Friday, June 1, 2012

I've been slain by an aluminum bullet.

Just imagine tooling down the highway, the whole family is singing On the Road Again in chorus together, and tagging along behind is that shiny aluminum bullet of Americana – an Airstream camper.  It is something we’ve dreamed of since the success of our first tent camping trip.  It was wildly successful, despite long nights of thunderstorms, foul pit toilets, and inescapable mosquito clouds that threatened to carry our babies away.   If we can have that much fun on the meager sleep and damp accommodations a vinyl tent can provide, imagine the possibilities with the relative comfort and ease afforded by a classic, beautiful camper, with its on-board facilities, functional kitchenette, and enormous shade awning.  Take a moment and dream with me…

Of all things, an Airstream turned up last week, parked along the highway with a “For Sale” sign.  After driving by for a week and averting our eyes, my husband and I both came clean the same day that we’d had our eye on that most beautiful incarnation of outdoor accommodations.  We pulled up next to it and found out that it was actually being offered at the kind of humble price we could consider.  We took my dad by, a guy with plenty of experience buying campers, and he didn’t find anything to stop us, not from the outside anyway.  We made another visit to our Landyacht when someone was actually there to let us in, and it was exactly what we expected inside – outdated, but clean and usable.  No odors, no water damage, all the windows opened and closed, the owner says all the systems operate: an incredibly functional camper for an incredibly accessible price.
This is a little bigger, but similar.

So we’ve spent the last two days mulling it over.  The first, biggest, and most absurd con: we don’t have a truck.  The camper would have to sit on our property as a children’s playhouse until our Caravan dies and warrants a new vehicle purchase (this could happen soon, but how soon is an unknown).  The other cons are less absurd, but important non-the-less.  In the last eighteen months, we have had a baby, bought a hobby farm, sold a house, traded a convertible in on a minivan, and bought a tractor – oh, and I’ve quit my job.  In the next six, we still hope to build a chicken coup, get chickens, build a lean-to, and add at least one grass-eating livestock to our family – oh, and finally get the basement boxes unpacked.  In addition to all that, we’re seriously, seriously considering a kitchen remodel.  Every time I can’t open the door of the fridge far enough, because it’s crowded up against a wall, or I have to run the dishwasher twice in one day, because the “Spacesaver” under-sink model has only half an upper rack, I’m reminded of the need to put all our spare pennies in the kitchen fund.

If we don’t buy the camper, I know, with some certainty, that the day will come when we will look at each other and say, “Man, if only we’d bought that camper.”  If we buy the camper, I know, with some certainty, that my kitchen is going to stay in its current state for another year.  Of course, that may happen anyway – we have a chicken coop to build after all.  But knowing that only makes it harder to pass on my Airstream dreams.  Self denial stinks.  Really really.

a time to search and a time to give up  Ecclesiastes 3:6


  1. First, there will be another. I promise. Next, somewhat in contradiction to the first, Airstreams have a really good resale market.

  2. I have to admit, I'm rethinking my commitment to passing on it. It can also serve as a guest house for visiting family...