Sunday, September 07, 2008

Car critic's dream: trip to Yosemite in an Airstream

By Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
It was an offer he couldn't refuse: the use of an Airstream for a week. Along the way, Dan Neil ponders the Zen of camping, the costs of Dr. McDreamy hipness and the future of the RV.

Yosemite National Park

Maybe it's because I'm punchy. It's been a trying day, 10 hours on the road. The babies got carsick in the mountains, and one threw up rather spectacularly. After arriving at Upper Pines campsite, I had to back the 26-foot Airstream trailer into a tight space between trees, in the dark, a nerve-racking man audition with a gathering audience of seasoned and skeptical RVers shouting advice: "Cut the wheels to the left. . . . The other other left!"

But now the day is done. Roz and Viv (my 10-month-old twins) are finally asleep in the trailer and my wife, Tina, with them. I'm sitting at a picnic table in the sumptuous, high-corniced night of Yosemite Valley, drinking coffee, looking at the Airstream. Just looking.

The orange lick and leap of the campfire light pours off the polished aluminum skin like lava. The Airstream hovers; it glows. Why, Miss Watson, I never noticed before, but with your glasses off, you're beautiful!

As I said, I'm punchy.

I've never been much interested in the recreational-vehicle lifestyle. You call this camping? Please. But I've always wanted an Airstream. Billed as the world's oldest recreational-vehicle company -- born in Los Angeles in 1932 but now in Jackson Center, Ohio -- Airstream has had the rare good sense to keep its classic design classic. The riveted aluminum capsules of today are, aesthetically at least, not much different from the silvery streamliners of more than half a century ago.

An Airstream is a shiny telegraph from midcentury America, an object that reflects our grandparents' restless, road-hungry energy. One Airstream -- a 1960 Bambi model -- made it all the way to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. So, when the company asked whether I'd like to borrow one of its trailers for a week, it felt like being asked whether I wanted to borrow the 20th Century Limited or the Chrysler Building. Oh . . . yeah.
Full Story & Video...
Click Here to Join the Good Sam Club

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]