StoryCorps’ Airstream 4

001_1346I have always said “everyone has a story”. When I was dreaming of owning a travel trailer years ago, my goal was to travel the US and find folks from small towns to big cities and find out their unique story. One doesn’t have to be famous, rich, well-educated or a certain race or religion. Each human being on this planet has a story. So, when I read about StoryCorps it struck a chord with me and I’m intrigued with the notion of this non-profit. Their motto is “Every Voice Matters” and I couldn’t agree more. This great country of ours is built on the fascinating people who live here. What an amazing way to honor the citizens of the United States by  hearing and appreciating the stories of their lives. Here is a brief overview from StoryCorps website:

“StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.

In the coming years we will build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.”

StoryCorps also has a MobileBooth that travels the country and guess what? It’s an Airstream!!! Awesome article from the Washington Post that was sent to me this morning by my sister, Joan Sullivan “MacArthur Foundation awards millions to 13 organizations for ‘creativity and effectiveness’. Congratulations, StoryCorps!

Check out the “Cheese” version of the Airstream MobileBooth that was made in Fargo, ND!

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Photo source: StoryCorps

Santa Barbara Auto Camp Reply

Let’s face it ~ we’ve all done the typical hotel stays. Some better than others but, hotels are hotels. Why not opt for a stay in a hip, retro, stylish and super comfy Airstream travel trailer turned hotel? I have searched the world to bring you information on Airstream hotels and I’m so thrilled to have learned about this revitalized concept: Santa Barbara Auto Camp. I contacted Wally Hofmann and he was so gracious to share with me the history below and all of these magnificent photos. I have promised Wally that I will for sure be stopping by on my next trip to California. So, give up the hum-drum hotel stay and book yourself into the coolest lodging in Santa Barbara. You will then experience for yourself what all the hype is about when it comes to the iconic American Airstream travel trailers! Happy Glamping in 2013!

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AIRSTREAM HOTEL OPENS IN SANTA BARBARA, CA

SB Auto Camp Grand Opening Celebrates 90-year Anniversary

Great article published by the Santa Barbara Independent!

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A unique and luxuriously nostalgic lodging experience awaits travelers to California’s Central Coast. Ninety years of history have been resurrected with the restoration and reopening of the historic Santa Barbara Auto Camp located in the heart of Santa Barbara, just a 15-minute walk from the old Santa Barbara Mission.

For the past month, neighbors have been admiring the re-landscaped park entrance that features four smartly renovated Airstream trailers. The SB Auto Camp is part of an existing RV park that houses 30 other trailers from varying manufacturers. Several dozen local residents live full-time at the park – some have called it home for more than four decades. The Airstreams are now available for nightly rentals online.

The SB Auto Camp is located a short bike ride southeast of Santa Barbara’s bustling Downtown shopping district. Major shopping centers are within a half mile and quaint local shops, services and eateries are next door and across the street on De La Vina.

These vintage Airstreams have been hand-renovated exclusively for the SB Auto Camp by local Architect Matthew Hofmann’s custom renovation firm, HofArc. “Each Airstream has been uniquely designed to connect yesterday with today, without giving up modern comforts,” says Hofmann. “Our spaces also help connect people with their inner souls and outer environment… and one way we did this was to maintain simple lines and remove the clutter.”

A CENTURY OF HISTORY

In 1915, visionary Santa Barbara City Councilman A.W. Dozier embraced the notion that motorists would stop for the night on their tour of the Golden State’s central coast. He believed that motorist would “lay in a supply of groceries, take in our theatres, spend a little money and get an idea of what Santa Barbara really is.” Within four years, the City of Santa Barbara opened a campground for visiting motorist. In 1922, the Santa Barbara Auto Camp was opened at its current location.

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Today, as in the past, Central Coast travelers are attracted to a road-less-traveled mindset. By the mid 1920’s, the travel trailer had yet to be invented, so motorists adapted their cars into custom-made “caravans” in search of solitude and adventure.

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The same vision prompted Santa Barbara businessman Neil Dipaola to reinvent the wanderlust experience by re-inviting today’s traveler to the SB Auto Camp. “The SB Auto Camp’s mission is to be true to a time when travelers were drawn by the simplicity of life,” says Dipaola. “From the vintage Airstreams, to the decor, to friendly local color, our goal is to honor the authenticity of the past. This quiet cluster of oaks, located within the heart of local shopping and eateries, allows guests to rediscover the magic.”

RESTORING THE PAST

Longtime residents know the rich history of this secret pocket of Santa Barbara, but not many know how thousands of travelers camped in farmer’s fields and along hidden creeks, to spend the night during their trips up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. The blended goal of drawing travelers back into town, while protecting the fragile ecosystem surrounding Santa Barbara, is what created this rural oasis along Mission Creek in 1922, and it still does today.

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For millennia, fresh water springs from Cathedral Park have fed Santa Barbara’s Mission Creek. The sleepy creek, seasonally wet or dry, meanders through Mission Canyon, past the historic Santa Barbara Mission, continuing to the SB Auto Camp where it lingers demurely in still ponds along this tree-covered setting.

RESPECTING THE PRESENT

Each Airstream comfortably sleeps four people and has been locally renovated in Santa Barbara with sustainable construction methods and materials. The units feature all new, all-electric appliances, home-style fixtures and creature comforts found in luxury lodging. Each Airstream also comes with its own outdoor barbecue grill and complimentary use of two retro-styled Huffy beach cruisers and riding helmets.

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The SB Auto Camp is working in harmony with the existing park residents. “We want to cultivate a truly local experience for our nightly guest, so we’ve welcomed all long-term residents to stay,” says park manager Ryan Miller. Four vacant spaces a the park were filled with four renovated vintage Airstreams. A fifth space will be available in early 2013 with the departure of another resident.

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For reservations and information, click here. Special Grand Opening Rates starting at just $118/night midweek – weekends are just $150/night.

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For more on Santa Barbara’s auto transformation, see The Way It Was, by Hattie Beresford, published in the Montecito Journal on August 31, 2006.

For photographs and other media inquiries, contact Wally Hofmann, wally@hofarc.com or (805) 618-2461 x 102

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Photo source: SB Auto Camp

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Can-Am RV Centre 12

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After a two night stay in Jackson Center, OH at the Airstream Factory we headed north to London, Ontario for our next stop ~ Can-Am RV Centre. The trip was only 291 miles but, crossing the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit to Ontario was pretty challenging. You see, we accidentally ended up in the truckers lane. We were sandwiched between a dozen semi-trucks all trying to merge into one lane. Hub’s was driving and did an excellent job keeping Beatrice safe. The customs official wasn’t happy with us at all either for being in the wrong lane (oh well, we learned!!). But, alas we made it across the bridge safely and into Canada!

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After getting through all the road construction and massive traffic jams in Windsor, Ontario, the drive was very lovely. Wind turbine farms abound along with expansive rural farms, make the landscape breathtaking.

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I have been communicating with Andy Thomson, the owner of Can-Am RV and towing expert extraordinaire, for months now. Andy and his uber experienced staff are “The Towing Specialists”. I call them the experts!! Can-Am RV Centre has been selling Airstreams for 42 years and for the past 35 years they have been doing a great deal of experimenting with different tow vehicles looking for better handling performance and economy. You see, as Newbie’s we were receiving conflicting opinions from many Airstreamers on which is the best hitch, if our TV (tow vehicle) is adequate enough to tow a 7,600 pound trailer and on and on. Andy assisted me tirelessly and was always there to answer all of my questions and concerns. Explaining all there is to know about the hitching system, brake controllers, tires et al. I stayed steadfast with Andy’s recommendations and purchased a Hensley Arrow hitch, DirecLink Brake Controller and new Michelin tires P235/75R x 15” XL (extra load) which Can-Am installed for us.

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Andy Thomson also writes an article in each issue of Airstream Life Magazine about towing. You can see several video here and read many articles about towing here.

Beatrice being taken away for service and inside the service centre at Can-Am.

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My sincerest thanks goes out to Andy and his staff that assisted us: Marshall McLean, John Watterton, Phil Tipler, Phil Willer and Wendy Vandevyvere ! You all are so amazing to work with. Your customer service is bar none the best in the industry. You made us feel welcome, assisted us with our personal needs for an overnight stay and really opened up our eyes to how a hitch and it’s components are supposed to work. It was worth the extra mileage, time and money to have the Hensley hitch fine tuned and the new tires installed by Can-Am.

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A superb restaurant, Pasto’s Grill, is just down the street from Can-Am. We thoroughly enjoyed both our dinner that evening and lunch the next day. It’s really good and worth a visit the next time you are in London, Ontario!

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A Ford Taurus SHO towing a 34′ Airstream set up by Can-Am

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We were off to our next adventure after a very productive overnight at Can-Am. We actually were very happy to have experienced our hitch “prior” to the fine tuning that Can-Am provided because the difference was “Night and Day”! When we drove off the lot at Can-Am the ride was so much smoother, more stable and we could barely tell we were towing a trailer. It truly was heavenly!! Thank you, Andy and Can-Am RV ~ you have made our towing experience a pleasure now and we learned so much. I highly recommend Can-Am to anyone and everyone who is looking for an RV or needs exceptional service and knowledge. I only wish I lived closer to Can-Am. We’ll see you all again for sure!

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Our next stop was in Tecumseh, Ontario where fellow Airstreamers Paul & Mary O. graciously offered us “Courtesy Parking” in their driveway complete with electrical hook-up. To add to an extraordinary evening with our new friends, Paul insisted on treating us to his favorite rib joint, Tunnel Bar-B-Q and it was sensational. Our sincerest thanks to Paul and Mary! I have said it before and I’ll say it again “You Meet The Nicest People In An Airstream”!!

Photo source: Anna Sullivan Photography