That Interstate trip I took last July in California wasn’t just for fun. At the time I mentioned that one goal was to write a guidebook for Interstate owners, much like the Newbies Guide To Airstreaming. Well, I’ve finally done it. It took a few months of research to put everything together, and another couple of months for Jennifer to complete the illustrations and layout, but I think the result was worth the time.
The Interstate motorhome is a tricky machine. Not only is it packed with a zillion features that all need explanation, but Airstream continually modifies it during production, so it’s very hard to make blanket statements about anything. So once I started driving it around, I realized I was going to need to tread very carefully in order to explain it properly. That’s why the book has over 40 illustrations just to cover the basics, plus six essential checklists, and many more hints and tips. (Yes, that was a sales pitch, but hey, I’ve got to make a living.)
Even with the learning curve, the Interstate is really very easy and fun to use. I borrowed one for 10 days to do some first-hand research, and I found that it only took a week to get comfortable with it. With this book in hand, I probably would have been up-to-speed in a day or so—which of course, is why I write these things.
The book is now published on Amazon Kindle and Apple iTunes, so you can get it as an e-book from either of those sources. (I’m not yet sure if it will be available in print format, but hopefully that will happen early next year.)
While Jennifer was working on the illustrations, I was making final updates to The Newbies Guide to Airstreaming, so the Second Edition will be coming out in a week or so on Kindle and iTunes, and we should have printed copies later in October.
Lots of little things have changed about Airstreams since I wrote the first version, but I was surprised (and pleased) to see that most of the essentials haven’t changed at all. If you’ve read the Newbies Guide, you might have noticed that it’s almost as much about the philosophy of Airstreaming, as it is about the practicalities. In other words, it’s just as important to understand the “why” or even the “zen” of Airstream travel, as it is to know which valve to pull when you are dumping the tanks. That zen of Airstreaming has remained constant since Wally Byam’s days. In short, relax, and explore.
Wally expressed this as his “Four Freedoms.”
- Airstream travel keeps you free from reservations and inconveniences of modern travel because you can make your own schedule and travel in your own vehicle.
- You are free from many of the limitations of age, meaning that young children and elderly people alike (and of course all us Baby Boomers in between) can expand their horizons and live healthier lives.
- Airstreaming gives you what Wally called “the freedom to know,” meaning that you can explore the world intimately, meeting real people and experiencing things in a way the average tourist never gets to do.
And finally, they all add up to “the freedom for fun.” If you adopt the principles of Airstream travel fully, you can’t help but have a good time. You are freed from your worries and ailments and schedules, so that your mind opens to new possibilities and new opportunities.
I’m glad none of that has changed. I put a lot of effort into writing guides that help remove your worries about the mechanics of Airstreaming (whether trailer or motorhome) so you can relax and get the real benefit of traveling this way. But Wally Byam did the real work when he invented the philosophy.