----- Perfect week for this chapter, Thanks Ken Burns! ----

It was a couple of months before I drove up to Long Beach to get my Styleline that my wife started looking for a 12 or 14 foot “can-o-ham” style travel trailer. After digging around on Google, Craigslist, Ebay and Flickr she had decided that if we were going to get an early ‘50s sedan, then we had to have a vintage family camper to match.

The Shasta’s were the cool ones, and it turns out, everyone that is into these things knows it. Way too desirable, all the ones that are listed anywhere are already restored and are very expensive. Way out of our league.

She would email sellers on Craigslist and never get a response. Not that we had the loot to pick one up… but I’m sure that if she found one that was reasonably priced and not a POS, we would have scraped the cash together to nab it.

You see, what she was thinking was this: Get a 50's Sedan. Get a vintage travel trailer. Pack up the boys and vacation at a National Park. Grand Canyon, Tetons, Jellystone. Sounds like heaven...


Fast forward a couple of months. I have the Styleline running on the stock driveline. The fuel pump fails. I get it running again, but I want to drive it around for a bit close to home just incase it decides to die on me. So, I’m tooling around on a street just a couple of blocks away from home…

There is this travel trailer sitting in front of a house at the end of a loop. Flat tires, dirty. Yellow. I pull past it and in the driveway is an all stock, rusty 1929 Model A Pheaton and a custom Ford Shoebox. The garage door is open, and inside are two more hit rods, a 1932 Ford pickup and a 30 or 31 Model A coupe… I gotta meet this guy!

I knock on the door, one of the kids inside yells “Dad, one of your friends is here” (I must have the “look”). When he comes to the door, I ask “Is that your travel trailer?”. “Yeah” is the answer.

“Wanna sell it?”

“No, man. You can have it”

Kick ass! We talk for a while and Adam (that’s his name) and I arranged for me to get the trailer once his family is back from Portland. Turns out he is relocating, and had no idea what to do with the trailer in such a short period of time.

I really wish I had met him a long time before that day. Nothing like meeting someone so into what you are into, that lives less than a mile from your house a month before they are leaving for good.

The last thing I did before leaving Adam’s house was to figure out the bolt pattern on the trailer’s wheels. They would have to be replaced. 5 on 4.5” - Early ‘70s Mopar… that meant a trip to Sweetwater Auto Wrecking.

Sweetwater is an interesting place, run by this guy Mark and his dad. They specialize in Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth. I always put on my best “Yes, Sir” attitude when dealing with Mark’s dad (Mark is never around). Real proper, conservative… maybe a little of the old “Get Off My Lawn”. He gave me grief for parking the Chevrolet out front.

We make a deal, 2 straight wheels for $10 and a box of stuff I had left over from my ’63 Plymouth project.

Once they were sanded up and painted as close a blue to the Chevy as I could find in the spraypaint aisle at Home Depot, I was off to Welch’s Tires in Barrio Logan to get a set of used tires with the whitewall shaved wide.


It’s a 12’ 1965 Cascade. It needs work (a lot), but we are a step closer to the having our picnic basket stolen by Yogi and Boo Boo.


  • Joe

More like this:


FullFlavorPike Oct. 4, 2009 @ 10:07 p.m.

When I was a kid I spent a summer in one of those campers, parked on the lawn of the family homestead. It was kind of a "just for the hell of it" thing, but ultimately pretty sweet.


nan shartel Oct. 4, 2009 @ 10:31 p.m.

oh i love those little trailers...and I've been watching Ken Burns the National Parks the best idea ever all this week too

I've never been to Yellowstone but to Secquoia and Yosemite many times...climbed El Cap

great blog


Joe Poutous Oct. 5, 2009 @ 8:40 a.m.

Pike: Sounds like a rad way to spend a summer as a kid. Your own little domain, huh..

Nan: I have really enjoyed the Ken Burns series, too. I had no idea that so many sacrificed so much to see the Parks happen.

Yellowstone is really amazing, I went there as a kid. Can't wait to get my kids out there!

  • Joe

CuddleFish Oct. 5, 2009 @ 8:50 a.m.

What a great thread, Joe! I love the two pictures!! I want those trailers and those cars!!

You are so blessed to know about these things! I look forward to reading more and can't wait for you to have your trailer fixed up!


SDaniels Oct. 5, 2009 @ 9:16 a.m.

"Thanks Ken Burns!"

It was on all week chez us, too. That theme music got a little old! Should have set up a drinking game, for every time the word "democracy" came up :)


Joe Poutous Oct. 5, 2009 @ 7:53 p.m.

Fish: It's an obsession. I dream about them. I draw them. I study way to much before I make any decisions about what to do with my projects.

If you want to get hooked, find a 60's sedan to start with. The 4 door cars are not nearly as cool as the 2 doors, but they are usually in better shape and are cheaper. If you find the right one, you can probably get away with only having to throw a new battery and a brake job at it before you are having fun with it.

Something like this: http://sandiego.craigslist.org/ssd/cto/1408140776.html

Or better yet - get a pickup! If you search around you can usually find a nice 60s Chevy truck for around $4000.

Cars from the 50s are too damn cool, but require alot to be real drivers. They still have the 6 volt battery, really bad brakes and unless you find a car with an automatic, get used to driving 55 on the freeway.

SD: Everyone finished their drink anytime the words "for the people" is uttered.

  • Joe

nan shartel Oct. 5, 2009 @ 8:07 p.m.

i got the perfect old truck...NOW to find the perfect trailer...yippee!!!

i love the pictures too tikicult...i was so glad to find that THE READER would upload pics for our blogs...altho i've only put up my lacy bras and dancing rats so far

u know that pic is worth a thousand words thingie pal


CuddleFish Oct. 6, 2009 @ 12:23 a.m.

LOLOL Nan, you are the best!!! xxxx

Joe, I have a 1982 Nissan Sentra sitting in my driveway THREE YEARS!!! :(


Joe Poutous Oct. 6, 2009 @ 7:49 a.m.

Nan - what kind of truck do you have? Any pix online? Fish - You gotta ditch that Nissan!

  • Joe

CuddleFish Oct. 6, 2009 @ 9:06 a.m.

Oh, hon, the car kept stalling, so I took it to my mechanic. He said he would fix the carburator, and I asked him if he would fix the indicator lights as well, because a friend had done some work and forgotten to re-connect them. Well, the mechanic forgot to do that, and apparently forgot to check the oil, so when he gave me back my car, yeah, ran great for about a minute, till the engine threw a rod!!! So tried to find an engine for it, no one had one. So it's been sitting there ...

Time for Ecology. :(


Joe Poutous Oct. 6, 2009 @ 9:32 a.m.

Ouch! I hate it when I'm the victim of someone's incompetence. Did you get any satisfaction from the mechanic?

Yeah, call Ecology.


Joe Poutous Oct. 6, 2009 @ 5:22 p.m.

I wonder if Fr. Joe would take it...

Here is a joke for you: How can you tell if it's a cold day in San Diego

A: When Fr. Joe has his hands in his own pockets.


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