2011 Airstream Interstate 3500

After Mary’s death in March of 2016, I began serious consideration of options for RV travel. Our ’99 Safari had served us very well but I had been considering smaller options when my brother and sister-in-law fell in love with the older Airstream van on a trip out West. They’ve been traveling for many years and Barry reported, “I may never haul a trailer again.” (And their vintage trailer is now up for sale.)

I was concerned about the high price of Sprinter-based Airstreams ($150K+ new), and found very few for sale. Given my height and my solo plus dog traveling, I was looking for a twin bed version.  Here’s how I described the process:

When Mary died, I decided to act on some ideas I had been considering for a while, partially as an alternate to the heavy thoughts I had been wrestling with for months, and downsize our travelling equipment. It has happened quite fast and Penny and I are in Florida getting ready to camp our way home.

I sold the Airstream to the first guy who contacted me and held off dozens of suitors as he got his act together. It was bittersweet to see the rig rumble, down the driveway – we had made many long trips with it – but I felt good that a nice guy with lots of plans for family trips hauled it off to Maine. Penny was a bit confused by the transaction.

At the same time, I was working with folks in Florida and Ohio on finding a used Airstream Interstate. The trick was to unload my new Ford truck in the deal. After a couple of weeks of back and forth, I put a deposit on a 2011 rig that was listed by a small dealer in Florida. I asked my brother’s brother-in-law to take a look at it (He and his wife winter close by) and they went right over and gave me a positive report. So, last Friday, we launched early for a three day adventure down to Florida.

Let me tell you, it’s a bit nerve-racking to drive a vehicle that you are going to trade. We ran into a lot of construction, starts and stops, crazy drivers, and all I could think was, “if I even have a minor fender-bender, this deal is dead.”

We stayed at a Motel 6 (cheap but ratty) and a couple of La Quintas – averaging 9-10 hours travelling a day. That’s enough for me.

I rank Florida drivers the worst I’ve seen, even worse than Massholes. I was very glad that I just had the truck but even then, small darty cars just flew past on both sides, when I’m holding a steady 75.

The transaction Monday was long but easy. The temperature was high and Penny spent a lot of time waiting in the shade. We had some insurance issues – problems at the company – but after three hours, we’d switched all our gear and I was tentatively heading out into I-75 traffic.

I had decided to stick around, check systems out, and try to get some Florida birds so we lumbered over to Myakka State Park which is quite lovely.

I have got everything stowed away, learned a bit more about the systems, and done some great birding. I have a lot of photos I need to go through but no wifi and very weak cell provide the normal state park challenge. Penny finds the aisle very comfortable although we so trip over one another. She’s digging the air conditioning on the 90 degree humid days.

Wednesday, we’ll head northward, perhaps to Savannah. I’m planning a rather liesurely trip back probably arriving Sunday. Now, if I can just remember where that fuel cap is – oh yes, inside the driver’s door. Don’t ask.