- The Magazine
- Current Issue
- Events & Shows
- Web Extras
- Yellow Pages
With Airstream and Jayco, RVers can hit Nevada’s roads in high style.
Photo: Kevin Karl (Airstream Basecamp)
When writing about people’s passions I respond to their exuberance and get swept along by their fizzy glee. Knowing this, when I set out to learn more about Nevada’s luxury motor home lifestyle, my wife issued the following warning: “Do not buy an RV!”
No problem. After all, I’m a veteran backpacker. Why spend money on a big-wheeled bedroom when sleeping on the ground suits me fine?
Then I saw Basecamp made by Airstream. It was love at first sight.
Basecamp, Airstream’s smallest travel trailer, merges lean function and swaggering style. It’s a versatile space with gear-toting capacity housed inside a swooping aluminum shell. Featuring a single burner cook-top, stainless steel sink with cover, fold-up beds, and an optional Kelty tent to expand the living area, Basecamp isn’t plush enough to make me feel like I’ve gone soft. It’s fashionably comfortable and sufficiently lightweight to be towed by most passenger cars, and it requires almost no pre-road prep. I could imagine the shimmering beast poised in my driveway, aquiver for adventure in the desert or the High Sierra.
While evocative of a bygone era with their classic retro vibe, Airstreams keep rolling forward. New product lines, such as the International CCD created by famed designer Christopher Deam, have lured a younger generation into the mobile lifestyle.
“There was a time when nobody under 60 walked through the doors,” says Steve Van Hoose of Pat Clark Custom Haulers & Trailers in Las Vegas. “Now it’s mostly people in their 30s, young parents who want to take some time off before their kids start school to get out and travel. They appreciate the quality of Airstreams. We’ve got all the extras, like flat panel TVs with surround sound, sectional sofas, wraparound windows, and top-of-the-line kitchens.”
I toured the Classic, admiring its uncluttered airiness. Hickory cabinets are offset by a Corian galley top with backsplash. A quilted bedspread and shams engulf the queen-sized bed. I don’t have shams in my own bedroom. It suddenly occurred to me that people in campgrounds are living a more luxurious existence than I do at my house.
While RVs undergo stylistic and hipness makeovers, nothing has revolutionized the industry like the surging popularity of toy haulers. These are motor homes or travel trailers with extra cargo space to tote all manner of ATVs, motorcycles, sand rails—perfect for active families or people who simply can’t stand to be parted from their garages.
The Jayco Recon ZX, for example, with a 96-inch-wide loading ramp, is a quad-swallowing monster without sacrificing comfort. Tie-downs are rated at 2,500 pounds, same as the ramp. Bunk beds power up to the ceiling at the touch of a button. Three slide-outs expand the living quarters to sleep a horde. After a long day of churning through the dunes, you can relax with a complete AM/FM/CD/DVD system that’s iPod ready.
“Toy haulers have their own generators and fuel-dispensing stations, so you’re not limited to sites with hookups,” says Pat Maloney, manager of Johnnie Walker RVs in Las Vegas. “They also carry up to 150 gallons of fresh water. They’re designed for families to head to the boondocks where they can keep the toys gassed up and the kids showered without problems.”
For Las Vegas resident Bette Leal, as for most RV owners, it’s all about freedom. She and her husband take their Airstream International CCD out once a month to favorite spots like Mesquite, Pahrump, Great Basin National Park, and Echo Canyon State Park.
“When you want to turn a corner, you can turn a corner,” Leal says. “You don’t have to worry because you’re pulling everything you need behind you. You have such immediate access to the open road.”
I’ll need it. When my wife discovers I put a down payment on a Basecamp, I’d better be out of town.
Pat Clark Custom Haulers & Trailers
7570 Dean Martin Dr., Suite 604, Las Vegas
Johnnie Walker RVs
3700 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas
Mountain Family RV
16300 S. Virginia St., Reno
Michael Hohl RV Center
4455 S. Carson St., Carson City
Paul Evert’s RV Country
1725 Casino Dr., Laughlin
6070 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas
2100 I-80 West at Garsin Rd., Verdi
WORTH A VISIT
Airstream Region 12 Fall Rally
Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort
2711 W. Windmill Ln., Las Vegas