Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Denver, CO

Taking a shine to highway icon

By Jeffrey Leib
Denver Post Staff Writer

Colorado Springs - Scott Scheuermann still remembers the day about 18 years ago when his mother and father decided to get rid of the family's 1960 Airstream trailer.

Someone had offered them only $500 for it on a trade-in.  "I said, 'Don't let it go; I'll buy it from you,"' Scott recalled telling his parents.

Better still, they gave him the 26-foot aluminum-clad Overlander, originally owned by Scott's grandfather.  

This is heaven, says Jackie Gibbs from her hammock in the shadow of a 1964 Airstream Bambi II. Gibbs, of British Columbia, her boyfriend and his son were among 80 owners of the sleek travel trailers at a weekend rally at Garden of the Gods Campground. (Post / K.S. Osler)

Shari Davis of Denver, garbed circa 1964 to match her 19-foot Airstream GlobeTrotter's interior, waits to greet guests at the open house on Saturday. The designer and her architect husband were at Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs over the weekend for a rally of Airstream enthusiasts.
(Post / Kathryn Scott Osler)

On Saturday, Scheuermann, his wife, Lise, and their two young children, from Berea, Ohio, were among 80 owners who gathered at  the Garden of the Gods Campground for the Rocky Mountain rally of the vintage Airstream club.

Airstreams, first built in 1935, are more than any mere trailer or recreational vehicle, their loyal users say.

They're a slice of Americana, with one of the 20th century's most recognized exterior designs and interiors uniquely dressed up by owners with a near-fanatical attention to detail and tradition.

With their aeronautical sleekness, Airstreams have a "coolness factor" other trailers can't match, said Rob Davis, who, with his wife, Shari,bought a 1964 Globe Trotter about four years ago.

Davis, a Denver architect, and Shari, an interior designer, have done up the 19-foot Globe Trotter's interior in a '60s theme of teal and turquoise.

Herb and Sidra Spies of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., were showcasing their 1963 Globe Trotter, which they bought from the well-known aerobatic flier Patty Wagstaff several years ago. The Spies haven't touched Wagstaff's Route 66 interior design theme.  But it's the exterior  of  the  Spies' Globe Trotter  that  really  gets attention.

Sara Scheuermann, 10 months, and her brother Steven, 3, play
as mom Lise watches from the doorway of the family's 1960 Overlander. Sara and Steven are the fourth generation of Scheuermanns to use the Airstream, purchased by their great-grandfather from the factory in Jackson Center, Ohio.
(Post / Kathryn Scott Osler)

Ashley Harris, 8, of Lakewood walks her grandmother's dog
Peanut as she ogles the assembled Airstreams.

(Post / Kathryn Scott Osler)
The brilliant mirror finish on his trailer's aircraft-aluminum shell helped it win a best of show award at a recent international Airstream rally in Missouri - and helped him win the nickname "Shine King."

For Ron and Doris Keisler, of Granbury, Texas, Airstreams have become a family affair. "I used to look for oil and gas," said Ron Keisler, an ex-Marathon Oil executive, sitting outside their 23-foot Safari, a 1971 Airstream model. Now he's on safari for vintage Airstreams and has acquired at least five.

Parked on either side of him at the campground were a 31-foot 1975 Sovereign and a 22-foot 1956 Flying Cloud. Across the street was a shiny 1964 Bambi II, one of the compact models.

The Keislers' friends, John and Debbie Key, now own the Sovereign, and Doris' sister, Bonnie Conkling, and her husband, Eddie, own the Flying Cloud.

Rhett, the Keisler's eldest son, soon will take possession of the Bambi II. This whole extended Airstream family gathered Saturday for Doris' 60th birthday.

"Next year," said Bonnie Conk ling, "we'll celebrate the Flying Cloud's 50th.

Ryan Keisler of Chicago polishes the aircraft-aluminum
exterior of the 1964 Bambi II that belongs to his dad,
Ron Keisler of Granbury, Texas.
(Post / Kathryn Scott Osler)

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