Ever since first seeing one of the shiny, silver bullet-like shells race down Highway 101 decades ago, I’ve dreamed of spending the night in an Airstream, those simple yet sleek odes to outdoor nostalgia that have captured America’s attention since the 1930s.
This past September — thanks to the resurgent Airstream Inc.’s release of an Eddie Bauer luxury model and the resulting need to get some media attention — I finally got my wish, as my wife, two young kids, and I were invited down to the Ventura Ranch KOA between Ojai and Santa Paula for a brief taste of the stylish trailer life. As one might hope from a $75,000 trailer, the Eddie Bauer model — which was parked for us overlooking the creek next to a cement patio at the quiet end of the action-packed campground — blends attractively subdued design with recreation-friendly features, like a mini-garage door for loading gear, thereby making life on the road as accommodating as possible.
We quickly learned that there are constant challenges in camping with an infant and toddler, but the Airstream’s conveniences, from sink, shower, fridge, and microwave to cozy beds and multiple TVs, made the evening much easier, even if that meant watching Yo Gabba Gabba! for longer than we stared at the Big Dipper. And after a long night, it was pretty refreshing — if admittedly odd — to enjoy some chilled sangiovese in the morning with our roasted garlic and bleu cheese eggs.
Bellies full and minds looser, we stepped outside the Airstream to experience the myriad activities offered by the still-developing Ventura Ranch KOA, which straddles the line between public campground and luxury glamping, with a healthy bit of amusement park thrown in. We had met the owner of the ranch the night before, as he too was excited to check out the new Airstream model, and it sounded like there was plenty more on the horizon for the property, which already features a climbing wall, zip lines, jumping pillow, multiple playgrounds, swimming holes, creek walks, teepees, car camping, cabin rentals, and the RV-friendly pads that we enjoyed firsthand.
Yeah, it’s about as crazy as it sounds and certainly not for everyone, but if you got kids and an Airstream, there are few places you’d rather be.