The Adventures of Airstream Mikie

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Airstream Life Magazine

A friend bought all the back issues of Airstream Life magazine and I had a chance to look through about six of them today. They are filled with useful info and neat stories, so I ordered the complete set of back issues today. Get yours at

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wanted: Bigger, Longer Airstream


Airstream, new or used, 25' or 27',
pano windows front and rear,
Flying Cloud,
preferably west of the Rockies.

If used, must have non-smoking, no-pet history,
and in like-new condition.
Please reply directly to
for immediate reply.
Thanks for passing the word.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

TomTom iPhone test run

I needed a GPS Navigation system for the new truck, and after doing some research decided on the TomTom iPhone app and car kit. It took a couple of hours to download the app and maps, and the car kit will be shipped in a week +/-.

I took my bike in for some minor repairs and decided to give the new TomTom iPhone app a test run even though I didn't have the car kit yet. The results were better than anticipated. It synced with Bluetooth no problem, worked at the same time as the music was playing from the iPhone, and muted the music when a turn announcement was being made, and even came back online after a phone call in the middle of the trip.

So far, so good...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Truck Improvement Project

Base Vehicle:
2010 Toyota Tundra 4x4, Double Cab, 5.7L V8, TRD Off Road Package
Purchased new in November 2009 from Toyota Carlsbad

Goal: Customize the vehicle to serve the following purposes:
  1. tow an Airstream 25FB trailer (GVWR 7,300 lbs. nose 800 lbs) comfortably and safely.
  2. carry camping supplies and equipment in support of the Airstream trailer, including a 200 lb. generator, bike, and kayak along with hoses, extension cords, ropes, chairs, mats, tools, survival stuff, spare parts, etc
  3. be home on extended remote camping trips, beyond the range of an Airstream.
  4. do it all in low key style to create a visual presence which might be easily overlooked. On close inspection it is clearly an extraordinary vehicle, everything very well thought out and executed with high quality materials and workmanship.
To Do List
  • Lower 2" front, 4-5" rear (Tundra Racing Drop Kit and Air Spring Kit Toyota Escondido installation?, check for warranty, air spring kit, price.
  • Hitch - mate to the Airstream
  • 20" wheels/tires (freeway cruiser tires, not low profile tires)
  • Step bar (Running boards) - stainless steel (Nasta Tundra Parts Store)
  • Pedals - sport covers
  • Grille - Carriage Works Billet Grille ( , or similar
  • Locking gas cap (on order at Toyota Carlsbad 4/24/2010)
  • Sun visor extension, driver's side
  • Window shade, driver's side
  • Sun visor tint for windshield
  • Turn Signal Side Mirrors (Muth)
  • Cargo Tie-downs (Core Trax), in black
  • Cold Air Intake system (K&N)
  • Exhaust tip, stainless steel, (link)
  • De-badge
  • Smoked tail lights
  • Connect iPhone via Bluetooth for tunes and communications
  • Remove dealer license plate frames and temp registration holder
  • Load 6 discs into CD changer
  • Review Owner's Manuals
  • Program Garage Opener
  • Remove headrests in rear seats for better visibility
  • GPS - TomTom/iPhone
  • Notify Insurance company
  • Spray-on bed liner
  • Brake controller (Prodigy) by Abe Hernandez
  • SnugTop Shell, Super Sport model
  • BedSlide
  • Secure Generator to Bedslide (Roberto Mendez)
  • 1000w Inverter for truck bed
  • Install roof rack bars
  • Storage bins (milk crate style, black plastic)
  • Bike rack for BedSlide (Hollywood)
  • Recall fix (accelerator pedal recall) - Toyota Carlsbad
  • Specialty plates installed (MIKE 101)
  • Generator, running on propane
  • Wireless entry remote control, custom programmed

Resources recommended so far:
  • Abe Hernandez Phone 760-802-3238 or email
  • Toyota Carlsbad - where I bought the Tundra, see Kevin Edge and John Sanders

Monday, November 16, 2009

Airstream Social Scene: First Encounter

And so it was in the fullness of time that I went out among other Airstream owners, members of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI), as they are found in the wild, camping with their Airstreams.

The WBCCI is highly segmented with regions, chapters, etc. I am a member of the San Diego unit, which had a joint rally with the Orange County unit, at Guajome park, a campground east of Oceanside, CA. The draw for me to attend this meeting was food. A big Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings. Even hermits like me have a tough time turning down a great meal.

This was my first time camping out with other Airstreamer peeps, and after having the opportunity to meet some of them I pronounce them as "good people". Nice people, and very willing to help a newbie like me. For example, the unit president Joe Thomas stopped by on Sunday morning to check up on me and gave me some helpful suggestions on my tow hitch. His wife Anne made one of the delicious turkeys. And I finally met Bill Wright, and his lovely wife Kathy, who I have been wanting to thank for his email suggestion that I visit Kirk Creek campground just south of Big Sur. He and Super Don Snyder are fellow flyers, but with the distinction of being fighter pilots, and kept me fascinated with great stories. And there was Bev and Lowell who are probably in contention for the title of Nicest People on the Planet... the list goes on, and I could name some others, if I remembered their names.

It was one of those social situations where the New Guy (me) meets about 50 new people at once! It's madness, of course...

I got to rig my hammock between a very handy tree and my tow vehicle roof rack, and spent a deliriously happy Saturday morning gently swinging and soaking up some warm sun. A walk around the campground revealed absolutely zero other hammocks. How can this be? Possibly because there is a campground rule against tying ropes around trees. I need to figure a way of rigging a hammock with one end tied to the Airstream. Are you listening, Airstream Inc.? They are selling "lifestyle", right? What says "relax" more than a hammock in your campsite? It seems that if you are selling "relax" at $50-100 thousand a copy, you could afford to throw in an eyelet for a hammock rope/carabiner.

All in all, it was a successful adventure. I got out among the people, had a great meal, got hammock time, discovered a new place... Life is Good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Tow Truck

The engine is still warm as the new tow vehicle rests in my parking spot, recently placed there by the Toyota truck salesman.  The specs:

2010 Toyota Tundra (half-ton pickup truck), Double Cab, 4x4, 5.7L V8 engine, 6-speed automatic, with TRD Off Road package, Tow package, Cold Weather package, Bluetooth, Backup camera, power heated mirrors, 10 speakers + subwoofer, power 8-way bucket seat, power sliding rear window...

Need to add:

Navigation system (portable)
Security system
20" wheels/tires
Bed rug
Camper shell
Brake controller
Tow hitch.  (Hensley?)

Wooden canoe for the roof

Source:  Toyota Carlsbad, Kevin Edge salesman, knowledgeable and professional.  Strong truck experience, gave me a good deal.  I got the zero percent 5 year loan, so the truck was delivered to my home and I never paid a cent for it.  No down payment, no first month, nothing.  Wow!  America!

Tow capacity: 10,300 lbs.
Payload: 1,640 lbs.
Bed length: 6'
Seats: 4
Power: 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 401 ft. lbs.@ 3,600 rpm

Now all I need is something to tow.
Something shiny, rounded.
A pod, a home, a retreat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Change is in the air

The Airstream Adventure is 4 months old and I have been learning at a fast clip.

1. The Sport 17 model pulled by a Toyota FJ Cruiser has been a good PROTOTYPE, a test bed, a learning experience.

2. The next Airstream, coming soon, will build on what has been learned, and extend the adventure to the next level.

3. Currently looking for a 23 to 25', maybe 27' Flying Cloud, new or very good condition used. This requires a bigger tow vehicle and currently looking at Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8 crew cab with a SnugTop camper shell covering a Bedslide carrying the Yamaha generator.

4. This leaves me with two Airstreams and two tow vehicles, and the obvious choice would be to sell the smaller of the two rigs, and I would be open to offers.

5. But the entrepreneur in me figures that I could rent the Sport, and if I were going to go to all the work of renting the Sport, then I'd probably want to rent the Flying Cloud as well to maybe even make a profit, which I am feeling a growing need to do.

6. The Sport has been left pretty much in original condition, but the new Flying Cloud would be modified considerably to fit my particular tastes in woodwork, lighting, electronics, materials, etc. This may even make it more rent worthy for high-end applications, but that is beside the point, which is to create a personal space which could eventually become a full time home.

7. If I am going to be making significant changes to the new Flying Cloud, then it would probably be best to get a used one and build it up rather than paying for all the stuff that would be changed out.

8. An alternative to this would be to get a new shell, with bed and dinette/sofa never installed in the first place. Then there wouldn't be a bunch of drilled screw-holes for mounting the unwanted furniture!

9. Whichever way I go, the tow vehicle will have a canoe on top.

There are many options, many opportunities!