Our first night in the Airstream was a cold success!

Published April 13, 2016   Posted in Airstream

It was the very first night in our Airstream, and things were looking promising. Our adventures in living small were exciting and new, and we were ready to settle in for the night.

Every evening we take a walk with our dogs to enjoy the cool evenings before the Tucson summer hits us full blast. People here are exceedingly happy. They wave as we pass by. We also got our first “That’s a beautiful Airstream!” compliment last week as we were cooking dinner outside on our patio.

Our front patio

Our front patio

This place is nice and comfortable.

After dinner on our first night, we settled in and took a mental survey of everything that happened. We had just moved out of our spacious 1600sqft home to live in a 200sqft RV. Jeebus (in Homer Simpson’s voice), this shit just got very, very real, and there is no easy way to turn back now.

We had done it, finally. After months of planning and anticipation, here we are, sitting in our Airstream at a local campground with our two dogs and the majority of our possessions.

Our dogs were nervous, but slowly calming down. Our smallest dog Patti lounged on the couch next to Courtney and me and our larger dog Penny hid under the nook where we put her bed so she feels protected and secure. She’s resting there now as I write this blog post.

It was a lot to take in, but things are going well. Nightfall slowly crept in.

Our first night in the Airstream

We were whooped pretty early that night, so we decided to go to bed around 8:30 that evening. We closed up all the windows, which had been letting in the cool evening breeze for hours. Next, we checked the Airstream’s systems to make sure nothing was wasting energy.

A/C off? Check.

Furnace off? Check.

Water heater off? Check.

Lights? Off.

Cool, I think we’re set. Let’s go to bed.

The bed in our Airstream: Where all the magic happens!

The bed in our Airstream: Where all the magic happens!

We crawl into bed and get settled. It is a new-to-us bed with a mattress a little harder than the one we’re used to, so it’s a different experience. Not bad…just, different. We are procuring a mattress pad shortly that will help with the firmness a bit.

We read for 15 minutes, then reached up and turned our bedside lights out in pursuit of dreamland. All is well. We fall asleep with a sense of accomplishment under our belts.

At around 2am, I wake up, shivering. I’m also lazy by nature, so instead of doing something meaningful about the chilly air, I simply duck my head under the covers and call it good.

But that wasn’t good enough. I was still cold and I couldn’t sleep. The single blanket on the bed probably didn’t help, either. Damn, it’s cold in here!

Finally, my wife woke up too and had the bright idea to give our furnace a try. Woohoo, we get to test out another major function of the Airstream, but this time, when we actually need it, not during the daytime hours where we could actually fix a potential problem if there is one.

It was 52 inside the Airstream at the time. No wonder – to us, that’s damn cold. But then again, we are probably wusses because we live in the southwest United States and don’t have to endure long, cold winters. We get hot and brutal summers instead.

My wife flips the furnace on, and we wait in silence. What felt like hours was probably only a couple of seconds. I heard the “whoosh” of the flame within the furnace. Good sign. Next, let me feel some hot air.

“Please turn on!” Oh gawd, please. I beg you, turn on. I’ll do anything you ask, just turn the hell on and warm this place up. For the love of all things small and furry, just do me this one little favor.

Lights! From National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Lights! From National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

After a couple seconds, BAM! NiceΒ warm air begins pouring out of our furnace vents throughout the Airstream.

Yes! Hallelujah!Β I felt like Clark W. Grizwald when the Christmas lights finally turn on in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – a classic!

The furnace worksΒ and works well. It heated the entire Airstream up in just a few minutes (one of the benefits of living in a 200sqft house). We were warm and went back to bed. All is well again.

The next day, we bought an extra blanket for the bedΒ and we haven’t been cold since.

Making the Airstream our own

A Yankee Candle doing its thing, while our dog Patti does her thing!

A Yankee Candle doing its thing, while our dog Patti does her thing!

Slowly but surely, Charlie is becoming more and more like home. We brought a couple candles from the house for decoration and a little “ambiance”. Bananas, tomatoes and peppers rest comfortably in a colorful bowl next to our sink.

We threw a couple of blankets over the couch for some added color and throw pillows to give the family room area extra substance. Our dog seems to like them, too, which is an added plus.

Nearly all cabinets have been assigned storage duties for particular items. Bowls and plates in one. Tupperware and cups in another. The silverware gets its own pull out drawer next to the sink. So do the knives and other kitchen utensils.

The kitchen in the Airstream

The kitchen in the Airstream

Tea and coffee go in one of the upper cabinets opposite the kitchen and above my work area, which also happens to be the nook. To its left is our cooking ingredients cabinet, which holds cooking liquids like oil, vinegar, and Sriracha as well as cans of black and refried beans and a few jars of hot sauces.

We had a hot sauce bar at our wedding, so you could say that we enjoy our hot sauce!

Things are still coming together. We don’t yet have the perfect arrangement, but every day we think of new and creative ways to store what we need. We discovered that keeping some baking supplies inside of our oven is a great way to keep some larger items (like baking sheets and measuring cups) out of sight.

Lastly, enjoy some photographs of our new home – including a couple shots of the K9s that live within!

Patti and Penny looking outside the door of the Airstream

Patti and Penny looking outside the door of the Airstream

Penny's safe area under the nook table (and my office desk)

Penny’s safe area under the nook table (and my office desk)

Interior of our Airstream: Look at how cramped it all is!

Interior of our Airstream: Look at how cramped it all is!

Charlie (Airstream) and Clifford (Truck) w/motorcycle at our camp site

Charlie (Airstream) and Clifford (Truck) w/motorcycle at our camp site

Even Charlie's ass is beautiful - at least we think it is! :)

Even Charlie’s ass is beautiful – at least we think it is! πŸ™‚

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36 responses to “Our first night in the Airstream was a cold success!”

  1. Love it. Doesn’t look cramped at all. I think it looks perfect. Reading Clifford the Big Red Truck on Courtney’s blog made me LOL.

  2. 52 is a little chilly. All part of the learning curve. Love the photos! What do you do with your dogs during the day?

    • Steve says:

      Especially for us, 52 is just downright cold! But true, just another part of the learning curve of this new lifestyle. If that’s the worst of it (knock on wood), I think we’re doing pretty darn good.

  3. Glad your furnace is working! I love that you had a hot sauce bar at your wedding. We’re big fans of the stuff, too. And storing baking supplies in the oven is such a good idea. One thing about “small living” that fascinates me is the unconventional approaches to efficiency, whether it’s in the design details or how the owner makes use of the space.

    • Steve says:

      Hehe, yup, we love our sauce around here. And yeah, some of these trailers and other more traditional tiny homes have some amazingly efficient uses of space going on. It’s fascinating to see just how much livable stuff one truly can cram into a seemingly tiny area. πŸ™‚

  4. The setup looks great. Glad everything is running smoothly so far.

  5. Congratulations on your first night! I am second-hand excited for y’all, and the pups, who look content in their new space. Thank you for Living The Dream and inspiring the rest of us to do the same. Can’t wait to read about the rest of your adventures. And I thought we had done well by downsizing to 1400 sq feet… you raised the bar.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks ID. Yeah, 200 sqft is a pretty serious downsize. It’s funny how people can get used to almost anything with the right mindset. Nothing wrong with a 1400 sqft abode, either. That’s still a good 1200 feet smaller than the average new home these days!

  6. steve says:

    NICE!!! I had the same with a rental RV before…took me forever to get the heater running. Didn’t think about checking it until it was 2am and we were in the middle of nowhere. Good times.

    Looks like you’ve got quite the setup and getting adjusted…fun to follow along.

    • Steve says:

      Good times indeed, Steve. πŸ™‚ Thanks, we’re chugging along pretty well over here. It’s a really pleasant lifestyle. We love the campground feel for sure.

  7. Sabbaticalia says:

    I’ve have dug out an electric blanket, I think. Guess I still have some way to go before I’m ready for real RV living! πŸ™‚

    Love that interior. Not cramped to my eyes — cozy, yes. Just hope you’ve got solid storage for that monitor and laptop when you’re hauling. (Flashing back to my wife’s mishaps with electronics in vehicles ….)

    • Steve says:

      No more electric blanket for us, but the blanket that we did buy ($7 from Walmart) was perfect and all that I need to keep warm, now, when temperatures drop. Thanks for the comment!

  8. Sharp looking home! With wheels!

    Waking up cold is never fun. The meteorologists conspire against me whenever we go camping, falsely predicting a low 10 to 15 degrees above the actual low. FYI, a 45 degree down bag does not keep you warm at 45 degrees (or 38, like it was the first time we used them). It keeps you alive. Barely.

    Happy to hear the furnace fired right up.


    • Steve says:

      Thanks PoF. I hear you regarding your cold weather troubles. I am a warmer weather kind of person myself too. One of the nice things about RV living is you get to “follow the weather”, so we’re going to TRY and move around the country based on the season.

      If only we could find highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s every day of the year, we’ll be golden! πŸ™‚

  9. EL says:

    Hey man nice set up even though it appears small its cozy looking as well. That lifestyle is fine if you enjoy being outdoors most of the day, and not being inside often I think. It will definitely speed up the early retirement years with such a drastic change, Good luck.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks EL, appreciate the comment. It’s cozy, but quite honestly, it’s all the space that we actually need. And yep, we’ve spent WAY more time outside over the past couple of weeks than we did at the old sticks and bricks house. I wouldn’t have it any other way. πŸ™‚

  10. Keeping stuff in the oven is brilliant… just make sure you don’t preheat the oven before removing… I’ve totally done that. πŸ™‚

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Maggie – yup, removing stuff before oven use is critical. Luckily, we have to actually open up the oven to turn it on (via a match after switching the propane on), so it immediately becomes obvious at that point. A natural safety! πŸ™‚

  11. Tawcan says:

    52 is a bit chilly even by my standard. Looks like a sweet set up, not cramped at all. Keeping stuff in the oven is a great idea, we do that at home all the time. Just need to make sure you put them away properly when you’re driving though. πŸ™‚

    • Steve says:

      Yup, we have a nice little setup here, though we are already looking forward to a few renovations, like replacing the floors and removing the dinette to make room for a more traditional desk area. We’ll get there. Thanks for your comment!

  12. Great update! I’m so happy for you and that everything is working on the Airstream. Slowly, but surely, it will become home. Where are you headed next? Somewhere warmer?

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Harmony. Definitely not somewhere warmer! We are based out of Tucson, AZ, so this provides more than enough heat throughout the year, and in fact, the cooler nights actually make spring and fall absolutely beautiful around here. πŸ™‚

  13. 52?! That’s a great sleeping temp! πŸ™‚ Hahaha. Of course, I’m pretty much melting with any temps above 80, so it’s all relative. But glad the added blanket fixed the problem. I’d also recommend keeping a hot water bottle around just in case, especially when you’re wild camping and can’t blow through your propane as fast as the furnace will eat it up. Also, can you put a regular mattress in the Airstream, or are you limited by space to the one that’s in there? I just know that’s my #1 priority for our future RV/trailer: a proper comfy mattress.

    • Steve says:

      You’re a master when it comes to the cold weather. I’m definitely a wuss!

      This trailer has two different 40-pound propane tanks, so we have a ton of gas at our disposal, luckily. I think we’ll be able to go a few months with moderate propane use once we’re truly out there in the middle of nowhere. But, there’s only one way to find that out for sure! πŸ™‚

      Yeah, we need an RV mattress for the bed, unfortunately (curved at the bottom, so slightly smaller than a conventional queen). All is good, though, as we are getting used to it and sleeping quite nicely now. We will still try out the mattress topper once we get it, but for now, it ain’t as bad as we originally thought it might be.

  14. Looking nice and homey!

  15. lol! Love the Clark Grizwald reaction; thankfully, your scenario didn’t involve a hundred extension cords and an electric meter spinning a thousand miles an hour! Speaking of which, I’m interested to hear about (if you guys are planning to share) what some of your monthly expenses start looking like. That will be some extremely valuable information for me to do some forecasting when my family decides to get serious and do what you guys are doing. Really glad things are going well for your guys! πŸ™‚

    • Steve says:

      Hehe – luckily it wasn’t electrical in nature at all, but man, it was a magical moment when the furnace did kick on! πŸ™‚

      We are planning on putting together some numbers, but it’s a little tough at the moment because we are still in the process of selling our home and doing some last-minute repairs, so our finances aren’t really representative at this point of full-time RV living. Once they are, though, we will be sure to discuss how our budget is looking. πŸ™‚

  16. Mr. PIE says:

    It just blows my mind how much space there seems to be. I have never seen the inside of an air-stream but I am utterly impressed how incredibly roomy it all is.

    Your story is a reminder for me on what it is like getting used to any new place. I awoke the first night in our home and was freaked out by the silence – we had just moved to the burbs from the city (next to a train line) and the quietness in our new home was eerily spooky.

    Congrats on surviving the first night and smooth sleeping for many more to come!!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mr. PIE, appreciate the comment. Yup, we’re getting used to this place pretty well, and there is plenty of space for all of us in here. In fact, we actually have a bigger couch in this place than we did in our home…interestingly enough. πŸ™‚

  17. Looks great! We’ve had several nights of van camping when it’s dropped to below freezing, and I’ve yearned for a furnace. I’ll try to keep my anchor point for comparisons on tent camping rather than the luxurious Airstream life, though πŸ™‚

  18. Jack says:

    A long time coming.

    Congrats on the big step in your ongoing adventure!

  19. Ralph T. says:

    Looks great! Space heater is pretty much my best friend every time cold weather strikes. Its good to have one in your room.

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