By Caroline Lacitinola
“A place for everything, everything in its place.” This Benjamin Franklin quote runs through my mind repeatedly as I walk from trailer to trailer in 105-degree heat, looking for clothes hangers to display t-shirts we will sell at an upcoming rally. Why can’t I seem to get this down? I have a coat rack with this saying on it. I write this saying down on my goal sheet. I know this saying is true and makes life so much easier, so why don’t I do it? I don’t have an answer for you, but I keep striving to make this true in my life.
Prepping for a rally is an old story but one I always reflect on when going through the process. Every camping trip, rally, road trip, or vacation has variables. Tomorrow, we leave for a rally 8 hours from our home. We are going without children. We are leaving the dog at home. Those two sentences take a lot of prep work out of this camping trip.
I am a list maker, and I find they are more and more necessary the older I become. I will remember for a moment, and if I don’t write it down at that moment, it may not make it to the event. I have lists for food, personal hygiene, our store, camping gear, dog needs, outfits, etc. WRITE IT DOWN – CHECK IT OFF!
Divide and conquer. If you have a camping partner, divide the responsibility of prepping for a trip. In our home, the lines are blurred, but Paul ensures the trailer is safe and ready for the road while I buy and pack and inventory supplies. The blurry lines sometimes result in things that don’t make it into the camper for an event, but after 15 years, we both realize that it wouldn’t be camping if we remembered everything! (Pillows are always a contender for not making it as we both prefer to bring our own, and they are last-minute additions as we run out of the house at o-dark-thirty.)
While reflecting on life, you never remember the times when everything went 100% as planned. You tell the stories of tires blowing, kids getting sick, luggage catching on fire, sleeping on a cot in a minivan, awning poles going through the side of a trailer, and many other crazy tales that come from doing life. So, when things don’t go as planned, take a deep breath, and remember that it will make a story to tell down the road.
This note is a glimpse into my scattered mind as I race around, getting ready for a rally. I did find the hangers. After looking in all the right places, storage shed, enclosed trailer, the last camp trailer we used at an event, back to the storage shed, back through the enclosed trailer, they were in the last place I looked. The other truck that we used at our previous event! Sure enough, the hangers were neatly boxed and ready to go in that truck. OH, DEAR!
Looking forward to hearing everyone’s stories around the firepit.
What do you make sure you don't leave home without? Comment below.
By Clint Cox
In July of 2020, I transported a Spartan Carousel (10x50) through Tulsa, OK. Knowing that the Spartan factory had been razed a year (or two) earlier, I decided to leave the highway and pull the trailer onto the factory floor (located at the south end of the western runway at Tulsa International Airport). I figured I could take some pictures for the new owner of the Spartan I had in tow. I wasn’t there all of 10 minutes when a car pulled up on the pad, and a lady jumped out and was in awe of the trailer. She introduced herself as Tonya Blansett, the executive director of the Tulsa Air & Space Museum (TASM). She asked if I could bring the trailer to the museum, to which I happily agreed. I opened the trailer up so that all of TASM’s employees and volunteers could have a look. In exchange, I was given a quick tour of the museum hangar, which houses three Spartan airplanes, including the last one built, an Executive! An instant friendship was made, and upon departing, Tonya casually mentioned that they had a flat, open field next to the museum, in case we ever want to organize a rally.
The idea of a rally stuck in my head. I had been involved with Spartan trailers for about eight years since purchasing my own 1959 Royal Manor. It dawned on me that 2021 would be the 75th Anniversary of trailer production’s beginnings. I became excited about the rally idea and spoke with a few trailer restorers. They all felt that a rally in Tulsa would be a great idea. A Facebook page was started to gauge interest and Chance Ty, one of the group members, was a graphic artist, so I asked him to design a rally poster. Early in the fall of 2020, I posted the rally poster and announced that there would be a rally a year from now. Ryan Rice, another graphic artist in our group, who had just purchased a 1956 Executive Mansion, offered to help me with merch. We designed hats, T-shirts, bath towel sets, and a beautiful commemorative blanket depicting five popular Spartan trailer models from 1946 to 1959. Read the entire article in issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. Click "Read More" below for more photos.
In a personal history sort of way, the Trail Along to Pismo rally most likely began to formulate in June of 1963. We spent our honeymoon camping in an “umbrella” tent in Sequoia National Park for a week. In those days, most regular folks did not go far from home for their wedding celebrations like they do today. We continued camping in a tent until we purchased our first new truck and camper in 1967. We joined a camper group and belonged to it on and off for about 40 years (became secretary-publisher of the newsletter/flyer for a few years) and eventually had a couple of different sized motorhomes while we raised our four children. Members of the club took turns planning these just camping (and dune buggy) type rallies. We still belonged to the club until just after buying our first vintage trailer in 1999, and then — there was no going back.
We attended the Newport Dunes Rally a couple of years before I voluntarily assisted with publishing its newsletter and events for the wagonmaster, Craig Dorsey. The following year, when it appeared it would not be happening, I asked the wagonmaster if I could do it, and it was a yes. Altho’ it regularly had 100 vintage trailers, we could only obtain 75 sites at such late notice. The staff at Newport Dunes was very helpful.
We began attending small rallies mostly in northern California, a couple in southern California and Arizona enjoying and exploring the vintage trailer world with the old-timers and the newcomers. We kept seeing Bob and Cindy Ross at many of the rallies throughout this time. One day I received a call from Cindy Ross asking me to join her and Bob and one other in planning and organizing an unnamed event at Pismo Coast Village. Cindy found Pismo Coast Village Resort on the internet and felt it was an excellent location to bring northern and southern Californian trailerites together in one place. We were used to hosting many teams, birthday, school, work, graduation parties, and receptions in our backyard. I replied with a yes since I often organized events at my place(s) of work before retirement. Even though Chuck Miltenberger was not listed as a wagonmaster, he was always present, supporting and assisting with all aspects of the rally.
Bob and Cindy were, and still are the canned ham specialists. It seemed everyone either owned a restored trailer or had one worked on by them. Their specialty at Pismo was the number of trailer folks they knew which was essential in getting the first word out on Pismo. They were and still are highly respected and popular amongst trailerites. Planning began in 2007, and it took 3 or 4 months to fill the spaces. Later on, it took less than 24 hours. We went by postmark as we accepted checks by snail mail. We also did not charge any registration fee. We decided it would be the party we gave. The waiting list grew longer every year. The most challenging part was putting names on a waiting list, recognizing how badly they wanted to join the Pismo experience, and we wanted to share it with them, too.
Little did we realize at the time how this rally would take on a life of its own and grow and grow and grow. Cindy and I were concerned and anxious if we would even be able to fill the 100 sites we had. We ended up adding sites and think we had 125 sites that year. The following year it grew to 160. Then I think we had a year of maybe 225 trailers. Pismo notified us that they were giving 300 of their 400 sites to us; we had this number of sites for at least the last two years of the event.
In retrospect, I think Pismo’s key to success was founded on
Communication * Respect * Patience * Commitment * Common Interests
Eventually, Pismo took up a whole bedroom in my home filled with packets, mementos, and an assortment of items we would bring with us. I initially began with 5 or 6 lists of everything to check and double-check all the lists and activities. I knew if you over-planned an event, it would happen, maybe not in all the ways expected. Still, it would happen and hopefully be acceptable. I’d try to maintain a sense of humor and be flexible to roll with unexpected happenings. Planning and follow-up was a “big” part-time job. It was a double-edged sword; I loved it, but it was almost all-time consuming because we cared so much, but we chose to do it because we wanted to do it. Trailer rally and show organizers can attest to the extra time it takes to pay attention to extra phone calls and emails, but if someone has a question, you can be sure others probably have the same one.
The first year we offered nachos, and a couple of other folks brought some finger food. After that, we made it a finger food potluck and everyone attending trailer trash night contributed. We did not have a dinner potluck due to the size of the area because there was no place to seat everyone if they all chose to attend at one time.
We put together a small Welcome to “Trail Along to Pismo” booklet each year. It contained a Table of Contents which included happenings and activities such as kite flying (hosted by Charlie Wallace and Sherry Trochta), movie night (Chris Hart & Phil Noyes), Pismo vintage bowling (Karinne & Rod Olsen), Best Breakfast (Lynn & Larrie Follstad), door prize and gift exchange (Bob & Cindy), vintage trailer swap meet (rally participants), public walk-about/open house, trailer trash happy hour and finger food potluck (Chuck & Toni’s family & friends), occasional after-parties at various sites, and the Tumble Weed Sunday get-together (Andy Broomhead & Mary Bourke) for those remaining an extra day. Brad Boyajian would supply his 1935 Helm’s truck that we drove around the resort. Steve Hingtgen of Vintage Trailer Supply provided a variety of gifts for the campers each year. We listed each trailerite, their site number, trailer yer/model, in the booklet. In addition, we tried to include an educational, historical page with an excerpt from a vintage book or article in each edition. In 2011, we even published a 4th annual Trail Along to Pismo yearbook. I made amateur videos of attending vintage trailers which were given to those who contributed a picture for four of the years.
After we retired from the Pismo Rally, we assisted Cindy in putting on the Cindy Ross Chula Vista Rally its first year. Then Cindy’s mother took it over until the Chula Vista Resort temporarily closed.
Even though it was time-consuming, it was a pleasure to hear the comments and to see the smiles on everyone’s face during and after the event. Those happy faces were encouraging and motivating to us to endeavor to bring it back each year to make “Trail Along to Pismo” the event that it became; but, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em — Know when to fold ‘em — Know when to walk away” . . . and so, it was time to retire and to pass the baton to other wonderful trailerites who continue to plan, organize and create wonderful rallies available for those who share our commitment to each other and our trailers.
With thanks, love, hugs, & smiles,
September 1-4, 2017
By Ben Stiles, Ed.D.
What do you get when you combine, a 1962 Corvair Greenbrier van camper, a 1964 Airstream, a 1966 Serro Scotty, 13 VW buses, a small smattering of tents, and a fun-loving group of people to fill them with camping memories? One great campout: Kampers near Knoebels XVII!
For the past 17 years, we have hosted Kampers near Knoebels at Indian Head Campground in Bloomsburg, PA over the long Labor Day weekend. In the early years, the campout focused exclusively on camper vans (and VW bus campers in particular). Camper van conversions by such well-known companies as Adventurewagon, Dormobile, Travel Equipment Corporation, Turtle Top, and of course Westfalia have graced the group camping area over the years. Due to the changing interests of the host family, the event has evolved over the years to include owners of vintage camper trailers manufactured by Airstream, Apache, Burro, Compact Jr., Eriba, Nimrod (tent trailers), Serro Scotty, and Sprite. Basically the love of camping in most anything small denotes the current theme of the event.
The annual event logos are created by event organizer Lynn Stiles, who has a graphic design background. Each logo is based on a different ride attraction at Knoebels Amusement Resort, but with a twist. Camper vans and vintage camper trailers are integrated into each ride design, thus infusing the theme of the campout. Amusement rides such as the Phoenix roller coaster, Italian swings, train, bumper cars, carousel, ribbit, pony carts, and many others have been the basis for event logos over the years.
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Blog
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