Our next workamping gig is at the Livingston, TX headquarters of the Escapees RV Club.
We left Ohio this morning after spending about 10 days visiting family and many of our good friends (we didn’t have time to see everybody), checking in with our doctors, doing a little banking and helping our daughter and son-in-law with some tasks that needed done at their new home, (our former home that they purchased from us a couple months ago.)
We’re taking a leisurely drive to Texas, I mapped it out asking Google Maps to “avoid highways” so that we will stay on the state and county roads and not the interstate. It’s not that I dislike driving the interstate, but since we have the time (2 weeks to get there), we thought it might prove to be a little more interesting going through some small towns and rural areas along the way.
Our first stop was in Jackson Center, Ohio where the Airstream travel trailers are made. We have a particular interest in Airstream since our Class A diesel motor home was made by Airstream back in 2002. Unfortunately they quit making the full size Class A coaches in 2006 when the bottom dropped out of the country’s economy.
The tour started at 2 p.m. in the front lobby and our tour guide (Don) shared a lot of knowledge with us as he had worked at the factory “forever” as he put it and retired 28 years ago but is still employed as one of the tour guides. He knows the shop, the folks on the shop floor, and everyone knows him.
Sadly, they wouldn’t allow any pictures of the production floor, so I was only able to get a few outside pix and one of the service garage.
Wally Byam started building Airstream trailers in 1931 out in California and in 1952 the company was moved to it’s present location at Jackson Center, OH. Don shared with us that they build about 100 units a week, currently with a backlog of about 2500 trailers. The folks on the floor work a 40 hour week, 4 nine hour days and a short 4 hour day on Friday. They’re paid starting at $18/ hour and the plant is clean and bright (but noisy!) We were all given ear plugs and safety glasses.
They continue to introduce new models, but their most popular units are the 16′ Bambi and the 23′ Classic. Their newer models include the very popular BaseCamp and the Nest. Although we saw some new, not yet released models, our tour guide could not talk about them and whisked us along on the tour.
The tours run Monday through Thursday at 2 p.m. and run about 1-1/2 hours. I’m sorry I couldn’t share photos from the production floor, but that’s company policy.
Whether or not you own an Airstream (or dream of owning one), this plant tour is interesting and enjoyable. If you find yourself in Ohio on a weekday, take a drive over. I think you’ll enjoy seeing how their quality products are made and the pride the employees put into their work.