29 June 2012

Trailer tails

Thanks for all the compliments on my new toy.  From some back end conversations I had with RC, I realized that I should probably give a few more details about these shiny metal looking trailers and what is my fixation with them.  Forgive me if I go long, but I thought I would break this saga up into two posts just to relieve the monotony (or build the suspense).  Bear with me and I will give you a little peek in to agg79's warped family past.  And I promise more pictures of the new trailer next.  

To answer Rock's challenge, yes, they do look like an old Air Force B29 bomber, but that is by design.  This trailer is call an Airstream.  The actual design was based on old aircraft frames the early 30s/40s.  The designer/founder was Wally Byam and he started building travel trailers by hand back in the late 1920's and he even published an article on “How to build a trailer for One Hundred Dollars”.  There was so much demand for more trailers and information, he started a business of building these trailers and they have been on the road ever since.  Of more than 400 travel trailer builders operating in 1936, Airstream was the sole survivor of the Depression.  They are built with an aluminum frame and skin and are structurally stronger than most standard square fiberglass trailers and usually weight less.  One of the original marking ploys Wally used was that the trailer was so lite and well balanced, it could be towed by one guy on a bicycle.  

The original trailers were built torpedo style to cut the wind.  They were the first of several companies to build a “towable” camper and considered a step up from tent camping of the 20's and 30s.  During World War II, travel became a luxury most could not afford and non-military industries faced an acute aluminum shortage. When World War II ended, the economy boomed, and people's attention once again turned towards leisure travel, Airstream went back into production in 1948.   

Airstream trailers have been all over the world.  They seem to have become an iconic treasure from the past.  If you look back at some of the earlier NASA picture of astronauts, you will see an Airstream motorhome used by NASA.  These trailers are built to last years.  There are a number of trailers from the 60s and 70s still in use.  My other trailer is a 25 foot 1979 model (33 years old) Airstream Sovereign.  My "new" one, while looking somewhat newer is actually 16 years old (circa 1996).  My parents belong to an Airstream club that travels all over the US to various rallies.  They joined the club when I graduated from college (ahem, 33 years ago) and have been wandering the highways and byways ever since.  Mom and dad bought their first Airstream in 1979 from my uncle (retired Air Force Colonel who liked to travel the US in style) and, once my dad retired, they joined the club full time and has been out traveling ever since.  My brother and I got sucked into the club 15 years ago.  He bought his first trailer at a swap meet and has had owned several since.  I bought my brother's first trailer from him when he wanted to move up and have had used it for 10+ years.  After countless weekend football games, Airstream rallies, road trips to visit junior in Austin, and one road trip to Branson, Missouri, she may not be the biggest rig in the park, but she has held up well.  Classy.

Shadow standing post as guard dog

Next up:  Changing of the guard...


Abby said...

I've always loved the looks of these AirStreams, but I had no idea one could pull one on a bicycle! I fully understand your affection for them. Will we see pics of the inside soon??

meleah rebeccah said...

Great. Now I want to join an Airstream Club when I retire!

And those really ARE built to last. WOW.

ShadowRun300 said...

Awesome back story! I'm somewhat familiar with the Airstreams as we've done a lot of camping in the past and have seen many of them in the campgrounds. I think American Pickers has a fondness for them as well. :)
I can't wait to read about "The changing of the Guard". I'll hold all my questions until then. Be sure to post the pictures of you pulling it with your bike!
BTW, loved the pics of Shadow. So sweet!

Rock Chef said...

I am now wondering how far the guy on the bike actually towed that trailer. He looks VERY, um, focussed! You would have to get the balance just right - too much at the front and the bike's back wheel gets crushed - too much at the back and the guy is up in the air :-)

Amelia said...

Interesting post.I really very much satisfied with your postings.Thanks for sharing.Airstream benefits and towability without the frills and weight of the Classic models.

Dump Trailers

terri said...

I've never been much for camping, but those trailers make it look pretty appealing! I like the idea of road-tripping and with accommodations like that, it would be pretty comfy.