Rhonda Coleman is a self-described Airstream enthusiast, and after speaking with her for only a few minutes, one could tell this title is well deserved. I caught Rhonda shortly after her time at Alumapalooza here in Jackson Center, OH, and just before she was leaving the country for three weeks, chasing down a total solar eclipse that was going to happen off in the South Pacific. This solar eclipse would be Rhonda’s eighth, but the excitement in her voice tipped her hat that this trip wasn’t rote or mundane. As she described the three-week trek she was about to embark on, I couldn’t help but being excited myself, even though she was quick to describe this hobby as “super-nerdy”– I tend to think awesome is a more accurate descriptor.
Rhonda and I discussed her recent transition from towing her 16’ Bambi Design Within Reach travel trailer to her Airstream Interstate Grand Tour EXT. Admittedly, this transition was one that Rhonda found difficult for several reasons, but the most profound of those reasons was because Rhonda did not want to lose touch with the community that she had journeyed with and grown to love. She recounted to me that she had actually been eyeing the Airstream Interstate Touring Coach for quite some time before she and her husband made the transition.
Obviously, having given it much thought, she articulated to me the reasons that moving from a trailer to a coach made sense for her and her husband – safety and convenience were the two major themes.
On the way home from Alumapalooza this last year, Rhonda was caught in a bad storm in Wyoming. Bad enough that Rhonda felt it best to get off the road and find a place to hunker down. “There were truckers pulling off the road and bailing.” she told me. Rhonda was able to get off the road, pull into a Wal-Mart parking lot in the middle of the storm. The beautiful thing was, she never had to leave the comfort of her 24’ Airstream Touring Coach. Parked next to a couple towing an Airstream Travel Trailer, Rhonda felt safe inside her Coach, and also grateful that she didn’t have to battle the elements that particular night. “I just pulled in, and was able to get some sleep.”
And, on the note of safety, Rhonda often travels alone, and she told me that she enjoys the safety of being able to pull in to a location, and if she feels like something is off, or if she doesn’t feel safe, she really doesn’t need to leave the comfort of her home-on-wheels.
Safety while traveling was certainly a recurring theme as Rhonda and I spoke, but so was convenience. She shares that hitching and unhitching and parking the trailer were never favorites for her or her husband, and the ease and convenience of maneuvering and parking their Interstate is a welcomed reprieve from those activities. Rhonda said that she knows that many Airstream enthusiasts enjoy the dance of parking and hitching; it just wasn’t their cup of tea.
When Rhonda and her husband, Ralph, decided to make the jump from towing to driving a motorized RV, the choice was clear for them. They had a deep and clear trust for the Airstream brand, and with such a community already in place, purchasing an Airstream Touring Coach was in many ways an easy decision once they had decided to move from towing to driving.
Rhonda is incredibly passionate about Airstream and about the community she has found within the Airstream Family. Rhonda hasn’t lost her wanderlust, or her love for the silver bullets that have been admired for generations – far from it - but the move from an Airstream Travel Trailer to a Touring Coach just simply made sense for Rhonda and her husband.
A friend of Rhonda’s said that anyone that knows her knows that her Airstream is the first place to stop at a gathering or rally because of her love to socialize, and that rang true this past Alumapalooza as Rhonda hosted a tiki party inside her Interstate. So, as her Airstream journey has led her from towing a silver bullet to driving an Interstate and you’ll now find her Airstream comes standard with a steering wheel, you will likewise find Rhonda is just as excited for adventure and community as ever.
The same community, the same passion for travel and exploration, the same iconic brand, Rhonda is just now driving her home away from home instead of it being towed.