Magazine article Sunset

Move over, Airstream! A Colorado Couple Turns a 1960s Scotty HiLander into the Rolling Getaway of Their Dreams

Magazine article Sunset

Move over, Airstream! A Colorado Couple Turns a 1960s Scotty HiLander into the Rolling Getaway of Their Dreams

Article excerpt

CHRISTA AND KURT Johnson of Conifer, Colorado, work in high-class, high-tech industries: She does marketing for resort real estate like the Four Seasons; he's a software developer. But when they're on vacation, they don't call down for room service or complain about the Wi-Fi. They hit the road hauling a 44-year-old Serro Scotty trailer, in search of mountain lakes where cell phones can't find a signal and starlight serves as the entertainment.

A couple of years ago at a fly-fishing show, Christa saw a display of vintage trailers. Taken with the idea of a wilderness vacation that wouldn't involve a tent, Christa fell for the iconic Serro Scotty trailer--a brand once common on Western highways. "Kurt thought I was a nutcase," says Christa, who spent a lot of time online, searching for a not-too-expensive model (used Scottys can range from $500 to $2,500) that wouldn't require too much work. "The morning I saw the ad for ours, I knew we had to go see it--even though it was two hours away."

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Although that 1968 HiLander needed some serious rehab on the inside, the mechanicals were in good working order. Using the Serro Scotty Camper Enthusiasts website as a resource, Christa started updating their new "vacation home."

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The shell was in relatively good shape; its exterior had even been repainted in the authentic colors. The roof did leak a bit, says Christa, who sealed it with roofing tape. The interior, though, was another story. There, the original (lead) paint was worn away in some places and water damaged in others. Wearing a mask and goggles, Christa sanded down the walls before applying three coats of blue paint to match the original interior color. She also cleaned, scrubbed, and polished the rusted hardware and light fixtures. Then she found a Scotty expert to redo the dinette cushions. She made the curtains herself, using fabric heavy enough to block early-morning sun.

After eight weeks of work, the trailer was ready for their first trip, 10 low-tech days in the Grand Tetons that proved their purchase was right for them. "We can really unplug and focus on us," says Kurt. Christa agrees: "Being out there clears your mind, clears the clutter. …

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