“Travelers don’t know where we are going, tourists don’t know where they’ve been.”
We set up our camp beneath towering Ponderosa pines lining a babbling stream, and find ourselves completely alone. The sun shines through the canopy casting dappled light across the forest floor littered with needles and cones. We open up our camp chairs, pour glasses of wine, and settle into the quiet of our own thoughts. We made it.
Finding places like this was just one of the many dreams we had when we first bought our vintage camper off of Ebay for $900. These dreams kept us going through the tougher spots of our remodel project and downsizing our life. We knew that someday, somehow, we’d get here, right here, and all the hard work would be worth it.
Over the past 8 years and 110K miles of full-time living in Hamlet, our 1957 Sportcraft travel trailer, we’ve been amazed by the “right here” places we’ve discovered. We’ve found ourselves hiking to nearly 9,000 feet in Texas, pedaling bicycles up steep inclines in a western Washington drizzle, and wandering among eerie hoodoos in sun-drenched Utah. We’ve paddled between foggy, granite islands off the coast of Maine, weeded onion beds in the red dirt of Hawaii, wrangled sheep in Colorado, hiked countless miles of solitary, winding trail, and discovered some of the best places to park our rolling tiny vintage home in North America. Many of these aren’t in conventional campgrounds.
It may surprise you to know that we rarely know where we are going – not because we get lost, but because the journey itself is part of the adventure. This means we rarely know where we’ll spend the night. Our choices depend on how far we want to drive and what captures our imagination along the way. We frequently find ourselves parked far off the grid, on top of a mountain, along a coastal highway, in the middle of the desert, tucked into a quiet neighborhood, or even sometimes a Walmart parking lot when public lands feel just too far away to reach by sundown. No matter where we end up, we always fall asleep in our comfortable bed and wake up to make coffee on our two burner stove. We have all that we need in our little rig.
Everyone has different desires and preferences when it comes to choosing a campsite. Some prefer private RV parks, others prefer national and state park campgrounds, and others want to be completely away from everything and everybody. If you are like us and frequently camp in national forests, BLM campgrounds, or boondock (dispersed camping with few to no services), there are literally thousands of places across the US and Canada that offer gorgeous campsites for every size and type of rig with plenty of sunshine but no electrical hook-ups. To help us find places that fit our camping style, we use (and write reviews for) The Dyrt Pro app. We’ve found this app to be the most useful comprehensive camping resource available. The offline maps are incredibly helpful when traveling far off the grid and away from cell phone service.
Solar is The Key!
One thing we can always count on in our wanderings is that the sun will rise; it will illuminate our solar panel and give us the energy we need to power our lives – pretty much no matter where we are. But wait, solar technology on a vintage rig? You got it, during our entire travels we’ve almost exclusively run on solar power. You may be surprised to find out that the first solar panel was developed 140 years ago. Solar has been key in helping us take advantage of our favorite boondocking spots across the nation.
We’ve found that a portable panel works really well with our vintage camper. We can set up the solar panel in the sun while keeping the trailer in the shade. It also means that we didn’t have to install a panel bracket on the roof of our 63 year old rig.
We constantly get asked what we can run with solar. Our answer is always, “It depends on what you are trying to power.” With our small solar powered system we run our LED lights, Fan-tastic Vent/Fan, a couple of small household appliances, as well as charge our smart phone, laptops and other personal electronics. Our goal is to live as simply, as minimally, and as inexpensively as possible, and we’ve been able to thrive with our tiny home over the past 8 years! The important thing about solar is that it’s scalable and can be designed to fit your personal power needs.
Take a video tour of our solar powered life.
About the Authors: Shari Galiardi & David Hutchison have turned their higher education backgrounds, desire for life-long learning, and thirst for adventure travel into writing, photography, video production, and public speaking tours from coast to coast. Known to their friends as simply Shari & Hutch, you can learn more about their full-time, solar powered adventures on their website at freedominacan.com. Or, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. They are also contributors to the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Issue #50 with their story of "full timing" in a vintage trailer.
Retrofitting an air conditioner to your vintage or tiny trailer can pose a variety of complications and require a fair amount of labor and skill to install it correctly. A poor installation can be unsightly and worse yet, cause leaks that in turn cause moisture damage. A roof mount RV air conditioner or residential window style air conditioner also require 30-50 amp shore power to operate. To stay cool in your vintage trailer with conventional AC you will need to be plugged in. Here is an alternative to a traditional AC installation.
The Zero Breeze Mark 2 offers trailerites the option to stay cool in their canned ham, teardrop or tent trailer. There is no installation required and because it is portable and battery powered you can use it when you are boondocking. We frequently camp for free with our membership to Harvest Host. We like the freedom that NOT being tethered to a paid campsite gives us on a road trip. Until the The Zero Breeze Mark 2 portable air conditioner, this meant enduring the heat and humidity unless we paid for a site. A portable AC can be taken from trailer to trailer (if you have more than one) or you can use it in the shade of your awning. Your Zero Breeze doesn't have to be sold with your trailer making it a good investment for years to come.
Vintage trailers are NOT allowed in RV parks! If you spend any time on social media, you have likely heard how someone was turned away from an RV park because their trailer (or RV), was more than 10 years old. Before you go to www.sellvintagetrailers.com to unload your unusable camping rig, give this a read. We share our experience and how to be prepared to deal with if the "10 Year Rule" comes up in your travels.
Is there really a "10 Year Rule"?
Yes, kind of, sometimes. Some parks, typically higher-end (more expensive) RV parks may have this "rule." Understand that these types of RV parks are catering primarily to a clientele with rigs that start in the six figures. RV parks typically use this rule to screen long-term rentals of 30 or more days. The "10 Year Rule" is usually not enforced for weekend camping stays. The rule is simply a filter RV parks use to eliminate the riff-raff.
Why is there a "10 Year Rule"?
What to do if you own a vintage trailer and want to go camping?
Should I sell my vintage trailer and buy a newer one?
We have been camping on the west coast and around the US for over a decade. We may camp up to 20 weekends a year. We have always had vintage trailers. We have NEVER come across this obstacle and cannot recall any reports of the "10 Year Rule" being imposed on any of our friends that camp vintage. If a park uses this rule as a screening device, and your vintage RV is in good condition, most of the time, the park will make an exception for you. Chances are they will want to see it up close, have a bunch of questions, and want to find out where they can get one! Be sure and tell them about www.buyvintagetrailers.com.
Keep in mind that park owners and managers are probably campers too. They are not blind to the popularity of vintage trailers. Some campgrounds even have vintage trailers as rentals. If you hear of someone being turned away from a park because they had an old trailer, consider the whole story.
Paul and Caroline Lacitinola
Publishers of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine
April 17, 2020
Started project by removing door, screen door, and both jambs from the trailer. This was necesary in order to remove the existing ice box from the trailer and to get the new lp/ac refrigerator into the trailer as neither one would fit through the door opening with doors and jambs in place.
Did some preliminary demo of the opening that housed the old ice box.
These steps took approximately 4 1/2 hours.
April 22, 2020
Installed 2 1" pvc conudits under the trailer in order to get the gas supply and electrical wire to the side of trailer where the fridge will be placed.
Also today ran the 12-2 romex in the new conduit.
Need to order my gas supply line as I now have a good idea how long it needs to be. Worked about 5.5 hours today
April 25, 2020
Today the electrical tie-in was done at the main panel, with a loop to an outlet behind the stove. 12 ga. wire was used per Norcolds recommendations.
Also cut in the lower fresh air/access panel, which allowed me to locate the electrical outlet which will service the fridge; and get an idea as to where the gas supply will be placed. It's a tight fit but do-able. Thankfully the Shasta side vertical framing members are placed exactly where needed for the lower and upper intake/exhaust vents! Just had to add 1 horizontal framing member for the bottom vent, but the top will require 2 horizontals, which will be held in place with screws through the 1/4 " plywood from the inside. Worked about 6 hours today
April 27, 2020
The gas hose to extend gas supply to the new fridge arrived from Amazon today. Routed it from tie-in behind stove to new fridge, installed a temporary cap at fridge end so I could double, triple check for leaks behind stove before it is bolted back in place; (left the gas on so tomorrow I can quadruple check for leaks before the stove goes back in place).
Also today, completed electical installation at new outlet location for new fridge. Checked for proper voltage (120v), which I have; sweet!
Finally finished today with locating and cutting in the rough opening for the upper side vent.
It's easy to write all these jobs down, however, I worked on this about 7 hours today.
April 29, 2020
Finished framing in upper vent rough opening and pre-drilled mounting holes for exterior vent cover.
Removed floor and gave top and bottom a coat of sealer.
Installed some extra sheilding for gas supply line where it enters the trailer floor at both locations.
Started fabricating the upper fridge enclosure panels.
Worked about 5 hours today.
April 30, 2020
Completed the upper enclosure shelf and baffle (which directs hot air out to the upper vent), and stained the interior side to match the ash Shasta paneling. Installed 1" rigid foil faced insul-board on either side of the enclosure which closes the gaps on the fridge sides (Norcold recommends less than 1/2 inch clearance for both sides); I wound up with about as close to zero clearance as possible. Using urethane sealant I also seals the floor penetrations where the gas/electric was routed. Worked about 3 1/2 hours today.
May 1, 2020
Finally! Ready to slide the fridge in for the last time, and it was a perfect fit! Hooked up the gas supply, checked and triple checked for leaks then lit the fridge on propane for the first time, ( we had already tested the AC side prior to this). After about 3 hours the fridge started to cool; filled the ice cube tray and checked after another 3 hours to find ice starting to form, walked away from it for today; checked early the next morning to find solid cubes in the tray. I plan on running the fridge on propane for 3-4 days to get a feel for how much gas is being used.*
Remaining tasks include deciding on a door panel insert, matching the paneling or brushed aluminum/stainless?? Securing the fridge to the enclosure/floor with provided screws. Will also need to modify the storage door/mirror above the fridge as it encroached about 3 inches into that existing space. This should be a nice upgrade to make camping just that much more enjoyable. Stained/varnished fridge panel in place (turned out a little darker as a different species of plywood was used, but it will do for now).(painting vents, fridge door panel, and modifying upper cabinet door/mirror: about 6 hours)
* ran the fridge on gas from a hot start-up for 5 + days in 100 degree heat and it used about 3.5 gal. propane. It should do better if I pre-cool first using 110 v, then switch to gas before travelling.
At this time last year we were traveling across the country in our Capri Camper towing the Gold Airstream.
After “sheltering in place” for several months, many of us are ready to get back on the road. Campgrounds are opening for families and small groups, and highway travel may be the safest way to get out of the house during the cautionary “re-opening” period of the COVID-19. Before you hit the road, make sure you are prepared for a safe journey.
COVID Travel Restrictions Map
Save On Campsite Fees and Fuel—our two biggest expenses on a road trip.
Don't have an RV? Why not rent one for your road trip? Rent an RV from Outdoorsy for your journey.
Basic Safety Precautions while traveling during the re-opening
The vintage trailering hobby has never been more popular. A limited inventory of vintage trailers for sale and the high demand of people looking to get into the hobby has driven up the prices. The more of these potential buyers that you can reach, the more likely you will maximize the amount you receive when you sell your trailer. Most "For Sale" websites allow photos to be posted, and buyers can search by keywords. Most of these sites are geared towards local buyers and are selling everything under the sun. These sites tend to get a lot of tire kickers, scammers, and low-ballers.
What MAKES VCT CLASSIFIED ADS DIFFERENT?
Our ads are anywhere from free to featured. You get what you pay for, and our sellers say it better than we can. Read their testimonials here. Don't rely on the free, local, social media, and catch-all sites to help you sell your trailer as quickly and at the fairest price possible. Lean on our years of experience and uniquely crafted network of reaching the masses. List Your Trailer. Subscribers to The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine save 20% with your coupon code on page 4.
On March 19, 2020, the State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health issued an order requiring most Californians to stay at home to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 among the population.
The impact of COVID-19 on the health of Californians is not yet fully known. Reported illness ranges from very mild (some people have no symptoms) to severe illness that may result in death. Certain groups, including people aged 65 or older and those with serious underlying medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk of hospitalization and serious complications. Transmission is most likely when people are in close contact with an infected person, even if that person does not have any symptoms or has not yet developed symptoms.
Precise information about the number and rates of COVID-19 by industry or occupational groups, including among critical infrastructure workers, is not available at this time. There have been multiple outbreaks in a range of workplaces, indicating that workers are at risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19 infection. Examples of these workplaces include long-term care facilities, prisons, food production, warehouses, meat processing plants, and grocery stores.
As stay-at-home orders are modified, it is essential that all possible steps be taken to ensure the safety of workers and the public.
July is the 50th issue of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. Don't miss it. click here to order.
Key prevention practices include:
In addition, it will be critical to have in place appropriate processes to identify new cases of illness in workplaces and, when they are identified, to intervene quickly and work with public health authorities to halt the spread of the virus.
PURPOSE This document provides guidance for campgrounds, RV parks, and outdoor recreation areas and operators/providers to support a safe, clean environment for the public, employees, interns and trainees, volunteers, and all other types of workers (referred to collectively as “staff”).
NOTE: Campgrounds with playgrounds, conference spaces, or meeting rooms should keep those areas closed until each of those types of establishments are allowed to resume modified or full operation. When allowed to reopen to modified or full operation, campgrounds and RV parks with these establishments should refer to guidance on such industries as it becomes available on the 3 COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap website. The guidance does not apply to youth camps, team or contact sports, school and educational activities, and other public gatherings. For guidance on summer camps, refer to the guidance on the COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap website. All public events or concentrated gatherings at campgrounds or RV parks, including group bonfires, group campsites, presentations at outdoor amphitheaters, musical or other performances, or other events must be cancelled or postponed. Most organized activities and sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer, and football that are held on park fields, open areas, and courts are not permitted to the extent that they require coaches and athletes who are not from the same household or living unit to be in close proximity, which increases their potential for exposure to COVID-19. Members of the same household may engage in such activities and sports together.
The guidance is not intended to revoke or repeal any employee rights, either statutory, regulatory or collectively bargained, and is not exhaustive, as it does not include county health orders, nor is it a substitute for any existing safety and health-related regulatory requirements such as those of Cal/OSHA.1 Stay current on changes to public health guidance and state/local orders, as the COVID-19 situation continues. Cal/OSHA has more safety and health guidance on their Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus webpage. The California Department of Parks and Recreation has an online resource center for state parks and operational updates, including safety information, are available for national parks on the National Park Service webpage. CDC has additional guidance for parks and recreational facilities administrators.
By Steve Katkowski
Well, just exactly where do I start here? Nobody likes goodbyes, right? I know I don’t. S0000, let me open this letter with a friendly “HELLO” Hello to all the trailer buddies I’ve made over the years. All of us got started in this hobby with a good story, here’s my story and I hope you enjoy it.
Many years ago I received a phone call from a guy in Florida who was selling an antique trailer. He told me it was like new, never used. Parked in a barn since 1953. Suuuuuuurrrrrre, do you think I would believe that? I had at the time already bought the deed to the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge. Could this be another opportunity to impress my wife at how stupid I could be?
I passed on it because it sounded too good to be true. In fact, I passed on it several times when he persisted with his calls. One time he said “Steve, you are going to buy my trailer!” Well, curiosity got the best of me. I was going to Michigan to visit family, so I made a simple change to my ticket and made a stop in Florida. This was a real experience guys. I was picked up at the airport by a guy in an old Dodge van that looked like it could have been in that old black and white photo of Hiroshima after the bombing ended WWII. Rust holes, smoking exhaust. And when he stopped, it was in front of an old building that didn’t look much better.
How was I going to explain to Jenay that once again I went on a wild goose chase? First of all, I’d never owned a vintage trailer. The hobby was in its infancy. Secondly, I could just imagine where this sales pitch was going. When he opened the door to the building and I was floored. There right in front of my eyes was basically a brand new, Tweetie Pie yellow 1953 35 foot Vagabond trailer. I’m sure if we took it outside you could see it from a satellite. Trying to control myself so as not to show my excitement, - and look cool and reserved----(as if I am capable of that)--- I asked him “what’s it like inside? He stepped up nose to nose with me and said “I TOLD YOU, IT’S NEW!)
Steves ever changing collection of vintage trailers, cars and memorabilia was featured in the Vintage Camper Trailers Book.
When I walked inside I almost fainted. This thing had everything but the smell from the factory applied final finishes. I had to ask “how much” and for the second time I was floored. I blurted out, “FOR AN OLD TRAILER”? Well, sometimes you’ve got to step up to the plate and thankfully I did. We shook hands on the deal and I took out my checkbook to give him a deposit. This folks is where I got my first inkling about just exactly how great the trailer hobby was going to be. You see—he said “why would I take a check from you for a deposit, we shook hands” wow.
I got home and mailed him a check anyways. He mailed it right back. “ Pay me when you pick it up.” And the rest they say, is history. From the very first Craig Dorsey Vintage Vacations rally at Newport Beach to my lastTrailerfest Rally with Caroline and Paul, it’s been one incredible journey. More friends than I ever imagined without ever having to turn on a computer or cell phone. Over the years the hobby grew into an obsession that slowly evolved into a museum. And through my conversations with each and every one of you I’ve gained a wealth of information. It’s truly been an honor to share it all with you and I appreciate you sharing your lives with me.
Both of these trailers were pictured in the Vintage Camper Trailers Book along with others in Steve's collection at the now disbanded museum.
The time has come for Jenay and I to move on. We have sold everything in the museum, wall to wall, floor to ceiling. We have sold our home and moved away from our beloved redwood trees and the occasional earthquakes and scary fires--- to our new, beloved “old peoples 55 and over” gated community. We will now have unlimited golf courses and hurricanes. I should have done this sooner. Being in my 70’s may make me the youngest neighbor on the block. (hee hee hee).
I will be searching for one last vintage camper for the two of us to enjoy for the next 50 or so years we have left. I just hope my truck lasts until I’m 120 years old. I may not be able to afford a self-driving autonomous ¾ ton solar powered electric four wheel drive vehicle when I really need it.
Steve's museum and the Masonite vagabond with the original interior (above) were featured in the Vintage Camper Trailers Book and The VCT Magazine issue #30 of the VCT Magazine.
Happy trails my friends---- I love you all--- and don’t ever forget, one trailer is never enough. Nothing compares to the thrill of the hunt. On top of that, decorating is the real icing on the cake. BYE BYE, NOT!
Steven and Jenay Katkowsky
p.s. You can still visit the website to experience just exactly how much fun it can be letting a hobby get the best of you. The stories are all there.
So you see, I’m not gone at all. What the heck, I may as well tell you now---it only took me a few months to pick up another two trailers. If you’d like a peek, let me know. And I’ve managed to terrorize a whole new group of people at 3 vintage trailer rallies out here in Florida.
P.S. And a special thank you to my friends Paul and Caroline (akaVintage Camper Trailers Magazine) for taking this hobby to new heights. Not that many years have gone by since I first met you both. You shared your dreams and in a relatively short period of time they’ve all been achieved. I think I can say this for all of your trailer family---------we love you.
Hosting rallies this year has presented organizers with new scheduling challenges. Events are being rescheduled, postponed, and even canceled. It is important that campers are informed about any changes or new rally dates. You can be sure that most of us are ready to get out and go camping as soon as possible!
Be prepared for possible changes to rallies based on COVID-19 regulations.
www.VintageTrailerRallies.com takes you directly to the Vintage Trailer Rallies page on www.PeriodEvents.com. The Period Events platform is a calendar of events that celebrate America's past. It is totally FREE to post your event or venue on this directory. Vintage trailer rallies posted here will be added to the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine calendar that is published inside of each issue.
The photos in this blog post are from Glamperfest last year. This rally is held in May in Red Bluff, CA. Registration for this rally will begin in October. Registration for Trailerfest Rallies is open now and we have space available at all of them at the present moment.
Over 34 years of saving lives
It was quickly realized that this safe ride service needed to be free. Many intoxicated people didn’t want to go home until they were out of money. We needed to get their cars home too (no I would not leave my car behind as I need it in the morning!) The International Good Samaritans Safe Ride Program (IGS) plan was to start a 501c3 nonprofit charity and provide two sober drivers per team, one IGS driver to follow the other IGS driver in the intoxicated driver's car along with the intoxicated person and all their friends to point the way home (not always easy but always free!)
Many regulations and much attention was given to this new safe ride start-up program, and many bars, their patrons, and the police watched to see what was going to happen with this new idea.
Miracle of miracles! The Program worked! During the first 10 years of service more than 50,000 carefully documented safe rides were given to intoxicated drivers and their intoxicated passengers, and their cars were safely delivered home by a small group of dedicated sober (My turn to drink, Your turn to drive) volunteers. For the first time in Tahoe history, DUI deaths and DUI crashes decreased as reported by the South Tahoe Police Dept.
Now for The FUN part of this story! To keep these safe rides free, IGS decided to host an annual fundraiser based on the 50’s lifestyle and 50’s cars and call it Cool September Days Car, Truck, Motorcycle and Vintage Camper Show. Along with an old car show, IGS would put on a 50’s style Sock Hop with dance, dress-up and hairdo contests and at mid-night at the Hop as a grand prize IGS would give away a locally donated and restored old car on a $1 raffle ticket.
A lot of things have changed over the past 30 years but the Good Samaritans Safe Ride Program is still alive and well in Tahoe and the 30th annual Cool September Days Car Show was held at the South Lake Tahoe Heavenly Village shopping center on September 18-20, 2015.
Over the 30 years of this safe ride programs history, many different cars, trucks, and motorcycles have been located, donated, and restored to be used in IGS’ fundraiser raffles, from a 1953 Buick Special in 1986, to a 500hp Ford PU and new Harley in 2002, to a grand prize of a 1953 Chevy Sedan Delivery with a new teardrop trailer all set up to go camping in 2010.
IGS volunteers would like to invite everyone with an interest in vintage cars and/or campers or motorcycles to come to Lake Tahoe for the day or for one of our weekend shows at the Heavenly Village Shopping Center (near the Gondola). This package will be given away October 18th, 2020.
To date, more than 100,000 intoxicated drivers and their friends have been delivered safely home in the Tahoe area and much effort has been made to help start safe ride programs in other cities all around America. Many lives have been saved and many millions of dollars of damage has been avoided thanks to your generous donations for raffle tickets or when you attend one of our Car Shows. Get your raffle tickets here.
Thank you for 34 years and counting!
Tom and Polly Argo
PO Box 7007, Stateline NV 89449
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Blog