As you may have seen on our networkswe cracked for a cute little trailer Airstream in order to spend the winter Canadian warm, well, we hope so ...
Having both a PVT (a work-holiday permit) for the Canadawe had planned to come back last September to Quebec to spend a few months to fully experience a winter in Canada.
It is not always obvious on the road to land to launch projects and we were only pushing back this moment. But here we are and we will explain in other articles what the PVT and what are our projects.
For the time being, we will talk about this big piece of aluminum on wheels in which we will spend the next few months!
This is not a surprise for anyone but winter in Canada is rather cold not to say tough!
And we had to think, we did not see ourselves spending the winter in the land of caribou in our van alias Popo. As great as he is and despite all that he has already seen, experienced and suffered, the -40 degrees which everyone tells us about here, are clearly contraindicated when living in a van… We have already slept at -15°C and had stalactites inside Popo (yes, yes it really happened!) It was bearable for a few days, but a whole winter is something else.
Working, living, showering etc. in a space that was not at all planned, was therefore not thinkable, besides riding in Quebec with him, would have been criminal!
Indeed, the roads here are enormously salty to avoid frost, which unfortunately automatically turns the vehicles into a rolling rust pile ...
Popo being miraculously free of rust, we did not want to inflict this on him, especially since we have a lot of projects together for the future.
The Airstream has always been an idea that was in our minds.
If you start to know us, you know that we love old cars (just see our presentation to understand). If it's older than us, we're automatically fans.
And U.S we were always told that one day we would find one.
So here we are, when we hit the road again with Popo in November 2017, knowing that we will come back to Canada in September 2018 to spend the winter here, we already knew we would be buying an Airstream. The very idea of rent an apartment for a few months being absolutely not possible! We need wheels too much in our lives.
Our daily life is pretty vague but yes, we have many long-term projects and the Airstream is one of them.
It's time to tell you how we came to find Miss Aluminum.
Our research began in earnest or resumed as we traveled north to the USA in August.
If you want to find one, look for the country where there is the most and why not pull it to Quebec.
So we have peeled the American ads and scrutinized the least garden or piece of land in the hope of finding our happiness.
And you know what, it worked!
And yes, after a few exchanges we thought we had found the pearl.
We were with Popo, we had no other vehicles to tow (Popo is strong but not enough to tow a caravan), but we were ready to buy this little wonder. Cross the border before early September to validate the Eric License, buy a vehicle in Canada and return to the US to recover the Airstream.
Complicated ? But when we love, we are ready for anything, right?
And then we are surely a little crazy ...
In short, make yourself caught, the Airstream is in the middle of Vermont in a place that does not catch at all, but we have the time and address of the appointment!
We are excited, all happy to discover the beast ... Yes but that's it when we arrive, what do we see?
A big rental pickup with the Airstream hung behind and a couple who visibly exchange the sum of the Airstream with the one who seems to be the former owner ...
Disappointment, sadness, anger ... Believe us, we felt very stupid.
The owner had apparently left us a message that it was too late, despite our appointment it was sold ... But here we were already on the road (remember distances in the US) and we were in the middle of Vermont, where the network does not pass ...
Embarrassed for us, the old and the new owners let us take a ride.
She was perfectexcept for the mouse gang, which seemed to have taken up residence since the time it was hanging in the woods. We let you imagine Joana's head.
So we have crossed the border without Airstream and took over our research in Canada.
Except that in Canada, the model so desired is not very common. So we were looking in Canada but also in the USA, looking for a vehicle capable of towing the Airstream without ruining ourselves ...
We pass you the search for the vehicle that was a real headache.
Between the rust, the lack of technical control in Quebec, the difference in definition for "in good condition", the fluctuation of prices unjustified and incomprehensible etc ... not to mention our constraints and requirements ... We thought we would never find of vehicle.
And we found "Bob" (It suits him well?) A 2006 Ford F150, a pick up 4X4 V8 4.6L, not really green but a good price / condition compromise, able to tow a trailer, perfect for our future projects and perfect for this winter.
In the meantime, we abandoned the idea of returning to the USA to buy an airstream although we had found one on the Nashville side, not next you will tell us.
But days, weeks running at high speed, staying in Canada and avoiding the paperwork of importing the US into Canada was perhaps a better idea.
We ended up find our happiness in Ontario (not next door either) Not having served much and having been very well maintained, it seemed ideal for a renovation and not a complete remodeling of the interior as we were supposed to do at the beginning, but the time was seriously beginning to fail us.
So things could have been simple ... but with us it never really is ...
Go find out why, while we had to hit the road to Ontario to retrieve our Winter House, the pick up broke down !!!
The bad Quebecers will tell you that it's normal with a Ford, haha!
Can not ride withhe was safe (long live the electronics) and impossible to find the problem. We tried to manage this alone and then we had to turn to a garage but add to that on weekends, Thanksgiving Canadian, tests still tests, Ford software to download with good updates, only one piece available for hundreds of kilometers (which we have made of course) and many hours spent.
We were in panic mode on board!
No truck, no Airstream, the equation was pretty simple. And the option of renting a pick up was not an option as the price is exorbitant!
In short after hours, the help, the kindness and the patience of many, we found the fault and could fix (By the way, thanks to Olivier and Steven for the precious help).
Visibly two sons made contact in the electronic beam at the engine compartment and kept the vehicle safe.
A computer change and two new wires later we were good for finally take the road 20 days later.
Fortunately, the seller of the Airstream adorable and very understanding, had not put it on sale and waiting for us. A miracle !
In a day and a half driving and about 1300 kms we finally had our future winter home on wheels in front of us!!! We spent 24 hours there with Philip and his wife, shared a good meal, talked and when they found out what our plans were, they gave us a crazy amount of accessories and materials!
In short, it is finally time to present it to you, in its original version, post renovation! (to see the renovation it's here!)
So we set our sights on this 1974 Airstream or as we like to call it for now: Miss Aluminum.
It's a model "Overland International" of 27 feet or 8.23 meters (a big baby) We were really looking for a 25 or 27 feet because for us and our use this size is ideal. Not too big (there are 31 and even 34 feet!), But not too small either: we did not want to have to do and undo our bed every day as in Popo.
His mass? We do not ask that to a beautiful lady see! Joking aside, at full we reach the 6200 pounds or 2.86 tons... you better understand the pick up now ?!
But to stop all that you tell me, it must be hard to drive ... But not at all, each wheel is equipped with an electric braking system. A small box in the pickup analyzes the deceleration, the slopes, the pressure on the brake pedal and other parameters to adapt the braking of the Airstream. It brakes even better with that without it attached to the pick up, to tell you! And if it is accidentally unhooked by rolling, it will brake even alone.
The suspension when to her, is independent wheel. The Airstream axle system is really very efficient on the road, we would almost forget it...
In addition to that, the ball attachment system is equipped with stabilizers who avoid the caravan from wavering alone.
But over the blah blah let's get down to business.
Let's do it outside tower. The airstreams are therefore designed entirely made of aluminumlike an airplane. Each sheet is riveted to his neighbor and all at one aluminum frame. Only the chassis is steel. The build quality is impressive especially for the time. She is fully isolated, and there are even aluminum sheets underneath, the chassis is not visible, it is caught in the insulation! It is quite rare nowadays to find one with a "Belly Pan" (that's the name of the aluminum part below), in perfect condition ...
At the front, we find the rack for propane cylinders, here 2 (in aluminum too), from 40 pounds. The regulator is automatically changing (incredible again for the year), ie when the first bottle is empty, it automatically switches on the second and indicates that the first is empty, so on ...
All around we can see several external hatches. They serve as access to the battery, the water heater, the back of the refrigerator, storage and back to the technical part. By this one can open the gray water tank and that of black water to drain.
In the bumper also hides storage and access to the extension electric 110V.
A small hatch near the front door gives access to two outlets and another below the filler neck of the water reservoir.
On our model, each side is equipped with a canopyboth are automatic winders. At the front, the tinted glass has a dual function: it is made of polished carbon-carbonate and can protect the windows from possible projections of stones by pulling it up and up to make an awning.
The entrance door is in two parts we can detach a part net from the main door and keep the door wide open in summer without the risk of stinging.
On the roof, three skylights of which one with integrated fan, a TV antenna which is manually folded by the interior, an air conditioning (the big white wart, yuck, not sure that it will stay there in the long term…), the high ventilation of the refrigerator and finally a hatch that opens automatically and mechanically when you activate the extractor hood... yes because there is a hood ...
Come on we see you almost stamping with impatience at the thought of seeing interior...
Welcome to the 70s !!! Everything is in walnut veneered wood (but faded walnut of 44 years ...).
Two developments were available at the time, the most common is the one we have with the bathroom at the bottom and the room in the hallway.
Room that was available in double bed or with two single beds.
The rarer version, had she, the room at the bottom and the bathroom in the hallway. This is the model we were looking for at the base but it is hard to find.
At the time a large bathroom was more coveted than an independent room.
On the right of the entrance, the sofa, convertible into bed of 120x195cm. Simply pull the frame forward and fold the backrest to move from one to the other. Below and above storage with roller doors, we find this system on all high cupboards.
In the center, the detail that kills, a needle thermometer and, normally but we do not have it, a clock (Eric already has a small idea of what he will be able to do with this vacant place ...). A small trapdoor conceals the car radio (original please!), which diffuses sound in all rooms. This is not Dolby Surround but we are not far haha.
Facing the entrance the work plan supports a folding table. She can also open to double its surface! Convenient when we have surprise guests!
Next to it is fridge which works propane or electricity. It has a freezer on the upper part. On the left a large storage cupboard with a microwave. In 1974 there was already one, we could see that on the documentation but it is more recent.
To the left of the entrance, the kitchen section. Everything is there ! Four gas burners, gas oven, double sink, sliding shelf and another foldable for more area ... cupboards are sliding with roller doors, of course. We are not embarrassed when we open all this!
There is also a technical part here with the main heating of the Airstream that works propane him too. It diffuses heat through several nozzles, one at the entrance and another in the bathroom, but it also heats the water tank and water pipes to avoid freezing. Well thought once again ...
There is another small propane heater just at the entrance. He is catalytic.
On the upper part, storage and control board of this aluminum box. It's like an old plane with all these needles and backlight. We see there battery level, clean water level, gray water, black water and amperage. The former owner has added a digital controller. We operate here the water pump but also the famous extractor hood which we spoke to you above.
Move to the sleeping area which is separated from home with a checkered wooden accordion door. On the left when returning bed / sofa 120x195cm always with storage below and above. On the right an alcove with a window and storage, again ... There is probably too much for us! Drawers, a wardrobe, everything is there!
To finish The bathroom, and what a bathroom! We told you, some time ago, the bathroom was very important. And when we see this one, we realize it right away.
There is bath... yes, yes you're not dreaming, a bathtub ... Well, nothing to expand with all his body but still!
All the furniture matches the rounded shape of the Airstream. Custom made, it fits perfectly, and hides from arrangement (still and always). There is also a VMC and we have access to water heater.
So much for this little tour of our new house on wheels, there is still much to say as there are small details, we still discover ourselves!
It's a real “small” trailer with all the comforts. It's stood up to the ravages of time with incredibly engineered design and manufacture and all-aluminum construction.
A last little anecdote for the road!
We often compare the Airstream to a plane, aluminum, rivets, ... and you know what ?! The former owner, Philip, worked as a mechanic at Canadair! And to do some repairs on Miss Aluminum, he naturally used aluminum sheets and rivets used to mount the famous Canadairs! So we can now really say that this big baby to something of the famous plane!
We hope you enjoyed this visit, it is now time for us to do a little youth. It is not that we do not like its entirely original side of the seventies but the years are still past and a little refreshment is required. Especially since we are going to spend a few winter months in Canada, we will have to make it a little brighter.