There is a camper or RV for every budget and travel style at Trotters RV in Kingman, northwest Arizona’s largest RV sales and service center. Trotters is carrying on a long American tradition by catering to the adventurer that wants to travel with all of the comforts of home.
In a scene from the 1954 comedy classic The Long, Long Trailer starring Desi Arnez, Lucille Ball, Marjorie Main, and Keenan Wynn, there is a time capsule look at a travel trailer show. The movie also provides a comedic look at the life of the vagabond in the early 1950s, a period in which the popularity of travel trailers was exploding.
The more serious side of the happy wanderer was chronicled in the book Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck, the author who wrote The Grapes of Wrath. Published in 1962 the book chronicles Steinbeck’s travels with his poodle Charley as he traveled the country in a quest to answer the question, “What are Americans like today?”
He bought a new GMC pickup truck, which he named Rocinante, for the trip. He had it fitted with a custom camper. It was outfitted with a double bed, four-burner stove, heater, refrigerator and lights that operated on butane. It also had a chemical toilet, storage space, and screened windows.
The modern era of RVs and travel trailers outfitted with all of the comforts of home is rooted in the 1950s. They often mimicked the cars and trucks of the period. They were larger, quirkier in design, and were outfitted with an array of gadgets.
Some were truly mobile homes with Increased living spaces and luxurious interiors. Generators, refrigerators with complete kitchens, and bathrooms with full plumbing systems became standard features.
The first mass production of motorized coaches with an outfitted body on a factory chassis debuted in this period as the popularity of RVs soared. The first rear engine “pushers” were also introduced in the 1950s. The line between mobile homes for full time living and travel trailers used for vacation became blurred.
A brochure for the 1952 Highlander is revealing. “In the 30 foot model, the interior floor space is equal to that of single level trailers up to 37′ 6” in length. Our interior design features a 3-level terraced construction plus an “inverted” arrangement. Two-thirds of the interior has a 7′ 5″ ceiling height. A complete bathroom and two private bedrooms are standard.”
The 1952 Rollohome Trailer Coach manufactured in Marshfield, Wisconsin, was the first production unit to offer a revolutionary feature that is common and popular today. The “extended rooms” were pulled out manually from outside the trailer. This was the precursor to the slide-out that is offered today on coaches and trailers.
The most amazing trailer of the 1950s has to be the Executive Flagship built by Mid States Corporation in Los Angeles, California. This rust and ivory colored behemoth built in 1952 was 65-feet long. It was 16 feet wide and 13 1/2 feet high, weighed 18 tons and rolled on 10 wheels.
It was more luxuriously equipped than most homes. There was a complete kitchen with refrigerator and freezer. It was also equipped with two complete bathrooms, a bar made from polished bird’s eye maple, and wall-to-wall carpeting in all rooms.
For entertainment it was outfitted with a combination radio/phonograph, 21-inch television, and retractable movie screen with projector. A wine cellar, air conditioning, and recessed lighting were also standard. As if this wasn’t luxurious enough, there was also a state of the art radiotelephone, and a portable swimming pool with upper sun deck.
All of this came at quite a price – $75,000! It was so big that a special permit and license was needed for use on highways. Even then Maine, Idaho, and Oregon deemed it to large for use on public roadways.
If you would like to emulate Steinbeck, Lucy and Desi, and live the life of the happy wanderer on the open road, stop by Trotters RV today.