Airstream Files: How to Launch Your Silver Bullet Dreams

Vintage trailer dreaming.

Vintage trailer dreaming. Or: Bathsheba in a silver bullet.

airstreamHow do you know if an Airstream is right for you?

This is not a question you have asked yourself. You know you want an Airstream. You already know you want to whiz along the highway in your own silver bullet, the landscapes of America standing still while you move move move.

You grew up with grandparents who understood the pleasures of the picnic, for whom the road trip was synonymous with family. You’re nostalgic for a period you have NEVER EVEN LIVED THROUGH.

The Airstream is not a big question mark in your life, it is a giant period and the end of a sentence you haven’t written yet.

Perhaps, like me, you have made a hobby out of scouring other peoples’ Airstream blogs and dreaming about how you would deck out the interior of your own Airstream in a style that nods politely to the era of its birth but moves fashion forward with your favorite textures and colors. Blogs like:

But to identify a longing is one step towards fulfilling it, so today I am putting my own Airstream dreams one step closer to reality. I am taking the knowledge I’ve gathered over a year of reporting on Airstreams for AAA and having some introductory trailer experiences and putting forth a plan to, hopefully, eventually, prettyplease prettyplease, buy my own Airstream.

 Stay overnight in a vintage trailer hotel

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Ok, this isn’t actually an Airstream. It’s an 1954 Anderson 315-TB, from the golden age of travel trailers.

My Airstream dreaming began long ago, but it took a turn towards reality last fall, when I stayed with my husband in a retro trailer at , The Vintages, a vintage trailer neighborhood set up in a rather cushy RV park just outside of Dayton, OR.

When it first opened, the park had six vintage trailers, two of them Airstreams. It must be working for them, for the park is now up to twelve, a range of trailers from the heyday of trailer travel in the 1950s up to a 2014 Airstream Atomic Bambi.

My husband and I got a night away from the kids and stayed in the 1954 Anderson 315-TB, one of the larger trailers on the lot and the one with the obvious mid-century modern allure. Plus, it’s within biking distance of one of the cutest old-timey small towns in Oregon, Dayton.

Okay, an Anderson is not an Airstream, you say. I get it. But It was a first step, one that had all of the characteristics of classic travel trailers — life gloriously laid out in a small, moveable space.

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Indulging me, as usual. He doesn’t care to be photographed.

Each of the older trailers at The Vintages was retrofitted and refurbished by Flyte Camp, a company out of Bend, OR. These guys are my new heroes, since they take old trailers — I’m talking falling-apart, seen-better-days, ready-for-the-trash-heap trailers and give them good old love and elbow grease and age-appropriate parts and make them almost new again.

The Amenities:

The Vintages will quickly make you re-calibrate your idea of what a trailer park is.

  • Queen Size Bed with Lots of Pillows (exceptional comfort)
  • Private Bathroom with Toilet and Shower(adorable, but not for 7-foot-tall people)
  • Fine Hotel Quality Linens and Towels (might be better than at home)
  • L’Occitane Bath Amenities (sniffer’s paradise)
  • His and Hers Robes (or hers and hers, whatev)
  • Caravan Coffee (out of Newberg)
  • Outdoor Patio Area with Chairs and Table
  • Outdoor Propane BBQ
  • Dishes & Silverware
  • 2 Cruiser Bikes (to bike into Dayton)
  • Refrigerator (perhaps the cutest you’ve seen)
  • Microwave
  • Stereo System (nothing wrong with some good tunes)
  • Flat Screen TV (not really necessary in my book, but whatever, float your boat)

 All the Right Details

Each of the trailers is outfitted with special touches and sweet little details that add to the experience without making you feel overwhelmed.

Because let’s get real: Half the reason I want an Airstream is to escape my house, which is overflowing with kids’ stuff, hobby projects and too much of everything.

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Nice touches throughout, like this artfully placed apple and wine guide.

Small-space Savvy

For design geeks like us, just being inside the trailer took up the first four hours of our visit. We opened every cabinet, every drawer, touched every gorgeous light fixture, stared at all of the artwork. We experienced the tiny space like it was designed to be the absolute maximum amount of life in the minimum amount of space, and then we got all nostalgic for a childhood we never had. Basically, we played house.

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Light fixture dorks — check out that galaxy overhead lamp. Just around the corner was a full kitchen including an oven and a refrigerator.

An Invitation to Go Outside

Is there any other place in the world that makes you want to explode outside like Oregon? In our trailer, I found myself doing a lot of longing, and having some of those moments I like to call NOWstalgia, where you’re feeling nostalgic for how you’re going to remember the moment of NOW.

Ok, not an Airstream. This is the Anderson at The Vintages, in Dayton, OR.

I don’t quite have an Airstream wardrobe, if there is such a thing, but that is a 1970s vintage cotton dress, the only thing I want to live in during Oregon summers.

A Quick Escape

And then, when they got hungry, they just jumped on some bikes to go eat at the Barlow Room in Dayton.

And then, when they got hungry, they just jumped on some bikes to go eat at the Barlow Room in Dayton.

An Investment in Happiness

Great. Now you want an Airstream. Me, too. So this is my goal. The Internet is awash with ways to save money to bankroll your dreams and travel like a rock star, but I’m in this for the long-haul. After all, as Airstream founder Wally Byam posited:

The Airstream was intended as a lifetime investment in happiness.

I’m starting an Airstream fund. Maybe I’ll even buy this adorable Airstream bank, which would set my Airstream Dream back $21.53. I firmly believe in visualizing my goals, so this might be just the right way to kick-start my dreams.

That way, if I never actually get a physical Airstream, I can always tell myself I have one anyway.

AirstreamBank

Next up: Getting the husband and kids on board. Isn’t this always part of finessing the dream? For Airstream dreaming, this will mean renting a movable Airstream.

Do you have an Airstream Dream? Or are you crying over some Teardrop Trailer or some such home-away-from-home? How are you working towards your goal?

19 thoughts on “Airstream Files: How to Launch Your Silver Bullet Dreams

  1. Lauren says:

    I love airstreams!! I want a teardrop trailer sometime in the future. Have you checked out Cowgirl Cabins? They’re also out of Bend, and you can rent their vintage trailers that they deliver to your camping spot of choice.

    Like

  2. drvpdemo says:

    That Anderson Trailer looks amazing! Now I want to see it.

    As a full-time Airstreamer since 2006 I have to say, I love all of the classic trailers. The vintage rallies are fun, and the Tin Can Tourists are a neat group as well. Any classic trailer gets me thinking about what else I can do with my own.

    Good luck with your Airstream Dream! And maybe we’ll see you on the road (this is Rich from the Airstream Chronicles).

    Like

    • Emily Grosvenor says:

      Full-time! Amazing! I think there is poetic injustice to staying in an Airsream that cannot go anywhere, but… for those of us who are known to put the cart before the horse, ahem, I think it’s good to try out the options and really explore before you commit. Now I have to find someone to rent me one to take on the road! There’s also a Koa down in Santa Cruz where you can stay in a newer one and send your kids to the on-site summer camp. Bliss! Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • drvpdemo says:

        Growing up I spent many summers with my Meme’ and Pepe’ in a trailer that never moved. It was parked on a lake in Massachusetts. Their summer get away. Not only their summer get away, but the place where some of my best childhood memories were made!

        The trailer was super vintage, and I think that had a lot to do with my decision to get my Airstream a decade ago. As another friend says, “Small house, big back yard!”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. tengel265 says:

    I lived in an 18 footer in college and for a year or so a 24 footer working construction after college. Never an airstream though. I do sometimes miss the simplicity of fewer things, but living this requires effort and planning.

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  4. Britt says:

    You go girl! Thanks for sharing your story and great content contained within! My fiance and I are looking for an aistream currently – planning to hit the back roads of America after the wedding! Keep it up! You’ll get there. Don’t ever let that dream die and keep chasing it til you get the REAL one! (The bank is super cute too!)

    Like

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