Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Airstream History - Ours

The Story of Moonshadow, Our Vintage 1955 Airstream Overlander.
How it Found Us and Changed Our Lives.

Chapter 1
How it all Began

Circa late 80s Hwy 50 in Nevada
Spike purchased this Airstream in 1978 from the original owners, Roy and Alice Atkinson who were friends of his. At the time Spike was a young, energetic member of the Nevada Watercolor Society in Las Vegas.  Alice Atkinson, octogenarian fellow Society member was as enthusiastic about painting on location as Spike. He often took her along on short painting excursions in his Land Cruiser. Their friendship developed over several years of painting together.

Spike had been talking with the Atkinsons about his idea of getting a pop-up tent trailer to use on longer painting trips. One afternoon Roy told Spike he wanted to show him something. They walked from the mobile home where Roy and Alice lived to a storage yard at one end of the trailer park. Roy pointed to an Airstream trailer parked amongst other RVs, boats and old cars.

“That’s what you should have, something like that Airstream. How'd you like to own that?” he asked.

Spike, then a commercial artist with a young family to support replied “Dream on!” There was no way he could afford such a nice trailer. 

“How much have you saved to get one of those pop-up things?” Roy persisted.

Spike told him he had about $600.

“Well, that's my Airstream, so let me ask you again, how'd you like to have it?”

“Are you kidding, how much do you want for it?”

At that point Roy looked at Spike with a twinkle in his eye and said, “I was thinking about $600.”  

Original 1955 Owner's Manual
Spike is sure Roy and Alice saw in him someone who would make good use of that trailer in the same spirit they had for thirteen years as full-time, on the road Airstreamers.

The trailer at that time had been sitting unused and in storage for ten years. For many weeks that summer Spike and Roy worked together to replace rotted weather striping, plumbing parts, hoses, etc, and cleaning it up inside and out. All the while Roy telling endless stories of the adventures he and Alice had with the trailer. After having four new tires mounted and getting a hitch installed on his tow vehicle, Spike had spent far more money on prepping the trailer just to get it home than he had paid for it but he knew he'd have no regrets. His adventures were just beginning. 


  1. Isn't that a fun story! Moonshadow has had a lifetime of adventures it isn't done yet. Many more miles yet to travel!

  2. You can say that again. In fact, Roy told me back then he had towed it about 300,000 miles with 3 different vehicles. In the 33 years I’ve owned it, I’ve towed it with 4 different vehicles. We have some fun adventures planed this year. Stay tuned.

  3. Love the blog, Spike. Cool story about Moonshadow. You guys are talented artists, too. Have you guys appears in Airstream Life yet?

  4. Mike, thank you for the nice comments. Airstream Life doesn't know about us yet.