Melinda and her 1968 Airstream

Meet The Bandolero

November 1, 2017

Let me introduce you to a little life long dream of mine: her name, The Bandolero. She is a long and lanky silver beauty, a 1968 Sovereign Airstream. Fate brought us together while on a family road trip through Utah a few years ago. We had stopped for a couple days in Park City, and stumbled across an Airstream bone yard just up the road in Heber City. I have to give my husband the credit here. He has known of my obsession since the beginning, so when he found out about this so called bone yard, he immediately said get in the truck! I married him for a reason!

It was a warm July day as we pulled up to the unassuming Mecca of all airstream yards, just on the side of the road. We actually drove right by it the first time. But what we found once through the gates was heaven to any vintage airstream geek! Two fully refurbished beauties sat up front outside the office, I immediately said we are in way over our head. But my husband said we are here let’s just check it out. We walked in the office and a tall older cowboy met us with a smile, and said “Hi my name is Gene, what brings you folks in?”. Like he couldn’t read a sucker from a mile away! He was good, but not in that slimy car salesman way, more like the good ol boy way of making you feel at home with a handshake and a smile. So we bit, we told him we had stumbled across an add of his and had to come check it out. He walked us through the refurbished models all sparkly and full of bells and whistles. What he did next is where he had me.

He walked us back through a chainlink fence into the “back yard.” There they laid,  untouched beauties in all their rusty dirty glory! Now he was talking my language. There were 15-20 vintage Airstreams in a dusty field sitting and waiting. Waiting for someone like me, someone who has been dreaming of them from a young age, someone who loves to get their hands dirty, someone who loves a project. We walked through them all, and narrowed it down to three. Walked through the workshop where there they were making others dreams come true. One for an architect with a hatched back going back east to serve as his job trailer, a rare teardrop model heading to the state capital in Texas. These guys were legit. So we walked through them at least three more times, but kept coming back to one. One in the far back corner, one that had nothing left inside to give but an empty shell. This one talked to me, she got me, I related to her. I too felt like an empty shell with not much left to give. It was the summer after we lost my dad. I had just finished up a large interior project and I was spent, questioning all I had done and how I would ever create anything again. I was empty, and so was she.

1968 Sovereign Airstream interior and exterior details

We went back to our hotel in Park City and I slept on it for the night. Was this what I needed? Could I still have a dream and make it come true? I had worked hard that year, and for the first time since I had created Rincon Rd I was in a position where I could make it happen. The stars were aligning, so yes, yes this could work. The next morning we signed papers. She needed a bit of work to get her road worthy and our trip was near the end. We left her in Gene’s hands for a few weeks until he was coming though Las Vegas where my husband met up with him and towed her the rest of the way home.

1968 Airstream behind truck in Las Vegas, and behind Jeep in California

And there she has sat. We worked on her here and there. Stripping more out of her until she was down to bare bones. And then she sat some more. Just recently we tackled a big chunk of work starting to build her back up again. She got all new electrical, new insulation, and new interior skins. Next up new floors! So, here I sit patiently, working on The Bandoldero, and working on me, on Rincon Rd. We are all a work in progress, right? The goal is to have her up and running for the new year.

1968 Airstream interior rehab progress shot

The Bandolero will serve as Rincon Rd’s home base, a place to meet with clients, host workshops, my creative sanctuary if you will! You may be wondering where her name came from? I grew up on old westerns! In 1968, her birth year, Jimmie Stewart, Dean Martin, and Sophia Loren (one of my dad’s favorites) starred in the 20th Century Fox film Bandolero! I found this beyond fitting as a well suited name for our vintage beauty.  I’m like a kid at Christmas and can’t wait! So please join me on this journey. I will be posting more on the process along the way.



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