Gulf Stream Introduces Vintage Cruiser Ultra-Light Travel Trailers

Nappanee, Indiana-based Gulf Stream Coach has announced the release of the Vintage Cruiser, a distinctive new line of ultra-light aerodynamic fiberglass trailers that recapture the style and fun of camping in the 1950s while using the latest technology, materials, and conveniences of the 21st century.

vintagecruiserprjul2015emailThe Vintage Cruiser project was born when photos and other records of camping in the 1950s inspired a team of designers, engineers, sales executives, and product managers, according to a company news release.

They saw how couples and families enjoyed the great outdoors when life was less complicated, less stressful, and simpler.

“Our team realized how much there was to love about the positive attitude, can-do spirit, and prosperity of the 50s generation. There was something about the look, the sound, the spirit, and the life of that era that everyone would like to recapture,” said Sue Fiedeke, Gulf Stream interior designer.

“And that’s what the design team tried to do with the Vintage Cruiser: Recapture the style of that bygone era for campers to enjoy today.”

vintage19erdawningextgspond2email“While the team explored camping in the 50s, we realized that there was plenty to love about the advances we’ve made in the way travel trailers are built and equipped in 2015,” said Gulf Stream Ultralight Division National Sales Manager Tim Dennig.

“That’s why the Vintage Cruiser combines the colors, shapes, style, and fun of the 50s, with the latest engineering, materials, features and functions that today’s campers simply can’t live without! Think about it—As great as the 50s were, who wants to go camping without a microwave oven, an HDTV, and a full bath?”

The Vintage Cruiser is currently available in two 19-foot floor plans each weighing less than 3,000 pounds. Both offer campers the fun and style of the 50s, with the technological advances of today in efficient, lightweight travel trailers with vacuum-bonded laminated walls, a seamless laminated fiberglass roof, premium-quality cabinetry, and appliances.

vintagecruiserSpecifications common to both Vintage Cruiser 19ERD and 19RBS include:

Overall Length: 22 feet 11 inches

Overall Width: 7 feet 6 inches

Exterior Height: 9 feet 10 inches

Interior Height: 6 feet 11 inches

Fresh Water Tank Capacity: 28 gallons

Grey Water Tank Capacity: 30 gallons

Black Water Tank Capacity: 30 gallons

LP Tank Capacity: 2 X 20

Furnace: 20,000 BTU

Water Heater: 6 gallons

The Vintage Cruiser is shipping to dealers’ lots now.

Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 19ERD floor plan
Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 19ERD floor plan

Details

Gulf Stream Coach Inc.

Established in 1983, Nappanee, Indiana-based Gulf Stream is a leading manufacturer of Class A Gas motorhomes, diesel pushers, Class C motorhomes, fifth-wheel trailers, and travel trailers.

Gulf Stream is organized into three divisions: Luxury Class A Motorhomes, Travel Trailers and Luxury Fifth Wheels, and Yellowstone RV Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels.

Location: 503 South Oakland Avenue, Nappanee, Indiana

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1005, Nappanee, Indiana 46550

Phone: (800) 289-8787 (toll free)

Website: www.gulfstreamrvtrailers.com

Worth Pondering…

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.

—Aldous Huxley

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4 More Cool Trailers

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 minimalist RV trend gaining momentum.

Numerous vintage trailers, Airstreams, and other cool campers have been featured in Vogel Talks RVing. From modular trailers to bizarre shaped campers here are four that’ll certainly turn heads.

Teal Feather Camper

The Teal Feather Camper
The Teal Feather Camper

There is no other camper on the market quite like the Teal Feather. A modular camper that fits on a utility trailer or pickup bed, the Teal Camper is 8.5 feet long, 6 feet wide, just over 6 feet tall, and weighs a mere 500 pounds, hence its name.

The camper can be put together by one person in 60 minutes by piecing together panels made of polyethylene plastic filled with insulation. Only a Phillips screwdriver is purportedly needed for the job. When taken apart, the camper’s parts occupy a space of 4 feet by 5 feet.

Inside, the camper features a sink with a drain and a bottle to pump water to the faucet. The cabinets look more like a duffel bag—they open with zippers—though they have shelves and panels to support storage of belongings.

Dub Box

Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon.
Dub Box is a customizable camper manufactured in Oregon.

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. While it may appear that the company buys up all the Volkswagen camper vans remaining on the planet, Dub Boxes are manufactured from new fiberglass shells.

The initial design was born from the American vintage trailer, merged with retro styling and modern conveniences for style and comfort. And the rest of the design is up to you.

Dub Boxes are light enough to be towed by most vehicles, compact enough to be stored in a garage, the exterior and interior decor is customizable, and the layout can be altered to suit its intended use.

Eggcamper

The Eggcamper: Lightweight molded composite travel trailers
The Eggcamper: Lightweight molded composite travel trailers

As the name suggests, the Eggcamper has a distinct eggshell look.

Distinctly different in design and function, Eggcampers are handmade from nine molded lightweight composites — the entire camper weighs less than 2,000 pounds — and thus is easy to tow.

The entire exterior is intentionally painted an eggshell white color, which obviously helps give the product its name, but also makes it simple to clean and easier to keep cool.

The company also offers a smaller Teardropp trailer that’s based on a shape that was popular in the 1930s and is manufactured using a similar process.

Mehrzeller

Mehrzeller, a multi-cellular caravan
Mehrzeller, a multi-cellular caravan

If you don’t like to follow current trends and prefer to stand out from the crowd then this bizarre shaped caravan trailer with sleek angular lines, the Mehrzeller, may be the recreational vehicle for you.

The multi-cellular caravan  design can be entirely personalized by each customer resulting in an attractive one-of-a-kind trailer. The configuration is generated by a computer using the customer’s inputs, and then the final design is done by parameters from the architects to yield an attractive and practicable result. The caravans are produced using the principles of “mass customization”: this allows both the individual wishes of the customer to be accommodated while producing the caravan with series methods.

Worth Pondering…

All things are possible until they are proved impossible—and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.

—Pearl S. Buck

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Vintage RVs: Canned Hams, Shiny Hineys & Tin Cans

Vintage trailers continue their popularity among today’s RVers. There is a certain charm and nostalgia with vintage trailers that you can’t find with new recreational vehicles.

The Tin Can Tourists heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside.
The Tin Can Tourists heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside

Nostalgia is tops on the list of reasons folks are attracted to vintage trailers. When they were kids, they went camping in something similar, so it brings back memories for those people.

And don’t forget the decorating. From kitschy pink flamingos to leopard spots to Route 66 memorabilia, folks love to make their trailers look different from everybody else’s.

The rolling homes were small: a bed, kitchen, and dinette in one room. Over the decades they expanded into today’s large-sized RVs, but there’s an increasing demand for the older trailers.

These vintage models are often called Canned Hams, Shiny Hineys, or Tin Cans. Whatever they’re called, classic trailers from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s are rolling back into popularity.

These vintage boxes on wheels are more artsy than your new trailers now, have a character, and a style.

This '60 Airstream Traveler has been completely restored. (Credit: rrvintagetrailers.com)
This ’60 Airstream Traveler has been completely restored. (Credit: rrvintagetrailers.com)

When travel trailers first started roaming American roads in the 1920s their owners were called Tin Can Tourists because they heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside.

The Tin Can Tourists formed the first 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.

Women gather from across the country to camp out and many bring their vintage campers. They call themselves Sisters on the FlyFounded in 1999, Sisters on the Fly has grown from three members to nearly 4,500 worldwide including in Canada, England, and Australia, in addition to the United States.

The Get’away Gals, a group of women from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, gather for camping trips once a month in their tricked-out vintage trailers.

Vintage style in tiny packages, teardrop trailers, around since the 1930s, are seeing a boom in popularity. Teardrops are streamlined, compact, lightweight travel trailers, which get their name from its teardrop profile. They usually range from 4 to 6 feet in width, 8 to 10 feet in length, and 4 to 5 feet in height, and have sleeping space for two adults and a basic kitchen in the rear.

In recent years, vintage trailers have been renovated into mobile store fronts, mobile eco-homes, mobile art galleries (Happy Camper Mobile Art Gallery), mobile gourmet coffee shops (Cadillac Coffee), a mobile distillery (2 Gingers Irish Whiskey), and a bargain clothing store (Buffalo Exchange).

Have you considered a vintage trailer? People around the country are restoring and refurbishing vintage trailers in unique ways and women are finding them particularly appealing.

Vistabule Teardrop Trailer
Vistabule Teardrop Trailer

Restoration is a slow, time-consuming process. Carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills are needed to tackle a fix-up job on these old trailers. Always start at the top and work down. One panel at a time. Persistence, perseverance, and determination will get you to the end.

But, restoring vintage trailers is not for the fainthearted. That’s one reason Flyte Camp (Bend, Oregon) is in high demand and quickly earning a reputation as one of the best vintage RV restoration shops in the U.S.

Retro Trailer Design (Glenwood Springs, Colorado) recreates vintage travel trailers reminiscent of the canned hams of the 1950s and 1960s.

Hofmann Architecture (Santa Barbara, California) takes vintage trailers and brings them back to life through custom design based on the owner’s preference.

Mintage Airstreams (Missoula, Montana) is dedicated to restoring classic Airstreams. From the initial design to the finished product, each custom-made Airstream is designed to accommodate each customer’s personal preferences.

Russian River Vintage Travel Trailers (Guerneville, California) re-designs the interiors of Airstreams and other campers. Prices for restored vintage Airstreams vary wildly, depending on the age, the condition of the exterior shell, and the extent of the interior design.

1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction
1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

Is the iconic Airstream a bit too passé for your tastes?

The 1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer is up for auction. Designed in San Carlos, California, by an engineer of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, this trailer was custom-built for famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, hence  its name.

Buying this legend’s trailer, however, won’t come easy on the wallet. The 1939 Lindbergh travel trailer is expected to fetch anywhere from $150,000-200,000. The 1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer is part of the Maranello Rosso Collection that will be auctioned at the 17th annual Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California, August 15.

Worth Pondering…

As I read, and thought, and stared at my stuff around me, I slowly realized a simple truth. The amount of freedom in my life was inversely proportional to the amount of stuff I had.

—Emily Fagen’s blog, Road Less Traveled

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Shasta Reintroduces 1961 Airflyte

Shasta RV  will take customers back in time with the introduction of the 1961-style Airflyte at this year’s Elkhart Open House September 16.

2014 limited edition Shasta Airflyte in production.
2014 limited edition Shasta Airflyte in production.

The travel trailer, which has been updated to comply with current RV Industry Association (RVIA) codes, and features modern appliances, was designed in honor of the company’s 75th anniversary.

It will be a limited edition run of 1,941 trailers to commemorate the company’s first year in business. It will be available to RV dealers on a first-come, first served basis.

“It’s not a retro unit,” Mark Lucas, president of Shasta RV, told RV Daily Report.

“It’s a re-issue based on the original print pack from 1961.”

The project has been underway for eight months. Most of the parts remanufactured for this unit will fit an original 1961 version, said Lucas.

“We are building to current RVIA codes and using modern air conditioners, microwaves, stereos, furnaces, etc.,” he explained.

“Hehr windows has dusted off their tooling and is making jalousie windows for us and Amerimax is making the log cabin siding.

“Parked side by side, it is hard to tell the new from the original,” said Lucas.

Original yellow Shasta Airflyte
Original yellow Shasta Airflyte

The company plans on producing the trailers beginning in September with hopes of having them on dealers lots immediately following production.

Colors offered will be polo white with matador red, polo white with sea foam green (turquoise), and polo white with butternut yellow. Interior colors will match the exterior.

“The exterior colors are as close to original as possible,” said Lucas.

This floor plan is very similar to a 16SC, although the company has added a wet bath and increased the size of the front dinette to a full bed, not the small twin found in the original. There is a gaucho across the back.

The trailer will practically sleep three, but may increase to four when accommodating small children.

The weight will be in the 2,000-pound range, which means it can be towed by SUVs, mini-vans, full-size cars, and collector cars as well, Lucas explained.

Shasta is designing a new bunk model floor plan with the same dinette and full bed, but with two bunks in the back. This unit will also feature a wet bath.

“It is truly a re-issue,” said Lucas.

“I bought a 1961 Airflyte for my wife, and this is as close to the original as possible. From the frame, drop axle, 15-inch wheels all the way to the one piece metal roof which is bent around the edge, we painstakingly tried to replicate the original.”

The magazine rack, chrome emblem, drip caps, gas lamp, and metal countertop edging will all be included in the reissued unit.

The Airflyte will be formally unveiled September 16 at the Shasta section of the Forest River display.

Original red Shasta Airflyte
Original red Shasta Airflyte

Please Note: The above information is courtesy RV Daily Report

Details

Shasta Recreational Vehicles

Shasta RV, established in 1941, manufactures Oasis, Revere, and Flyte travel trailers, and Phoenix and Revere fifth wheels.

In 1941, when Californian Robert Gray built the first Shasta “house trailer” to be used as mobile military housing, he had no idea his homes on wheels would play a major role in establishing a billion-dollar industry.

In the 1950s and 60s, the toaster-on-wheels look of the original Shasta trailer was the most recognizable shape on the road. There were other RV brands, but only Shasta was distinguished by those wings that signified flight and freedom.

Today, 70 years and three generations of Shasta owners later, Americans have the desire to travel like never before. Motivated by the rediscovery of our families and renewal of ourselves, we still respond to the call of the road.

In terms of product, the company has come a long way from the “toasters-on-wheels”.

Today’s Shastas have sleek profiles and amenities that were unimaginable a generation ago. Yet, it is the memorable image of the little trailer with wings that brings each of us something no other manufacturer has to offer: nostalgia.

Mailing Address: Shasta RV, c/o Forest River, Inc., PO Box 3030, 55470 CR 1, Elkhart, IN 46515

Physical Address: 105 CR 14, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-7178

Website: www.shastarving.com

Worth Pondering…

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are MISinformed.

—Mark Twain

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1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

Have you considered a vintage trailer?

1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction
1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

Is the iconic Airstream a bit too passé for your tastes?

You are in luck!

The 1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer is up for auction.

You may never fly solo across the Atlantic, but you can at least camp like the American hero thanks to his trailer being up for auction at Bonhams August 15.

Designed in San Carlos, California, by an engineer of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, this trailer was custom-built for famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, hence  its name.

Skinned in aluminum to reduce weight and enhance appearance, the trailer boasts two axles, one at each end. The design gave the trailer a great deal of stability when parked for overnight stops  and did not require that the tongue be supported on jacks when unhitched from the tow vehicle. Its interior is furnished with well-preserved oak paneling.

Buying this legend’s trailer, however, won’t come easy on the wallet. The 1939 Lindbergh travel trailer is expected to fetch anywhere from $150,000-200,000.

During his day, Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1902-1974) captivated the American public, having vaulted himself from obscurity to worldwide acclaim as the first pilot to complete a solo non-stop transatlantic flight on May 20-21, 1927.

1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction
1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

Lindbergh’s feat gained him immediate, international fame. The press named him “Lucky Lindy” and the “Lone Eagle.” Americans and Europeans idolized the shy, slim young man and showered him with honors.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902, in Detroit. He grew up on a farm near Little Falls, Minnesota. He was the son of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Sr., a lawyer, and his wife, Evangeline Lodge Land. Lindbergh’s father served as a U.S. congressman from Minnesota from 1907 to 1917.

In childhood, Lindbergh showed exceptional mechanical ability. At the age of 18 years, he entered the University of Wisconsin to study engineering. However, Lindbergh was more interested in the exciting, young field of aviation than he was in school. After two years, he left school to become a barnstormer, a pilot who performed daredevil stunts at fairs.

In 1924, Lindbergh enlisted in the United States Army so that he could be trained as an Army Air Service Reserve pilot. In 1925, he graduated from the Army’s flight-training school at Brooks and Kelly fields, near San Antonio, as the best pilot in his class.

After Lindbergh completed his Army training, the Robertson Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis hired him to fly the mail between St. Louis and Chicago. He gained a reputation as a cautious and capable pilot.

1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction
1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

In 1919, a New York City hotel owner named Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 to the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Several pilots were killed or injured while competing for the Orteig prize.

By 1927, it had still not been won. Lindbergh believed he could win it if he had the right airplane. He persuaded nine St. Louis businessmen to help him finance the cost of a plane.  Lindbergh chose Ryan Aeronautical Company of San Diego to manufacture a special plane, which he helped design. He named the plane the Spirit of St. Louis.

On May 10-11, 1927, Lindbergh tested the plane by flying from San Diego to New York City, with an overnight stop in St. Louis. The flight took 20 hours 21 minutes, a transcontinental record.

On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh completed the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in history, flying his Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis 3,610 miles between Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, and Paris, France, in 33 hours, 30 minutes.

When he landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, Lindbergh became a world hero who would remain in the public eye for decades.

1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction
1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer Up for Auction

The 1939 Charles Lindbergh Travel Trailer is part of the Maranello Rosso Collection that will be auctioned at the 17th annual Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction in Carmel, California, August 15.

The Collection includes an exciting array of nearly 120 cars including top examples of the best sports and GT cars of the 1950s through 1970s, through to coach-built classics of the Brass and Classic eras, cars with Hollywood celebrity provenance and even Formula One race winners.

The Quail Lodge Auction venue, located just three-quarters of a mile from the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, is easy to access from Monterey or Pebble Beach. There is ample parking, as well as non-stop shuttle service to and from “The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering” on the 15th.

Worth Pondering…

I owned the world that hour as I rode over it. Free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.
—Charles A. Lindbergh

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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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Gypset & RV Lifestyle

I have to admit that when first encountering the term, “gypset lifestyle,” my mind when into a tailspin.

Gypsy Jule
Gypsy Jule (Credit: Julie Sezer)

Was this a counter culture term for mobile living, akin to the RV lifestyle?

I may not be the most hip person around, but which generation did I miss out on? X, Y, or Z? Or NextGen?

Desiring to be fashionably current I sought enlightenment from the Urban Dictionary. This dictionary of cultural words and phrases describes the essence of gypset as follows:

“Yuppies, Yippies, Jet Setters, Bright Young Things, Generation X, Generation Y…and now the Gypset. Fusing the ease and carefree lifestyle of a gypsy with the sophistication of the jet set, the Gypsetters are artists, surfers, designers, and bon vivants who live and work around the globe, from Jose Ignacio, Uruguay and Ibiza, Spain, to Montauk, New York.

“Gypset Style explores the unconventional, wanderlust lives of these high-low cultural nomads and the bohemian enclaves they inhabit, as well as their counterculture forbears, such as the Victorian explorers, the Lost Generation, the Beatniks, and the hippies. Oh I wis I had her style, she is so gypset.”

Vienda Maria in the Gypset Guide further defines gypset as an unconventional, bohemian approach to life.

“Gypset is a modern nomadic lifestyle, where your love and appreciation for the world and all of life translates into a multifaceted travel experience. This can show up in a myriad of ways: some gypsetters travel real slow, spending even a few years in each place, whereas others move around the globe at a quick pace; some continuously move, slowly traversing the planet; and others have a secure home base which they leave for many months each year. Some of us are self-employed; some of us take on short term gigs; and many of us are multi-passionate, involved in a wide range of different things.”

Gypsy Jule
Gypsy Jule (Credit: Julie Sezer)

Enter Gypsy Jule, a fashionable boutique that sells everything from women’s clothing and accessories to jewelry and home decor. A self-described misfit mercantile.

Formerly operated out a 100-year-old house in Apex, North Carolina, Julie Sezer did what any gypseter would do: she fixed up a vintage trailer, packed it with merchandise, and took her shop on the road.

Sezer describes gypset is an amalgamation of gypsy and jet set, combining attributes of those who prefer the carefree lifestyle of a gypsy with the sophistication of the jet set elite. Styles are characterized as unconventional, yet distinctly fashionable.

On the boutique’s web site, printed pants are featured as the latest craze. And to accessorize in that “oh so cool” casually eclectic bohemian style, a Tibetan horn necklace.

Aside from apparel, jewelry, and accessories, one-of-a-kind repurposed furniture is also popular at Gypsy Jule. Eclectic details that add ambiance and fun to your gypsy abode and lifestyle.

Customized for the mobile store, the trailer has also found a unique niche as a backdrop for special occasions. Sezer rents it out for weddings, parties, and corporate events where it can be set up as a prop in a photo area.

To further cite the Gypset Guide, you know you’re a gypsetter when…

“Every day is an adventure, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

“The roads less travelled are the ones that call your name.

“For you, it’s about the journey, not the destination.”

Just maybe, gypset is a counterculture term for the RV lifestyle.

Weber Exprience Roadshow Airstream (source: arcairstreams.co.uk)
Weber Exprience Roadshow Airstream (source: arcairstreams.co.uk)

Details

Gysy Jule

Urban…Rustic…and Contemporary

A little bohemian, contemporary gypsy sprinkled with western influences.
We are a lifestyle that is based on the unconventional bohemian approach to life. We are exotic but down to earth. We represent the Gypset way of life.
Our brand is tailored to a lifestyle that is upscale but rugged, classy yet adventurous.
We are a Gypset tribe…gypsy combined with sophisticated jet set.
At Gypsy Jule, the Wanderlusts can become the Wander-less.

Location: On the road

Phone: (919) 753-7444

Website: www.gypsyjule.com

Worth Pondering…

Not all those who wander are lost.
—J. R. R. Tolkien

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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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When is a Spartan Manor an Airstream?

When is a Spartan Manor an Airstream?

Champagne House, Veuve Clicquot
Champagne House, Veuve Clicquot

For those knowledgeable of the history of the RV Industry and familiar with vintage trailers the short answer is never.

Now thanks to confusion over at the Champagne House―Veuve Clicquot―or overly indulging the crisp and silky full-body structure and sparkling highlights of its La Grande Dame 2004, a beautifully renovated “1946 Spartan Manor Airstream” takes center stage during a recent one-day appearance (June 2) at the London Wine Fair.

To compound the error The Drinks Report failed to check its sources and ran with the story.

“In the midst of its nationwide tour of UK Season events, Veuve Clicquot’s impactful and beautifully renovated 1946 Spartan Manor Airstream will take up position in the centre of London Wine Fair…as part of plans to bring innovation and added value to the on-trade sector,” states The Drinks Report.

“Wines to be showcased at the Airstream will include the house’s signature style, Yellow Label, Rosé, and Vintage 2004.”

This oxymoron of sorts may have started when Christina Jesaitis, senior brand manager for Veuve Clicquot, said “We’re excited to be bringing the Veuve Clicquot twist to the Wine Fair for the first time and whilst our timetable of events with the Airstream allows us just one day at Olympia, we’re confident the day will be productive.”

1954 Spartan Mobile Home at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
1954 Spartan Mobile Home at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To bring clarity to the confusion over at the venerable Veuve Clicquot and The Drinks Report a brief history of the two icon RV manufactures follows.

Spartan Manor

Spartan Manor travel trailers were manufactured by the Spartan Aircraft Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, starting in 1946.

Previously known as Mid-Continent Aircraft Company, the company was reorganized under the Spartan name in 1928 by oil baron William G. Skelly, and operated until 1961 manufacturing aircraft, aircraft components, and Spartan Manor travel trailers. The company was widely known for the luxurious Spartan Executive aircraft produced in the late 1930s and early 1940s made prominent by owners such as Howard Hughes and King Ghazi of Iraq.

J. Paul Getty acquired the company from Skelly in 1935. After the ebb of personal aviation and the increased competition in the aircraft business following World War II, Getty ended aircraft production and redirected production to focus on the rapidly rising demand for housing and leisure.

Using the same internally braced and space-saving monocoque design of the Spartan Executive 7W, the company produced its first all-metal trailer. The company followed previous design strategies, offering lavish and full-featured trailers.

Airstream

Airstream, manufacturer of the iconic “silver bullet” travel trailer, is the oldest and most recognized recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America.

1958 Airstream Der Kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
1958 Airstream Der Kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The design of the Airstream was based on an airplane fuselage with lightweight aluminum and the effect was stunning, sleek, and silver.

The Airstream is an eye-catching vintage classic. First appearing on American highways in the mid-1930s, these sleek aluminum icons were compact, cozy spaces that could be hitched to the family car and taken out on the open road—and nearly a century later, their timeless design has lost none of its appeal.

Airstream is currently enjoying renewed popularity among celebrities, event planners, and young travelers who appreciate its distinctively American blend of functionalism and beauty and air of nostalgia.

Born in the California backyard of inventor Wally Byam and inspired by a trailer designed by Hawley Bowlus, the famed chief builder of The Spirit of St. Louis, the Airstream’s modernist aesthetic has remained relatively unchanged in eight decades, and its industrial durability has earned a reputation without peer with more than 65 percent of all Airstreams still on the road today.

Following founder Wally Byam’s credo, “Let’s not make changes, let’s only make improvements,” Airstream has remained a timeless classic throughout its 82-year history.

Worth Pondering…

I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band,
I saw a needle that winked its eye.
But I think I will have seen everything
When I see an Airstream fly.

—music and lyrics by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington, in Dumbo

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