35 years ago Drinking and Driving was the number one National epidemic. Driving While Intoxicated was Killing more friends and family members all over America than any other disasters.
Lake Tahoe was no exception! Tahoe was the Party place so something had to be done. A group of friends and volunteers decided to take turns staying sober and to drive home anyone who called to give their friends a safe ride home. This idea caught on and soon these good Samaritans were getting calls from local casinos, bars, police officers, and even private parties and weddings. The Lake Tahoe community quickly recognized the benefits of this service and got involved; cars were donated, Beeper systems were activated and office space was donated. Everything was in place except how to pay for the gas, utility's and everyday expense's of keeping cars running 24/7 and the lights on. What did we have that we could work with to make some expense money on? What did we like? 50’s music, dancing and old cars. Lets have a 50s dance and raffle off an old restored car or truck. Thus was created one of the most successful and longest running charity fundraisers and safe ride programs at Tahoe Today: the Cool September Days Sock-Hop and car show.
Today, 35 years later, Goodsamsaferide has driven safely home over 250,000 Intoxicated drivers and their passengers and has raffled off over 70 old cars, trucks, motorcycles, (old and new) and at last count, one new teardrop and seven vintage camping trailers. All to keep these safe rides free and available. While today these safe rides are paid for by Good Sams and they are provided by Yellow cab Taxi's this safe ride service is still very much a friend and volunteer operated community wide service. Most people who hear about this program want to help in any way, old cars are donated, mechanic's and body shops help restore the prize packages, additional nice prizes are donated. Even people we just meet want to help, like Paul and Caroline Lacitinola, who publish the wonderful Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. Paul has now helped us find and procure three of the last seven amazing vintage trailers that continues to make this annual raffle so popular. Thanks to everyone for your help and support with our raffle and safe ride program. And YES, we really are giving this away on October 18, 2020!
Please Check us out at goodsamsaferide.com.
GOOD LUCK!! Tom and Polly Argo
It's what's on the inside that counts. These inspiring creations show examples of retro-mods to lace and classic vintage to an adventure van complete with patina. #7 is one of only 3 of these trailers known to exist and #8 will take you on an audio tour of her Orient Express inspired Boles Aero.
1. 1947 Spartan Manor Glamper
David and Lynn Doty put the final touches on their 1947 Spartan Manor just to make it to Glamperfest. The incredible transformation was done by the Dotys in a style that screamed GLAMPER!
2. 1972 Chevrolet C30 - Custom Mitchell Camper Rebuild "ReRun"
The team of expert craftsmen at Creative Mobile Interiors gave new life to this vehicle that was rotting away (see below for "before" photos), and so we dubbed this conversion "ReRun". We were very excited for the finished product, which made its debut appearance at the 2018 SEMA show in Las Vegas as a featured vehicle of PPG.
3. Ms. Lacey-Pearl / Pandora's Box
After having the “winning” Ebay bid in October 2017, Yvonne and her handy-hubby, George hit the road in their trusty old pick-up truck “Big Red” and drove through 6 states (one way) to “rescue" Ms. Lacey-Pearl from the back woods of northern Wisconsin! Once the trailer was at home, Yvonne and George started removing the lipstick and rouge and discovered 80% of the frame and ceiling had serious structural damage and the electrical and plumbing was all unsafe and shamelessly jimmy-rigged. It later hit them that it was no less than an act of GOD that they arrived back home safely and all in one piece! Yvonne, known for her stubbornness, didn’t want to cut her losses and throw in the towel, like a sane person would, because she felt an instant “connection” with the trailer and knew she was meant to “rescue” and “resurrect" her.
Yvonne bribed her hubby, George Evans and her “out of the box thinker" handyman, Bill Bradley, to go to an all-female vintage trailer show with the promise of treating them both to a “slamming" BBQ lunch. After looking at 20+ vintage “glampers” (glamour + campers) Yvonne felt instantly inspired to re-invent her sadly neglected 1967 Shasta, Starflyte. During the 1.5 hour ride back home, Yvonne busily began to draw up the first rough draft of the trailer, the floor plan, the Mermaid’s Lair theme, the color palate materials that Yvonne envisioned using. So the journey began...Fast forward through winter, spring and summer and 300 combined working hours later, Yvonne decided on the trailer’s name, "Ms. Lacey-Pearl”. This was inspired by George’s grandmothers (Ms. Lacy & Ms. Pearl). So, it seemed fitting to name a Mermaid’s Lair themed trailer, “Ms. Lacey-Pearl”. That was a very good move on Yvonne’s part, since poor George almost lost his thumb during the renovation project from a table saw accident.
As of this Summer 2018, Ms. Lacey-Pearl is open for others to enjoy her beauty, as she is an added feature to “Yvonne’s Secret Garden Spa” and her customers can enjoy a fun daytime venue for “Glamping & Facial” parties, or as a peaceful and loving “womb” to stay within as a nightly rental retreat.
4. FRANKS 1947 Spartan MANOR
In January of 2014 Frank Stevens found out that looking on Craigslist can be expensive. Frank restores old cars for a living, and he's been camping most of his life, he thought “why not get a vintage trailer?” After visiting a few rallies he decided on a Trolly Top but couldn't find a good one to start with. He did find a 1947 Spartan Manor, and it was only about thirty minutes from his house. It was all original on the outside and more importantly it was complete and had a really clean body. It even had a cool slimp wheel.
The interior had been gutted and rewired with all new insulation. Most of the cabinets & counter-tops were installed along with a new 3 way fridge. It was a perfect starting point. A deal was struck and Frank realized (that first night on his way home) that you can't see the bottom of the trailer at night. He decided to mount L.E.D. running lights in the rub rails to shine on the ground in order to see the trailer at night while towing. Most of the rub rail was damaged so it was all removed and fixed. Frank even found some rare ‘46 rear corners which he had to cut apart and re-arch to fit his trailer. A backup camera was also installed into the rub rail. A cool shade of green was picked for the rub rails and other accents.
The interior was almost finished except there was a big opening where a bathroom should be. The bathroom needed to be usable with a big shower and a tiled floor for something different. Boat flooring was chosen for the walls. It is 100% waterproof and there are no seams in the corners as it is all one piece. The floor has a pre-sloped shower pan that you tile right over. 1" hex tile was chosen to be period correct. A 3/8" copper tube was bent to follow the curve of the roof to hold a shower curtain that was cut down and re-sewn to match the roof contour. Antique faucets were rebuilt and used for the sink which has a custom made riser out of polished aluminum and the shower valves along with more 1/2" copper line to a porcelain shower head. Frank also made the bent copper light fixtures so that everything matches. A composting toilet was used so there is no need to worry about a black tank.
Custom fiberglass covers were also made for the fridge and painted green to make it look old. To keep the trailer comfortable, a Coleman Mach 8 A/C unit was mounted on the roof - only after reinforcing the roof to support the extra weight. A custom polished aluminum cover was made for the roof and the inside plastic lid was faux finished to match the birch interior. No trailer would be complete without a cool stereo. A top of the line Alpine head unit was picked, a 5 channel Alpine amp with a 12" sub-woofer with front and rear speakers all covered in antique speaker cloth.
5. Overland Adventure Sprinter
This 144'' High Roof Mercedes Sprinter is Creative Mobile Interiors newest demo vehicle. A custom patina graphics wrap gives a rustic feel and draws a lot of attention.
An in-floor track allows for various securing needs and other applications. Color-changing LED light strips and charred bourbon barrel wood accents are located throughout the vehicle; we even custom-built the sink out of a whole bourbon barrel! A state-of-the-art audio system was installed including Audison amplifiers, subwoofers, speakers, and a Pioneer head unit with color back-up camera. We reupholstered the factory driver's seats to match the graphics wrap and custom laminate, as well as the three-person bench and made the bench seat removable. We installed a full auxiliary battery system including 2000w Victron inverter/charger and a shoreline connection, and 110v convenience outlets are located throughout the interior of the van.
One of the coolest features of this Sprinter is the custom-built bed which pulls out for an elevated view of the stars (the Rhino-Rack dome awning provides cover when needed). Under the sleeping platform, audio and electrical components are housed in a custom-built cabinet, with additional storage with custom screened-door openings.
6. 1962 Streamline Countess
The vintage camper trailer hobby started for Craig Thomas and his wife Diana when they purchased a 1956 Airstream Flying Cloud. It was only a shell, yet Diana was excited about the possibilities of fixing it. At about the same time, they found a 27 foot, 1951 Spartanette Tandem. Craig instantly was drawn to the Spartanette as he recalled spending time in one as a child in the mountains of New Mexico. With the emotional connection to the Spartanette, the Thomas family decided to restore this prior to the Flying Cloud. This was a huge endeavor as the Spartan needed a full restoration.
Fast forward a couple of years and the Spartanette as been completed and the Thomas’ have added a 1962 Streamline Countess to their fleet of backyard mobile mansions. We caught up with them at the Trailers in the Trees Rally in Felton, CA. Amazingly, Craig and Diana have done it again! Cranking out an incredible, classic trailer that respects the period in which it was created, but utilizes some modern design features and amenities.
Gold fleck automotive paint is the background for the back-lit wooden feature that adorns the center of the ceiling running the length of the interior and containing the controls for the roof mounted air conditioning. The Jetson’s style “control center” in the kitchen appears to be right out of the space age when in fact, Craig just dreamed it up. The living area is dominated by a booth style seating area that contains the apparatus that causes the flat screen to rise out of the side table. The TV is a nice modern feature that can be tucked away when not in use. You don’t want to miss seeing this inspirational trailer in person if you have the chance.
When he started restoring trailers, Craig, a visual effects artist, knew very little about restoration, but was willing to learn. He used the internet to guide his learning and watched a lot of YouTube to acquire the restoration skills necessary to complete the process. Craig mentioned that restoring a trailer requires mastering several different skills, but they can all be accomplished. Visually, the Thomas’ trailers look completely vintage, but Craig has used his design background to hide all the necessary items to make the trailer totally modern. Their Spartan can be seen in the Vintage Camper Trailers book.
7. 1961 Holiday House Geographic
9. Executive Mauck2 Sprinter Mobile Office
Creative Mobile Interiors custom built this one-off Mercedes for a financial planning company as unique as their color choices (which actually came from their logo)! Built on the proven Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van chassis, the M2 features a stylish body with dramatic windows and additional ten inches of interior width for us to play around with. Dubbing this one a "sleeper", you won't believe what we put inside of this multi-functional vehicle!
A vibrant color scheme fades from grey into wild pops of orange, purple, green, and blue all throughout the flooring and upholstery of the M2. A custom-built partition wall with an electronic privacy window separates the driver's area with A/V controls and an LED TV mounted on the passenger side. Underneath the TV is a custom bar with LED lighting, custom ice chest and bucket, and crystal glassware display. With seating for twelve, the custom-wrapped captain's chairs turn on swivel bases and can face the raised dinette in the rear for an executive conference room when needed. Of course, the vehicle is wi-fi enabled and Apple TV was also integrated.
There are color-changing LED light strips throughout the vehicle, and a black light LED strip in the rear ceiling - this highlights the dinette table that includes a special epoxy resin, making the table GLOW IN THE DARK! In the rear of the Mauck2 there’s a 55” LED TV for outside viewing, a custom self-draining ice chest that is sunken into the floor, and ample storage for personal belongings. Slideshow with more photos.
“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.
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