Derderian and Annie Goodenough recently attended a small trailer rally, which was held at the Views RV Park and Campground just outside the town of Dolores, Colorado. His recently completed 1955 16-foot Boles Aero Mira Mar that he took to the rally was the hit of the gathering and was admired by many people during the open house that was held last Saturday afternoon.
The trailer has local ties, having been owned by former resident Ann Fry from whom he bought the trailer. The previous owner was Dave Evans of Castle Valley, who bought it from a friend in California. But the trailer was originally built for the federal government and used by the Bureau of Land Management for their rangers out in the backcountry of California. The trailer is probably a 1952 model but it wasn’t registered until 1955 when the government sold it. It was pretty much gutted inside when he bought it and what was inside was not usable, so it required three years of restoration to get it back to its former glory.
Trying his first attempt at cabinetry, Derderian designed, drew the plans and built all of the cabinets and counter tops in the kitchen and dining area as well as the beds and closets and other furnishings at the rear of the trailer using a combination of birch and New Zealand Pine. He installed new wiring for 12 volt and 110 volt, installed the plumbing, laid the flooring and covered the walls and ceiling with insulation and paneling. Goodenough made all of the curtains and cushions to complement the woodwork, which provides a warm and comfortable feeling when one steps into the trailer. The outside of the camp trailer is finished in polished aluminum, a painstaking process using several grits of rubbing compound to remove the many years of grime and corrosion that accumulated over time.
The Boles Aero trailers were strong and quality trailers that used aircraft quality aluminum in the construction and were a strong competitor to the Airstream it its heyday. Production of the trailers ended in the late 1970s when the company didn’t keep up with the times as people were looking for cheaper camp trailers during the depressed economy at that time.
But Derderian’s addiction doesn’t stop with just the trailers. If you’re going to compete in these rallies, you also need to have period-correct décor to go with the trailers. He is always scanning the internet looking for items that would be found in a vintage-era trailer, like those Melmac dishes, or the bamboo-handle flatware, or those vintage aluminum tumblers to complete the presentation. For the outside he is on the lookout for aluminum webbed lawn chairs or old coolers. But no pink flamingos. Everybody has them and they are too common, he says.
Derderian said his obsession with vintage trailers began years ago when his first date with Goodenough was tent camping in the Mojave Desert. They enjoyed the camping but eventually didn’t like the tent part of the experience, so they began looking for a camp trailer. That was when they learned about vintage trailers and then they found out about trailer clubs and then learned about trailer rallies and the association with like-minded people who share the same enthusiasm. The rest is history. Derderian and Goodenough attend rallies in many of the western states including New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, California and Utah. They meet a lot of the same people at these gatherings and have developed good friendships with many of them over the years.
They have won awards at several different shows and took first place at a Montana rally. They were also invited to participate in the famed Modernism Week in Palm Springs, California with one of their trailers where participants must provide photos with inside and outside views of their trailers before being invited to attend. Modernism Week’s signature February event is an annual celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture. Modernism Week features more than 250 events, including classic cars and the vintage travel trailer exhibition. These rallies are interesting and fun for them but really it just gives them a good excuse to go on a vacation somewhere.