Phase 2 at Ultimate Airstreams

We made our trek from Bozeman to Clackamas, Oregon at the end of September for one main purpose — to drop the Airstream off at Ultimate Airstreams. To read about where we stopped along the way, check out this post.

Whenever you tow, the weather is very important to take into consideration. Once we had decided that we were going to do some modifications at Ultimate, we needed to choose a date to start the project. We knew we wouldn’t be spending the winter in Bozeman, but in the San Diego area instead, and we knew that winter weather can start early in the northern Mountain West region, so we took both of those things into consideration. We ultimately decided that we should be safe leaving Bozeman at the end of September, taking the longer, flatter route to avoid mountain passes just in case Mother Nature decided to get winter started early at the higher elevations. We allowed ourselves 8 days to travel and enjoy the sights along the route to Clackamas. We dropped the Airstream off on October 4, a rainy Monday morning, and immediately hopped back in the truck and drove the absolutely gorgeous, shorter (750 miles vs 900 miles) route home. It took exactly 11 hours to get back to Bozeman and exactly one week later, we received our first snow fall. The timing really couldn’t have been better, as not only were we able to avoid snow, but also below freezing temperatures that would’ve required us to winterize the Airstream. Four weeks later, we packed up the truck, drove west once again where we were blessed with fantastic driving weather, spent a night in Spokane, and then continued on to Clackamas where we spent one more night before picking up the freshened up and fixed up Airstream.

By the way, this is our second project with Ultimate Airstreams, or ‘Phase 2’ as they dubbed it. To see what we had done during Phase 1, click here.

So, what did we have done this time? The major project during this phase was to replace the round, bumped out kitchen sink and cabinet with a straight one. Ian at Ultimate suggested this to us the first go round, as it would give us more space to move around, especially with the addition of the desk, but we said no. It didn’t take us long living with it to realize he was right, but we put the idea of another modification session off for a while. Like almost two years. If we were going to go in for a phase 2, we wanted to make sure we had a list of every possible item/issue that needed to be addressed.

We decided that if we were going to change the bumped out kitchen to a straight kitchen, we could change out the round sink for a square one. We also decided to replace the stock Atwood oven/stove combo with the newer Furrion model that now comes in the new Airstreams. Seeing as the Corian countertop was going to need to be replaced, we opted for the ‘rice paper’ color as opposed to the original (which has a yellowish tint), as it is a lighter, brighter color.

We also had two things addressed from phase 1. First, the bottom kind of fell out of one the drawers underneath the couch (our fault, not theirs), so they fixed that and reinforced it. Second, the arms of the couch had sharp edges, so we had them upholster those.

After that, it was just a list of maintenance items: Fix the hinge on the water heater door, replace the blind in one of the vista view windows, and fix the trim along one of the walls.

I did an absolute horrible job at taking before pictures, but was able to scrounge some up to show how some of the items looked pre-phase 2.

Before

After
Before
After

As you can see in the above photos, we now have so much more room between the desk and sink area. The original round design was actually not very good. That bumped out sink took up so much real estate and the round cabinet doors were literally falling off as we drove into Ultimate Airstreams parking lot on the day of drop off. We are so much happier with the straight cabinet design!

The rice paper color of countertop has little flecks in it to make it a little more interesting (and to hide crumbs better).

The previous oven had a metal door, so in order to look inside, it had to be opened. It also didn’t have an oven light, which the new Furrion model does. Besides looking much sexier than the previous, the new oven/stove also has a very functional safety feature. Whenever one of the knobs is turned on, whether it’s for a burner or the oven, the ring around it lights up red. This is a fantastic safety feature as it lets you know that there is propane actively flowing. With our past stove, one of the burners wasn’t shut off completely once and the propane detector ended up going off, so we’re very glad to have this feature.

One would think that replacing that large, round cabinet would mean losing storage space, but I think the storage is actually better now than before. Again, I didn’t take a before picture, but previously there was a small garbage can under the sink that took up a bunch of space. We didn’t use it for garbage seeing as we had a pull-out garbage can installed in the desk in phase 1. That being removed, plus the fact that this sink isn’t as deep as the previous and the builder was able to move the plumbing back further, really freed up a lot of space. They were able to design the little storage notch that you see in the bottom pic, which keeps bottle from moving around while we’re under tow.

Before

After

As you can see, after phase 1, the arms of the couch had sharp edges. I hit my back on that corner more times than I count, and when we decided to do phase 2, getting some padding on there was definitely a must for me. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and so is my back.

Another successful project with Ultimate Airstreams is complete and they did a great job addressing the issues and maintenance items that needed to be taken care of!

 

Campgrounds/RV Parks near Ultimate Airstreams:

Pheasant Ridge RV Park – Wilsonville, OR

Ainsworth State Park – Corbett, OR

Portland-Woodburn RV Park – Woodburn, OR

Emerson Vineyards (Harvest Hosts) – Monmouth, OR

Silver Falls State Park – Sublimity, OR

All About Harvest Hosts

As we continued to make our way south in California, we stopped at Harvest Hosts site Milano Family Winery in Hopland, California for the night.

If you are unfamiliar with Harvest Hosts, you can visit their website for more information here. That link will also give you 20% off the annual fee for the life of your membership. The gist is that for one low annual membership fee, you get access to over 2,500 locations throughout the country that allow you to spend the night in your RV on their property for free. These locations can include wineries, breweries, farms, museums, golf courses, etc. You are expected to purchase something from the host, whether it be a bottle of wine, cheese, wool socks, admission tickets to the museum, etc. As the Harvest Hosts network continues to expand each month, some hosts are starting to offer amenities not seen in the past, such as longer stays or options for partial or full hookups. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to assume that you need to be a fully self-contained vehicle that does not need access to water, electricity, or sewer, as well as that your stay will consist of just one night. It seems many hosts have signed onto the reservation system available through the Harvest Hosts app or website, but some still prefer to be contacted via phone or email to arrange your stay. It’s important to keep in mind that these hosts are business owners whose first responsibility is their business and customers. They are not campground or RV park managers and these are not campgrounds or RV parks. Make sure to thoroughly read the instructions and rules of each host both on the Harvest Hosts website/app and whatever information the host gives you directly.

The two RV spots at Milano were located right off the highway in a gravel parking lot. There was plenty of room to maneuver, but they were a bit unlevel and had consistent road noise. We knew what to expect, though, as I had read a number of reviews in the Harvest Hosts app. After getting parked, we went in and did a wine tasting and purchased two bottles of wine. We sat at a picnic table while sipping our wine and enjoyed the menagerie of animals that call the winery home.

Back at the Airstream, we chatted with our neighbors for a while, who were also Airstreamers, albeit an Interstate van as opposed to a trailer.

Some of our favorite stays have been at Harvest Hosts, which are such a great option when you just a need a place to park for a night as you travel one place to the next:

Sanders Family Winery – Pahrump, NV – January 2019

Our very first Harvest Hosts stay was on January 1, 2019 at a beautiful and quiet winery located in Pahrump, NV. It was FREEZING, but our gracious hosts let us run our generator as the temp dipped down to 22 degrees that night. It may have been cold, but the views were beautiful!

Emerson Vineyards – Monmouth, OR – October 2019

According to the reviews, this is a popular stop that features live entertainment on Friday nights, though we were the sole RV on the Monday night that we stayed. We didn’t do any wine tasting, but did purchase a bottle of their award-winning Brother Red. Minus the sporadic distant gunshots, this was a peaceful, private stay where we were able to test our newly installed solar and lithium batteries.

Sentinel Ranch Alpacas – Belgrade, MT – August 2020

The alpaca ranch is located just outside Bozeman, Montana and is a very popular Harvest Hosts location. They graciously allowed us to film part of our House Hunters episode there that highlighted our transition from full-time Airstream living to part-time condo living. You can also visit the ranch sans RV, as they have a nice little gift shop and an area to pet and feed the alpacas.

Garvin Heights Vineyard – Winona, MN – September 2020

This was a lovely little winery that set us up in their parking lot. The weather was absolutely perfect, allowing us to leave our windows open all night to listen to the summery midwest sounds and get one of the best nights of sleep both Travis and I had had in a very long time.

Big Snow Resort – Wakefield, MI – September 2020

This was one of our favorite Harvest Hosts stays. The Sky Bar and Grille atop Big Snow’s Indianhead Mountain is open for most of the year, offering food and drink to be enjoyed on their expansive outdoor deck. Once we parked, we grabbed some drinks and a basket of fries and took in the view. We also enjoyed walking up and down the ski runs, enjoying the beautiful fall colors that started to settle in.

4e Winery – Mapleton, ND – September 2020

Another lovely winery setting with the nicest people! This Harvest Hosts is a particularly popular one, and we were thankful they had room for us. Even though the winery was closed on the day of our stay, Lisa allowed us, along with three other RVs, to stay and opened the tasting room for us. We made sure to thank her for her hospitality by purchasing a bottle of wine. They have a large, level open field for RVs to park in, and besides the hundreds (thousands?) of crickets jumping around, it was a very peaceful evening.

That’s a wrap on some of the great places we’ve stayed through Harvest Hosts! It’s a great program that we love to utilize whenever we can.

Harvest Host at Emerson Vineyards – Monmouth, OR

Emerson Vineyards – Harvest Host

11665 Airlie Road, Monmouth, OR

As we made our way from the Portland area to the Coast, we stopped for a night at a Harvest Host at Emerson Vineyards. According to the reviews, this is a popular stop that features live entertainment on Friday nights, though we were the sole RV on the Monday night that we stayed. We didn’t do any wine tasting, but did purchase a bottle of their award-winning Brother Red, which is a 5-grape blend. Minus the sporadic distant gunshots, this was a peaceful, private stay where we were able to test our newly installed solar and lithium batteries.