She's home at last, two months later than usual thanks to the new driveway. Unfortunately that makes an already short season even shorter, but we will get out on the road this summer even if it's only local trips.
She's sporting new tires/tyres (Michelin LTX replacing the original Goodyear STs) and a pair of new batteries. She tends to eat batteries, and I know why, but it's cheaper to replace the batteries right now than fix the larger issue. She's also looking a bit worn in places, externally at least; that's what eight winter months in a field will do. There's a big patch of filiform corrosion on the rear end cap and the Clearcoat is looking a bit bedraggled in places. However, these are just cosmetic issues and after a wash and polish she'll be looking a whole lot happier. The good folk at CanAm RV resealed some of the roof last year, at the places where things protrude, like skylights and vent pipes, so we're hoping for a leak-free season.
It was a lovely tow home, too; mid-twenties, clear and dry. We took the back roads, rather than the Highway, and just enjoyed the 80kph/50mph almost traffic-free dawdle westwards. For my UK chums, this back road is mostly as straight as an arrow, wide and fairly flat, not at all like a British back road. The bikers amongst you will be pulling a face at the thought of long and straight, but when towing two and a half tons of trailer, long and straight is good.
We did the run in a little over an hour and managed to keep the fuel consumption sensible (16.8 litres per 100Km/14 miles to the US gallon/16.81 miles to the Imperial gallon). That Imperial gallon reading looks a bit scary when cars in Europe will regularly achieve well over 50 miles to the gallon, but over here many of the much loved pickup trucks will only get 17mpg normally, and that'll be without towing an Airstream. We reckon to use twice as much fuel when towing so our 3.5 Litre V6 Toyota engine is doing quite well at 17mpg.
So, we'll spend the next week re-packing Towed Haul and we have a trip planned already, even though it's going to have to wait until our other summer commitments are done. You never know, Mrs T may even use her as an exam marking nook this week, free from the distractions of the house. Sounds like a plan to me.
And, of course, she does look quite nice just sat on the driveway.
I've been enjoying reading the contributions on the Airstream Addicts Facebook page this year, especially as we're without our Airstream at the moment. It's a bit lighter hearted and less technical than AirForums, which has been my regular haunt for the past few years.
As you know, my favourite sport is debating the relative merits of smaller, non-Pickup Truck towing solutions. I like to challenge the assumptions and pre-conceived ideas of many of our community and I wasn't disappointed in last week's discussion on the subject.
For whatever reason, and I have my own theories for this, the default tow vehicle for an Airstream is generally assumed to be a Pick Up Truck. The bigger the better, of course. I have no beef whatever with folk who want use said Pick Up Trucks to tow their Airstream, but I do get just a little testy when people tell me that anything other than a Pick Up Truck is illegal, a death trap, likely to have me sued, and patently against the laws of nature. Again, folks can hold whatever opinion they want. However, when so many of my fellow Airstreamers want to argue their case, they try to do so without facts or any real evidence. It's no good telling me that my rig is illegal if you can't show me the law that I'm breaking. You can't tell me I'll get sued when there's no evidence of anyone getting sued, and you can't tell me my tow vehicle is a death trap when I've been towing with it, safely and without incident, for six years.
I bring this up because one of my fellow Airstreamers said that he'd report me to the State Police if he saw my rig where he lived. In Facebook land, I should say "LOL", because that's what I did. I don't know what State this fellow lives in, and don't really care but I did say to him, though, that he'd better check the State laws before taking such a course of action. I think the Police would need some evidence of law-breaking before being required to act. People telling me that my tow vehicle is a crime against towing should also collect some real evidence before getting into the debate.
Towed Haul languishes in storage, still, because we've had our drive way re-built. I'm sure she'll look just dandy sitting on the (soon to be) snowy white concrete, but we've had to keep her away knowing that the work was going to be done, now we're waiting for the stuff to cure properly. Mind you, what with full-time working, and not great weather up until now, maybe we wouldn't have been able to camp much anyway.
It's been really tough, though, reading about everyone else's adventures, especially on the rather excellent Facebook page, Airstream Addicts. It's always difficult to follow people's travels in February when they're around the Gulf of Mexico, or southern California, and we're freezing our bits off up here (almost) above the 49th Parallel, but this year I have to read of other northern folk enjoying the start of their season when we haven't been able to and it's not been easy.
Still, the concrete's going off nicely now, so it won't be long...
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog