Kyle Finley of Kings Highway likens the world of Airstream RV enthusiasts to a cult.
Finley spent two years renovating the 1978 Airstream Sovereign he bought on Craigslist, and anytime he ran into a problem, he could get answers in minutes by posting online.
“If I had a question, like, ‘How do I wire up a water pump?’, I could always find someone who had done it before and had the answer,” he says.
Over the past seven years or so, Finley has renovated three houses in Oak Cliff. But renovating an RV is different. There are elements similar to a home — the cabinetry and flooring, for example. But other elements are similar to working on an automobile. Everything is powered differently, wired differently, and it all has to hold together over miles of smooth and bumpy road. Balance and weight are considerations. Finley originally decided to buy an RV because of an item on his bucket list to travel the United States.
“Then it became less about the trip and more about fixing up this old Airstream,” he says. “I was really itching for another project, and another house wasn’t really doable.”
At first, he thought he could get away with making cosmetic changes to the interior, but he wasn’t so lucky.
“I gutted it, which wasn’t the plan,” he says. “But that was the only way to get it truly repaired from the ground up. It was a lot more work than I thought.”
The renovated trailer has a simple kitchen with Ikea cabinets and countertops, and a foldout table pulled from a ’60s Airstream. He made the bathroom bigger and installed a shower. The bedroom originally had two twin-size beds, and Finley replaced them with one double bed.
He also added more closet and storage space and recessed lighting. Last August, when the Airstream was finally finished, Finley convinced his company to let him take a month off for an RV trip. He traveled 7,000 miles from Texas to California, up the Pacific Coast Highway to Interstate 5, Seattle and Victoria, B.C., then back through Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
“If I did that again, I would definitely not try to go so many places,” he says.
He ran into car trouble a few times, but the trailer held up fine. And hauling around an Airstream is a good way to make friends in new places.
“Everywhere I would go, somebody would come up and want to talk to me about it,” he says.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Oak Cliff.