My RV: Small Wonder
A California couple, a once-ragged little Shasta and a whole lot of memories.
“We camp somewhere for a week every month, and there’s nothing I’d rather do. My husband, Chris, retired eight years ago, and before I did, two years ago, we took shorter trips just as often. We started out tent camping, then moved up to a Little Guy teardrop—which may not seem like much of a move, but after a while, it was like, ‘Wow, we really like this trailer idea!’ We were seeing these vintage Shastas everywhere and just thought they were so cute.
I found a listing of one I wanted and called the lady, who turned out to live like 6 miles away, in our same city. And oh my gosh, I had some sleepless nights—like, we’re spending so much money on this thing, and it’s a wreck! Restoring it was a process, but we loved it. My husband had to strip it down, take off all the inside paneling and pull out the insulation, which was just disintegrating. But he loves a project, and we got it in great shape. Really made it our own.
Inside, I kept it true to the period. We called it the Atomic Tabby, because it came with curtains with that midcentury-modern black cat and the atomic symbol. Very early ’60s. So we went with that theme, and it kind of looked like that theme threw up all over it by the time I got done with it.
It was just a great trailer, super cute. I love the wings—they’re so iconic. People would pose with it for Instagram a lot. Wherever we went, people would stop us with a story: ‘Oh, we used to have one of those growing up!’ and then they’d tell us about it.
We have tons of incredible memories. We’re huge fans of the Central Coast—it’s so unlike suburban Southern California, all open land, and the wine region just inland is off the charts. So we’d go up there a lot. Then we always seem to end up in Los Angeles at rush hour when we’re coming back from someplace, and the Shasta was so easy to tow in those circumstances.
After about five years, it was time to do something different. I might have liked to have kept the Shasta a bit longer, but our trips were going to be getting longer, and I have to admit that having a bathroom was a real enticement. We bought a Flyte Camp Neutron. It’s 23 feet, and the inside is just gorgeous. It’s kind of at the upper end of what we want, for simplicity purposes—we’re not ‘bigger is better’ type of people. But there haven’t been all that many of them made, so now we get a lot of, ‘What the heck is that?’ Kind of the opposite of the Shasta, which was all about nostalgia.
I sincerely believe the less camper you have, the more likely you are to use it. If it’s a pain in the neck to get ready and you’ve got a million things to do, you’re going to say, ‘Oh, I don’t feel like taking it out.’ When the Shasta was mainstream, people did more with less, whether that was at home or camping. When there’s not much to do, you don’t hesitate— just get ready and go.”
Write us at [email protected] to tell us about the rig that’s shaped your memories. This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity