Of course, we reserved our spot for 2015 before even leaving the campground last year. We loved the people, we loved the location, and couldn’t wait to see more and a wider variety of vintage camper trailers! This year they sold out the ENTIRE KOA! Over 250 spots. And the event lived up to all our expectations. Here’s a look at some of the new and cool stuff we saw:
This all-custom 1950 Starcraft owned by Bob & Jacyn Gallagher of Keizer, OR was an amazing, truly one-of-a-kind piece! Yes, it had a second story! Stairs inside led to a loft-like double bed with it’s own little airy windows. Also very cool and very retro, was the delta-wing star-burst step used at the doorway!
Now this 1961 Lil’ Loafer owned by the Harrison Family of Hughson, CA is the SMALLEST and the CUTEST thing we’ve ever seen. It’s literally 6.5 feet long (and probably about six feet wide and tall as well!) Quite a unique vintage camper.
This is a 1953 Terry Rambler, fourteen footer–very similar to our ’54 La Cabana except that they have two rear side windows on account of a built in hammock/bunk over the rear bed. I just loved that they named it The Pickle. Yup, seems right. The Pickle is owned by Julie and Rick Coe of Reno, NV.
This we thought was a very unusual camper–almost a tear-drop, almost a pop-up. Very cool design! It’s a 1949 Kamp Master. Ten foot long, it’s owned by John & Mary Blackard of Capay Valley, CA. Check out the cute little couch in the fore!
The lilliputians have come to tow away their giant camper! Hook ’em up boys! She’s ours!
I love the humor and joy people take at this event…
What a great vintage Chevy truck! Complete with the windshield visor and this funny contraption coming out of the passenger side window. I took a closer look and wow! it’s a vintage air-conditioner! The Firestone Car Cooler! Evidently scoops air while driving, turns it around and blows it in the side window. I bet it was quite the luxury item of its time.
And here we are again in the same spot as last year. New additions are the white picket fence, and the awesome lotus-leaf vintage kitch-lights we got at the open house garage sale!
We collected vintage items all year at other garage sales, mostly just to sell them here at a loss! Totally fun and our daughter made a few bucks running it.
Lucky sports his new, vintage-style outfit.
Yes, we have to pack up and leave even if the teenager won’t get out of bed.
New cover on, (the old one got completely torn by high winds at our old storage place) I thought our little La Cabana made a funny contrast with the massive type-A parked next door. How could people nowadays want all that SPACE without the TASTE!
The Trailerfest hosts and volunteers once again did an amazing job pulling this all off with apparent ease. (I’m sure it wasn’t!) And OF COURSE, we signed up on the spot to come back in 2016. How will they top this year? We’ll have to wait and see.
Here’s a look at just some of the great vintage camper trailers and vintage automobiles we saw during open house on the second day.
This is a 22′ long 1964 Airstream Safari owned by Steve Walker of Sacramento, CA. Love the all-black “Blues Brothers” style car pulling it!
Renovation not finished? That’s OK, bring it to Trailerfest!
This is one of the coolest contraptions at the Trailerfest: a 1952 Kom-Pak Sportsman, owned by Bob Sullivan of Carson City, NV. It’s got a Tear-Drop-like utility area in back, and a sleeping area inside, and the roof unclamps to become your fishing boat for the day!!! Very cool, creative idea. Just better make sure all that fish muck is cleaned out before you go to bed that night! Oh, and, hope it doesn’t rain during the day…
This is a 1957 Kenskill 16 footer from San Francisco, CA owned by Holly Hitchcock and Rob Biaggi. The matching station wagon is perfectly reminiscent of old time family vacations.
This is a beautifully painted and restored 1957 Jewel. One of the longer canned hams at 17.5 feet. Chuck and Sharon Taylor brought in this beauty from Sacramento, CA.
This cutie is also a longer model (16 ft) of a 1962 Shasta owned by Gracie and Jim Lathrop of Paso Robles, CA. Complete with the classic Shasta “wings”!
A really true 50’s canned ham, this is a 16 foot, 1957 Cardinal owned by Jay and Kathy Bell from right here in Lodi, CA. Interior and exterior both are just immaculate and beautifully preserved. Note the original ice box (no refrigerator compressor in there!) opposite the galley.
This is an unusual 1965 Mobile Scout, 15′ in length with owner Randy Bonfantini from Rohnert Park, CA (wife, Char, must have been gone checking out the other vintage treasures!) Note the canned-ham style rear left over from the 50’s and the bunk space up front, starting to look like the late 60’s, early 70’s.
See what I mean? This 19 foot 1967 Shasta Starflyte brought by Laura and Nick from Cloverdale, CA, looks more 70’s than 60’s. The rounded look is gone and the boxyness begins. (We all knew there was something wrong with the 70’s)
Now this, for us, was a VERY special find: a 1958 13 foot Westerner. This one owned and obviously lovingly taken care of by Howdy Hoover (now that’s a great name!) of Sacramento, CA. What’s so special about this one is that I read somewhere that after two years of operation, La Cabana Trailer Company sold itself to Westerner. Our La Cabana is a 1954, so look at this westerner only four years later! Almost identical, save the louvered kitchen and side dinette windows! Very cool! I love rediscovering the hidden history and similarity in things that reveal a common heritage.
For instance, look at the similarity in these two Aljoa’s. The green one is a 1954 (Owners: Mike and Kim Archambault from Wilton, CA) and the red one is 1956 (Mary Upham, also from Wilton, CA). Obviously in the second half of the 50’s, that louvered window style came into fashion. (our 1954 doesn’t have them.)
I couldn’t end this post without a shout-out to our camping neighbor, ex-pilot, and all around cool guy, Christy Bardon of Nevada City, CA who brought his 1966 Ultravan–the Ultimate Burning Man vehicle! My kids called it the wiener-dog mobile.
Here we are, all set up and chillin’ with Lucky and Tucker.
The original cabana with all three sides more than doubles the useable space.
I have to give a huge complement to Paul and Caroline Lacitinola (not pictured here–that’s the folks who made the cupcakes! Thank you guys too!) who did an amazing job of organizing and pulling off such a huge event. Next year is supposed to double in size, filling the entire KOA–Over 250 units!!!
All packed up and ready to go into storage for another year!
We grabbed the La Cabana out of storage and hustled down to Lodi. Trailerfest was well underway! All 130 sites had sold out. We’ve never seen so many cute vintage trailers! When we’ve camped on our own at regular campgrounds we rarely see even one pre-1969 trailer. (Occasionally, an Airstream) There were so many everywhere, we couldn’t wait for Open House the next day.
We set up quickly and then hurried our pumpkin pies over to the Old Timey Dessert Reception Gala. I’ve never tried to eat a paper plate mounding full of gooey, yummy deserts before, but we all managed to do our best. Here are some pictures of the day.
VERY excited about Trailerfest in two weeks! Got the baby out of storage after putting her away almost 9 months ago. The cover I bought held up OK, in the sense that I didn’t see any bad water damage from last winter, but at the same time there were some significant tears from the wind, which I repaired with super sticky red duct tape.
Did a bunch of little painting touch-ups inside and out just to get her in tip top shape, and packed all the camping gear. Looking for vinyl stick-on letters to put on the name plate on the back. Turns out that the original name plate featuring “La Cabana Trailer Co.” from 1954 uses Brush Script Std font, easily duplicated in Microsoft Word today. Since the font was first designed in 1942 and had it’s peak of popularity in the immediate post WWII era, makes sense it was chosen by the company in 1954. Interesting trivia from Wikipedia.
OK, It’s nine months away, but I’m sitting here on a business trip in the cold rain (At a nice restaurant in Provence, France, so it’s really not so bad…) and I just registered for Trailerfest 2014 in Lodi, CA, and I’m super excited! Why? I don’t really know, honestly. A lot of work has gone into our little baby, I’m proud of it, and I’m excited to show it off. Vintage trailers really aren’t that common, and when we’ve been camping with ours so far we might see one, maybe two vintage trailers in the same campground, AT MOST. And when we do, it’s really fun to meet the owners. Vintage Trailerites are universally friendly (in our experience) and happy to talk about their love, sometimes obession. It’s fun to see such a wide range of models from the past, and there’s just something intangible about owning and bringing into the present, a working, living artifact from another era.
So anyway, can’t wait. There’s a countdown timer on the sidebar for those of you who want to get into the spirit with us!
My apologies, If you read the short non-fiction story “A Chance Encounter” here in the last few weeks, I’ve moved it to a new blog called ajlockhartbooks.wordpress.com
I’m going to publish my first fiction novellette very soon, and I’ve started a whole new blog to concentrate on just writing and self-publishing. CannedHamCrazy will remain dedicated to our love of our little vintage travel trailer.
By the way, driving down Route 101 with our La Cabana in tow this last November 2013 for Thanksgiving, I noticed a little red sedan in the passing lane speeding by us, (Cars towing anything can not exceed 55 mph in California, no matter what the posted speed limit is) but then slowing down, backing off and matching our speed. Then the driver backed off a little more moving behind us.
“What is going on,” I thought. Then looking out my window, I saw a woman in the passenger seat snap a photo of our awesome vintage camper right then on the highway! Booya! I gave my wife a high five inside the car and said, “That’s our first official Camper Compliment (CC) of the trip.”
Several more CCs would come from strangers at the campground wondering about various details. We also met a lovely couple in a vintage Airstream Bambi. What a great little compact touring trailer! They preferred to keep the bed always made up, foregoing their dinette and just eat outside each night. We got a full tour and they were quite sweet.
By way of a preview for my readers, I am very anxious to attend the Vintage Camper Trailer Rally in Lodi this year. The La Cabana is more than ready for it, and imagine the people we’ll meet and the stories we’ll come home with! Gotta do it.