My interest in trailers, specifically vintage trailers, was piqued by my daughter. Recently she had moved to the northern Sierras and purchased two old Airstreams – one to live in and one to sell. Over the past year or so, she has gradually adapted to a mountain lifestyle, while slowly resuscitating these two old hulks.
It occurred to me that, as retirement nears, I might enjoy a part time place of my own near her, but portable enough to follow her should her wanderlust kick in. Hence, a trailer. Preferably an old trailer…a project…a calling.
A month or two ago I started looking and I visited my go-to website, Craigslist. I entered “vintage trailer” and to my delight appeared 5 or 6 Spartan trailers within 40 miles of my Santa Rosa home. I had never seen such behemoths – boxy and ungainly but, nonetheless, stylish in a retro, art deco way. I was smitten.
It turns out these 6 trailers were for sale because Lawson’s Landing, a trailer park on the Sonoma County coast, was being shut down…plowed under. Sixty day eviction notices had been served. It was a buyer’s market. I made some calls, set up some appointments and just like that I was headed to the coast and a stretch of beach I later learned is called “the place where old Spartans go to die”.
The prices seemed unbelievably cheap…$1,000 for this one on top. As I looked,
I understood why this was deemed a Spartan graveyard. To the right is one of the least rusty tongues I saw during my afternoon tour. Most were completely brown with rust and crumbling. I checked a few under-carriages and found entire cross members dropped to the ground in rusted heaps. I left Lawson’s Landing dismayed but intrigued, with thoughts of Neil Young’s “Rust Never Sleeps” in my head.