I occasionally think that we have too many Airstreams, but sometimes we don’t have enough. This is the time of year when people tend to come visit (guess why) and the Airstreams become very useful as guest houses.
We live in a three bedroom house that is in a perpetual state of construction and has only two usable bedrooms, and 1.5 usable baths. I don’t even have an office that I can use, just a desk in the corner of the living room. So we aren’t well set up for having overnight guests, at least not indoors.
This has never been a problem for the dozen or so houseguests who visit each season, because the Airstream makes a far better place for them to stay. We tell prospective visitors that they will be welcome to stay “in the Airstream in the carport.” This is a sort of test. Those who are intimidated by the idea of sleeping in a trailer, parked next to the car and tool shed, would probably be happier in a hotel. Most of our friends have the opposite response. They say, “Oh cool, I get to sleep in the Airstream?” and then we know that they’ll be great house guests.
This week we have a full house. Lou & Larry have arrived in their 30-foot Airstream and are parked in front of the house. We have courtesy-parked at their place in Ohio many times, and this is the first chance we’ve had to reciprocate. They will be here a couple of nights and then head to California to visit Bert & Janie at their boondock site in Anza-Borrego (and Michael Depraida at his spot at “The Slabs” near the Salton Sea), and then come back here for a few more nights.
Tomorrow, a long-time friend of Eleanor’s will fly in from the northeast, and she’ll be accommodated in the Safari. That trailer is like having your own apartment, since it is roomy, stocked with everything you could possibly need, and fully hooked up to utilities. The same day, Brett will fly in from Florida, and he’ll be set up in the smaller Caravel. So we’ll have four guests at once, across three Airstreams.
This works out really well. Everyone has a space to call their own. We don’t have to worry about whose towel is whose, or when people like to get out of bed. Everyone has their own refrigerator, stocked with the things they like to eat. Everyone has their own bathroom, and can set the temperature where they like it. Lots of those opportunities for friction (even between good friends) are eliminated, and we all get to focus on the good parts of visiting.
It’s financially very practical too. We don’t need a big house just for those occasions when people visit. There are no unnecessary rooms to dust or pay taxes on. When our guests are gone, the “guest houses” revert to being our vacation and business vehicles, or I can use one of them as a private office when I need a quiet space to work. The Airstreams make our little house much more flexible and affordable.
I may someday get a plaque for our Airstream Safari’s bedroom that lists all the people who slept there. (That ought to freak a few people out during tours.) I think a few of them stayed specifically because they could sleep in the Airstream. It is an attraction, to some folks.
Long term I would like to buy a few more Airstreams, set them up luxuriously, and place them on a piece of property, for rental to the general public when visiting Tucson. This is a popular idea, which we’ve documented several times in the magazine. There are spots all over the world where you can spend the night in an Airstream “hotel room.” I feel like I’m nearly in the business already, especially this week, so it would probably be fun to do for real someday …