Boomer Cafe March 2013
Well, not everyone’s lucky enough to call themselves baby boomers, but should we hold it against them if they come close? At BoomerCafé, we don’t, which is why we want to tell you about Tim Shephard, who has a book called Restoring a Dream. Read this excerpt and you’ll see, Tim might as well have been born along with the rest of us! And he is prepared to travel.
While it’s true I’m not a boomer, I know that I’m one in heart. While I missed being a boomer by four short years, I still enjoy “older” stuff. Some of my favorite television shows are I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners. That Jackie Gleason is a crack up! I wear fedora hats, in the great 50s style, and I enjoy my vintage 1960 Airstream.
Being able to travel the country was a dream for my wife and me, but a big part of that was doing it responsibly. This meant doing it without being in debt. We also didn¹t want to wait until we retired, because life offers no promises for the future. I set out to find a way to achieve our goals and decided the best way was to “invest” in a travel trailer. Not a new trailer, but an old or vintage one.
Back in the day when things were built by hand by craftsmen who cared about their work. Of course, this couldn¹t be just any brand of vintage trailer, no, no, no. Only one would fit the bill for a responsible “investor” in vintage. The trailer had to be the iconic Airstream.
My wife found our 1960 Airstream on eBay of all places, and after some nail-bitting edge-of-our-seat bidding, we won. Or did we? The trailer was 2400 miles from our home in Northern California and we had only seen a few photos of it in the auction. Nothing like jumping in with both feet!
After a four-day road trip we reached our trailer. Oh, boy. As I looked around at the Airstream, “winning” was not something that came to mind. There were rusted-out frames, missing roof vents, and the best discovery was the front couch. The photos showed a lovely U-shaped couch in a burgundy color with a Route-66 pattern. What it turned out to be was a simple 2×4 wood structure screwed to the floor with material literally thumb-tacked to the wood! Oh well, in for a penny …
We survived our “Recovery mission” and returned safely home with our vintage baby. I set out the next year to restore the trailer to better than new, but staying true to it¹s generation. The frame and floor damage was repaired. Frame upgrades were performed, and appliances and furnishing replaced. Doing the work ourselves kept us within our budget, but more than that, our Airstream became “ours.” It was rebuilt with our personal touches.
We¹ve been on many adventures in our 1960 vintage Airstream, including our first cross-country trip. We were able to visit many national parks and attractions that we would never have been able to see. Even more important is that we were able to visit family in several states from California to Florida, and I still have 10 years until retirement!
Our vintage Airstream is worth three times our investment, and we¹re ready to enjoy it for ten years and beyond …
Follow Tim online at Restoring a Dream.