Tuesday, December 27, 2011



I first came across the name of this extraordinary place when my friend Mitzi Pratt (NYC socialite) asked me to be meet her in what she called one of her favorite places in Los Angeles, The Museum of Jurassic Technology. After locating it in Culver City, I begin to understand why she likes it here so much. The exhibits in the museum cross the line between fact and fiction, between reality and imagination.
Front of the museum in Culver City, Los Angeles

The collections of the museum, which was founded in 1989 and is being curated by David Hildebrand Wilson and Diana Wilson, span over three little buildings and consist of pieces from about a dozen sub-collections which are often centered around a certain subject such as belief and knowledge or personalities like Athanasius Kircher and their work. But, unlike what one might expect of a technology museum, throughout all of the exhibits, the boundaries between history and fiction, magic and reason, narrative and scientific method are in fact completely fluid (and the curators pleasurably make no effort to make things more clear, even indulge in elaborate descriptions and allusions that make it even more mysterious).
Many of the pieces consist of wonderfully crafted models and often amazing analog visual tricks for superimposing images. As a result, the whole space turns into a magical wunderkammer like I've rarely seen it, and probably one of the most astonishing approaches to the culture of art and technology on the planet.

The reason I mention this museum here is because of the outstanding exhibition I once saw there (which is part of the permanent collection) entitled, GARDEN OF EDEN ON WHEELS. This is a collection of model mobile homes and travel trailers  which glow and flicker in a darkened room, complete with sounds of a.m. radios and t.v.s playing from within and the distant sounds of crickets and campfires.


Here is some of the text the accompanies the exhibit:

"The house trailer is, of course, but a sub-set of the larger age-old category of mobile dwelling. From the Basque sheepherder tent/coat and Bedouin woven goat hair "blacktent" to Mongolian yurts, human ingenuity has created an astonishing array of portable dwellings. However, in America, it was the migratory worker and seasonal factory worker, tacking together small masonite trailers or packing up their home built housecars and assembling in camps as early as 1920; or, the evangelist, carpenter or salesman, who built their first trailer to follow some private dream; or simply the old time "trailerite" or auto camper, a casual, cantankerous and fiercely independent soul of the teens and twenties who together caused a brand new industry, mobile home production, to emerge and flourish right out of the depths of the Great Depression."


Selected Collections from Los Angeles Area Mobile Home and Trailer Parks  http://www.mjt.org/exhibits/eden/trailers.html


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas from Pinecrest!

All of us at Pinecrest would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!
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Vintage Christmas cards are a unique and popular item to both collect and send. The holidays are truly a joyous time and the tradition of sending Christmas greetings has been going on for over a hundred years. The best thing about vintage Christmas cards is that you can be sure that you are sending out well wishes in a manner that will be appreciated, remembered and displayed proudly.

Where to find vintage Christmas cards

From flea markets to eBay, there are plenty of unused vintage Christmas cards still around. Occasionally warehouse finds of great quantities of Christmas cards from the 50s and 60s still turn up. Large companies and printers have stored these for decades and eventually they find their way onto the open market. The great thing about finding and buying these old store stock seasonal greeting cards is the cost. Often, an unopened box of vintage Christmas cards and envelopes can be purchased for less than the price of the modern (and often bland) equivalents. How great is it that a truly unique statement can be purchased for such a small sum? The people receiving the cards will be shocked to get an authentic 40 or 50-year-old card and it will make a great conversation starter at Christmas parties, too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pinecrest on Facebook

Pinecrest on Facebook

Pinecrest Retreat is emerging as a leader in the vintage trailer movement. Combining the best of the new and the old, park owners Frank and Kathleen are mindful of keeping the proper balance. While preserving the park's rich history of being a place for friends and families to gather and enjoy the simple pleasures of life (quiet times in natural settings), thoughtful, modern improvements continue to be made to ensure the positive growth in the future.

In addition to native plant restorations and a community garden, road surfaces have been kept all-natural and sustainable improvements have been made to the community bathhouse. The park now offers free yoga to members in summer and wi-fi access near the pool. Pinecrest maintains online news and information at its own facebook page, PINECREST RETREAT: For Members Only where members can get or post the latest news on weather conditions and special events. Pinecrest hosts Vintage Travel Trailer Aficionados for more general news about the vintage trailer movement and sometimes posting of trailers that have come available on craigslist or other places. And finally, Pinecrest has a blog "Pinecrest Resort" (http://pinecrestresort.blogspot.com) with a more permanent record of trailer trends and "Pinecrest Life". Keeping Pinecrest members connected through these online sites helps build a more vibrant community while creating an awareness of who we are and what we do to ensure positive growth in the future.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Timo visits The Shady Dell!

There are lots of great places in the American southwest to see vintage travel trailers, but two places stand out for the quality and volume: Pinecrest and The Shady Dell. After hearing a great deal about Shady Dell, the author of this blog had an opportunity to visit this iconic location. The collection of trailers were laid out museum style, side by side. The shimmering metal vessels glimmered in the Arizona sun, each available for rental by the day. Pinecrest differs from the Shady Dell in this regard, as most of Pinecrests trailers are privately owned and maintained (although a few trailers are available to rent by the night). Another notable difference is that Pinecrest sites are located in and amongst mature pines, poplars and cedar trees, with lots of private land to hike and explore.
Pinecrest and The Shady Dell are each special places to enjoy the best of mobile mid-century modern design in unique American settings.

Find out more about the Shady Dell: http://www.theshadydell.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pinecrest at 50, Come Celebrate!

Call for Photos!

Pinecrest to be included in History of Julian film project.
Pincecrest member and late blooming filmmaker, Teri Brewer,  is working on a short film focusing on the Cuyamacas and San Diego back country and how the cultural landscape and local archaeology there has been shaped by fire.  As part of this film, which is actually a pilot for a longer film project, she would like to include a little bit of information on Pinecrest and its history with fires and how it came through. She has some photos of  Pinecrest today of course, but wonders whether there are any photographs or video of Pinecrest just after fire came through? If anyone has digital photos of this nature that Teri could use she would very much appreciate it. In order for them to be used in the pilot film, however, she would need to get digital images via email by September 10. But if that deadline passes and you have some good photos, please send them along any way as she could still use these for the master project. 

Photos can be sent to Teri at goby@mac.com.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Trends in Trailers:

Vintage Trailers + Airstreams for your Wedding

I love the idea of renting a vintage trailer or airstream to serve your food or sweets for your wedding. These could also be perfect for a bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. So cute, yummy, and they will be the talk of the night! One of my favorites is Enjoy Cupcakes where guests will enjoy treats served out of an adorable restored vintage Shasta trailer. Serving the entire Santa Ynez Valley & Santa Barbara County and inspired by wine country, their cupcake flavors include some totally inventive flavors like: Vanilla Mascarpone Chardonnay, Caramel Pinot, Cherry Apple Chardonnay, Tangerine Mint Mimosa, and Cherry Vanilla Merlot to name a few…
enjoy cupcakes vintage trailer wedding

{photos by Jose Villa}
Or how about a Sno Cone treat? Perfect for a summer backyard wedding, Fresher Than Fresh Sno Cones is located in Kansas City and are 100% natural, made with fresh ingredients – organic whenever possible. Served out of a renovated 1957 Shasta trailer, some of their unique flavors are lemon prickly pear, ginger rose, lime mint, watermelon basil, and green tea pear to name a few. Yum!
sno cone vintage trailer rental wedding

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A change of scenery. Back to nature.

According to recent news stories, Cal Trans will be removing the three crosses that are located across the road from the Pinecrest entrance at the scenic overlook. Due to the fact that no private structures are allowed on public thruways, these long standing icons will be relocated to another hillside on private property. No information was given as to the date of the removal. Reaction is expected to be mixed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bird House Painting at Cindy & Dana's Camp!

Cindy and Dana host visiting guests and neighbors to a bird house painting party! The colors were bright and playful and the company was too! Just one more reason to love Pinecrest!

Even the snacks were fresh and colorful!
Keep up the good work ladies!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NPR Features Vintage Trailers

David Michael Kennedy is a 60-year-old art photographer from New Mexico who took an extraordinary cross-country journey to rediscover what he thought was a lost America. He shares his photos here, and responds to a few questions.
David Michael Kennedy with Heather Howard and Henry Crow Dog in front of their 1959 Airstream trailer.
In the '70s and '80s, David Michael Kennedy lived in New York City, shooting portraits of music icons like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Muddy Waters for magazine and album covers. He moved to New Mexico in 1986, where he focused on Native American culture. Today he lives in a 200-year-old adobe house in the tiny agricultural village of El Rito in northern New Mexico.
But for two years beginning in 2004, Kennedy wandered back roads photographing preachers, crawfishermen, RV-ers, buffaloes, longhorns, cowboys and mystics.
He and his then girlfriend, Heather Howard, and a res dog named Henry Crow Dog packed up in a 1959 Airstream trailer outfitted with a wet darkroom. He took all his photographs with a handmade 4x5 camera using Polaroid positive/negative film, which he developed in the trailer then made contact prints using the archaic platinum palladium process prized by collectors and museums.
John Burnett: Why did you take this trip across the country?
David Michael Kennedy: I got divorced, my house burned down and I didn't know what to do. It was March 2004 and I was confused about where America was going. I was watching the news and it didn't make sense. It seemed to me America was broken and the people were a mess. I decided to go out and rediscover America and myself.
"The Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., is one of the last remaining wigwam motels in the country. At one time there were 15 of them stretched all across the U.S. on Route 66 — old concrete teepees. This was number six."
Enlarge Courtesy of David Michael Kennedy "The Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., is one of the last remaining wigwam motels in the country. At one time there were 15 of them stretched all across the U.S. on Route 66 — old concrete teepees. This was number six."
What did the people you photographed teach you?
At the end of the trip, most of what I felt is there was still a spirit within the people. Once I got out there, I found people who were reinventing their lives, who were not going to strip malls, who were not feeding that consumer monster. The deeper we penetrated into the back roads of America — what I think of as the real America — the less I found of that.
"We camped in Ochlockonee River State Park in Florida and every day I'd walk by this tent and there was a Madonna, an old car and nobody around. It fascinated me. After a couple of days, Randy crawled out of the tent. He was on a pilgrimage to a statue that was bleeding in Mississippi. He ran out of money waiting for his miracle. I gave him $20 for gas and he went down the road to see the statue."

"We camped in Ochlockonee River State Park in Florida and every day I'd walk by this tent and there was a Madonna, an old car and nobody around. It fascinated me. After a couple of days, Randy crawled out of the tent. He was on a pilgrimage to a statue that was bleeding in Mississippi. He ran out of money waiting for his miracle. I gave him $20 for gas and he went down the road to see the statue."
There were people who didn't need to text, there were people who didn't need iPods, there were people who actually had coffee pots you could take apart and fix when they broke. We met one old man and his wife; 50 years ago he made an electric tractor that was still running, and he heated his entire house with solar panels that he'd made from beer cans, which he'd drunk.

Did you know where you wanted to go when you set out, or was the trip completely unscripted? We had no plan for this trip. Every morning when we woke up I'd look up at the sky and think, "Heading north today." The trip began to get scripted by the people we met.
Sister Reiddie
"Sister Reiddie was a Pentecostal minister who was just amazing. When I photographed her, she couldn't decide whether she should be holding a Bible or a shotgun."
V.R. Hylton was a minister we met in Texas; we stayed with him for over a week and ended up going to his church and fishing in his lake and photographing his longhorns. V.R. told us about some old cowboy crop-dusters over in Louisiana. When we left V.R., we headed over to Louisiana to try to find the crop-dusters. Of course we made a wrong turn ... the trip was really about wrong turns.
We passed a roadside fruit stand and spent a week with the people who ran the fruit stand. They introduced us to crawfishermen and we had huge crawfish feasts. Then they introduced us to Sister Reiddie.
Tell me about the Airstream trailer.
We traveled for two years living in that vintage Airstream. It still has a 1959 lifetime warranty stuck to the closet door. We did a little modification to it so I could process film at night. Heather made blackout curtains, or we'd just park in dark places and I processed and printed in the trailer.
"We'd spent a week looking for a buffalo in Yellowstone when I came upon this one. I jumped out of the car and ran over. I set up the tripod. I got the cable release and he looked in the wide lens and froze. I did a one-second exposure, and once the shutter closed, he snorted and walked away. That was so much what the trip was about. So many subjects gave me such amazing gifts."

"We'd spent a week looking for a buffalo in Yellowstone when I came upon this one. I jumped out of the car and ran over. I set up the tripod. I got the cable release and he looked in the wide lens and froze. I did a one-second exposure, and once the shutter closed, he snorted and walked away. That was so much what the trip was about. So many subjects gave me such amazing gifts."
And I think the Airstream kind of helped. A big blue Dodge pickup with an Indian motorcycle in back, pulling this huge silver reflective trailer down the road. It definitely drew people to us. It made people interested in what we were doing.
What was it about these moments that made you go and get your camera?
They're just things that touched me. There are moments that grab me and make me say "yes." This feels right and natural and good, and I make a picture.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pinecrest at 50: A Community with-in a Community.

Julian is a very special place, no-one could deny that. It prides itself on old time values and the strength of a community who comes together in times of adversity. Amazingly, there is a community with-in that community that shares those values and incorporates new ones. This enclave is a private retreat called Pinecrest.

Pinecrest Retreat has been around for a long, long time. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that on Labor Day of this year, Pinecrest will be celebrating its 50 year anniversary! Pinecrest is a private retreat that is home to a significant number of classic vintage trailers and a second home (get-away) to those who own them.

The park has one of the largest, solar-heated outdoor pools in Southern California, and a long history of inviting the community to share in this rich resource. In fact, for many locals, Pinecrest was the place they first learned to swim. Today the Olympic-sized pool is still enjoyed by the extended Julian community, with individual and family “Swim Club” memberships available for purchase at the club house (more information on the “Swim Club” is available at the Pinecrest website: http://www.pinecrestretreat.com/pool.shtml). The clubhouse holds dressing rooms with lockers and heated showers, and a classic little snack bar with goodies for all. The park is happy to announce that Judy Fender will be the new Pool Manager this summer! "Our pool club offers a quiet relaxing place to swim laps or practice exercises in a beautiful environment," says Kathleen Rosenow, who with her husband Frank Spevacek, has owned the retreat once used by employees of Convair and General Dynamics since 2005. What could be more inviting on a hot summer day than a sparkling swimming pool surrounded by an oak forest and mountain peaks?

Because the club house and pool are at the heart of Pinecrest, (it’s where site-holders come to sign-in and sign-out when they visit the park)  it has an old time general store feel. Newsworthy items are posted on the community bulletin board and bags of ice can be had for $1.25. Conversely on days when the sunlight is shimmering on the water just right and someone is quietly lounging on a deck chair reading a New Yorker magazine, it can feel a bit more like an exclusive summer resort than a funky rustic hide-away. But it’s the right blend people who make it magic. A combination of rural firefighters and shop-keepers mixed with urban Los Angelinos and San Diegans looking for some down time give the scene a relaxed and often playful vibe.

Another part of what makes Pinecrest special is the mix of old and new, funky and sophisticated, that make it hard to put a label on. For instance, while the road ways within the park remain dusty and unpaved, owners Rosenow and Spevacek are working with an architect to build a contemporary roof-shade structure that will also incorporate new solar heating for the pool as well as a photovoltaic solar system for electricity!

At 50 Pinecrest is still growing and changing, keeping the best of the past and while making thoughtful improvements to ensure a bright future.  In a world that seems to spin faster and faster, this is a place keeps its own pace. Come for the impromptu potluck picnics by the pool and stay for the sound of campfire songs wafting in the distance. Pinecrest is 50 years old now, and with the leadership of the new owners (along with the creative participation of the site holders and community at large) it will continue to change and improve for another 50!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

POSE film shot at Pinecrest!

Ivaylo Getov, director of the movie POSE, was born in Bulgaria raised in Los Angeles, and is now living in New York City. He and his crew of 12 shot the movie at 3 locations: Pinecrest, Leo Carrillo State Beach, and New York City. The Pinecrest shoot involved hauling major set pieces & props, cameras, dollys, tracks and food and water up the steep hill to Timo Elliott's rustic site. Pinecrest Park managers Richard and Sydney were thanked in the movie credits for their all their help. Jayne Kennedy gave her permission for the film crew to use her trailer as a production office for the film, and they did.

The film was submitted to the SECRECT INTERNATIONAL OUTDOOR ARTS & FILM FESTIVAL (which is sometimes hosted at Pinecrest) and is being reviewed for possible inclusion in the festival, held June 11+12.  Find out more about this film at the links on the bottom of this page.

A mysterious man named Nicola wakes up in a surreal wall-less cabin in the wilderness and knows nothing except that he must start walking. We return to his story at various points in Laylee’s narrative, picking up on him calmly trekking miles through the anonymous wilderness. Gradually he begins to question his drive to keep moving, but cannot think of any alternative. Only when he comes to the apparent end of his journey, seemingly walking to his own demise, does he realize that he could have taken control at any moment and turned back, but even at the final threshold he continues forward, disappearing forever.



Spring Haiku

(Photo taken at site number one at the top of the hill, Pinecrest by Timo Elliott)


Yes, spring has come This morning a nameless hill Is shrouded in mist.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Retro meets Techo!

Solar Concept Tent

Orange today revealed their vision for the tent of the future. Utilising cutting edge eco-energy technology, the Orange Solar Concept Tent will allow campers to keep in touch and power their essential camping gadgets.
The Concept Tent has been designed in association with American product design consultancy Kaleidoscope and builds on learnings from the original Orange Solar Tent that was trialled at Glastonbury in 2003, as well as 2004’s Orange Text Me Home Dome. Having worked closely with Glastonbury for the last eleven years, Orange know the importance of keeping in contact with friends while onsite and undertook this concept project to look at how the festival goers communication and power supply needs might be met in the future.

Photovoltaic Fabric
Latest research shows that by weaving specially coated solar threads into conventional fabric, revolutionary new ways of capturing the sun’s energy could soon become a reality. These radical advances mean that rather than relying upon familiar fixed panels, designers were free to conceive how a tent of flexible solar fabrics might look.
The Concept Tent’s solar shell uses this technology to full effect with three directional glides which can be moved throughout the day to maximise its solar efficiency, capturing the optimum amount of energy which can to be used throughout the tent in a variety of new and exciting ways.

Glo-cation technology
To avoid festival-goers ever losing their tent, the Concept Tent would be fitted with innovative “glo-cation” technology. Glo-cation works by enabling campers’ mobile phones to identify their tent using either an SMS message or automatic active RFID technology (a longer range version of that used in London Underground Oyster cards); both would trigger a distinctive glow in the tent helping identify it from a distance.

Wireless control hub
The heart of the Concept Tent is a central wireless control hub which displays energy generated and consumed as well as providing a wireless internet signal; all information is displayed on a flexible, touchscreen LCD display screen.
Integrated into the hub is a wireless charging pouch which powers mobile phones and other portable devices without the need for messy wires and multiple chargers. The ‘magnetic induction’ technology passes an electric current through a coil embedded in the charging pouch, this in turn generates a magnetic field which creates a charge and powers the battery.

Groundsheet heat
Also controlled by the central hub is an internal heating element embedded within the tent’s groundsheet; this under floor heating is triggered automatically once the interior temperature falls below a set level.

Kaleidoscope Strategist, Finn McKenty, said: “The development of photovoltaic fabric will revolutionize festival tent design, in working with Orange we have created a vision for a solar tent that we believe is a great glimpse of what’s to come.”

Ian Smith, Head of Sponsorship, Orange UK, said: “Since becoming Official Communications Partner of Glastonbury Festival in 1997 Orange has strived to enhance the camping experience through a variety of sustainable initiatives. Our vision of the concept tent builds on this heritage and recognizes the revolutionary effect cutting edge solar technology and wireless communication could have on festival goers’ camping experiences.”

Sunday, February 27, 2011

VINTAGE TRAILERS: "It’s fun for its own sake."

One Designer’s Love: Vintage Trailers

(Here's a story from the NY Times that may be of interest to fellow vintage trailer enthusiasts that was brought to my attention by Pinecrester, Lynn Reinstein.)

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
The designer Bill Moggridge keeps his Southland Runabout at his house near Palo Alto, Calif.
He uses it as a guestroom. By DAVID COLMAN Published: February 25, 2011

“LOLITA, light of my life, fire of my loins.” 

So begins what may be literature’s greatest American road trip, Humbert Humbert at the wheel and young Dolores Haze at his side, fleeing propriety, legality and common sense into a deeply nondolorous haze. American writers have cooked up all kinds of metaphors for the United States, but it took the Russian-born Vladimir Nabokov to imagine it as a seductive teenage Lady Liberty in hot pants.
If the idea seems foreign to you, another foreigner — Bill Moggridge, the influential industrial designer and current director of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum — understands only too well.
“Being a European and brought up after the war, everything was a little bit hard,” said Mr. Moggridge, who was born in England in 1943. “Ordinary things were hard to come by. We didn’t have a TV. My parents couldn’t afford a car. Looking at America, at Hollywood, at the houses and cars, it all seemed so full of fantasy. Impossible fantasy. I don’t know that I necessarily thought it was good. I thought it was fantastic.”
So in the 1970s, Mr. Moggridge moved to California — not to Hollywood, but to Silicon Valley, where he designed, among other things, what is widely considered the first laptop computer, later becoming a founder of the design firm IDEO. In off-hours, though, he found himself gravitating to his teenage reveries of 1950s America, clad in what to him was the decade’s most magical substance: aluminium, as the British call it.
It’s amazing that aluminum was once considered so rare that, in possibly the grandest gesture of 1884, the crowning pyramid at the top of the Washington Monument was made of it. (It’s actually the third most common element in the earth’s crust.) Some 70 years later — when Lolita made her debut — aluminum was being fashioned into almost everything, from dishes, countertops and baseball bats, to boats, cars and entire buildings.
And, most heavenly to Mr. Moggridge, trailers. With Americans in thrall to their shiny new cars, and aircraft factories needing ways to keep business going, the aluminum trailer became one of the most iconic trophies of the decade. It was democratic, pragmatic and mobile, as well as misguided, preposterous and hopelessly optimistic: America, sealed in a can.
In the 1990s, when Mr. Moggridge and his wife, Karin, were building a house in the hills north of Palo Alto, Calif., he decided it was time to indulge. He started with an inexpensive Vagabond, then a Hughes Spartanette (made by Hughes Aircraft). But both trailers needed renovation, and Mr. Moggridge didn’t have the money, the skill or, frankly, the interest to get it done.
Through these misfires, he learned what he yearned for. Not merely a real 1950s experience, but a dream home on wheels, which in his mind looked less like a cheap Formica kitchenette and more like the beautiful wood cabinetry of a ship — historical accuracy be damned.
Then, one weekend about 10 years ago, he drove down the California coast to a gathering of vintage-trailer enthusiasts. (There are enthusiasts for everything.) There he came across a restored Southland Runabout, complete with lovingly done-up wood cabinets. He made a deal with the owner (which included unloading his Vagabond), and the Runabout was his. He took it home, and in an affront to both its name and nature, made it into a guest room.
It may be rather a surprise to find one of today’s most eminent designers with a soft spot for such a kitschy contraption. But Mr. Moggridge said that plenty of the lessons of design history are not part of the holy design dogma of FFF (that is, form follows function).
“When you go to designers’ houses, you see a lot of kitsch,” he said. “Instead of living the work they do, they like to see the exaggerated edges of how things can go. And kitsch has a kind of shameless enthusiasm that allows you to revel in these values, like excessive decoration or the overly bold use of color, that are not quite respectable.
“It’s the same sort of appeal as postmodernism, except kitsch is done with such self-consciousness. It’s fun for its own sake. You can’t say it’s elegant or beautiful, but you can say it’s a lot of fun.”
And, you know, it’s not the worst way of describing America, either.