August 8, 2005 -- I've been buying and selling a small number of items on eBay for a couple of years now. THIS beauty is my biggest purchase to date, a 1993 Airstream Excella 1000 - 34 foot trailer. It was posted by a seller based in Western Indiana. The purchase was completed August 4, 2005. To complete the sale and procure our newest Airstream I had to make the 750+ mile trip out to Indiana from New Jersey. The out bound trip out took 10 hours staight out Rt 80 - not bad. I did managed to make productive use of my driving time by conducting some laborious ripping of 40+ CD's for my business at DigitalSoundboard.net.
I arrived in Winomac, IN at midnight and fast found a hotel room and tried to get some sleep. The anticipation of the next day had me tossing and turning for a couple of hours. I woke in the AM and promptly gave the seller a call to let her know I was in town. With her excellent directions I made my way over to her house and there sat my new shiney, shiny love in her front yard - surrounded by endless corn fields. A common sight in this part of Indiana. Now for the quick inspection and exchange of money.
My eyes were first drawn to the tires...check - they're in excellent condition. Next was the walk around inspecting the skin - check again - skin is in excellent condition, especially for a 12 year old trailer. Then on to the interior. These people are cut from the same clean freak cloth as my wife Katy. The interior was spotless! I knew at this moment that the deal was done. In a half hours time I was hooking up via the Hensley hitch, checking all running lights, and moving on down the road back to Jersey Shore Haven Airstream Park. Brakes? Check again!
The thirteen hour trip back was thankfully uneventful. The Nissan Armada pulled this behemoth like a dream. When I first pulled up to the house the seller was taken aback by my small tow vehicle exclaiming "you're going to pull this with that little thing?" Well I here to tell you that the Armada provided both excellent pulling AND stopping power. Prior to making the purchase I did a little homework and check the Airstream weight chart and compared that info with the Armada's 9100# towing and 1100# tongue weight capacity. According to the numbers I was good to go. The only unknown prior to hitching up was whether the relative short wheel base of the Armada would pose a problem. This is where the Hensley comes in to play. I can honestly say that the Armada's wheel base is a non issue when couple with the Hensley. I must add that I 've never pulled an Airstream without a Hensley Arrow so I don't have a whole lot of comparative experience to offer up here.
On the trip back I was able to let my computer do more DigitalSoundboard.net work for me, again making good use of my travel time. Because Jersey Shore Haven in the southern most part of the Jersey Shore I took the PA Turnpike to Valley Forge, then the Schuylkill Expressway to the Walt Whitman Bridge, then to JSH. If you've ever traveled in and around Philadelphia you'll know why the Schuylkill posed a daring stunt that I just couldn't resist. It is a twisty windy raceway with cars and trucking darting in and out the entire 15+ mile stretch -- offering the ultimate handling test. If it was any other time of day - midnight, I would have went a different way. Again the handling of my tow vehicle married with the 34 foot Airstream was a dream.
I pulled into the JSH rally field at about 1 AM and passed out immediately. 1500 miles in thirty six hours had be bushed. I woke the next morning and backed the beauty into our site on Safari Drive which happens to be off Excella Drive and one street over from Globe Trotter Lane. You gotta love this place!
Now for the biggest test of them all - the wife's approval. That night Katy and my son John arrived to inspect my latest eBay foray. I was sitting on the couch when they arrived - the door opened and I saw their faces light up!!! I knew everything was going to be okay. Hey...having fresh cut flowers on the dinette table didn't hurt either.
I spent a good part of the weekend getting to know our new baby. Katy spent the weekend shopping for new amenities. She had to get everything new for this trailer - bed spreads and pillows, dishes, cups, pots and pans, silverware, rug runners, etc. I would never try and get between a women setting up a new home. I'm sure I could loose a limb or worse if I tried ;-).
Anyway, over the course of the weekend I managed to check out most of the trailers systems. Except for what appears to be faulty tank meters (showing full when empty) everything has checked out. Of course light bulbs and some light fixtures needed replacing, but the AC unit works great!! Plumbing - check, microwave - check, fridge - check, awnings - check, hot water heater - needs a new gas tube, the flame was very yellow - otherwise - check. Furnace - wouldn't dare check them with the 90 degree temps we're having - maybe next weekend. Same with the solar power system, we have thirty amp service, that will wait a weekend or two to inspect.
Overall, we feel very good about this eBay purchase. Did I steal it from someone as many Airstream owners like to brag about? No. I feel I paid a fair price for the trailer. I hope the seller feels the same way about the transaction.
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