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Old 12-21-2010, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default Newbie with questions

Hi all,


I'm considering buying a new Airstream/Mercedes Interstate Class B. I'm pretty new to the class B concept, and I'd like some real users feedback, as it is really hard to imagine the experience without actually having the experience.

I have rented 40ft plus Class A RVs in the past couple of years, for my wife, and our 3 small Shitzus, to go up and down the beautiful California coast. We love the large rigs, but, there are some obvious physical limitations. There is a place in LA that rents Class B RVs, but, I fear that although it would be a relatively new one, the used, abused, circkety Class B they would rent me, would give me the wrong impression, compared to a new Class B Airstream.

I am well travelled, and, besides travelling 150-200,000 miles a year throughout Europe and Asia, for my business, which is also part of my lifestyle (part business, part holiday), one of our pups have an illness, which probably at least for the next couple of years, limits our desire to vacation in exotic places we normally go, like in Micronesia, Thailand, Japan, Caribbean, France, Italy, etc... So, I thought to buy the Airstream, as it seems to be the best one can buy in this class, and, I like the concept of being able to drive in more "car friendly" places than the 40 footer Class A allows. As we also have residences in Miami and Manhattan, in addition to Los Angeles, I like the concept of traveling cross country to the other places.

Economics is not the issue in my considering a Class B. I can do as I wish. However, being brought up in Manhattan, space isn't really a need for me. As a matter of fact, I like smaller quarters, as long as it provides luxury. A class B seems to be a very efficient mix of portabilty, and luxury. I am more than happy to stay at nice RV parks, and even at Hotel/motel parking lots (booking a room even, but staying in the RV, due to the dogs), although the concept of staying overnight in "nature" within scenic America ( I guess that would be called "scenic boondocking") is appealing to us.

I also might want to use the vehicle as a mobile office in LA, as well.

So, i have a few questions:

1) Cabin insulation - when it is cold (even in the 40s), will "camping" in the cabin be comfy, or might we feel drafts in the bed, etc? Will it be a "luxurius" feel inside, like the 40 ft Fleetwood, with constant feeling temperature throughout the cabin, or will it be a more "camping" feel, due to smaller quarters? I am assuming that a new Interstate will have the best possible insulation.

2) How easy is it to park " in the wild," around nature parks, etc.. meaning not in RV parks, without being hassled?

3) How insulated is the sound , in general, from outside noise?

4) How many hours does a 12 gallon propane generator last, using a few 110v appliances, and a lot of a/c, or even heat?* And, do most gas stations have propane to recharge the generator? Sorry if that's an ignorant question, I've never had to addressed the issue.

I've found in California, during the " season" (April-Sept) , many of the nice RV parks, and state parks on the ocean, are booked up. Especially for last minute people, like us. I envision going out from LA for long weekends, up the coast,* to the wine country, etc, and being able to "boondock" in scenic areas, if there are no RV park spaces (side of the road, on a lake, at the edge of woods). Anyone have thoughts on that?

I'm just wondering, if, getting a decked out 2011 Airstream/Mercedes Iterstate, and potentially losing $30,000 after 2 years, will yield a small, yet easy, and somewhat luxurious experience,, traveling uo the CA coast, sometimes to Florida, and, sometimes to the Northeast, so we can take care of our pup, and, have some adventure?

Thanks in advance for ant feedback!
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Hi jeff,
Welcome. I'm going to post up some links to some other "why a B?" threads from this forum,
to give you some ideas as to why we prefer them, to the larger rigs and travel trailers.
As a start, and to hopefully answer some of your questions, have a browse of these threads.
So here goes.....btw, there may be links within these links that will redirect you to more info,
should you decide you haven't seen enough to get a feel for the class B experience.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1671 (renting)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1681 (cold weather camping)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=995 (boondocking, dry camping)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1604 (buying/depreciation)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1579 (ditto)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1609 (roadside assistance)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1515 (why a B?)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1218 (why a B?)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1533 (Sprinter maintenance issue - Chrysler related)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1493 (decisions, decisions)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1471 (more decisions)
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1259 (Airstream Interstate)

Don't be overwhelmed by it, some of these discussions are only 1 or 2 postings deep, some are longer.

Good luck, and if you still need more info, let us know, and someone else will surely chip in.
Mike.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Hey Mike

Thanks for the welcome, and the quick reply. i did read many of those threads already, but, I'm hoping I may get ore specific real world use answers to some of my queries, hopefully some members will chime in with their experience!!

Happy Holidays to all!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Welcome aboard Jeff:
You will enjoy that B and the lifestyle it offers. We all can appreciate the problems associated with finding parking for the A, but that B is a car footprint. I can't speak on the Airstream, other than to know that Airstream has always denoted quality and the Mercedes - need to say no more there. You mention about parking in Parks and being hassled, we ascribe to we park, enjoy ourselves, and if told we can't stay, we'll move on...that hasn't happened very often - and it has been a blast in our RT. As for sounds coming in from the outside, you will hear things of course, but after a while you become oblivious to them. If the "little people" are ready to travel then you have it made. LP seems to last a good while, can't say hours, etc, but you will be pleased with the duration of that tank. As for getting it at a gas station, you would be better served to stop at a KOA campground, Camping Supply Store, Propane Distributor thru out the land and get it from them; I say this because they know how to put it in without any problems. We travel without any reservations hanging out there....we find a place to overnight and just enjoy the freedom of the open roads and the scenery. Don't know if this helps, but these folks will definitely have you on the right path. Safe travels.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Hey Ron

Thanks for the input - you addressed some of my concerns well.

How about the temperature evenness in the cabin? Is it drafy by the bed? And are there "cold pockets" at night (assuming its like in the 40's), or does the interior keep a constant temp throughout?

Without sounding snobby, I love the idea of a B, but, not if it means "roughing it". And for me, the small space isn't roughing it. I just want the enviornment to be luxurious I won't even tell you the value of my 850 Sq Ft apt in Beverly Hills, or my 900 sq ft apt on the Upper East side of Manhattan go for!
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Jeff,

We have had no really noticable cabin changes that brought us any heartburn. One thing I did pick up was a Fantastic Table Fan that has a 12V plug. They are extremely powerful, quiet and come in handy. To handle the 12V plug, I picked up a converter from one of the camping store outlets; we plug into an outlet and plug in the fan. My wife has used it while we are going down the road to bring more circulation to the air throughout. You'll find ways to add additional ideas as you use your rig. My suggestion is to try yours when you get it, if you need to make a "mod" there is enough info from the folks here to handle the problem. We love to travel the backroads, or anything not related to an Interstate Highway, will use the Supers when speed is a factor, but at my age....I need the time, ha!! Safe travels.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffbharris
Hey Ron

Thanks for the input - you addressed some of my concerns well.

How about the temperature evenness in the cabin? Is it drafy by the bed? And are there "cold pockets" at night (assuming its like in the 40's), or does the interior keep a constant temp throughout?

Without sounding snobby, I love the idea of a B, but, not if it means "roughing it". And for me, the small space isn't roughing it. I just want the enviornment to be luxurious I won't even tell you the value of my 850 Sq Ft apt in Beverly Hills, or my 900 sq ft apt on the Upper East side of Manhattan go for!
I have an '02 Roadtrek and it has a small furnace situated under the foot of the passenger side bed.
When the temps dip below 40, we layer sleeping bags to keep warm, and listen to the sound of the
furnace fan. I've never actually felt anything resembling a draft or air leaks, but I'm sure they could
happen. You might want to find, or email, a dealer and ask about draftiness in the sleeping area.
Or perhaps browse some of the many reviews of the Airstream Interstate available online, and see if
anyone mentions a problem in that regard. I would think the definition of luxury is a matter of
personal taste and experience, and so it would be hard to give you anything more than an opinion.
Perhaps a newer van, on a Sprinter chassis, made by a reputable manufacturer, might seem
luxurious to some of us, but based on what you've said you're used to, I doubt it will to you.
I'd be very surprised if you found any class B luxurious, compared to the 40 ft Fleetwood.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Thanks for the replies.

Well, I'm not comparing the Class B to the Class A. But, the Airstream comes with premium finishes inside, and, I can have wood floors installed in it, along with a few nice hi tech aftermarket extras. It seems to have many of the niceties of the Class A - levelers, generator, 2LCD TVs with satellite, and, since I'm a big fan of A/C, I will be using that a lot. And I'm sure the heater is sufficient.

As i said, I welcome cozy spaces with my wife and pups. As we love movies, and I use the internet quite often, I can stream endless films via mobile broadband to the TVs, and we can both do our businesses with our iPads and phones. So, the whole experience seems appealing to us.

Funny enough, you can only get the Airstream with the rotatable 4 seat configuration in front (whereas the RT has a 2 and 3 seat option). However, I think the 4 seat configuration, with the larger table, mght be a spacious way for us both to be at the table, with iPads, drinks, papers and documents we need and use the extra seats for placing them, etc...

I'm pretty confident it **should** have good insulation, I was interested to hear some feedback, so, thanks!

Any more feedback welcome.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

The 4 seats has often been an issue for those of us who regularly travel in "twos" (pets not included ).
We looked for a Roadtrek 190 Popular because it came with 2 captains chairs and a
3rd seat which we've left as is, for now, but others have replaced with additional storage.
If you decide to go ahead and buy an AS Interstate, there might be some dealer mods or
other after market custom mods available to remove the 2 extra seats, and replace
them with additional storage, like armoirs, or some other more useful item.
Efficient use of the available space is one of the "must haves" for most class B vans.
There are some interesting refits of the third and fourth seats, in the Mods and Projects
section of this forum.
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RV - 2002 Roadtrek 190 Popular (Chevy) - SOLD.
TV - 2016 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited
RV - 2016 Winnebago Sunstar 26HE (Ford F53, Triton V10 3 valve, 6 speed transmission) - SOLD (sort of)
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Newbie with questions

Thanks, re. the seats. I think if I get the AS, I might pull out the one rear passenger seat, and just make more floor space, and keep the chair to put back in when we sell. Id rather have more floor space than storage. As I travel so much,, I've learned to travel very light (or maybe the word is "efficient". ) My wife and I can (and have done) a complete round the world over 2 weeks, with solely an carry on size roll bag (which would include suits and dresses), and a shoulder bag, with our "mobile offices" within......

We wouldn't be doing much as far as food preparation. That's one of the reasons the Class B is appealing. As we eat out all meals, even at home, we enjoy dining in interesting new restaurants. Pulling up in a huge Class A, which I've done, is still a bit difficult, and sometimes we would have to park far form the restaurant. So, this why we like the B concept. And we can feel safe leaving the dogs, if the Class B is right out front.

Airstream themselves offer very little mods or options in their Interstates. They come pretty fully fitted. But, I'll check out the mod section here!
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