The F-150 Platinum EcoBoost was easily one of the most enjoyable and best vehicles I've owned. For daily driving, it was quieter and more comfortable than most luxury cars. It was a beautiful truck in Silver Ingot Metallic with high-quality black leather interior and every option imaginable. The 3.5L EcoBoost engine was smooth as silk and plenty capable of pulling our International Signature 27FB with ease. But there's more to towing than how easy the tow vehicle will pull a trailer. People are involved and people like stuff. Lots of stuff. After all, your house is following you so why would you not want to bring along stuff that helps make the #LiveRiveted life so enjoyable?
With the F-150 hitched to the Airstream and the bed loaded with a toolbox, grill, bikes, blankets, hoses, cables, cords, rugs, lawn chairs along with a cabin full of cameras, laptops, power cords and of course Gadget with all her toys, we were always near the rated payload capacity and constantly trying to decide what to leave behind. So, we did the unthinkable. We ordered a new 2016 Ford F-350 Platinum with enough payload capacity for us and 25 of our closest friends. Not that they would fit, but the F-350 would easily carry them if space were not an issue.
To get off the tow vehicle merry-go-round, I ordered the F-350 Platinum with the 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel engine. This thing is a beast that goes about its business of moving mass with ease and does so very quietly. Inside the cabin, the powerhouse diesel engine produces a very low hum at idle and is not much louder than the EcoBoost under throttle. At crusing speed, it's eerily similar to the F-150 in comfort and quietness. Everything you've read about the quiet cabin in late model Ford trucks is true. They are incredibly powerful, quiet and comfortable.
We loved all the features and luxury of our F-150 Platinum and wanted similar amenities in the F-350. Climbing up and into the driver seat is certainly different due to the height, but once seated it all feels familiar. The dash is almost identical with the same layout, blue LED tipped gauges and a Sony/Sync/Navigation system that actually sounds better than it did in the F-150. All the knobs and controls look like they were taken right out of our F-150. Everything in sight is familiar with the exeption of the ride height. In the F-350, you're almost eyeball-to-eyeball with semi drivers. When traffic stops there's no guessing at what lies ahead. Peer through the SoundScreen windshield and you can see for miles. It's a very cool view of the road.
For anyone questioning the logic of a 1-ton truck, the answer is yes. The Ford F-350 6.7L V8 Power Stroke with 440 horsepower, 860 lb.-ft. of torque and 3800 lb. payload capacity is overkill for towing an Airstream 27FB International Signature. If you're like us and want to bring along your toys to make an Airstream adventure truly an enjoyable road trip, the F-350 makes perfect sense. Pile them in the truck, fill up every tank, nook and cranny in the Airstream and off you go in style. No more porpoising down the interstate with your hands glued to the steering wheel concerned about payload.
The F-150 was a fantastic truck and will always be remembered as one of my favorite vehicles. For the most part, it was better than any car we've owned. However, if you enjoy the Airstream life and love road trips as much as we do, the F-350 is a major step forward that will bring a smile to your face each time you climb into the driver seat. This is a serious driving machine that fits perfectly with the #LiveRiveted lifestyle.
Go big or go home? Go big.
Our first trip in the spring of 2015 was a weekend getaway to Anchor Down RV Resort in Dandridge, TN. It was a beautiful, but cold, opening weekend at the park so the number of campers was low. We were there with one other camper on the other side of the resort. It was a great way to start off the new year.
When we were leaving, we told them we'd be back in the fall to close out the year. Last weekend we returned and once again the place was almost empty. They told us it had been a great season. As one of the most beautiful and well maintained RV parks anywhere, we're happy for them and wish them continued success. Being alone on the water front with spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains and the only users on the resort Wi-Fi makes us happy as well.
Thanks Anchor Down for a great time in 2015. See you on a cold weekend in early 2016.
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.
After two wonderful years in our 2013 Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB, we had the opporutunity to move up a level and couldn't resist. It had been our dream from the beginning to own the International Signature 27FB and the fine folks at Colonial Airstream in Lakewood, New Jersey helped make it a reality. We spent a several days detailing our like new Flying Cloud 25FB for our last trip together in July 2015. A few days later we were face-to-face with this beauty when Colonial opened for business.
With no encouragement from Lauren of Colonial, we walked inside to meet our beautiful new Airstream. The ducted air conditioning had been running overnight and the interior was a perfect 72 degrees. It was an impressive first impression. Well done, Colonial.
We stopped for a last look at our 2013 Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB as were pulling out of the parking lot. Thank you for two years of joy and wonderful memories. Best wishes for continued success in your life of inspiring adventure. See you down the road.
Let the journey begin...