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Washing the trailer

As we were leaving Virginia Beach I was tempted once again by a local “RV/Truck Wash” place, and once again I regretted even trying it.

Towing in urban areas and down Interstate highways eventually results in a brownish oily film on the Airstream which will not rinse off in the rain. When it gets to the point that we don’t even want to touch the trailer, it’s time for a wash.

But not just any wash. There are only two good ways I’ve found to get an Airstream clean: (1) Hand wash with sponges (we use a microfiber towel to wipe it down after the sponge); (2) Take it to a Blue Beacon truck wash.

The local do-it-yourself washes have never worked for us, and we’ve tried many of them. If you use the brushes they supply, you will put small scratches in the clearcoat that look horrible in the sunshine. (Don’t ask me how I know that, it’s too painful. But I can tell you that wax minimizes the damage.) If you don’t use the brushes, the trailer comes out approximately as dirty as it went in no matter how many times you hit it with the high-pressure soap wand.

The other thing that annoys me about the do-it-yourself washes is that they never seem to have the proper clearance in the parking area for a big trailer like ours. So the end result of about 30 minutes and $15 in quarters at the RV/Truck wash yesterday was a dirty trailer and a few gray hairs from trying to shoehorn the trailer into the “truck” bay and then get it out again. Very disappointing.

Never again. Blue Beacon is $36 for the truck and trailer, but it’s the only wash we’ll use in the future, unless we do it ourselves. They are easy to access, they use only the wands when I ask them (not brushes), the staff have always been immensely polite, and they tolerate me standing around taking pictures and asking dumb questions. I guess they use a better grease-cutting soap than the local car washes because the trailer always comes out beautifully shiny.

Blue Beacon.jpg

We keep a little fold-up paper directory of Blue Beacon locations in our truck, and visit them about every 3-4 months. No, they didn’t pay me to give this endorsement, I just really like their service and the job they do. (But hey, if Blue Beacon management is watching, I sure wouldn’t mind a few coupons or something …)

Yesterday we managed to avoid the dozens of exhortations by “Pedro” to visit South of the Border, and scuttled right down to Florence, SC, where we are overnighting at the Cracker Barrel. The Blue Beacon was about the pinnacle of excitement all day, but we did manage to meet some other Airstreamers in the parking lot of the Food Lion grocery in Emporia VA in the morning. They’d come over from Washington state a month ago in their 2005 Airstream International CCD Bambi 19. We gave each other quick tours of our trailers before heading down I-95. It’s always fun to randomly meet people with whom we have things in common.

4 Responses to “Washing the trailer”

  1. Rita Says:

    Do you carry a ladder around with you to help in washing your Airstream and accessing your solar panels? If so, what kind?

  2. Rich Luhr Says:

    We don’t but many people do. For us it’s mostly a space issue. A good folding or collapsing ladder still takes up a fair amount of space in the back of the Armada. With a truck bed it would be easier.

    Lots of people like the fancy collapsing one — can’t recall the name — but it telescopes into a very short 2 ft square. Perhaps a blog reader can remind me?

  3. Rita Says:

    Target offers an Xtend & Climb Telescoping Ladder ($179).

    You have to be careful when putting a ladder against the side of an Airstream, to keep it from causing damage, right? I think some people put carpet between the ladder and the trailer.

  4. elly Says:

    There’s something about your picture of the Airstream getting a bath that I really like. Maybe its the combination of the b&w reflections and the worker bees caring for the queen bee. I stole it for my laptop wallpaper of the week. 😉