Choosing a rig for reals
After our test drive from Boise to Bend, we realized we were going to have to upgrade if we were going to Live and work in our trailer full time, and that a 17 gallon gas tank in a truck getting 8 miles to the gallon towing just wasn't gonna work.
(Over)thinking things again (it's kind of our jam), we hopped down the road to The Vintages — a trailer hotel in Oregon's wine country where we knew they also rented a few newer 19' Airstream Bambis.
One night, and we were sold. It felt like a tiny, modern home, and the bed was so dang comfy! We talked about restoring vs. buying new, but after getting married, selling our house, moving to an apartment and wrapping up a 10-year full-time job all in one year, we decided to do something the easy way for once. So off to the Airstream dealership it was to check out layouts and sizes.
We wound up liking the 25' front bedroom layout. It felt manageable for newbie tow-ers, but we also got a freezer and an oven (two musts for traveling foodies), a bigger bathroom and shower, and a Queen size bed. And the windows! Wrap-arounds on both sides mean we get so much light and so many views that we never feel cooped up even when we're doing the day-job thing inside the trailer.
Every once in awhile we envy something bigger, or smaller — even though we love the Airstream and our life in it, we still battle 'grass is greener' syndrome when we see a van pull into an amazing spot in a tight campground, or someone with a bed you can walk all the way around. But overall, we're super comfortable and happy with our choice. The test-drives we did definitely helped with that.
Our one regret is probably our solar set up. The dealership convinced us we only had room for a couple panels and it's just not enough power to let us do the kind of dry-camping we'd like to. We've seen a ton of similar Airstreams on the road with more than double the panels. We picked up a generator that will help extend our trips when we're not plugged in, but we'd recommend getting your solar set up by experts vs. at the dealership.
For the truck we upgraded to a Ford F-150 with a 36 gallon gas tank, extendable mirrors and the tow package — no more sweating when we see a sign that says "no services for the next 99 miles." We like to take the scenic routes, and it's great to be able to tow a few hundred miles without worrying. A lot of people we run into have a more powerful truck, but we feel like it has enough power for the passes, we're getting decent gas mileage (about 13mpg towing), and still feel like we can get into town and park it easily when we're not hooked up to the trailer.
These were the biggest investments we'd made since buying our home, and you could definitely do this cheaper, but we're hoping to have both of them for many years and adventures to come. We also figured it was a lot less expensive than buying back into Portland's crazy real estate market.