One of the pleasures I had with my “open bookshops” in Haddonfield, New Jersey, (1990-1995), and then in New Preston, Connecticut from 1995-2002, is that when I woke up I did not know what I would own at the end of the day. The phone would ring for a house call, or a car would pull up in front and open its trunk full of books. In fact, Kevin stopped in New Preston, in probably 2000, with boxes of books for sale. Twenty years later we still email, and he sends me boxes of books.
Yesterday, 19 November, was a hectic day finishing up the December CLARION, and the files went to the printer at about 8 PM. Waking this AM I had no real plans. Time for a full day of reading, interspersed with work in the shop. But, then at 9:03, Dr. Dewey sent me an email saying, “Just talked to the guy and he is looking to sell it.” Email thanking Dewey, and then a call to Bruce. He said 1PM to visit in Weston (his woods back up to my car Doctor) was fine. That gave me time to do some research. You know when you talk with someone that things are “just right.”
Now, Ms. T accuses me of not being flexible – and that is not true. Carolyn and I agree that Ms. T is the problem – out for lunch, it has to be 11:30 exactly, or there is a big problem. I have been searching for a 13 foot 1950s-60s “canned ham” (10 foot box) for ease of towing. I have been looking and researching as you know from my posts. I have learned a great deal – what to watch for, and the problems. Let’s not discuss the time spent on-line, and the messages with owners from California to Texas to the Maine border. It is a process, and makes the final action much easier. I chatted with friends Scott and Betty in the Poconos last week. You have met them on my posts. They are pros with Airstreams, and told me to consider a small one. I learned about them, how made, and on and on. Floor plan maybe not exactly what I was thinking I wanted, but again – be flexible.
I arrived at Bruce’s just before 1PM, and we entered his garage.
Introducing LADY RAB III
1965 CARAVEL AIRSTREAM TRAILER
Overall 17 feet – Box/Cabin about 14 feet
now, let me show you inside
note the original unused propane lamp. The trailer and its utilities run on electric or propane.
and, a gallery of interior views you can click to enlarge. Yes, that is a bathroom with toilet and shower.
do you believe in “meant to be’s” – well I do. I went to look at the opposite side, and what did I see, but an original – yes totally original, just like the trailer – 1928 Model A Ford Coupe. You should know my history with Model A Fords.
more “meant to be’s” – well this “A” (which Bruce bought from a museum years ago) was originally from Wilton, Maine, owned by a print shop. Now yes, you had better know my hometown (except Walpole now is) is Wilton, Connecticut, and I have had letterpress printing presses since 1957 – only own six at the current moment.
can you believe all this? I am still pinching myself. I had arranged with Scott and Betty to Facetime with them at 1:30. I toured them through the trailer, including underneath which still has the original aluminum protective covering of the frame — something seldom seen. Bruce will fill me in on the previous owners, but he gave me copies of the paperwork going back, including a copy of the registration for the original New Mexico permanent license plate. Did I tell you, or did you guess, I bought “her.”
and, from my research before I headed to Weston, I found the floor plan of this beauty. You can click for almost full screen view..
I started working on this post to share with you, and realized I had to call Scott and Betty to thank them for the help. Scott’s mind is racing, and he is beginning lists of things to tell me to help me. As we were concluding the call he said, “let’s plan a trip together to the Airstream factory and the RV/ MH Hall of Fame, both in Indiana.” So exciting.
Well, guess that is it for tonight. I have research and learning to do, trips to plan and dream about, and a safe way to avoid some COVID critters. Lots of fun ahead, and you know I will share with you. Excitedly with love, yours, RAY
UPDATE 22 NOVEMBER — I FOUND THE OWNER OF MY GEM (once removed) in Bella Vista, Arkansas. And, following is Lisa’s reply. So thrilling, I will do as much to document “my baby” as I can.
What fun to see our little “Pirate Ship” pictures! We did purchase this Caravel Airstream in November, 2000, as a “Family Christmas” gift. After an especially hot summer in 2000, tent camping and fishing at our favorite spot “Roaring River” in the Mark Twain forest of Missouri, we (husband Mike Million and I) decided that we’d treat ourselves (not necessarily our sons, Spencer and Mitchell) to air conditioning and a bed up off the ground for our future camping fun. We decorated the Caravel in a “pirate” theme, flying the Jolly Roger and using other red, white and black “pirate flags” as our curtains. We had many, many fishing tales with our sons and two nephews and plenty of their friends. That little “Toaster” has seen some fun times, including packing in six or seven sweating little bodies to escape the outdoor temps in the Ozarks. Many times there were more kiddos than bed and floor room, so the boys and company pitched tents outside of the camper.
We purchased the camper from outside of Kansas City at a vintage car dealership, working after sons’ bedtimes and during their sporting events at the restoration. We shined the little gem with the same technique used on airplanes, pulled up the decaying asbestos tile and replaced it. We tried to leave the “integrity” of the camper, but the air conditioning unit and newer refrigerator had been replaced prior to our acquisition. We had the black sofa coverings done at a local upholstery shop. On Christmas Eve, we pulled the Caravel into the driveway and had the boys guess their “big” present by an Airstream ornament on the Christmas tree. You can probably guess that we all four had to sleep in the driveway, in the Caravel, for Christmas Eve. Such great family memories!
When I have a bit more time, I will try to find some of the pictures of the camper when we acquired it and after restoration. My oldest nephew is now 29 and younger nephew is 25, so during the “hay day” of our camping, fishing, hiking, biking expeditions we had boys that were ages 12, 10, 8 and 6. Fishing was the prime focus, but those boys couldn’t sit still long enough to catch a thing. We had bikes, hikes, board games, hide and seek, kites, rafts, swimming….. Never a dull moment!
Our sons are now 22 and 27 years old. But they definitely have very fond memories of the little “Pirate Ship”. As we had a FaceTime session with oldest son, Spencer, from Tokyo this weekend, the entire troop of local son and nephews were talking about our camping adventures. So glad we had that trailer to help survive those memories!
Hope you enjoy the Caravel as much as we did! It will definitely grab attention in a camping area of big rigs, slide outs and “mansion on wheel” units! We were asked about our little gem often.
Cheers to a Unique Little Airstream!