We have been to the mothership. That is an important sentence that every Airstream owner needs to have handy when talking with other Airstream owners.
Our trip to Jackson Center, Ohio had several goals. We wanted to get a couple of warranty items checked off on our new 2015 Airstream 27FB International Signature, tour the factory to learn the story of how our Airstream came to life, add the trip our travels so could tell other Airstream owners about our visit to the mothership and finally we just wanted to take a trip in our Airstream. The trip was about a five hour drive which translates into nine hours minimum for our style of traveling. Why rush when you have an Airstream?
We arrived in Jackson Center shortly after dark and proceeded to the famous Airstream Terraport for the night. The Terraport is like a mini space ship docking area with three circular docking lots. Each street at the Terraport is named after popular Airstream models. We found a nice spot on Excella Circle among several other Airstreams there for the night.
Our appointment was scheduled for 7:00 a.m. on Friday. We had read many posts by previous visitors about the punctual start time at the Airstream factory service center so we set our clock for 5:00 a.m. to allow time for coffee prior to the pickup of our trailer. At 6:45 we heard the John Deere tractor crank up and start the morning pickups. At 6:55 a.m the John Deere was motoring around Excella Circle and stopped in front of our trailer. A very friendly man jumped out of the cab and asked if we were ready. As Mr. Spock would say - fascinating.
We followed the green John Deere with our Airstream to the service center and made our way to the visitors lobby. A very friendly receptionist directed us to the service desk where a man behind the counter patiently listened as we went through our list and wrote down each item on the service request form. We expected some questions about our concerns but there were none. He simply wrote everything down and told us they would get started right away. He pointed toward the seating area that is decorated in Airstream decor, including aluminum walls, and told us to relax.
One of the service technicians, Brent, walked into the waiting area a few minutes later looking for us. Brent wanted to go over each item to be sure he understood what we needed. Throughout the day, Brent returned to the waiting area to provide updates on his progress and invite us to look at the work just completed. Brent was very professional and seemed proud of the work he was doing at Airstream. He even repaired a couple items we were not aware needed repairing. The Airstream Factory Service Center was a first class experience. Thank you, Brent.
While Brent was working, we walked outside to a sea of shiny Airstreams. At the mothership, you will find slightly to severely damaged Airstreams waiting on repairs, vintage Airstreams in various stages of restoration, Airstreams waiting for export and just about any other type Airstream you can imagine. Near the front of the factory is the famous gold Airstream that belonged to Airstream founders, Wally and Stella Byam. Standing the midst of so many Airstreams made the trip worth the drive.
While we were admiring the Airstreams, we spotted one that belongs our Instagram friends Currently Wandering. They had dropped it off for a panel repair so we couldn't resist an Instagram post to humor them.
One of our goals was to take the famous Airstream factory tour. The tours are scheduled Monday through Friday at 2:00 p.m. Our tour guide was Mr. Don Ambos. Don started working at Airstream in 1958 and retired in 1993. A year later, he found his calling in a second career as the Airstream factory tour guide. His tours are recognized as one of the best factory tours in America. Don is a walking encylopedia of all things Airstream and can answer any question you care to throw at him. If you're travels take you near Jackson Center, Ohio, make time for the tour.
We were excited to run into Dave(@advodna_dave), Ann(@advodna_ann) and their two super cute girls, Wynne and Mae of advodna.com fame! We have followed them on Instagram forever and recognized them immediately. They were on their way to Massachusetts to visit family and stopped in Jackson Center for the tour. We enjoyed our brief time with them and look forward to another visit soon.
At the end of the tour, we returned to the service center waiting area. The receptionist told us our Airstream was ready and had been returned to our spot in the Terraport. We made a final visit to the Airstream store for a few souvenirs and our Airstream factory visit was complete. We have been to the mothership.