WE'RE GETTING READY.
Our family of seven has purchased a 2005 Airstream Safari Bunkhouse and we plan to take it on the road full-time beginning in May. You can follow our progress here.
It took us so much longer than we anticipated to find the right home on wheels for our enormous family. Our Safari Bunkhouse model is new-ish (we're not terribly handy and didn't want to deal with a lot of mechanical issues), and the interior lacked any sort of retro coolness. "Safari" is the Airstream term for their design scheme... think tacky black and gold and cream pleathery-ness. Yuck. Totally livable, and totally live-with-able, but we wanted it to feel more like home.
Apart from our lack of mechanical prowess, we chose this newer model because it features a front bedroom w/ a closing door (so important) and a bunk room in the rear that will be perfect for the girls. The boys are still quite small and they'll sleep on the fold out and on the couch, so no child has to share a bed except the baby, who is everyone's favorite anyhow.
We made a test run the first weekend we had the Airstream to a nearby state park. When we arrived, it was nearly dark because we are always late everywhere, and Stephen and I fussed with the water hook up in the half-darkness for just about forever. We decided to give up and do without water, but when I was faced with the prospect of trekking kids and babies and toiletries and towels across the park to the communal restroom, I thought I might have a second look. I don't know what we were doing -- it's like attaching a hose. So easy. The rest of the weekend was relatively smooth. It rained a lot and the kids were cuddled on the tiny couch in the tiny trailer watching movies (totally not what I had envisioned), but fun nonetheless.
This thing has a ridiculous amount of storage, even for our family. We decided we'd rather trade out some kitchen and storage space for a more open feel. We took the trailer to a custom van place near our house, where the kitchen and bathroom have been gutted and redesigned. The bulkheads in the kitchen area (which is also the living area and some people's bedroom) have been taken out. We're removing the vinyl floor and putting in flor tiles in a light blue-green tone. (I'd rather vacuum than sweep.) The banquette has been removed and will be replaced as it was black and gold and all kinds of grandpa-chic, and it'll be recovered in this crazy teepee print fabric we found that isn't tacky, we promise. We took out the table, which is weird, and I can't remember why we did that, but it's too late now. The bathroom has the world's tiniest sink. The sink is so teensy that it makes me envision dollhouse miniature-sized toiletries, and I feel like a giant standing next to it.
The bathroom floor is going to remain lame during our first long trek, but I have big plans for later. Because of the tiny space, I can splurge on these awesome painted wood floor tiles. And paint will help so much. I'll have to paint what I can in a mad rush once we pick up the trailer. The fumes will surely help everyone stay chill...
I'm not terribly outdoorsy, but I suppose I will be by the end of the summer. We look forward to family campfires, seeing amazing places, and hopefully, shaking ourselves a bit free.