It’s the moment we have long awaited throughout our entire journey: our pilgrimage to Jackson Center, Ohio. For non-Airstreamers, you may be asking, “Why Ohio?” (Not that there’s anything wrong with Ohio.) I’ll tell you why. In Jackson Center, a small village with a population of approximately 1,500 people, lies the home of our home: Airstream, Inc. Many Airstreamers make the pilgrimage to Jackson Center to have service done by the Airstream Service Center and take the factory tour. While there are a few items in the Airstream we would not mind getting checked out, we had no urgent matters. We, however, just simply wanted to visit Airstream, shop at the store, and check out the factory. Our trip was for pure pleasure. We had no major complaints about our home. No concerns (yet). We just wanted to see where our home was built.
I had heard about the Airstream terraport, a place where Airstreamers could stay near the Service Center and Factory, but I was unsure if we would be allowed to pull in after hours. Thankfully, the terraport was open, spaces were available, and we had full hookups for $10 a night. 10$!!!!! (If you are having service done, your stay is free.)
The tour of the factory is offered Monday through Friday at 2:00. We were all set for our tour on Thursday and I excitedly looked at the clock about a billion times that day in anticipation of this event. Chris even took time off from work to take the tour. By 1:30, we could not wait any longer. We went into the super cool Airstream Service lobby, where desks and TV stands are made out of Airstream parts, inquired about the tour and then paid a necessary visit to the Airstream store. Yes, we are THOSE people that wear the Airstream brand while sitting in our shiny Airstream.
Ten minutes before tour time, I tweeted on Twitter about my excitement for the tour. Shortly after my tweet was posted (and, when I say “shortly” I mean within a minute), Dave Schumann of Airstream came out and asked if I was the “Twitterer.” My tweet reached Airstream Service! Not only am I impressed with the power of Twitter, I am extremely impressed with Airstream’s customer relations!
At tour time, our tour guide called us all around, gave us a brief history of Airstream, and took us back into the factory. We walked the production line, watching the aluminum shells being attached, the rivets added, the plumbing installed, the leak tests performed, and the finished product being prepared for delivery. It was great to see what our home looks like without its interior. Chris was intrigued with the wiring and plumbing as it gave us an idea of the set up of our home (something about which we are still a bit clueless). It was both a very interesting and educational tour.
After the tour, we snacked on some free cookies and did our round of shopping at the Airstream store, purchasing shirts, stove grommets (which may be my only minor complaint…those things tear too easily and seem to require frequent replacement!), and some LED lights to test out in an attempt to conserve battery usage. We returned to the terraport and decided to stay one more night since the cost was so great and Chris needed to finish up some work. Our pilgrimage was everything we expected and more!