THE SEARCH IS ON!
After a frustrating time cruising the web and every ad I could find, I finally came across what looked like a super Classic for sale on EBAY. The thing about EBAY of course is you have to be a trusting buyer. You can look at all the seller's feedback , but when you are spending lots of your hard earned dollars, it can be unnerving.
Anyway, this one looked great,and the seller emailed additional photos, and I was hooked. I bid up to my max, and lost. Not a good feeling, but a bit of relief in that the motorhome was in Dallas, TX, and I was in Atlanta, GA. That 16 hour drive might have been a potential nightmare.
Next I found a great ad for one in Vermont. Even further than Dallas!
This was truly a beauty, and the seller sent me a video tape of his walk around, showing all the features. It was stored in a barn, and looked immaculate. Priced a bit high for our budget, but so nice I felt I would go for it if I could.
Found a distant relative ( 3rd cousin) who lived within an hours drive of the location, and started out to arrange travel. Had it not been almost winter, this might have worked. But the thought of driving it home over 1000 miles was putting me off just a bit. Also the seller would not come down a nickle on his price. Probably a good decision for me to decide to pass.
In the meantime a few units closer to home were discovered, one in Georgia ( sold the day the ad hit), and another in South Carolina, offered by an elderly man with some reluctance to part with "her".
I arranged to go and see the SC unit, and we were set to leave on the weekend, when our phone message machine aired a short voice mail from the owner. He just could not part with " her" and decided to keep "her'. "Sorry".
So it was back to the classifieds. I searched more and more obscure ad sites, even cruising newspaper classifieds on the web.
Then, I got an email back from an advertiser that I had sent an inquiry to.
They had posted a 1982 Classic in Ohio, and as it was winter, they had few if any responses. It was just before Thanksgiving when we via the web and fax.
All looked good, the motorhome badly in need of an update, but in generally good condition, and obviously much loved. They actually interviewed me by phone to see if I was truly a buyer who could give it a good home.
I bought a plane ticket for Dayton, Ohio, after some last minute negotiations, and their somewhat cold feet on selling to someone who had not yet actually seen the Airstream.
On a cold but pretty day after Thanksgiving I flew to Dayton, with check in hand.
THE AIRPORT WALK AROUND
I arrived in Dayton, and walked excitedly out to the parking lot. There was the silvery, riveted 28 foot "bus" parked with the generator running.
I went in to meet the owners, and sat in the warm and cozy interior, on the well worn couch, feeling pretty good so far.
We spent a half hour or more going through every system, and how they worked, and what did what.
Then we traded title papers for check, they offered to refund some money as the door lock had been broken before my arrival. I climbed into the driver's seat for my 9 hour ride home. Nervous, but excited.
Leaving the airport I drove slowly onto I 75 South, and headed towards Cincinatti.
Driving was easier than I had expected, the handling positive, while the ride was quite firm.
Firm enough to make the interior cabinets and refirgerator very noisy going over any bumps. I figured it to be normal, and somethng we could get over ...turn the stereo up.
I expected a 20 plus year old machine might just be that way. I stopped and checked the fluids, oil and trans, at a rest area. The 454 Chevy monster V8 had the longest dip stick I have ever seen. Almost a chore to snake it back thru its tube into the oil pan.
I used a borrowed cell phone I had brought along to update my family while cruising down the highway. Once in Kentucky I actually passed another Airstream Classic on the opposite roadway. The driver waved. Funny, later relfecting on five years of travel, I almost never passed another one.
After light rain in the smokies and some pretty curvy nightime mountain road driving, I safely made it home.
The kids were quite excited and rushed out to see the interior. My wife on the other hand got in tentatively, and said something like " oh my God" what have we gotten into? But she seemed to see it was a cool ride, and I always loved cool rides.