Friday, November 16, 2018

A New Chapter

Our New RV!!!!!!!!

Roger here....  Dianne and I have been talking about changing our RV footprint for quite a while. We discussed it with Jay and Nancy before they left Fredericksburg.  We discussed extensively after they left.

Our Mountain Aire has been in great shape.  It has run well.  The inside is immaculate, but it is 15 years old.  The Toyota Matrix that we pull behind the motor home also runs well, but it is 12 years old.  Both have been perfect vehicles for our travels.  Our thinking has been to trade both of them in before they develop problems.

It was time to say goodbye to our beloved Newmar Mountain Aire.  

Seeing these pictures make me sad.  We loved our motor home.  However, it was time for a new chapter in our travel adventures.

We decided to change our traveling profile drastically by getting a late model mid-sized SUV capable of towing a small, light-weight travel trailer (preferably an Airstream).  Since we were close to an Airstream dealership and a Carmax in Austin, we did some research and decided to travel to an Austin-area RV park to check things out.  The Toyota was the first to go.

We traded it for a 2016 Toyota Highlander which should easily pull a small Airstream.  Max (his real name) of Carmax found us a perfect SUV that was already equipped with a towing package.  We now have a nice relatively new vehicle.

The motor home trade was a bit more complicated.  Airstream has an excellent track record of quality construction.  We wanted a low-weight Airstream that our new Highlander could easily pull.  We found a used 2019 model that we wanted, but the final deal required some negotiation.  

Before leaving Austin we put money down on a 16 foot Airstream Sport (also called a Bambi).  It is small, but it has everything we need to travel and more.

In order to finalize the deal we needed to drive back home to Mission, Texas (6 hours) to empty ten years of "stuff" out of the MountainAire.  

Yikes!  What happened to our beautiful patio?  We divided the stuff into piles:  things to go into the much, much smaller Airstream, things we would carry in the Highlander, RV things that we would give to neighbors, things we would store in our covered outdoor storage area, and the largest pile --- things we would donate to some of the poor people here in the Rio Grande Valley.  We also pulled clothes from our closet that we seldom or no longer wore to give to people who could make good use of them.  A local construction worker from our neighborhood brought a large trailer to transport the donations to one of the poor neighborhoods (called "Colonias).  What a good man he is.  

It took days to organize the disposition of our "stuff", but it is now mostly done.

In the midst of our uprooted lives, I drove the motor home back to Austin for the trade.  Dianne followed in the Highlander. 

 We did a walk-through of our new Sport.  We then spent the day at the dealership as the Sport was prepped for delivery and the electrical connections between the SUV and Sport were upgraded to enable the turn signals and brake lights to work.  They also added a braking system for the trailer.

After a long day,  the SUV was connected to the Sport and we were on our way.  We were anxious to travel south of San Antonio before spending our first night in our new Airstream.  A storm was again threatening the Austin area that we hoped to avoid, threatening high winds, rain, and even hail.

We took one quick picture of our old Mountain Aire between our newly connected outfit.  Kind of nostalgic.  Goodbye old friend!

Hey, our vehicles match!

The drive back home was uneventful, always a good thing.  We drove out of the storm.  All of the systems in the Sport worked well. The Highlander had no trouble pulling our new Airstream. Our gas mileage was more than double what it was with our Mountain Aire.

Our little Sport looks great in our driveway.  Some of our neighbors are asking how big it is, my new response is 48 feet --- circumference.

The folks at Airstream design their products cleverly.  The inside is filled with nooks and crannies for storage.  It has all the amenities that we had in the motor home and more (except space).  We have a stove top, microwave,  small fridge with small freezer, TV with an amazing over air antenna, cable hookup, stereo system with blue tooth, furnace, heat strip, air conditioner, fantastic fan, lots of windows with ventilation, shower, hot water, USB ports, built-in laundry hampers, small closet, outdoor electric outlets, outdoor awning, rear view camera, pre-set connections for solar panels....  The design is modern, sleek and clean.

We will have to adjust to the smaller space, but we have traveled in a smaller trailer before, and know what to do.  We need to be careful to not overload the trailer, but we will be able to utilize a great deal of space in the highlander when the second and third tier of seats are down. We already bought a high-efficiency cooler for extra food storage that we will keep in the Highlander.

The dinette serves as a prep space for cooking.  It also easily converts into a second bed.
The toilet, shower room has a pass-through so that outdoor gear can be washed.  There is also a medicine cabinet.  This is a new configuration for us that we will adjust to.

The bed is cozy and comfy, however, it is difficult to get up in the night without waking each other up.  We intend to utilize the dinette bed transformation, which would not be an issue with us.  

One aspect of our smaller footprint that I have not mentioned is being able to fit our traveling home into smaller spaces.  We hope to camp in more state and national parks than we were able to do in the past. Our first trip may well be to Falcon State Park, about an hour away.  Oh, and driving is so much less stressful.  I do not worry nearly as much about accidentally bumping into things.  We traded a gigantic luxurious box for an easy-to-drive and updated travel trailer.  We can't wait to use it.

Pet Picture of the Day....

Meet Chica, our next-door neighbors' new puppy.  What a cutie.

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