02 Nov Classy Campers
Vintage RV restorers Flyte Camp and life on TV
Local company Flyte Camp, owned by Anna and Justin Scribner, is in the business of restoring and renovating vintage trailers. In the six years they’ve been in business, their work making old trailers new has drawn so much attention that they’ve earned their own TV show. Last summer, Cascade Journal checked in with Anna to hear her thoughts on life in the world of old campers, television and the future.
How did you get into the business of vintage trailer restoration?
Initially, I had no interest in travel trailers. However, my husband Justin comes from a long line of vintage trailering enthusiasts. When we got married, despite my reluctance, I went with Justin to look at a 1958 Shasta. When I saw it, I fell in love. I’d always loved all things old and vintage. The quality craftsmanship and the cool design of the heavy, boomerang-shaped drawer pulls grabbed me. And the wings! That was the initial spark. We bought that Shasta, fixed it up and that became our first project. We had a blast working together, continually modifying it for the next five years, and we camped it to death. That was the beginning of Flyte Camp.
What do you think has fueled the recent cultural enthusiasm for vintage RVs?
It’s many things. The possibility of being able to go anywhere—the freedom. Having a tiny space to call your own, to design and to decorate. Stepping away from the demands and practicality of our current world and immersing yourself in another era, into a figurative time capsule. A literal capsule too—you are encapsulated in a small space with family or friends. Without the distractions of the outside world, you can focus on who is right in front of you.
How did a small business in Bend, Oregon, end up with its own TV show?
We were approached by a production company out of Los Angeles who had followed our website. They asked if we would be on a documentary-style show called Extreme RVs on the Travel Channel. The show followed RV manufacturers, and they had never filmed a vintage project. We said yes, and the episode was one of the most popular on the entire season. We ended up being the only business asked to do a second season. After that, we were asked if we would do a three-minute sizzle reel for another new show. Our production company took it to New York and sold it to Scripps Network. That is how Flippin RVs was born—it’s a follow documentary filmed at our shop about Flyte Camp, our team and the unique pre-1965 restoration and renovation projects coming out of our doors, produced for Great American Country channel. Now, we are currently working on two pilots for a new series that will air this fall/winter, for the Travel Channel.
Tell us the coolest thing about being on TV.
Well, Flyte Camp has definitely grown as a result of the show, and we’ve become a nationally recognized brand. And we’re always surprised when we take to the road and are continually recognized. I love to travel, and the show has allowed us to do that. Finally, it’s a good feeling to share something you’re passionate about with people who wouldn’t otherwise step inside a vintage trailer or even have known a particular model existed.
What is the most rewarding aspect of renovating RVs?
I would say, seeing something old become new again. These days, there are fewer trailers going to recycling yards or being crushed simply for the aluminum. People realize there is value there. We’re helping to preserve an often forgotten or overlooked piece of Americana history for generations to come.
What is the biggest challenge to renovating RVs?
Sourcing original vintage parts is one of our biggest challenges. Currently, we are scouring the country for 1937 Pierce Arrow parts. The challenge is that Pierce Arrow trailers were only made between 1936 and 1938, so finding original windows and appliances is not easy. But that’s what we do.
What do you hope for Flyte Camp in the future?
One word: Neutron. The Neutron is Flyte Camp’s own semi-custom, newly manufactured, vintage-style travel trailer. It is literally the best of both worlds because it combines the craftsmanship, ambiance and quality of the past with the amenities of a new, modern coach. The Neutron is an aircraft-constructed aluminum trailer with high-end finishes: real wood, quality upholstery and flooring, stainless steel shower, etc. While we will always remain passionate about vintage trailer restoration, we hope this new line will be the wave of Flyte Camp’s future.
Where do you like to camp?
Wherever my friends and family are. But one of my most vivid memories was at the Oregon coast. We hadn’t called ahead for a campsite, so we landed the 1958 Shasta in a parking lot. The unrelenting torrential downpour outside didn’t matter. Our little family sat around the cozy dining table, playing cards, enjoying cocktails and listening to old records. Those kinds of experiences are hard to beat.