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I hate to be a female stereotype, but camping has never been my thing. There are good things about it, of course—stargazing, s'mores, zero cell-phone reception (at last!). But there are also bugs. And possibly bears. And, well, no cell-phone reception.
Still, summer is near, and 'tis the season to spend work hours daydreaming about your next vacation, right? I recently came across a magazine photo that made me gasp: a shiny, aluminum airstream parked on a cliff, overlooking the glistening sea. Hey, that I can do.
Turns out, you can stay in one of these retro icons for a long weekend. Rent An Airstream (www.rentanairstream.com) will deliver a renovated, fully loaded trailer to any campground or RV park in Southern California, from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Each is outfitted with your basic luxuries—a bed, fold-out couch, stove, oven, fridge, dinette area, toilet, shower, television, Blu-ray player, LED lighting and solar panels. And yes, fellow addicts, the Airstream is WiFi-ready.
But what you really want to see is outside the vehicle.
"You don't need to check in and walk through the hotel elevators," says owner Tinno Wong. "You wake up, get out of bed, open the door, and your feet are touching sand."
An aerodynamic marvel, the Airstream's distinctive bullet-like shape dates back to the 1930s. Its creator, Wally Byam, wrote in his creed, "To place the great wide world at your doorstep for you who yearn to travel with all the comforts of home." For many of today's devotees, the trailer evokes a nostalgia for a simpler era.
Years ago, Wong decided to try an Airstream after he was having trouble finding a hotel that allowed dogs. He and his wife drove it to Sacramento and loved the experience. "It inspires adventure," he says. And "it looks so cool."
There's no need to travel long distances for a lovely getaway. Based in Chino, the company has sent its fleet to picturesque gems across Orange County, including Crystal Cove, Bolsa Chica, San Onofre and Huntington Beach. The rate is $175 per night for most models (plus delivery, service and campground fees), and there's a three-night minimum.
So, when are we going?