The Family

The Family
Airstream Weekend Warriors

Troutstream Travels

Troutstream Travels
The Troutstream In The Wild

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Acadia National Park, August 2009

     This is where our Airstream journey began. August is the month be in Maine. Does it really get any better than this? It was a time of lobster rolls, skipping stones over the water, hiking with my family, and watching the gulls drop clams on the rocks at low tide. The last time I visited Acadia National Park, I was a college student and camped near the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. This time I was styling. We rented an Airstream at the KOA intent on kicking the tires which were curiously covered.

     What an introduction it was. Our campsite was situated on a perfect beach. If only all KOA's were like this one. The Airstream Flying Cloud was cozy and had every possible amenity.  This was better than camping. This was glamping. To say we were sold on the Airstream idea is an understatement.  The pictures speak for themselves. For those of you with kids, I don't have to remind you that they grow up too fast. These pictures are from August 2009 and my kids have changed considerably since then.

Best Lobster Rolls!  The Clam Shack in Kennebunk, ME

The perfect sunset

Our Maine beach 

Ethan having a Walden moment at the campground

Me and my girls

Posing on the steps

Lucy and Ethan


Jack and Ethan gathering clams in the tidepools

Lucy standing on the Flying Cloud

The First Airstream Meal

Sea Star

Lucy and Jack in Bar Harbor, Maine
          In two short months, we bought into the dream and promise of owning an Airstream.

Our Airstream Story

     I am an Airstream weekend warrior. In October 2009, my wife Melizza and I purchased a 28 foot  Airstream International. With no prior RV experience, we decided to go all in. Let me revise that. We made the conscious choice to have our cake and eat it.  Melizza and I have always had a passion for travel. Before children, we travelled abroad whenever an opportunity presented itself. After three kids, we have hardly slowed down. Nonetheless, we had to concede that flying with three children was becoming less and less enjoyable.

    In the summer of 2009, after reading a magazine article, Melizza proclaimed that she would rather own an Airstream than any piece of jewelry.  She was willing to forego platinum and diamonds for aluminum. Having admired Airstreams from afar, I had never seriously considered owning one.  Certainly, I had dreamed of renting an RV and traveling throughout the American West but ownership was a different story. We live in suburban Ohio and worked in fixed locations. That meant we would be limited by those destinations we could reach within five hours except for the occasional weeklong trips. I had to mull that over.

    In the meantime, we decided to see what it would be like to live in an Airstream for a couple of days.  We found a KOA Kampground just outside of Acadia National Park in Maine that rented Airstreams by the night.  We booked a trip and were able to live out our Airstream fantasy. After that trip, I knew we were going to be in the market. Upon our arrival on Mount Desert Island, the  shiny Airstream was waiting for us along the water facing west. The setting was perfect and we enjoyed the best Airstream experience one could imagine. Maine in August is intoxicating in a tent and our aluminum cocoon framed the scenery flawlessly. It is important to note that we did not have to tow or move the Airstream an inch. I thought that this was a great way to experience this country with our children.  The campsite in Maine would probably be better than most, but we all loved the silver twinkie and the freedom it represented.

    We did experience one minor mishap on this trip. Melizza broke a window trying to open it in the August heat. The yellow polo clad KOA police descended upon us demanding answers. Melizza was a bit shaken and felt that the incident was a bad omen. Being a recent convert, my Airstream faith was unshaken. Better to break something on the test drive instead of post purchase. We left Maine determined to find our Airstream.

    The decision to buy an Airstream was tough. On the plus side, we both have a serious case of wanderlust and love the iconic style and design of the Airstreams. We were both in love with the mid century modern look of the Chris Deam designed interiors. So it was definitely Airstream or nothing for us. Given the cost, I had to evaluate how often we would use it. That involved deciding what was accessible within a five hour radius from home. While I would like every trip to be to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or a stint at Joshua Tree, I knew I would have to explore my more immediate vicinity. While suburban Ohio is a nice place to raise kids, it will not make many top ten travel destination lists unless you like roller coasters or watching the Amish churn butter (I have since done both in my home state and loved both experiences).  Having said that, Michigan is our neighbor to the north and Asheville, North Carolina and the Smoky Mountains were long weekend possibilities. We resolved that geography would not deter us.

    I also had to decide whether we should wait until we were older. While the thought of traveling around the country in my retirement with an Airstream in tow is a romantic notion, there are no guarantees in life.  Why not do it now and spend quality time with my kids and show them a different side of travel that does not involve airplanes and hotels? A friend of mine put it in perspective for me on a trail run. He told me that if my kids were young enough to enjoy it and if I could afford it, I would be crazy to say no. Plus, he added, if your wife is supportive, then you have no excuse.  Well that settled it, I was totally getting one.

     In the interest of full disclosure, I had never towed anything. I had never camped in an RV. I loved the outdoors, but I was a true RV virgin. I certainly had never been to a dump station. In other words, I had a lot to learn.  

     Upon our return to Ohio, Melizza set out looking for our Airstream with her usual passion and zeal. After an online search, we found our baby sitting on a lot and gathering dust in Pennsylvania.  After a visit to western Pennsylvania, we were soon proud owners of our new Airstream. Shortly thereafter, we were proud owners of a Toyota Sequoia with enough power to pull this new silver goddess that we named the Troutstream. After over two years of ownership, I have zero buyers remorse.  I have enjoyed exploring this great country with Melizza, my sons Jack and Ethan, my daughter Lucy and our dog Maggie.  I look forward to sharing our adventures past and future with you.

My Airstream at the Terraport in Jackson Center, Ohio