The 2003 Rocky Mountain VAC Rally started in Denver with a caravan of
eight vintage Airstreams winding their way out of Denver to our destination in
La Veta, located in South Central, Colorado.

- click on images to enlarge -

Along for the ride was a NBC Nightly News crew joining us for the weekend,
documenting our experiences for later national viewing

Our campsite was located at
Circle the Wagons, along the Cucharas River
at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the twin towering Spanish Peaks, Colorado's oldest mountains.
This year, 40 VAC'ers (90 participants in all!) from across the nation joined us for aluminum experiences, from Oregon and CA in the West to NY and FL in the East.

We elected to double up, sharing campsites
so we could be all together. VACers mixed
and matched electrical, water and
sewer splitters, renamed "Y thingies" by
"Wagon Mistress Extraordinaire", Shari Davis

Circle the Wagons RV Park
124 North Main Street
La Veta, Colorado 81055
Tel. 719.742.3233

Friday night's opener and introductions included a "Chili Dump", with VACers contributing their favorite to the pot. What was expected to cause a rush for antacids, instead proved to be a culinary delight.

The "Chili Dump" Cauldron

Assisting with the digestion of this concoction were Donna Thomas' killer Margaritas....

Donna "Donnarita" Thomas

  ....and the rally cake

Saturday's breakfast was a treat with Sandy Helwig a local shop owner &
Chamber of Commerce representative who shared some information regarding the local
attractions in the Cuchara Valley.

This was followed by a captivating presentation by Dr. Bert Valdez, a La Veta native and Colorado State Univ. professor, who dazzled us with local history and the cultural diversity of the Native American, Spanish, European and frontier American peoples.

After breakfast, Herb Spies provided a terrific polishing demonstration, with the help of Luke Bernander, using Forrest & Patrice McClure's '66 GlobeTrotter

Toothpaste is used to determine the presence of clearcoat...

...dollops of Nuvite "G-6" for compounding...

...and Nuvite "S" with the Cyclo Polisher

Pretty Forrest gets to finish it!


Luke also gave fire hose demonstrations with his 1960 Ford American Fire Truck as Dr. Bert looked on....

 ....then he let Mike Grubbs give it a try.

~ The NBC Crew ~
Mario from NYC and Andre' & Scott from Denver


Saturday afternoon was devoted to an Open House open to all. Many folks from the local area and surrounding communities came to tour the vintage treasures. The many differences, both exterior and interior reminded us of the uniqueness of the vintage Airstreams

Saturday night's BBQ was hosted by Kris and Jill Gosar, of Gosar Organic Sausage and Foods from nearby Monte Vista, CO and everybody else brought a potluck dish to share. Kris and Jill were celebrating their first wedding anniversary with all of us and their beautiful 1950 Flying Cloud. Thanks guys! 

The weather patterns were bringing afternoon thunder showers, so the evening events were hosted at Circle The Wagons dance facilities across the street.



Kris and Jill greeting Chris Hildebrand &
Jim Lane upon arrival

Mario's telling Kris how it's done but Jill's
got everything under control!

Steve Laxton & Elaine Greenhagen keeping an eye on things...

...while Roger Hightower eagerly awaits the  dinner bell!

Nobody left hungry!!!

After dinner, the Top 10 uses for a "Y-thingy" were voted on, door prizes were given away and kids of all sizes took a swing at the Pinata

One "Y-thingie" suggestion is pictured above, however, the winning submission was
"So you can be number one in a number two business!"
Submitted by Willow Pulver

Then finally...the moment all true VAC'ers were looking forward to...VAC Historian and Archivist, Fred Coldwell, presented a fascinating photo collection of the different early aluminum Airstream structures, distinguishing the frame, panel, and window designs of the different eras of Wally Byam’s Airstream.

- Click on the image below to view Fred's Slide Presentation -


After the rain there was a beatiful rainbow and sunset...

Later, the night skies provided a clear view of Mars at its closest position to Earth.

Sunday, a number of participants packed up and headed back to their jobs and family responsibilities; likewise the NBC News crew finished their work. They had become members of the Rally family; we were sorry to see them leave.

Many remaining attendees took advantage of the open day and took trips to old La Veta (Uptop), atop La Veta Pass at 9200’ where they explored & shared a picnic lunch.

Uptop is the tiny little ghost town atop La Veta Pass.  It was the first rail route over the Rockies.  This little town supported a depot, saloon, hotel, church, school and lumbermill in it's hey day...

A tiny little chapel

The Stables

Reminders of days gone by...

Home Sweet Home

The Train Depot

The "Facilities"

The schoolhouse...

if only these walls could talk!

A couple of degrees cooler, it was perfect for a picnic lunch 

Left to Right: Fred Coldwell, Mark & Becky Wilson, Jim & Rhonda Cooper, Randy Hedges, Mario, Diane & Gene Aparisio, Herb & Sidra Spies, Rob Davis, Jere & Jane Potter, Kevin Allen, Donna Thomas & Luke Bernander, Steve & Priscilla Ingebrigtsen and Jill & Kris Gosar

Randy Unter ventured over the Pass in the San Luis Valley to Great Sand Dunes National Park with Roger & Leslie Hightower. Vintage Airstreams were spotted along the route, one serving as a sheep herder shack, another in the San Luis Valley with a large fixed solar panel for power.

A beautiful day for a drive...

Those who ventured into town were warmly welcomed by the locals!

One of the many quaint homes located in La Veta

Louie & Randy greeting one of the "local gals"

Forrest & Patrice stopped off at Charlie's Soda Fountain

Knowing that Airstreamers were in town, Second Chance Ranch Antiques, owned by Elizabeth Henson, in "downtown" La Veta, CO parked this sheepherder's two bed camp trailer in front of her store.

  This beatuiful little wagon was made by William E. Madsen & Sons, Mt. Pleasant, Utah, circa 1950.  I a friendly & welcoming sprit Elizabeth hung a sign on it saying it could have been a predecessor to the Airstream...if Wally Byam had been a sheepherder, he would have used a camp trailer similar to this.

Sunday night was on one’s own for meals, but all congregated around the TV for viewing the VAC DVD on early Airstream films and rallies, and tapes of early RVing.

Monday was time for more folks to go home.  For those who stayed, it was in general a slower pace...more time for exploring and chatting with fellow Airstreamers.  

Three Bridges with a T-storm brewing...

The Cuchara River

...another view of the three bridges

Some of the quaint barns along the Highway of Legends

Snowview...a cozy winter cabin

Bishops Castle

The McClures at Trinidad State Park


Dinner was shared at "The Dog Bar" in nearby Cucharas...where we were all as welcome as the pups 

Tuesday was break camp day, with the remaining participants moving on to other destinations.

A special thanks to Jodi Guerin for the terrific T-shirts again this year...sorry you weren't able to attend John & Jodi you were missed!

The planning committee, comprised of Shari and Rob Davis, Luke Bernander and Donna Thomas, Dan Huizinga and Pat Glick, Louie DeCarolis, Fred Coldwell and Randy Unter, will regroup to review pros and cons of this year’s rally and commence planning for the 2004 Vintage Airstream Club Rocky Mountain Rally.

Preliminary feedback supported having the VAC RM Rally in the Southern part of  Colorado again....stay tuned!