Restored vintage travel trailers bring past alive
The Pine Near RV campground in Winthrop was awash in the pastels, reds and turquoises of vintage travel trailers this past weekend during the annual Winthrop Vintage Wheels show.
Retro cars of all kinds rolled through the streets of town, but the real party was happening up on the hill at the trailer park. More than 40 vintage trailers, some dating back to the 1940s, gathered for a weekend-long celebration of vintage caravan kitsch.
“It’s like taking a walk back in time,” Anna Kominak, owner of the Pine Near RV campground and organizer of the event said. “I love to see the vintage trailers and all the fun people. It’s a big old vintage party.”
Larry and Sonja Johnson towed their 1953 Aljoa behind their bright red 1953 Ford F-100 truck from Otis Orchards, Washington, for the show.
“It’s a people magnet,” Larry Johnson said, standing outside his immaculately restored red-and-orange-striped trailer.
The couple found the trailer on a relative’s property in Montana, overgrown and surrounded by trees, and lovingly restored it over three years. The interior has been completely rebuilt, but the couple refurbished some original features, such as rounded birch cabinetry and wall sconces. “Sonja worked hard to get the grease off those cabinets. This was a rancher’s cook wagon for years and you could tell,” Larry said.
The couple has a handful of different vintage trailers and have traveled over the lower 48 with them over the years. “Winthrop is our favorite place to come,” Larry Johnson said.
Laid back pace
Across the way from the Johnsons, Penny and Blair Beebe enjoyed a leisurely morning outside their red-and-white 1959 Flamingo with their longhaired dachsunds, Maggie and Charlie. The Beebes came over from Blaine for the Winthrop event — as they have for the past five years — even though there is a vintage trailer show in Lynden, near their home, which takes place the same weekend.
“We like the size and crowd here better,” Penny said. “It’s laid back, smaller. We also love the old cars and the town of Winthrop. It’s great to be on this side of the mountains.”
Penny Beebe’s family started a resort on Birch Bay in the 1930s that had a large area for caravans. Blair proudly displayed sepia-toned photographs of row upon row of trailers parked at the resort in the 1950s.
“This trailer is our way of celebrating Penny’s family and that history,” he said.
For Randee Colyar, restoring her 1961 Oasis has been a labor of love. Colyar spray painted the bright turquoise exterior herself and has filled the interior with Western artwork and antiques.
“A lot of work still needs to be done, but I’m learning as I go,” she said. Colyar and her husband, Bill, drove the long 19 miles up from Carlton to celebrate their love of vintage trailers with fellow enthusiasts from all over the Northwest. Will they be back next year?
“Heck yeah!” Randee Colyar said with a smile.