In a sea of RVs, the vintage models attract attention with their bright aquamarine and yellow exteriors compared to the standard white and beige.
And Sandy Muffley said she has no problem with the celebrity a vintage trailer brings, according to the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune. In fact, the La Crosse, Ind., resident relishes the fact that her trailers often serve as greater conversational pieces than homes away from home. All 10 of them.
“I’ve seen older couples give us a thumbs-up when we’re traveling,” Muffley said. “They look nostalgic and bring back memories.”
She and her husband, Mike, brought their 1966 Blazer to the South Bend East KOA campground late last week for the second annual Vintage Trailer Jam in Granger. Their nine other trailers are at home, some fully restored and operable and others sitting idle or at the mechanic shop.
Each trailer has a name. The white and aqua Blazer is called “Annie” because Mike gave it to Sandy as an anniversary present. It’s rather small at 14 feet, and there is no hot water, oven or TV.
“This is basically just for sleeping,” Mike said, as he explained how the bunk, dinette and couch can sleep as many as six people. “But most people would eat at the picnic table, and maybe if it rained you would play Monopoly in here. It’s not much of a weekend getaway to take everything with you.”
That said, another vintage trailer across the road featured many of the luxuries of home. While “vintage” is considered campers produced before 1980, Patricia Schenk owns one of the first luxury motorhomes ever produced.
At 26 feet, the KOA owner’s bright yellow 1973 GMC is nearly double the size of the Blazer, and aside from the gold, beige and brown retro interior color scheme, it feels much more modern.
“We put in new lights, a flat-screen TV, but kept everything else as original as possible,” Schenk said. “The stove, countertop, and these swivel chairs are all original.
“And she’s a thirsty old lady,” Schenk added, bashfully noting how the trailer only gets about seven miles to the gallon. Still, she looks out the window at the newer models at the campground and dismisses the thought of ever trading it in.
“You could pay me a million dollars and I wouldn’t. No way, never,” she said, shaking her head. “This is something that is in your blood. And it makes you feel like a kid again. This weekend, I was excited whenever another pulled in.”
The Vintage Trailer Jam attracted 30 campers, who came from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Tennessee. That’s more than double the dozen or so trailers that attended the first Granger rally last summer.
Schenk and Muffley, who share the responsibility of organizing and marketing the event, believe they could draw 60 to the KOA next summer. Maybe more.
The event is already slated for July 29 through Aug. 1, and several vintage camper owners registered before they even pulled off the grounds on Sunday.
“Our goal is to fill the park,” Schenk said. “There’s so much camaraderie among vintage owners.”
Muffley agreed as she looked over at their trailer from her spot at a nearby picnic table between family and friends.
“We have a connection, and what better place to be than here since it’s known as the RV capital of the world,” Muffley said. “And everyone is proud of their babies. I know we’re proud of ours.”