Sunday, July 18, 2004
The Grand Rapids Press
We're lucky to find Ken and Petey Faber home.
When you have five vintage Airstreams to choose from, why hang out on the deck?
This Wyoming couple has traveled the country-- and beyond -- in their Airstreams, which date from 1948
. They took one of them to Belize for a month.
"We got into vintage Airstreams before anybody else," says Ken, 68, an insurance agent who collects old Airstreams the way some guys collect beer cans. "Now it's chic."
They have a 1963
Bambi; a 1964
Bambi II; a 1948
Wee Wind and two 1964
The Wee Wind is one of only three on the road they know of.
"Go on in," Petey urges. "It's just the cutest little thing."
They bought the 16-foot Wee Wind in 2001 in California and spent two years restoring it. Local carpenter Jim Larimore did wonders, totally revamping the inside and tucking handy cupboards everywhere.
He crafted a curved built-in sofa that follows the curve of the front of the trailer and rigged an extra table that stows in the wall.
The gleaming aluminum icebox, sink and two-burner propane stove will nearly blind you. This beauty, and the turquoise 1955
GMC pick-up that tows it, is featured on the front of a calendar featuring vintage travel trailers.
Their Bambi is famous, too, gracing the cover of a book on vintage trailers and the front of a greeting card.
"One of Petey's friends sent her the card for her birthday not knowing it was our trailer," Ken says with a grin.
This obsession started in 1958
when they traveled to Glacier National Park in a trailer.
"We fell in love with trailering," says Petey, 66, whose real name is Pieternella. "You always have a familiar bed, there's no packing and unpacking and you're never at the mercy of bad restaurants."
Five years later, they bought a used 1958
22-foot Airstream Caravanner. There have been more than a dozen in and out of their possession ever since, toting them and their four kids, now grown, all over the country.
"It's just a dandy little trailer," Petey says. "You would think, what could be in that little thing?"
Everything they need, from stove and fridge to beds, toilet, shower and kitchen sink, all compacted into a space 13 feet long and seven feet wide. These tin can tourists swear the old Airstreams are better than the new ones, with sturdier shells, better riveting and basic functional design the new ones can't touch.
Their Bambi -- winner of Best Bambi two years running at the Vintage Airstream Club's international rally -- still boasts its original interior finish.
Ken figures he could sell his Bambi for at least $20,000.
"But why would I?" he asks.