Have Airstream, Will Travel: Meet the Monkey Barrel

Quite a few of my posts so far have been focused on our lives while we are home, and not on the road.  This is simply because this is the time of year where we are home for the longest stretch of time, and I am merely giving insight to our home life, and how we balance life when we aren’t on the road. 

But, it’s time.  It’s time to introduce to you, officially, to our dear home away from home: the Monkey Barrel. 

Have you ever wanted a beach house, but then at the same time thought, “but I’d also love a cabin in the woods”?  Have you ever walked into a rest area bathroom and thought, “ew, I wish I had my own private bathroom”?  Have you ever thought that it would be great to drive as long (or short) a distance as you like, then stop for the night, then continue without having to worry about if the hotel will have any vacancy, or how long the restaurant wait times are?  Then an Airstream might be for you.  Iconic symbols of the American road trip experience, Airstreams certainly are head-turners. 

The Monkey Barrel is a 2002, 30-foot Classic Airstream that has a (rare!) slide-out, and we just love her. This model has a rear bedroom with twin beds (we chose this configuration because of the additional storage space, both exterior and interior), a bathroom situated in the middle of the Airstream, and the dinette portion that slides out. Both the couch and the dinette make into beds, so it sleeps the six of us comfortably. We christened her “The Monkey Barrel” for two reasons: first, the upholstery has a monkey-themed pattern. Second, once we are all inside, it is a literal barrel of monkeys! 

Having grown up traveling North America in an Airstream, I always knew that one day, I would want to have one of my own for my own family. After our twins were born, I knew it was time to start looking, and after two years of diligent search, made an offer to the previous owner of the Monkey Barrel, sight unseen. He accepted our offer, and we arranged a meeting halfway between his home in northern Michigan and ours in central Mississippi. A Walmart parking lot in Effingham, Illinois, was agreed upon, and after a careful inspection by my dad (who graciously accompanied the boys and me), we were headed south again, full of excitement, plans, and dreams of adventures.

Priest Gulch Campground, near Dolores, Colorado

And so many amazing adventures we’ve had so far! To date, we have pulled the Monkey Barrel through 18 states, and have plans to go even further on our next big trip.

Priest Gulch Campground, near Dolores, Colorado

When we first bought the Monkey Barrel, we were pulling her with a 2005 Nissan Armada SE. It got the job done, but we were exceeding our towing capacity a bit and not only needed a newer vehicle, but we also wanted one that would be more capable of hauling both the Monkey Barrel and all of us. After months of researching tow packages, safety ratings, passenger capacity, and many other features, we decided the 2018 Ford Expedition was the best fit for our needs. The Expedition has both the FX4 package and the MaxTow package, and pulls the Monkey Barrel beautifully.

The Monkey Barrel (right) with my parents Moose Caboose (left) at a campground in east Texas.

We’ve got everything we need in our sweet Monkey Barrel, so it’s fitting to say, “Have Airstream, Will Travel!”

4 thoughts on “Have Airstream, Will Travel: Meet the Monkey Barrel

  1. Leslie, This is awesome! Thank you for sharing your airstream life adventures. Your blog is a beautiful corner of the internet. I’m a fan!! 😉

  2. Effingham….. that was my first stop on my trek out west! Now I know someone else who knows where it is. I’m loving your blog!!!!!

    1. Love it! The town (city?) was bigger than I expected and while Mississippi was already sweltering in late May/early June (when we bought the Monkey Barrel), Illinois was absolutely lovely. 😊

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