option for us.

The other park is even nicer, allows monthly reservations through application, and does allow individual internet hook-up through the on-site cable.  Great, right?  No.  They have an owner preference policy that bans RVs that are over 10 years old – so our 2005 Safari missed that cut-off.  The do, however, make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for the off-season, but not in the summer.  So that my be an option for next Winter.

In the meantime, our Airstream is snugly parked as shown above in our family’s side yard and we are so happy to be home!


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Week 10 – Adjusting to the Airdream Life

It’s almost hard to believe we’ve been living the Airdream for 10 weeks.

I have no regrets and absolutely love living in our Airstream.

We haven’t made much progress with the few remaining updates – notably, the bathroom or walls.  But we have definitely settled into a nice routine.

The Airstream is extremely functional and suits all of our needs.

However, there have been some adjustments.

Not having a closet.

I find it challenging not having a closet.  The under-bed storage is more than sufficient to store all my clothing, but having everything in drawers means a lot more ironing.  So if I don’t motivate myself on Sundays to iron and hang my work clothes for the week, I find myself scrambling in the mornings to get ready because I have to pull out the ironing board.

Ryan agrees.

Not having a dishwasher.

Ryan: “I have a dishwasher named Megan.”  Isn’t he sweet?

Not having a washer / dryer.

This has been the least challenging adjustment.  We did plumb for a combo washer/dryer unit in case it became a necessity, but we parked right next to the laundry facility at our RV Park.

I’ve settled into a nice weekend routine.  I get all of the week’s laundry, including linens, washed and dried in under two hours.  I usually coordinate my laundry time with my friend Sara, so the time really flies and it’s a great chance to catch up.

Not having a yard.

Zoe gets walks in the morning, afternoon, and lots in the evening.  There is a dog park right across from our current spot.  So she gets to socialize more with new puppy pals!   I don’t think she misses the yard too much.

She still keeps an eye out for squirrels from her perch behind the couch….

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Less space.

The Airstream has plenty of space.  We just eliminated superfluous areas (dining room, guest bedroom) and condensed the spaces we do use.

With that being said –the bathroom and bedroom spaces do feel tight at times.

The shower would be vastly improved if we had the original shower door and not a curtain.  The curtain tends to blow inward and reduces the space further.  I think once we replace the shower door it will feel less cramped.

In the bedroom we used a regular queen-size bed frame.  Because of this, we can’t actually walk around the bed.  There is only about 3-4 inches between the end of the bed frame and the wall.  The bedroom dimensions assume a 75 inch bed.  Crawling over the bed can get tedious.  But not having something custom built saved quite a bit of money and the extra storage we gained removing the old bed frame and wardrobes made it totally worth it.

Things we learned in the last few weeks:

LED Lighting.  Not all is created equal.

We upgraded the lights throughout the Airstream with LED bulbs.  We had good success with the first few bulbs but had a terrible experience with the second batch we ordered.  They burned so hot they melted off whatever coating was on them and burnt out – all the while emitting a nasty plastic melting smell.  The final set of lights we picked were amazing – they’re bright and so far haven’t started smoking.

Change of Scenery….

Sadly, we have to relocate from our current RV Park.  We are getting kicked out for the winter season due to limitations on space.  We made reservations at another local RV park, but it is across the Bay and pretty far from the office.

As an alternative, our amazing co-worker offered us space in his back yard.  To accommodate the Airstream, we installed a 50 amp service on the exterior of the house.  We still have to figure out the maneuvering and placement of the trailer but fortunately, his place is super close to the office and is an awesome option if we can make it work.

That is pretty much it.  We are having a great experience!


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Week 2 – Tropical Storms and Bugs.

In our second week of living the Airdream we came face to face with some of the less pleasant aspects of living in Florida – bad weather and lots of bugs.

Bad Weather…

Towards the end of our second week we were visited by Hurricane Hermine – or really, Hermine’s slightly less intense feeder bands.

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We were not evacuated and were lucky to have this opportunity to experience the stellar aerodynamics of our new place.

We don’t typically have a water-view, but had some nice ponds around our Airstream for a few days.

We had some gnarly rain and wind and the whole RV park was pretty mushy, but we didn’t sustain any damage.

However, we did notice one of our windows had a slow leak.  Right behind our couch on the kitchen side – which is bad for a number of reasons.  One, the couch is right there so the leak could have damaged our new cushions.  But more importantly, the window is situated right above all our major electrical components and appliances.

Our super amazing friend, neighbor, and fellow Airdreamer – Sheldon – came to our rescue and helped us administer a temporary solution to get us through the next few days of rain.  But eventually, we will have to re-seal the window.

Bugs….

Surprise, surprise – Florida is full of bugs.  We learned very quickly to frequently apply bug repellent and to start treating the area around our Airstream.  Because we have the little one – Zoe – we only use the natural treatment options for outside.  To start, we’ve used a combination of EcoSmart and Cutter Natural repellent.

For ourselves, we’ve tried both the natural and the Deet heavy products.  We’ve both been the victim of either ant or mosquito attacks and are looking forward to what they call Winter in Florida.

Other less fun stuff…

RV Toilets and Black Water Tanks

Another fun learning experience as first time Airdreamers – living with a black water tank to manage all your family waste needs.

Our Airstream was pre-owned and the black water tank was not very well cared for.  In addition, the trailer had been sitting unused during the service and remodel.  As a result, we were immediately dealing with some sewer flies and a smell problem.

We decided not to use the bathroom for any solid waste until we were able to properly treat and clean the tank.  No reason to add to the problem.

We first tried the Porta-Paks which seemed to get great reviews.  The only problem is I don’t want my Airstream smelling like a porta-potty any more than I want it smelling like sewage.  The chemical deodorizer gave me an instant headache and I don’t think the fact that it also comes in lavender is going to solve that problem.

You will find no shortage of blogs, articles, and opinions online about how to treat your black water tank.  Because we were dealing with smell and some flies – we settled on a combo treatment of bleach, borax, and water softener.

The treatment quickly eradicated the fly issue and hopefully the smell does not return.

We also have a small leak issue with our newly installed toilet.  Since we are living in our Airstream – we can’t exactly tow it back to the place we had it installed and leave it to get fixed.  We ordered a new flange and are going to try and fix it ourselves – we will let you know how it goes.

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Bottom Line – don’t trust the built-in leveler on your trailer.

The More Fun Stuff….

Earlier in the week we had some fun picking out blinds.  We found some great custom vendors like Oceanair shades for Airstreams.  They looked great, but by the time we sized everything and filled up our cart – the price had added up to almost $500.

Instead, I found some amazing blinds at IKEA (yes IKEA saves the day once again).  The Tupplur block-out blinds come in a number of different sizes in gray, black, or white.  We were able to find just the right sizes for all of our windows and the gray works perfectly with our décor.  Total cost – a little less than $250.

*** I forgot to mention the first time I published this entry that the blinds also allow for under-mount installation – which is amazing in an Airstream.  No need to screw into the aluminum – you can mount the blind under the cabinet!

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Overall we are LOVING LIVING the AIRDREAM.

I bought a Dyson Hand-held vacuum which is AMAZING and covers the whole Airstream.  It’s small and fits right behind our couch and is perfect.  As does our tiny ironing board, a few of my purses, and the iron.  But more on storage later.

We have mastered multi-rooming, thanks in large part to Ryan’s ingenuity and the purchase of excellent headphones.  I can watch TV and he can multi-player game – side-by-side – and it works perfectly – as pictured here:

 

 


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Week 1 – Living the Airdream

 

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We made it through our first week living the Airdream!

We moved the Airstream to the RV Park on Friday afternoon and spent the weekend moving in.  One positive result of the renovation taking longer than expected – we were super organized and ready by the time moving day arrived.  All our Airstream specific items were boxed up and ready to go.

 

The great news is everything fits!  Now we just need to work on refining the organization so it works practically for every day use.

My first lesson learned – I incorrectly assumed I could just run to Target and get a few miscellaneous first-week items.  Maybe I just got unlucky with our local Target, but our first-week trip was a complete bust.  I went to get a shower curtain, Sterlite drawers, a pull out under sink trash bin, and a shower caddy.  I came away completely empty handed and ended up ordering everything online.  Which is convenient and great, but just meant we didn’t have any of those things the first week and instead ended up using the camp showers (which are terrific), plastic buckets for our clothes, and grocery bags tied to the cabinet for trash.

Otherwise – we had a great week and the space is a perfect size – we actually have room left in our upper cabinets!

Check out the view from the on-site restaurant!

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More interior photos to come once I get some of the boxes out of the way….