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Nevada desert simple living in ’66 Airstream Overlander

Bruce Czopek first moved to the Nevada desert several decades ago to take a faux finishing job. When the recent recession hit, work in the trades slowed and he became concerned about making rent so he went looking for a home that he could afford.

He found a 1966 26-foot Airstream Overlander on craigslist Denver and bought it sight unseen for $4500. He rented space in his ex-wife’s backyard to park his new home and began to restore the trailer himself (Thankfully, he’s skilled in decorative interior arts, or as he says, a “fancy way to say Faux Finishing”).

His first task was restoring the sealant between the panels on the roof: 80 to 100 hours of work to be sure the craft was watertight. He then began to tackle the original veneer which, being nearly a half decade old, had started to fail. Since veneer is too thin to sand, he patched it and wood grained it to match the existing wood.

Czopek loves the Airstream design, particularly the models from the the mid-sixties. “‘’66 and ‘67 were just great design years in the whole industrial trades I think. You think about the designs in ‘66 you had the mustang, the camaro, really great industrial design.”

He acknowledges that buying an antique usually means more work than you bargained for, but he thinks it’s worth it. “People ask me why do you like Airstreams. They make me smile, it’s really not complicated. Also, we live in an angular world today so it’s nice to come into someplace that’s round”.

(Note: Since filming the interview, Bruce has been diagnosed with a debilitating illness that is affecting his ability to walk. He is crowdfunding to raise money for surgery).