There was bound to be a dent or scratch at some point but I was completely unprepared when it happened.
Deke and I both learned something very important on our camping trip to Ft Griffin — Deke should never listen to anyone but me when backing up or turning around the RV and I should always double check the real map against the GPS.
Our TomTom GPS was programmed to the Ft Griffin address which we got from their website, and until the last 15 miles or so, had gotten us there fine. Eventually we were told to turn left down an unpaved road next to a ranch, but after about 40 yards it just didn’t seem like the right place to be. There weren’t any signs and the ranch looked abandoned. Granted the address was a little wonky–US Highway 283 North, so frankly Im surprised we got as far as we did without a map.
After realizing this road was probably not where we wanted to be, we decided that the best thing to do would be an attempt at turning around the RV. I was confident we could do it and we were just about there when a car came down the road. We were either going to get shot for trespassing or about to meet a very nice person who was going to help us turn this thing around.
After sizing up the situation, the landowner (who looked like a cowboy Santa Clause) generously offered to open the ranch gate for us to give more room to back up the trailer. The opening was a little narrow, but we had an extra 2 feet on each side. As I stood on one side and the resident cowboy stood on the other, we each gave Deke direction to ease the trailer through the gate. Unfortunately, said cowboy wasn’t familiar with the turning radius capabilities of an Airstream and apparently he didn’t have a great depth perception either. In one “go ahead, you got room” we backed right into the edge of the fence leaving a one foot by one foot dent on the passenger side rear panel. Bummer.
In Chicago there was only one place to take your Airstream for repair — and it was about 90 minutes away. Luckily we have two options here in Dallas, and we chose to take ours to North Dallas RV in Carrollton (they’re still working on their website). It’s both easy and hard to miss this place — there are about 30 Airstreams of all makes and models fanning out around a small garage, but its also right under the President George
W. Bush Turnpike. The construction of the highway apparently caused North Dallas RV to lose their previous front lot, which would make them much easier to find. George W, yet again to manage to impale a small, hardworking business.
Randy has been working on Airstreams for 26 years. He’s a leathery gentleman with the kind of tan that comes from hours, months and years of working outside in the Texas sun. He’s nice as can be and proud of the work he’s done, and he should be! He showed us around one Airstreams he’s working on that had been under several feet of water during a flood and been backed into by a car that didn’t have its parking brake on. Randy redid everything from floors to electrical and it looked great.
The lot outside his garage was full of vintage Airstreams with worn off WBCCI numbers, gutted old and new models that need to be completely redone and even one that looks like its being turned into a traveling food truck (awesome!).
After a few weeks at North Dallas RV, The Weasel came back all shiny and new. Her rear bumper had been replaced and she had a new rear passenger side panel. Our insurance paid for most of the work and thanked us for introducing them to Randy (the RV rep in Dallas didn’t know the place). When we picked her up, Randy was hard at work on another model that had been jackknifed under a bridge…. it seems his work will never be done. Thanks Randy!