More than just trailers

Things at Modernism Week 2011 got moving so quickly that I lost my usual rhythm of blogging daily from the road.  On the surface everything went smoothly, but it was the “behind the scenes” action that kept me (and Brett) running around.

mw-2011-snow.jpgSunday was clear and cool, as forecast, and that meant a good steady crowd of visitors all day.  No longer did the mountains look like Hawaii, but the storm from Saturday was clearly visible above us as snow, which made for a fantastic backdrop on our vintage trailer scene.  In this photo everyone is still setting up, and the awnings and vintage decorations were not yet on display.

Since everyone was well-prepared for the show, we didn’t have much to do as organizers, so we were free to browse and talk to the owners and other participants.  They are a fascinating and accomplished group of people. mw-2011-winick-book-signing.jpgFor example, David Winick was in attendance, signing his new book entitled “Winick Airstreams,” which is about his amazing trailer customizations. Uwe Salwender of Area 63 Productions was showing his latest trailer, a 1960s Caravel. The guys from Funky Junk Farms (John, Steven, and Edward) were showing three different rigs, all very unusual, including a custom-made “housecar” on an old International Harvester truck chassis.

And there were many others, includingmw-2011-greg-and-kristiana.jpg Kristiana Spaulding of Silver Trailer and her husband Greg, Kate Heber and John Byfield of the Ecodiscovery Tour, John Long with his amazing 1935 Bowlus trailer … the list goes on. Everyone involved was interesting and fun to talk to.  So it wasn’t just about the trailers.

Most people left after the show on Sunday afternoon, but a few of us hung around for an extra night. mw-2011-rebecca-gohl.jpgDavid Winick’s daughter, Rebecca Gohl, happened to be attending Modernism Week herself, doing styling work for some “Braniff Stewardesses” who were part of the show. Like her father, Rebecca has some serious artistic talent.  She’s also a funny and interesting person who became the epicenter of Sunday night’s social circle.

mw-2011-ladies.jpgWe spent an hour at the suite of Rebecca and her friends, and then a group of eight of us drove downtown to Las Consuelas for Mexican dinner.  The Stuttgart Taxi was in its element when it was puttering down Palm Canyon Drive with two lovely ladies in the back seat.

The next morning it was back to work for Brett and me.  Although everyone else is free to bask in the memories of this fun weekend, we needed to do some scouting for Modernism Week 2012. mw-2011-holiday-house.jpg We’d like to have a much larger venue so that we can stage more trailers, and have an area where non-vintage trailer owners can come camp and enjoy the event as well.  We’ve been looking for months, using Google satellite images and local contacts to research possible spots, so we had narrowed it down to three possible locations to check out on Monday.

It’s too early to confirm anything, but after a few hours of site visits and a good meeting at two locations, I can say that we are off to a solid start. I hope to be able to announce a location and details for next year’s show, sometime this summer.

mb300d-i-10-roadtrip.jpgmb300d-i-10-roadtrip-brett.jpgWe had the option of staying one more night, but with business concluded, Brett and I decided to bail out for the long roadtrip home.   The weather was fine, the desert road was wide open, and the old Merc was raring to go.  We threw our bags in the trunk and pointed the car east on I-10. By 9:30 we were back in Tucson.

It was a great trip in every respect, but next year I have to make one change.  The rest of Modernism Week is too interesting to miss, so I’m going to try to get there earlier.  The architectural tours, exhibits, and talks all sound great.  Several people who were in our show arrived a week early and said they’d had a great time visiting the other exhibits of Modernism Week.  But camping in Palm Springs is somewhat limited, especially for people under age 55 who have a vintage trailer.  If possible, we’ll work up an option that gives trailer owners an “inside track” on the week.  Stay tuned for details on that, later this year.

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Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine