New Member Interview with Shannon Steele

Can you tell us about how you got into the vintage trailer hobby?

It was actually as a result of an idea which came to me about a year ago.  At that time, the production of the new Tesla Cybertruck was announced, and I loved the extreme, futuristic look of it. Since I was in the market for a new truck, I decided to reserve one, although it’s still 2+ years before I will get it. I already had a travel trailer, but I thought, “how cool would it be to tow an old-looking, vintage travel trailer behind such an extremely modern looking truck—really old, and really new, side-by-side?” So, I started mulling the idea over, and began researching vintage trailers. As soon as I started looking, I was hooked!

It was not surprising that I came to admire vintage trailers. My 1966 kitchen in my home is yellow formica, with the original canary yellow GE range and oven. I collect rare, mostly fiberglass boats from the late 50’s, many of which have huge tail fins, headlights and taillights. I also collect old outboard motors, toy outboard motors from the 50’s & 60’s, and cars from that era as well. So, you might say my brain is sort “hard-wired” for vintage stuff. 

What type of trailers have you owned and what do you have now? 

I currently own a 27’ Keystone Hideout travel trailer, and  22’ Gulfstream RV. But the prize is my new (to me) 1963 Silverstream Duchess. 

In addition to several motorized RVs, I’ve also owned a big fifth wheel toy-hauler trailer.

What is your dream vintage trailer?

I really think it’s the Silverstream Duchess. Actually, I was going to wait much closer to the time I get my Cybertruck to find a trailer, but I came across the Silverstream and couldn’t resist. It hit so many of my hot buttons that I wasn’t confident I would find something comparable, and I didn’t want to miss out. I bought it sight unseen, just based on the description and pictures from the seller. I then had it shipped to me in Florida from Oregon.

Even before considering a vintage trailer, I had compiled a list of characteristics I valued in a trailer. Based on lots of trailering miles, I greatly prefer a dual axle trailer. That setup has prevented serious damage more than once. But, that tends to conflict with my next key desire, which is a very lightweight, compact trailer. From my experience, it’s hard to find both in a vintage trailer. Other things which are important to me are A/C and heat, a dual door propane/electric refrigerator, a 3-burner range, an oven, a permanent bed, reasonable storage, a dry (separate) shower, and gray and black water holding tanks. Remarkably, the Silverstream has ALL of that, in a dual-axle, 22’ overall (19’ box) package, weighing only 3250 pounds! It was if I went back in time and custom-designed the exact vintage trailer I wanted. 

As icing on the cake, I love the style and shape of the Silverstream. While I also really appreciate the “canned ham” style, I lean toward the “aircraft” type construction, with the converging, riveted front and rear panels, rounded bread loaf tops, sloping rear ends, and the ability to have a mirror shine. In short, the Silverstream really is my dream trailer, as least as far as I can tell so far. 

What do you tow with?

My current main tow vehicle is a 2011 GMC Sierra 2500, with a Duramax diesel. On shorter trips, I’ve towed it with my Hummer H3 Alpha. Eventually, however, I plan to tow with the Tesla Cybertruck I have on order. 

Do you attend rallies and what do you like the most about attending a rally?

I haven’t attended any rallies yet, but they look like fun, and I hope to. 

Why did you decide to join the Tin Can Tourists?

It looked like a fun organization to be associated with, plus I’m sure there is a huge body of knowledge I will benefit from tapping into. I especially like that all are welcome, regardless of “trailer status.”

What are your camping plans for this year?

Well, not too long ago I finished up a month long, 3,000 mile tour of the Pacific Northwest with some dear friends from Monterey, CA.  They mostly stayed in hotels, AirBnB’s and cabins, while my dog and I stayed in their 16’ Airstream Bambi. More recently, I took the Silverstream on its first “shakedown cruise“ to the Washington DC area, where I stayed in it for about six weeks. In a few weeks from now, my dog and I will be heading up through New England and Maine, and on to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. That will be about a two month adventure the way we have it planned. Beyond that, probably weekend trips here and there, and I would like to attend a vintage trailer rally.

4 comments

  1. I love the green snake skin couch! What a neat idea. What type of dog do you have?

  2. There is no such thing as a “Silverstream.” TCT would do members a big favor to edit submissions when an obvious error like this is made.

  3. Thanks Robert – We rely on the community to help with this type of information. We don’t pretend to know everything about every type of trailer our members have and often they are educating us. It’s great that our community is supportive and people can learn together. What is obvious to you is often not obvious to everyone. Thanks for helping out a member, we appreciate it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.