Vintage Trailer Jam 2009

 So what was it like at the Vintage Trailer Jam this week?

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Yep, hot and humid. We moved the dates from July to August in the hope of escaping the sweaty weather we experienced last year, but it didn’t help.  This has been the hottest week of the summer.  But that hasn’t stopped everyone from having a really great time.

I wish I was one of the participants of this event, instead of a sponsor/organizer.  It’s the participants who have the most fun.   In contrast, the past two days have been a frenzied time for the organizers and volunteers.  We seem to be constantly troubleshooting problems, and dealing with either setting up or tearing down for the events of the day.  With parking, registration, seminars, electrical and water connections, troubleshooting, answering questions, giving away door prizes, and even making popcorn, there’s little time to enjoy the really cool collection of trailers we have on site.

dsc_1756.jpgAnd we do have some very interesting rigs here.  I’ll post an online album later. We have some rare trailers, including a Winnebago, two Frolics, a KomPac boat camper, plus some more common (but still cool) campers like a fiberglass Trillium, a couple of Shastas, two Serro Scottys, and a bunch of other unusual “canned ham” trailers.  That’s in addition to the many Airstreams, including three Airstream 345 motorhomes, and a GMC motorhome.

The seminars have been a big hit.  I presented twice, on “Camping in National Parks,” and “Boondocking & Courtesy Parking.” Both drew some sizeable and appreciative crowds.  Eleanor presented today on the subject of “Tools and Ingredients For Your Trailer Kitchen,” and she was marvelous.  We also did a short joint seminar on “Backing Up Your Trailer Without Getting Divorced,” which was a lot of fun.

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Colin has also been presenting seminars on restoration topics, while Brett contributed a seminar on vintage motorhomes and co-presented with Colin on the subject of riveting.  Other friends have pitched in with seminars, too.  Vic Smith gave a polishing demo this morning, and our friends Charon and Alex talked brilliantly about “Working and Living On The Road.”  They’ve all been winners, so I’m really pleased with the quality of content we’ve been able to offer this year.  We’ve also had fun alternatives, like the bike ride I led today past six of the park’s springs.

dsc_1784.jpgThe big thing I like about the event is its diversity.  Not only do we have a lot of different trailers, but we have a lot of different people.  Every age from toddler to (nearly) geriatric is represented.  We have 15 kids here this year, and they’ve been out playing soccer and riding bicycles all day.  Some participants come from buttoned-down backgrounds, and others live a somewhat more casual lifestyle.  Charon has even been able to do a little tattoo work here.  The Trailer Jam is a melting pot of people and lifestyles brought together by a common love of vintage trailers.

Since the Jam is a day longer than last year, I have been careful to pace myself and not face the burnout that happened last year.  The workload has been high but by planning carefully (and avoiding the temptation to stay up too late), I’ve been able to carve out an hour or so each day for work or private time with Eleanor.  On Thursday morning we were even able to sneak in 90 minutes to go into downtown Saratoga Springs for a leisurely coffee/tea and pastry breakfast at Mrs. London’s.  That won’t be happening again, but wow, did it feel nice to stretch out and relax for a little while, just the two of us.

The one big bug of the week has been that our refrigerator is acting glitchy. We have  been operating it on electric power for over a month, and when we switched to propane during our first 36 hours here, it stopped cooling.  We didn’t realize this until the wireless thermostat reported 55 degrees inside, and by then the freezer had defrosted. We’ve since switched it back to electric, and made an appointment for next Thursday at an RV service center.  The good news is that since the fridge still cools, so the expensive part of it still works.  The frustrating news is that this refrigerator is only 13 months old.  I have not been impressed with the quality of RV refrigerators made in the past decade.  I’m surrounded by trailers with refrigerators made 40 to 50 years ago, all of which work perfectly and yet very few modern ones seem to survive even eight years.

Tomorrow is the biggest day of all, with the vintage parts flea market, Open House, kids’ program (run by Eleanor), evening entertainment, barbecue dinner and the “big” door prizes.  So we’ve got a lot to look forward to, before we strike the set on Sunday morning.

About the Author

Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine