Neither of us had ever been RVing before. So despite all our research, when Nick and I finally drove away from the sellers to head to our first site with our Airstream, we were overwhelmed with the newness of it all. Beyond excited, but also terrified. The trailer takes up the entire width of the road, so driving to the site through the small roads of Las Cruces I think we both forgot to breathe!
Why New Mexico??
Nick and I are from good old North Carolina and are currently living in SC right below the border of Charlotte, NC. So why in the world would we drive to New Mexico to pick up our Airstream?
Well, we spent a long time researching the exact one we wanted. We went to Out Of Doors Mart in Colfax, NC and walked around all the models they offered. I’ll do a separate post down the road on how we settled on the Flying Cloud 25FB Twin. We knew if we were going to spend this much money on something we weren’t going to settle.
One thing we couldn’t compromise was we needed ducted a/c since Nick is 6’4” and it adds a few inches of head clearance in the unit. That meant our search was narrowed to a 2015 or newer model. We’re also pretty meticulous about maintaining what we own, so we wanted to be sure it was not from the coast or from a state that salts their roads frequently to avoid the risk of rust.
After looking for MONTHS and checking various sites every day for the right trailer, we were getting frustrated with how much private party sellers wanted for their Airstreams. With dealers still stocking 2017s and 2018 models coming out, we were negotiating with them for some very solid deals on brand new Airstreams. Many private listings were for more than we were being offered for a brand spanking new one with a full warranty! And the demand is so high for these rigs that when a well-priced trailer in great condition comes up, buyers pounce. And they drive hundreds if not thousands of miles to pick them up.
We were thinking we would be able to find what we wanted in the Southeast, but it became clear there were more used ones available out West or in the Northeast where RVing seems to be more popular. Ones that were relatively close to us always seemed to be in coastal towns or in the salt belt. We widened our search because of low availability near us, and because of our quickly approaching timeline for heading out on our year-long adventure.
When this one popped up, it looked perfect! It had only been used once by a non-smoking couple living in New Mexico which has a very arid climate. It had never been taken to the coast or on salted roads. It was only a year and a half old and was stored in a covered storage unit. It had ducted a/c which gives the head clearance Nick needs. Every box we had was being checked off!
By explaining to the sellers the deals we were being offered from Out of Doors Mart and Colonial Airstream, they compromised on their asking price to just what we were willing to pay. So to New Mexico we headed with the dogs in tow!
I was already flying to Texas for a bachelorette party, so Nick hopped in the truck with the two dogs and met me there for us both to ride into Las Cruces together. It just happened that by the time we both got to Texas, Hurricane Harvey was hitting and was worse than anticipated. Not wanting to get stranded near San Antonio, I got the most expensive Uber ride I’ve taken so Nick could pick me up at a Starbucks in Waco, TX. After a couple hours of waiting for him to arrive, we were finally en route together to New Mexico!
Once we arrived, the sellers could not have been more accommodating! Melly and Mike were the sweetest people and we have no doubt when we pass back through New Mexico we will call them up to stay in touch. They stayed with us for half a day in the heat to go through every part of the Airstream and make sure we understood the necessities. They gave us many extras we would need such as power adapters, wheel chocks, lynx levelers, locks, Airstream books, etc to get us safely back home. We are certain we have them largely to thank for our problem-free first RVing experience :). Below are some photos of our day picking her up!
I wish we had known…
I do wish we had thought to ask a few more questions before getting there to pick up the trailer. As I mentioned, the sellers were kind enough to include some extras for us to be able to camp and tow on our trip back home. Two of these items were a hitch and trailer sway bars. They had never used them before because they didn’t need them with their truck, so it took us a while to figure them out and get them hooked up. Had we simply asked what kind of trailer sway bars they were offering beforehand we could have been prepared with the know-how for hooking it up to the hitch and trailer. This would have saved us all a lot of time in the hot New Mexico sun figuring that out!
I also wish I had brought closed-toed shoes and gloves for setting up. I forgot my tennis shoes (I came prepared with sandals and heels for the bachelorette party haha) and didn’t think about having some simple “grippy” gloves so my hands (and wedding rings) didn’t get beat up with the process of unhitching and setting up at sites.
We also wish we had done more research on roadside assistance services such as Good Sam or Coach-Net. We didn’t do much research on this beforehand so we were stuck doing so on the road while already towing and camping in our rig. Once we finally called to start our service, it was Saturday and Coach-Net does not have sales open then. So we didn’t have roadside assistance for the entirety of the trip. Thankfully, nothing happened to us where we needed it, but driving almost 4,000 miles we easily couldn’t have been so luck. We should have been more prepared!
Las Cruces KOA
Although Nick and I always had a negative connotation of KOAs from the past, we were very pleasantly surprised by how much we liked it here. We wanted to take it easy our first night, so we decided on this KOA in Las Cruces that had great reviews, a great view, full amenities, and full hookups. Thinking we would probably stay at a KOA again, we got a KOA card and saved 10% on our site which ran right around $40. We decided to splurge and get a “view site” for $6 more since it was our first night :). We were so glad we did!! I mean, look at the view from our site...
We also had beautiful sunsets and sunrises from our site.
A pleasant surprise was a call from Melly and Mike once we were all setup offering more of their help if needed and dinner. They brought us KFC and we loved hearing about their RV adventures while watching the setting sun overlooking the city of Las Cruces, Mesilla Valley and mountains to the East.
Put simply, the view was awesome and so was the site. We surprisingly had no issues backing in and hooking up the electrical and fresh water. The gravel there was groomed every day, which keeps it looking neat and clean. The showers were updated, clean, spacious, and had great pressure and hot water. We were both surprised at how nice these were here. The dogs loved the off-leash area and all the employees were very nice as well.