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Airstream trailers continue to draw a crowd

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FALL CITY - Sitting at a table under a tree next to a 1953 Airstream trailer, Nadine Lind finishes her thoughts about her and her husband's latest hobby with a quick-witted statement that comes easily after 48 years of marriage.

"He has a place to go if he gets booted out," said Nadine, looking at her husband Carl.

After raising six kids, all of whom attended Fall City schools and graduated from Mount Si High School, the Linds have been bitten by a bug that seems to be affecting many across the nation: traveling in an Airstream trailer.

Around the country, clubs and "tin can" rallies are sprouting, allowing legions of Airstream fans to show off their classic and restored trailers. While it would be difficult to determine an exact number of club members, a Google search for "Airstream club" turned up more than 800 Web sites dedicated to the tin can trailer.

The Airstream company began more than 70 years ago when its owner, Wally Byam, set out to create the perfect travel trailer - one that would move like a stream of air.

According to company literature, Airstream's philosophy has been to not make any radical changes to this original plan, but rather only slight improvements to the trailer that boasts functional space in every inch. The enduring silver, cloud-like design was released in the 1930s and is still the same in models manufactured today.

Carl purchased his trailer about five years ago after searching the classified ads. Although many enthusiasts spend months, or even years restoring their tin cans, Carl's trailer has needed minimal effort.

Carpet once lined the walls of the trailer, but with his sensitivity to allergies, that was removed in favor of cowboy-themed wallpaper. A table and two wooden chairs offer the couple a space up front, while a table is adorned with Carrera Panamericana Mexico auto race material - one of Carl's interests.

As for the outside, a coat of wax is keeping the exterior in tip-top shape.

What made the trailer such an easy sell for Carl was the year is was made - it's a perfect match for his 1953 Lincoln convertible. For the Linds, that Lincoln has played a pivotal role in the family.

"There he was sitting in his hot rod Lincoln. He was a little heavier then, but he looked just like James Dean," said Nadine, remembering the first time she saw her future husband.

Nadine, a Yakima resident at the time, was in Seattle with some friends when she ran into Carl. The two would date for a year - Carl drove the Lincoln to Yakima about every other weekend - before they were married.

"My dad didn't trust this guy in the hot rod car, but my mom trusted me," said Nadine.

Although the family has changed since that first meeting - in addition to the Linds' six children there are seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren - the Lincoln is still the same.

In fact, last year the Linds took home a first-place award for their trailer and car from the 1950s-themed 50th anniversary celebration for the city of Bellevue.

"A lot of people don't get the chance to see trailers, they're not experiencing them much," said Carl of the interest garnered at the Bellevue festival and this year's Snoqualmie Railroad Days.

As for another Airstream, the Linds said a second would be fun, but for now they're just going to enjoy their first.

Travis Peterson can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at travis.peterson@valleyrecord.com.

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