With ulterior motives guiding my unexpected trip, I made plans to attend the fall Vintage Rally at Misty River Campground in Walland, TN. On Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 I pulled the TAB 450 miles from Ohio to Tennessee, slowing down in anticipation as I drove past Chilhowee RV on Alcoa Highway . Right out by the highway sat a little 16’ Airstream Bambi! Well . . . maybe I had done a little advanced planning in deciding to attend the vintage rally; and so I stopped to check out all the Airstreams on the lot. With 15 minutes of advanced warning, my sister Beccie joined me -- further evidence planned intentions!
It didn’t take long for me to see that the 16’ was exactly what we wanted, and it took even less for me to convince Tom over the phone! The salesman looked at my little orange TAB (right in the middle of University of Tennessee “Big Orange” country with the first football game of the season 4 days away!) and asked: “Do you want to trade in that little orange teardrop?” I looked him in the eye and said: “I would – but I don’t think you can afford it!” Later, he looked it over and his offer was more than I could have ever hoped for! Deal Done!
A vintage Airstream at the Vintage Rally
Now that the preliminaries were out of the way, there were several things that needed to be accomplished in the next few days: Tom needed to make arrangements for the purchase, I needed to have electric brakes installed on the van, the dealership needed to prep the Airstream, and Tom needed to drive down from Ohio to join me for the transfer! To keep me occupied in the meanwhile, I needed to drive on to Vintage Rally at Misty River Campground. Once there I set up our T@B campsite for the last time!
Tom arrived late Friday night, and early Saturday morning we emptied the Tab of everything that was not to stay with her. Although we had a premonition that we might be trading trailers in the near future, we certainly weren't prepared for an exchange in mid-rally! Lots of outdoor equipment was piled on the picnic table at the campsite, and the rest was shoved into the van! Sister Johanna took our last picture in the TAB, and we drove away to make the swap! It was a sad trip, as we had enjoyed every single night of camping in the 7 years we owned the TAB.
Arriving back at Misty River Vintage Rally!
The switch didn’t happen all that fast – Saturday morning was a busy day for the dealership and they had a lot to show and tell us about our Airstream. It was a full 6 hours until we headed back to the campground. As I drove the new rig into the campground, Johanna was sitting on the picnic table patiently waiting to get a first picture.
Slowly a crowd gathered, realizing that an Airstream was replacing the camper at the site that had been occupied by the little teardrop TAB. Oh what fun we had introducing our new little Bambi to the campers -- especially the many vintage Airstream attendees!
Backing into our driveway at home
Sunday morning it was time to set off for Ohio again -- with the newly named "Silvermine and His" in tow. We now had two cars in Tennessee, and we took turns driving the new rig to experience the feel of her tow -- and driving behind to admire the view! Eight hours later, we were backing her into place in the driveway marveling at how balanced and solid she handled the trip.
So ends the story of our purchase and first camping and towing experience in The Silvermine and His. Meanwhile, we have heard rumors from people in Tennessee that watched as a TAB arrived at a rally - - - and an Airstream left! We know there will be many and frequent trips in our future, and we look forward to 'streamin' them in this blog!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown