*This blog didn’t exist until April 2015. But the dream started well before that. From time to time we will return to tell the origins of our Airstream adventure.*
Our story begins with our trip to Hendersonville, North Carolina. Quite a lovely place if you haven’t been there before. The rolling hills of Southern Appalachia just South of Asheville, it was the home of our new (to us) 1972 Airstream Land Yacht Tradewind. A month prior to this visit, we had made a circular trek from Atlanta to Jasper, GA to Hendersonville to Gaffney South Carolina and back home to kick the tires and explore the innards of a few different Airstreams. Nellie, as we now call her, was the one we decided to claim for ourselves.
Why did we choose this particular one? Well, she was relatively clean, relatively original, and within our budget. Plus, she was the right size and all capable of making the 200 mile journey.
So back to our story. We get to Hendersonville late Friday September 5th, 2014, get a good nights sleep, and start our adventure on Saturday morning. We meet Kyle and Ashley where they have not one, but two Airstreams in the driveway as well as a 5th wheel trailer and what seems like 5 or 6 other vehicles. Kyle is a young mechanical engineering student and seems genuinely excited about the exchange. He runs us through some of the mechanicals of the trailer, helps us hauling newbies with our hitch, and makes sure all the lights are operable. And the true test begins. As I have never, ever hauled a trailer behind a vehicle in my life.
So off we go down their ¼ mile gravel driveway, and everything is smooth so far. Onto the rural road and we get a feel for having an extra 5000 lbs behind our vehicle. Of course we miss the GPS directions for the first turn but fortunately do not have to try to turn this rig around just yet. We’ve got an alternate route ahead of us.
Our next test is on to the highway. Now a trailer doesn’t turn on a dime. And fortunately, the highway doesn’t require us to do that. But since we are in a hilly area, we get a sense of how much push and pull we are getting with the trailer. And the crosswind sways us a little, but the Airstreams seems to handle it much better than the boxier variety of haul behinds.
The true test came when we stopped for gas. Since we have zero experience backing this thing up and have no idea how tight it can turn, we opt for the biggest gas station we can find. Fortunately, a Quiktrip was up for the task. So making as large of movements as possible and strategically using the pump on the end with easy access out, we were able to gas up and pull out without hassle. Except that the Airstream door flew open on our exit. And we had to pull into another lot to regain our composure and fix the door.
The rest of the trip was as true as can be expected. Straight down the highway, maintaining about 60 MPH all the way to Atlanta. Getting into the driveway was the tricky part. Fortunately, I had an Ace up my sleeve. My great friend, Mike, is more experienced with towing than I. But that describes anyone who has any experiencing towing. But Mike has towed trailers, car, boats, etc. So he swung by to help me back into the driveway. It’s a tight fit in every direction: width, height, and length. In the end, we both decided it would be easier for Mike to back it in than try to coach me through the process. I’ll have to learn sometime, but after a 400 mile round trip, I was just glad to have it home in one piece. Before we begin to dismantle it.