Back To The 60’s With Reimagined Retro RV

With a nod to the past, Winnebago’s Brave reflects the retro quality of its 1960’s predecessor, while offering today’s best innovations

Winnebago Brave in aquarius
Winnebago Brave in aquarius

In the late ’60s and ’70s, there was no mistaking a Winnebago motorhome. The bold Flying W and iconic “eyebrow” designs were cutting paths to fun and adventure from coast to coast. It was the coach that made America fall in love with motorhomes.

Though the days of Flower Power have long passed, Winnebago decided to revive its classic 1960’s RV with features that incorporate the technologies of today. Perhaps the peace sign is now a thumbs-up as Winnebago has joined other companies that have proven that retro can still turn heads and open pocketbooks.

From Chuck Taylor shoes to Volkswagen’s famous Beetle, Winnebago is capturing a new market by offering the timeless appeal of the past, coupled with the newest features of the present.

With retro offerings trending among younger buyers, Winnebago research indicated that their original 1960’s RV could still captivate customers in the right target markets, according to a company news release.

“The Brave is a testament to both our rich history and bright future in the motorhome lifestyle. More importantly, our sales numbers are proving that retro is still cool,” stated Randy Potts, CEO of Winnebago Industries.

Winnebago Brave 26A in Good Vibrations with Cherry Cola Cabinetry
Winnebago Brave 26A in Good Vibrations with Cherry Cola Cabinetry

“The Winnebago has been re-imagined. This is the iconic Winnebago mom and dad had, modernized. The features truly speak for themselves.”

The new Brave breathes new life into the celebrated design, giving drivers the opportunity to relive childhood memories.

Beyond its stylish appearance, the Winnebago Brave is loaded with versatile floor plans—ideal for weekend getaways or extended trips.

The Brave features a state-of-the-art sliding dash rearview monitor with Rand McNally RV GPS and a powered patio awning as well as Winnebago’s StudioLoft bedding system for added sleeping space.

Winnebago’s classic eyebrow design and “Flying W” sidewall logo earned the top award of the Recreation Vehicle Industry’s 52nd Annual Trade Show.

The Winnebago Brave and its sister, the Itasca Tribute, were given the prestigious title of “RV of the Year” by RV Business Magazine.

Itasca Tribute in Woodstock
Itasca Tribute in Woodstock

Winnebago offers a true sense of discovery and rediscovery with multigenerational appeal.

The Brave and Tribute retail for $96,599 to $121,379 and are available in three 26- to 31-foot floor plans on a 362-hp, V10-powered Ford chassis.

Details

Winnebago Industries, Inc

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, Inc., “The Most Recognized Name In Motor Homes”, is a leading U.S. manufacturer of recreation vehicles, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities.

The Company builds quality motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheel products under the Winnebago, Itasca, Era, SunnyBrook, and Metro brand names.

Winnebago Industries has received the Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association every year since the award’s inception in 1996.

Postal Address: P.O. Box 152, Forest City, IA 50436

Itasca Tribute 27B with Removable Pedestal Table
Itasca Tribute 27B with Removable Pedestal Table

Street Address: 605 West Crystal Lake Road, Forest City, IA 50436

Phone: (641) 585-3535

Winnebago Website: www.winnebagoind.com

http://winnebagoind.com/

Itasca Website: goitasca.com

goLife Websitewww.winnebagolife.com

Worth Pondering…

Far too late to understand many of the missed goals in life:

Joy, beauty of nature, health, travel and culture,

Therefore, man is, time wise!
High time is it! Travel, travel!

—Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)

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Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries new retro-styled Brave and Tribute have been awarded RV Business magazine’s 2015 RV of the Year.

Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year
Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year

“I can’t think of a higher compliment than receiving this prestigious award from RV Business magazine,” said Winnebago’s Class A Gas Product Manager John Millis, in a company news release.

“We worked extremely hard as a team at Winnebago to ensure that we were both paying tribute to the fabulous design of our original motorhomes, as well as putting a lot of thought into making the Brave and Tribute a modern motorhome. That meant not only including all the features you would expect in today’s motorhomes, but also thinking outside the box to deliver features that were totally unique to the marketplace, such as the sofa in the 26A model that converts to not only a bed, but also a table, or it can fold completely out of the way against the wall for additional storage space.”

“We felt it was important to recognize authentically original thinking on this kind of a scale because Winnebago has boldly stepped into a place in terms of marketing and product design that no motorhome manufacturer has gone before,” said RVBusiness Editor Bruce Hampson. “The Brave/Tribute is a highly appealing and marketable new coach that will likely gain major traction among North American consumers before all is said and done.”

Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year
Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year

The RVBusiness article that announced the award quotes Bob Livingston, senior vice president and group publisher of Good Sam Enterprises, who recently tested a prototype 26-footer for MotorHome magazine.

“Livingston found that people off the street were following him into gas stations to get a better look at what they thought was a renovated vintage 1967 Winnebago Brave. In fact, Livingston says he never had more fun testing a unit than he did with that prototype Brave, which is only one of several reasons why RVBusiness has named this truly novel retro Winnebago Brave/Tribute motorhome RVBusiness’ “RV of the Year.”

The price-sensitive coach, retailing for $96,599 to $121,379, is available in three 26 to 31-foot floor plans on a 362-hp, V-10-powered Ford chassis.

Winnebago Brave

The new Winnebago Brave breathes new life into the legendary design, giving you the opportunity to relive your childhood memories with the next generation of young motorhome enthusiasts.

Beyond appearance, the new Brave is loaded with today’s best features and offered in two versatile floor plans fit for weekend getaways or extended trips.

Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year
Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year

While you won’t find one for the $4,000 price of the original, it is priced to fit within a growing family’s budget. Stand out. Be brave. The new Winnebago Brave.

Itasca Tribute

The Itasca Tribute took its trailblazing heritage with a fresh take on this iconic design. It is a look that conjures up the youthful enthusiasm you had when you first experienced the motorhome lifestyle, and it is an opportunity to share the lifestyle with a family of your own.

While the look brings you back, the amenities will keep you moving forward in comfort for years to come. With two versatile floor plans, exciting color schemes, and a price to fit the budget of a young, traveling family, the Tribute is testament to both our rich history and your proud future in the motorhome lifestyle.

Details

Winnebago Industries, Inc

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries, Inc., “The Most Recognized Name In Motor Homes”, is a leading U.S. manufacturer of recreation vehicles, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities.

The Company builds quality motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheel products under the Winnebago, Itasca, Era, SunnyBrook, and Metro brand names.

Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year
Winnebago Brave & Tribute Awarded RV of the Year

Winnebago Industries has received the Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association every year since the award’s inception in 1996.

Postal Address: P.O. Box 152, Forest City, IA 50436

Street Address: 605 West Crystal Lake Road, Forest City, IA 50436

Phone: (641) 585-3535

Winnebago Website: gowinnebago.com

Itasca Website: goitasca.com

goLife Website: www.winnebagolife.com

Worth Pondering…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

—Aristotle

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Top Stories of 2014

Time glides with undiscover’d haste

The future but a length behind the past.

—John Dryden

Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer

Hello, RVing friends! The year is turning over, and another 12 months of RVing, photography, hiking, and birding has flashed by.

The End is almost here!

This is article # 2,393 since my first post on August 18, 2010. Okay, the end isn’t near, but the end of the year is almost here, and it’s time to think about wrap-ups as 2014 draws to a close.

The end of the year is the traditional time for doing a summary and some reflection.

Looking back there were certain events and articles that kindled reader interest and comments.

Thank you for reading, providing feedback, and returning frequently to read my latest articles. Thank you for your continuing support!

Vogel Talks RVing would like to wish its readers a safe and happy New Years. As we reflect on the past year, here’s a look back at some of the most popular articles from Vogel Talks RVing.

Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping
Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping

After 183,332 unique visitors, 213,703 visits, and 308,286 page views in 2014, here are the top 10 most read and most popular Vogel Talks RVing articles of the year, listed in the order of their readership numbers.  And the most popular article of 2014 is…

  1. Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer  – Streamlined and weighing just 1,220 pounds, Vistabule can be towed behind nearly any small car.

Number Page Views: 15,841

Posted: January 3, 2013

  1. Vogel Talks RVing – Home page

Number Page Views: 10,113

  1. Old is New Again: New Retro RV Manufacturer  – A recent trend in the RV manufacturing industry is the development of an increasing number of retro-style trailers entering the RV marketplace.

Number Page Views: 9,319

Posted: March 14, 2011

  1. Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping – Customers love the Lil Snoozy, a fiber glass travel trailer, because Lil’ is only 17 feet, 3 inches in length; 7 feet, 11 inches in width; and 7 feet, 5 inches high.

Number Page Views: 7,629

Posted: June 23, 2012

DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van
DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van
  1. 5. Vistabule Teardrop Trailer: One Year Later – Report on the Vertabule teardrop trailer one year after the launch.

Number Page Views: 5,616

Posted: February 18, 2014

  1. Vintage Travel Trailers Restored – Visitors are welcome to view the vintage trailers under restoration as well as admire finished trailers available for sale to the public.

Number Page Views: 3,775

Posted: February 18, 2012

  1. DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van  – What makes the DoubleBack unique is just how much space it actually has, and how easily you can expand or contract its size to fit your recreational needs.

Number Page Views: 3,712

Posted: April 16, 2012

  1. Bag-A-Lot, a Light Bulb Moment  – What started as a homespun way to stash recyclables has developed into the clever invention of Bag-A-Lot, a portable, multi-purpose flexible bag holder.

Number Page Views: 3,511

Posted: September 21, 2012

  1. Prolite Introduces New Ultra Light Model – Weighing less than 1,300 pounds, Prolite introduces two new ultra light travel trailers that complement the eight model currently available.

Number Page Views: 2,756

Posted: September 24, 2011

The Next Generation: The Trailer You Want To Go Camping In
The Next Generation: The Trailer You Want To Go Camping In
  1. 10. The Next Generation: The Trailer You Want To Go Camping In – The Next Generation camping trailer will have a modern design, intelligent technology, and better construction materials than ever before.

Number Page Views: 2,730

Posted: May 21, 2014

A Happy New Year to all my readers. Best wishes for 2015. Find what brings you joy and go there.

May the months ahead be filled with great RVing experiences!

Remember, the journey, and not the destination, is the joy of RVing. Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in an RV.

Happy Trails. Life is an adventure. Enjoy your journey.

Worth Pondering…

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light,

The year is dying in the night.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow,

The year is going, let him go.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

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Riverside Introduces Retro SKY Trailer

Peru, Indiana-based Riverside Travel Trailer Inc. has reintroduced one of the most popular floor plans of the late 1970s and early ’80s with its new retro 24SKY model.

Riverside Travel Trailer retro SKY model
Riverside Travel Trailer retro SKY model

“This floor plan design was a top seller for years during the late 1970s and early 1980s” said Jerry Sell, sales manager for Riverside Travel Trailer, in a news release.

“It should sell well to the Baby Boomer families just entering the RV market because they will remember the great times they had as kids camping in a model just like this.”

“The SKY model provides for unprecedented storage and a maximum use of space in a small package. It has two L-shaped dinettes and a rear raised sleeping area with a queen bed and two bunks,” Sells added.

“The familiar “airplane tail” raised roofline “will draw attention on dealers lots.”

Riverside specializes in full featured, traditionally built travel trailers with upgraded amenities like king beds and residential refrigerators common in many floor plans, he added.

Riverside Travel Trailer retro 24 SKY model floor plan
Riverside Travel Trailer retro 24 SKY model floor plan

Riverside 24SKY travel trailer specifications include:

Overall Length: 27 feet 11 inches

Maximum Height: 11 feet

Width: 8 feet

Hitch Weight: 700 pounds

Dry Weight: 5,320 pounds

Fresh Water Capacity: 45 gallons

Grey Water Capacity: 35 gallons

Black Water Capacity: 35 gallons

Riverside specializes in full featured, traditionally built travel trailers with upgraded amenities like king beds and residential refrigerators common in many floor plans.

Details

Riverside Travel Trailer, Inc.

RiversideAddress: PO Box 1099, Peru, IN 46970

Phone: (765) 472-3920

Website: www.riversidetrailer.com

Worth Pondering…

Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.

—Freya Stark

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The Joys of Retro RVs

In a day where many recreational vehicles can easily cost six-figures and measure 40-feet or more, some people are returning to basics resulting in the retro RV trend gaining momentum.

The 1961 Shasta trailer, formerly owned by Kelle Arvay of LittleVintageTrailer.com, was nicknamed 'Buttercup.' (Credit: Courtesy of Kelle Arvay/LittleVintageTrailer.com)
The 1961 Shasta trailer, formerly owned by Kelle Arvay of LittleVintageTrailer.com, was nicknamed ‘Buttercup.’ (Credit: Courtesy of Kelle Arvay/LittleVintageTrailer.com)

Numerous vintage trailers, Airstreams, and other retro RVs have been featured in Vogel Talks RVing.

The retro RV is making a strong comeback. RVers young and old are investing in either fixing up retro RVs or buying them used. Others are renting a retro RV or staying in a retro at an RV park featuring retro RV rentals.

Some older models, like the Airstream, last for decades. Some Airstream owners have been using their trailer for over four decades.

The Airstream has made a major comeback in recent years—and whether the comeback has fueled a vintage trailer trend or it’s the other way around, one thing is certain: It has become easy to rent a retro trailer for a weekend or extended vacation, whether it’s an Airstream, a teardrop trailer, or retro RV.

Life on the road can be enjoyed in a retro RV in one of four ways:

Restore a retro RV

Depending on your time investment and budget, restoring a RV can be one of the most exciting and adventurous projects you and your family take on. When restoring a RV, you can work on a project-by-project basis. You’ll find locating parts that you need might be a little bit harder than you anticipated, but they’re out there. When tackling a project one-by-one, you can move towards the overall goal of fully restoring a RV to its former glory and then hitting the road.

Buy a retro RV

Flyte Camp retored this 1950 Traveleze vintage travel trailer. (Credit: flytecamp.com)
Flyte Camp retored this 1950 Traveleze vintage travel trailer. (Credit: flytecamp.com)

Restoring vintage trailers is not for the fainthearted. That’s one reason full-service restoration shops such as Flyte Camp are in high demand.

Rescued from curbsides and junkyards, castaway classic campers are getting a new life at Retro Trailer Design.

Custom vintage trailer restorations are also a specialty at Russian River Vintage Travel Trailers; visitors are welcome to view the vintage trailers under restoration as well as admire finished trailers available for sale to the public.

Buy a new RV with a retro flair

Several manufacturers are producing brand new models of travel trailers with retro flair, exposing today’s consumers and their families to unique recreational experiences that create or help to relive a lifetime of memories.

Paradise Coast RV is a manufacturer of brand new models of travel trailers all modeled after the 1940′s, 50′s, and 60′s.

The Dub Box is a fun and creative retro camper with a new twist. The initial design was born from the American vintage trailer, merged with retro styling, and infused with modern conveniences for style and comfort.

Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon. (Source: Dub Box USA)
Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon. (Source: Dub Box USA)

Popular from the 1930s to the ’60s, teardrop trailers are 4 to 6 feet wide, 8 to 10 feet long, and light enough that you can park your car, unhook the trailer, and just pull it into place.

These trailers are making a big comeback now, so much so that teardrop manufacturers are springing up across the country. One such company, Tiny Trailer, offers a single teardrop design that sports the retro look of the 1940s paired with 21st century amenities — a micro-heater, forced-air ventilation, electric lights, and weather-proofing — all handcrafted from modern lightweight, durable materials.

Rent a retro RV

You don’t need to drive a motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel to enjoy the RV park experience.

Ready-to-rent on-site Airstreams are also popping up in a variety of campgrounds. The Autocamp, Santa Barbara’s “boutique Airstream lodging” concept— a downtown pod of five handcrafted fully decked-out vintage trailers— is expanding to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Ventura Beach this year.

Shooting Star Drive-In & Airstream Resort
Shooting Star Drive-In & Airstream Resort

The Shooting Star Drive-In Airstream and RV Park is a one-of-a-kind resort along Utah’s Highway 12 where travelers can stay in restored Airstream travel trailers and sit in vintage convertible cars while they watch a drive-in movie.

Co-owned by B-52s vocalist Kate Pierson, Kate’s Lazy Desert invites visitors to “rocket through the wilderness” in a collection of six vintage Airstreams, the interiors of which riff off the kitsch of the band’s best-known material.

Whether you currently own a retro RV, searching for the perfect one, or just discovering the wonderful world of vintage trailers, The Little Vintage Trailer website may help you to find your own happiness in a retro RV.

Worth Pondering…

One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.

—Edith Wharton

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Vintage Trailers Retrofitted As Mobile Storefronts

Mobile retailers are popping up in trailers across the country.

The Airstream trailer store of Door Number Two is ready for business at the recent Love of Junk event. (Courtesy: Re:Fresh)
The Airstream trailer store of Door Number Two is ready for business at the recent Love of Junk event. (Courtesy: Re:Fresh)

This growing group of entrepreneurs who refuse to toe the traditional retail line have turned their retrofitted vintage trailers into mobile storefronts. The businesses are dedicated to selling everything from flowers and clothing to cigars and records. The model offers a chance to introduce a product or build a market without the same upfront investment as a traditional store.

This new trend in shopping has taken Walla Walla, Washington, by storm. The low overhead, flexibility, and overall fun of it have drawn merchants behind the wheels of Walla Walla’s roving retail establishments.

Owners in Walla Walla’s caravan of commerce say it may be possible to make a sustainable living with this business model. But so far all of them keep it extremely part time, which is part of the draw, according to a Walla Walla Union‑Bulletin news report.

This southeastern Washington community has seen pizzas, burgers, and even poutine sold from the windows of food trucks. Now comes candles, coasters, clothing, jewelry, home décor, and much more as the stable of mobile businesses grows.

With social media posts of their whereabouts fueling their following, they travel to events throughout the Walla Walla Valley — Love of Junk, Cottage on the Hill, the Country Store’s yearly parking lot sale, winery events, Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend — to set up and sell their wares.

The new kid on the block to Walla Walla’s store-on-wheels sect is Amanda Ewoniuk. She takes her traveling store, Re:Fresh, which she operates in a 1979 Nomad camper, wherever she wants it to go.

The wares for sale at Haulin’ Sass sprawl across the grass at Love of Junk. (Courtesy: Haulin’ Sass)
The wares for sale at Haulin’ Sass sprawl across the grass at Love of Junk. (Courtesy: Haulin’ Sass)

“It was the perfect opportunity for me,” Ewoniuk told the Walla Walla Union‑Bulletin, who transitioned from being a stay-at-home mom for 14 years to re-enter the work force.

“Having the trailer, I can go out and I can meet people and have fun doing it. But it’s not a brick-and-mortar store that I have to put in a certain number of hours a day. It allows me to do something creative and it also allows me to get out.”

A longtime refurbisher of furniture who finds creative pieces, Ewoniuk’s family history in construction and a love of antiques created an inlet to the business. In addition to furniture, she fills it with frilly tutus, a plethora of pink, intricate jewelry and Etsy creations — a reflection of herself as a mother of three girls.

Conversely, fellow seller Jessica Valentine Whiteside found the mobile retail model to be a way to expand her existing brick-and-mortar business. Whiteside, owner of downtown Walla Walla vintage and secondhand store Door Number Two, is able to bring her inventory to the masses, wherever they may travel.

About a half-dozen times a year, she converts her family Airstream into a showroom for her curated collections of dresses, blouses, pants, shoes, accessories, and more at various vendor gatherings.

For Shannon Smith McKeown and Catie McIntyre Walker — partners in a 1967 Fireball that houses Haulin’ Sass — the business fuels their shared passion for retail without requiring more commitment.

“To me, at this point, it’s just fun, and an escape.” said McIntyre Walker, who also owns the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman shop and is in the midst of writing a book.

She refers to the business in a 17 1/2-foot camper as “a food truck without the calories.” It had been a longtime dream of hers and McKeown’s when a mutual friend found the camper.

With some cabinetry work from a cousin of McKeown’s in Dayton, a paint job from another friend and some additional work by McKeown’s husband, the camper was quickly ready for the road.

She figures she makes about half the inventory — scarves, coasters, her signature cookbook “Eat Eat Walla Walla” and more — and purchases the other half — signs, squeaky shoes for children, etc. McIntyre Walker adds her own selections of collectibles and fun wine memorabilia.

Another pair of vendors, Kimberly Miner and Tami Arias, are credited with bringing the urban mobile shopping experience to the Valley in its current form, reports the Walla Walla Union‑Bulletin. The longtime friends purchased their campers just days apart, then paired up in 2012 to set up their businesses in parking lots and at events with the required mobile vending permitting needed to get started.

The businesses are set up just like regular stores. They have bags. They provide receipts. They pay taxes. Still, it’s hard for people to always see them as such.

The mobile retailers have learned there is power in numbers. When the group of vendors — which includes Leanna Yenney Taylor’s Unhitched Boutique — moves in a pack, they draw bigger crowds.

No longer reserved for the ice cream vendor — or food trucks in general, campers and trailers are the new storefront for those who prefer a nontraditional approach.

Worth Pondering…

If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.

—Fay Weldon

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History of RVing: How RVs Evolved

Today’s recreational vehicles are truly luxury homes on wheels, with options for pretty much every amenity a person could want. But they haven’t always been that way.

The RV/MH Hall of Fame is a  museum in Elkhart, Indiana that features a variety of historical recreational vehicles from Airstream, Winnebago and other American makers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The RV/MH Hall of Fame is a museum in Elkhart, Indiana that features a variety of historical recreational vehicles from Airstream, Winnebago and other American makers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For almost as long as there have been automobiles, recreational vehicles have been traversing America’s roads. In 1910, there were few gas stations, few paved roads, and no highway system. But there were RVs. 1910 is the year that America’s leading RV historians cite as the beginning of what has become the modern RV industry.

Drivers began making camping alterations to cars almost as soon as they were introduced. The first RV was Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau, which debuted at Madison Square Garden in 1910. Camping trailers made by Los Angeles Trailer Works and Auto-Kamp Trailers also rolled off the assembly line beginning in 1910.

The Tin Can Tourists, named because they camped by the side of the road and heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside, formed the first RV camping club in the United States, holding their inaugural rally in Florida in 1919 and growing to 150,000 members by the mid-1930s. They had an initiation; an official song, “The More We Get Together;” and a secret handshake.

The crash of 1929 and the Depression dampened the popularity of RVs, although some people used travel trailers, which could be purchased for $500 to $1,000, as inexpensive homes.

The 1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar at  the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar at the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Streamline design that used aircraft-style construction first captured the American imagination in the 1930s, when smooth, continuous, shiny aluminum skins were found to increase efficient movement.

At that time a series of smooth, sleek, and shiny aluminum aerodynamic travel trailers designed by American entrepreneurs make their way to the marketplace: Bowlus Road Chief, Airstream, Streamline, Silver Streak, Avion, Spartan Manor, and Plymouth House Car. The only manufacturer to survive the economic conditions of the time was Airstream.

The Bowlus Road Chief was created in the 1930s by aviation designer, Hawley Bowlus (he also built the Spirit of St. Louis). But only 80 were produced before World War II shut down production.

Rationing during World War II stopped production of RVs for consumer use, although some companies converted to wartime manufacturing, making units that served as mobile hospitals, prisoner transports, and morgues.

After the war, the RV industry flourished as more Americans sought mobility. The burgeoning interstate highway system offered a way to go far fast and that combination spurred a second RV boom that lasted through the 1960s.

The 1929 Wiedman Housecar at the  RV/MH Hall of Fame  museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 1929 Wiedman Housecar at the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Built between 1941 and 2004, Shasta travel trailers were originally constructed as housing for the United States Armed Forces. One of their identifying features is the “wings,” which are located on the rear sides of the trailer.

Motorized RVs started to become popular in the late 1950s, but they were expensive luxury items that were far less popular than trailers. That changed in 1967 when Winnebago began mass-producing what it advertised as “America’s first family of motor homes,” five models from 16 to 27 feet long, which sold for as little as $5,000.

The names echo through the decades, brands that once epitomized the post-war travel spirit.

They catch your attention when you see them on the road. Known by brand names that have vanished in the past―or stayed around because of their legendary design―these campers and travel trailers of the 1940s, 50s and 60s mark a different era.

Is it any wonder that retro RVs are making a strong comeback?

RVers old and new are investing in either fixing up retro RVs or buying them used. Some older models, like the Airstream, last for decades. Some Airstream owners have been using their trailer for over four decades.

The 1974 GMC Motor Home at the  RV/MH Hall of Fame  museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 1974 GMC Motor Home at the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old two-lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers’ fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing one line of a four-line couplet—and the obligatory fifth sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.

Here is one of the actual signs:

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

Did this bring back any old memories?

If not, you’re merely a child.

If they do—then you’re old as dirt—LIKE ME!

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Your Little Local Offers Full-Service Parties in Vintage Trailer

As seen herehere, and here, I love vintage and retro trailers, especially when they make us feel like we’ve been transported back to simpler times.

Your Little Local Offers Full-Service Parties in Vintage Trailer (Source: Little Local)
Your Little Local Offers Full-Service Parties in Vintage Trailer (Source: Little Local)

My latest finding is Your Little Local, a California-based vintage trailer that travels around the greater Los Angeles area to host custom pop-up parties.

For a base rate of $800 (pricing varies depending on number of guests and requested services), Your Little Local will show up at your requested location to bring the fun.

The mobile entertainment space offers catering, bar, coffee services, glassware for drinks, exterior decor (lights, buntings, crates, rugs, two bar stools, signage), two staff members, and a camera for photos.

Your Little Local is a 1954 vintage trailer that has been transformed into a charming mobile event space for hire.

Your Little Local Offers Full-Service Parties in Vintage Trailer (Source: Little Local)
Your Little Local Offers Full-Service Parties in Vintage Trailer (Source: Little Local)

Whether it be a birthday, the wedding of your dreams, or a company party, Little Local is here to provide the fun.

Little Local lived in a pomegranate field for 60 years before she was discovered and restored to the babe she is today.

Her interior has been completely gutted and refitted with a solid wood bar, two large ice sinks, a bar refrigerator, and a leather booth seating area that can fit up to six guests. With ornate vintage fixtures and a back bar providing a view that looks out across any gorgeous setting, Little Local is perfect for stunning photo opportunities.

With supreme service, Little Local creates a fun, engaging environment with style, character, and sophistication.

Your Little Local would love you to get in touch and be the centerpiece at your next event!

The standard time you can hire Little Local for is four to six hours. If your event is longer or even shorter, a custom arrangement can be worked out to suit.

Since every event is different no price is fixed. Little Local will modify the price and cater to your specific needs.

Your Little Local is based in Venice Beach, California and service the greater Los Angeles area. If you are outside of LA, contact Your Little Local to see if they can make something work.

Little Local does not sell alcohol but serves the alcohol that is supplied by the event organizer or a third party. Little Local provides the party with two professional bar staff members.

Little Local is more than just a bar.

Your Little Local Offers Full-Service Parties in Vintage Trailer (Source: Little Local)
Your Little Local Offers Full-Service Parties in Vintage Trailer (Source: Little Local)

Little Local is an event space that can cater to any style party or celebration. Whether it be a candy bar for a children’s party or a centerpiece for a company picnic, they will make it a unique and fun experience for you.

Little Local comes with a range of decorations, accessories, and extras that are included in the price.

Details

Your Little Local

Phone: (310) 774-6701

Website: www.yourlittlelocal.com

Worth Pondering…

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,

A Jug of Wine,

A Loaf of Bread—and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness—

Oh, Wilderness were Paradise now!

—Rubaiyat of Omar Khyaam

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Bowlus Road Chief: One Year Later

It was last year that I reported on designer John Long’s re-launch of the Bowlus Road Chief—the rare American travel trailer that started it all more than 80 years ago.

Bowlus Road Chief: One Year Later
Bowlus Road Chief: One Year Later

Now, one year later, Bowlus Road Chief LLC is touting the resurrected aviation-inspired travel trailer.

The Bowlus Road Chief takes glamping to a whole new level and has provided a classic American travel trailer for modern adventurers.

More than just an aerodynamic sleek exterior, the Bowlus Road Chief, is “jam packed with ingenious function and tech-savvy features,” according to a news release.

“The Road Chief’s streamlined design might be a tribute to yesteryear, but its technology is as advanced as anything out there.”

Wireless antennas and power points are cleverly hidden yet easily accessible, as is everything else you need for both work and play.

The Bowlus has a unique front door design that easily loads big gear like paddleboards, surfboards, kayaks, or bicycles, and the cleverly integrated lash points make it a simple matter to secure them for a journey.

“The Bowlus Road Chief boasts an interior that is as warm as it is clever,” according to the release.

Bowlus Road Chief: One Year Later
Bowlus Road Chief: One Year Later

“The Zen-like stateroom’s beds easily reconfigures from twins to almost a king. Other highlights include an efficient cook’s kitchen, and an expandable full bathroom complete with shower.”

The original Road Chief was created in the 1930s by aviation designer, Hawley Bowlus (he also built the Spirit of St. Louis). Its streamline design captured the American imagination when smooth, continuous, shiny aluminum skins were found to increase efficient movement.

But only 80 were produced before World War II shut down production. They’re expensive because they’re incredibly rare.

A few years ago, when John Long and Helena Mitchell, Canadian tech entrepreneurs took their vintage Road Chief on the road, they made a splash at the Modernism Show in Palm Springs, California.

Bowlus Road Chief: One Year Later
Bowlus Road Chief: One Year Later

With everything from the propane tank to the air-conditioning unit tucked safely inside the strong shell, the Bowlus Road Chief is the world’s most aerodynamic travel trailer. Even the windows are flush and curved to maximize aerodynamic efficiency.

You can choose from a variety of premium options to ensure your Road Chief reflects your personal style. You can order a Road Chief with a polished, mirror-shine exterior skin or you can request a satin finish.

You can select from any of the gorgeous pure linen luxury bedding, bath, and table linens from Libeco Home. Cushions are covered in Ultrafabrics and can be customized along with and any of the outdoor fabric for the awning from Sunbrella. All these choices are available at no extra charge.

Thanks to the low overall height of 7 feet 10 inches and the removable tongue (not as painful as it sounds) the Road Chief can be parked in a standard residential garage. The interior height is 6 feet 4 inches, length is 23.5 feet, and weighs in at less than 2,000 pounds.

The showerhead can be passed through the emergency exit to rinse off children, dogs, or sports gear.

Every original owner can choose a name for their Bowlus Road Chief which will appear on the fender skirt.

Because of this high level of craftsmanship, production of the Road Chief is limited and available only by prior reservation.

The price of a fully equipped Bowlus Road Chief is $100,000 plus applicable taxes, vehicle fees, and custom options, when picked up in Ventura County, California. Delivery anywhere in the U.S. is always available.

Details

Bowlus Road Chief LLC

Bowlus Road Chief Specs
Bowlus Road Chief Specs

Inspired by timeless American style, the Bowlus Road Chief is expertly handcrafted from honest materials for a lifetime of adventures.

Bowlus Road Chief LLC is a privately held company.

Phone: (800) 651-7396

Website: bowlusroadchief.com

Worth Pondering…

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy … rejoice, for your soul is alive.

—Eleanora Duse

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Vogel Talks RVing Top 10 Articles of 2013

Time glides with undiscover’d haste

The future but a length behind the past.

—John Dryden

Eight feet in length, Retro Lite is manufactured by Cikira RV (Source: cikirarv.com)
Eight feet in length, Retro Lite is manufactured by Cikira RV (Source: cikirarv.com)

Hello, RVing friends! The year is turning over, and another 12 months of RVing, photography, hiking, and birding has flashed by.

The End is almost here!

This is article # 1804 since my first post on August 18, 2010. Okay, the end isn’t near, but the end of the year is almost here, and it’s time to think about wrap-ups as 2013 draws to a close.

The end of the year is the traditional time for doing a summary, and some reflection.

Looking back there were certain events and articles that kindled reader interest and comments.

Thank you for reading, providing feedback, and returning frequently to read my latest articles. Thank you for your continuing support!

Vogel Talks RVing would like to wish its readers a safe and happy New Years. As we reflect on the past year, here’s a look back at some of the most popular articles from Vogel Talks RVing.

After 129,766 unique visitors, 151,607 visits, and 218,621 page views in 2013, here are the top 10 most read and most popular Vogel Talks RVing articles of the year, listed in the order of their readership numbers.  And the most popular article of 2013 is…

1. Old is New Again: New Retro RV Manufacturer – A recent trend in the RV manufacturing industry is the development of an increasing number of retro-style trailers entering the RV marketplace.

Number Page Views: 7,102

Posted: March 14, 2011

Lil Snoozy small travel trailer
Lil Snoozy small travel trailer

2. Lil’ Snoozy Goes Camping – Customers love the Lil Snoozy, a fiber glass travel trailer, because Lil’ is only 17 feet, 3 inches in length; 7 feet, 11 inches in width; and 7 feet, 5 inches high.

Number Page Views: 5,258

Posted: June 23, 2012

3. Teardrop trailers sees upswing in sales – American River Sales has sold American Teardrops for 10 years and recently began manufacturing them in response to increased demand.

Number Page Views: 4,239

Posted: September 25, 2010

4. Vistabule Introduces ‘Cab Forward’ Teardrop Trailer – Streamlined and weighing just 1,220 pounds, Vistabule can be towed behind nearly any small car.

Number Page Views: 3,860

Posted: January 3, 2013

5. DoubleBack Ultimate Camper Van – What makes the DoubleBack unique is just how much space it actually has, and how easily you can expand or contract its size to fit your recreational needs.

Number Page Views: 3,684

Posted: April 16, 2012

VolksWagen Transporter DoubleBack Luxury Camper Van
VolksWagen Transporter DoubleBack Luxury Camper Van

6. Bag-A-Lot, a Light Bulb Moment – What started as a homespun way to stash recyclables has developed into the clever invention of Bag-A-Lot, a portable, multi-purpose flexible bag holder.

Number Page Views: 3,632

Posted: September 21, 2012

7. Homemade Teardrop Trailers Make Comeback – Teardrops have been around since the 1930s—many were home-built—and were popular because of their sleek, aerodynamic design and lightweight materials.

Number Page Views: 3,409

Posted: March 2, 2011

8. Vintage Travel Trailers Restored – Visitors are welcome to view the vintage trailers under restoration as well as admire finished trailers available for sale to the public.

Number Page Views: 2,969

Posted: February 18, 2012

It’s the cramper van!
It’s the cramper van!

9. Cramper Van: Mini-House on Wheels – Dubbed the Cramper Van, the world’s smallest, lightest RV can seat up to four close friends in a pinch although one of the seats folds down over the two-ring hob and sink.

Number Page Views: 2,258

Posted: June 25, 2013

10. RVs That Double as Ice Fishing Cabins – What began not many years ago as an experiment in mobile fishing houses built on retractable wheels has blossomed into a business with many competing manufacturers.

Forest River Salem Ice House interior
Forest River Salem Ice House interior

Number Page Views: 2,094

Posted: December 23, 2011

A Happy New Year to all my readers. Best wishes for 2014. Find what brings you joy and go there.

Remember, the journey, and not the destination, is the joy of RVing. Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in an RV.

Happy Trails. Life is an adventure. Enjoy your journey.

Worth Pondering…

We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.

—Edith Lovejoy Pierce

May the months ahead be filled with great RVing experiences!

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