New Member Interview with Gary and Kelly Wilson

Hi Tin Can Tourists!  I’m afraid the interview will be a bit of a bust.  We don’t own a vintage trailer, and never have owned one!  We have observed them, and admired the efforts of others with them for many decades.  We joined as sort of an auxiliary member, to look and listen and enjoy.  But I’ll give you a little of our history, we have been RVing for a long time.     

We bought our first “RV” in 1977, it was a used 8 yr old Ford Camper Special F-250, with an 11′ camper on it.  The camper had an ice box and a carry out toilet.  Before this we tent camped, since we were kids, I think the last tent camping trip in the Olympic Rain Forest of Washington about did us in.  Wet and cold even in the tent and sleeping bags, windy and raining.  Water splashing into the cooking bacon grease on the Colemen stove kinda thing.  So, the “new” camper was really special.  But I recall old Shasta trailers in the neighbor, I thought they were classics then.     

Our first break in trip in that RV was across the North Cascade Hiway, recently opened.  In the mountains, night already, Kelly crawled through the window back into the camper and joined our two girls, she said she’d start dinner as I drove.  Think The Long, Long Trailer with Lucy and Desi.  She finally called out, all was ready.  Not able to see a thing, pitch black, my old yellow headlights doing their best to light the way, I meandered off the road a ways, a bit rough I guess, probably too quick as well.  Stopped and went back and opened the door, starved of course.     

The kids were at the booth wide eyed.  Kelly standing, hands on her hips, no smile, cooked hamburgers and pan with accompanying grease on the floor.  I’m a rather fastidious person, a potato chip falls on the floor, no 3 second rule with me, it goes in the garbage.  I think I heard “……..take it or leave it!”  Needless to say I took it, we brushed them off, with the chilly which she was able to keep on the stove, it was pretty good.  The greasy floor collected a lot of dirt that trip, even though we thought we had cleaned it good.  But we survived the break in, have been married almost 53 yrs now, so I guess it’s working.  And the girls turned out Ok as well, and still enjoy the outdoors!     

I had that truck for another 22 yrs, so I guess that was vintage by then.  We made a big move across country and my wife said no to taking the Ford, ole yellar I called it, it was a yellow truck, gave it to an old friend.  We have had several 11′ campers, and several class “C” motorhomes over the years, and just one small trailer, about 20 ft, not a vintage.  We have traveled from southern California to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, caught my first salmon on the Russian River, after we got nothing in the Kenai River.     

We drove the Al-Can back in ’78 when half the road was gravel, mud and lots of holes, a continual work project.  We drove a new highway at the time as well, with temporary metal bridges crossing streams, stopping on the gravel road to move down trees etc., a real adventure.  And mosquitos?  Yes, the size of model airplanes!  But beautiful scenery, both bear and moose in and through our camp sites.  We have driven ocean to ocean 6 times I believe, been across Canada, from Bar Harbor, Maine to Key West, Florida and all points in between.  It has been delightful and we now have a class “C”, still enjoying the road, living in the SE.     

I learned about TCT from a book I was reading through on vintage trailers and the RV industry, “Trailerama”, by Phil Noyes.  I’m kind of a throw back guy, dreaming of being a 10 yr old with the freedom of a bicycle.  But he mentioned TCT, I looked it up, wallah, here I am, just an interested admirer and follower of vintage from the campground and retro diners to RV shows and wonderful displays.   

Trips coming up?  I sold my Corvette when we moved, convinced we needed to start downsizing, but we aren’t all that far from the National Corvette Museum, we’d like to go there.  Also, The Ark and Creation Museum.  NE was and is a favorite, many spots to revisit, and when real cold?  Can’t beat Florida, we are close there as well.      Anyway, sorry I didn’t have a splendid tale from the mountains in an old Apache or Vagabond mobile home, or sitting by the seashore in a Shasta with wings etc.  But we appreciate your enthusiasm and others, maintaining Americana!  

Keep a smile………………G&K  


  1. I bought an old 1989 Sierra travel trailer for my son. He called every camp ground he found surrounding Charlyte NC. They were either full or they didn’t take old vintage campers. So what does one do in a situation like that when they go traveling across the states?

  2. Planning ahead is required right now. The pandemic delayed a lot of travel and many people bought campers to get away in the last couple years. There are other options besides campgrounds when traveling.You can use places like Harvest Hosts. Using apps like, compendium and iOverlander will show you other options for camping. Usually the only campgrounds that don’t allow vintage trailers are the RV Resort type of campgrounds.

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