I like the Airstream factory-issued Owner’s Manual that came with the DWR: the uncluttered layout, the clean language, the Euro-style cover. But, as it must be, it’s a dry read, and sometimes raises more questions than it answers.
Rich Luhr’s compact Newbies Guide to Airstreaming presents everything—literally—that you need to know before setting out on your shakedown cruise in a personal and friendly fashion, like a calm and trusted friend, patiently answering all your idiot questions one by one with expertise, respect, and a touch of humor.
While not technically a newbie—I’ve been trailering for fifteen years—I had a dreadful experience long ago (and another more recently) that stunted my confidence. Towing the Martini Wagon to Yosemite on a steep, narrow highway, I glanced in the rear view mirror following a curious clink*tinkle and watched in horror as the trailer, somehow now divorced from the tow vehicle, rolled backward toward the edge of a cliff. (Unseen benevolent forces intervened; it turned and came to rest, only minimally damaged, against the rock wall of the hillside.) I’ve had towing PTSS since.
When I paged through the Newbies Guide cover to cover I felt reassured by all I’ve learned over time (and I know the DWR has safety features the 1958 Cardi never did). I also had a few embarrassing, forehead-smacking epiphanies mentally performing the “walk around” in Chapter 1, and discovered why I inconveniently lost power midweek during Burning Man. (“Use” and “store” do not mean what I think they mean.)
Recently relocated to a climate where we’ll have to winterize for the first time, I’ll be referring back to page 69 when frost is on the pumpkin. And though I appreciated the simple instructions on how to fix a flat, I will be changing my own tire when they pry my AAA Plus RV card from my cold dead fingers.
The reassuring, lighthearted tone of the Newbies Guide continues to the end and the recurring theme is “this task is crucial, but don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.” Newbie or not, your Airstream isn’t completely packed until it includes a copy.