The Shady Dell

No introduction is necessary when an aluminum trailer enthusiast hears the name “The Shady Dell”.  It’s essentially Mecca for us.


(March 17, 2018)

The real reason why we came to Bisbee was to see The Shady Dell. I’ve been following this RV Motel since it started in the mid-1990s. We went into the office and asked if we could take a few pictures. What we got was a personal tour. We were so delighted! The “guide” took us through all the trailers that weren’t occupied and gave us a history on them. It was more than I could ever have hoped for! We asked if there was an admission fee, and he said, “We make enough from renting them, and we are happy to show them to visitors.” Can you imagine that? This was a dream come true.

Here is the little greeter who helped us explore the shiny atomic pods.  Let’s call her Sputnik!


The photos speak for themselves, but I’ll add a little commentary where necessary.  Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for lift off!

This is the rarest trailer in the collection.  It’s a 1957 El Rey.

Of course, it looks a lot like an Airstream, but it isn’t.

Most of their trailers are Spartans.  They survived well in the dry Arizona environment.  Here is a 1950 Spartanette:

Many more Spartans:  Mansions and Royal Mansions.  Oh my!


This little cutie isn’t rented any longer because it isn’t self-contained with a washroom:

This is a 1957 Airfloat. It’s rare to find one in its original anodized colour.  Some of the cool colors fell out of fashion and people painted them.  Gasp!

1947 Chris Craft yacht:


Plus a variety of other trailers, some for rent, some being worked on:

And a 1947 Flxible tiki bus!

A “drive-in” theatre:

And other fun stuff:

Although I was still in orbit, The Shady Dell guide also told us to check out Lowell, which was once a prosperous town that was demolished to dig a mine. There is one street remaining, and it’s almost a museum itself.


Let’s do the time warp again!

Bisbee, AZ

(March 15-17, 2018)



O Bisbee! We came to Bisbee for one reason (which you’ll learn about later) and left reluctantly for many reasons. This town is wonderful! It is set in the mountains, so it is cooler than the desert areas. There are so many stairs and original buildings from when this was a mining town. Sometimes, we felt like we were in Europe, but the cacti would remind us of where we were. This town has character and characters!


We parked at Queen Mine RV Park, which was pricey at $35/night, but you couldn’t beat the location (or the wifi)! We were walking distance to everything. We were lucky to be able to stay for 2 nights, because this is a very busy park. We had to move sites the second day.

Here is the Queen Mine that the park overlooks:


There were 2 Airstreams in the park, and this sweet Vistabule:

At the visitor’s center, you can get walking tour guides focusing on architecture for 3 different neighborhoods: Main Street, Brewery Gulch, and School Hill.

The Bisbee Restoration Museum is set in a classic department store.  All the artifacts were donated by local residents.  Included in the collection are several copper high school diplomas.  Yes, copper!  This was a copper mining town after all.

What’s with the flies?

Back in August 1912, there was a fly-swatting contest. The winner, Richard Phillips, received $10. The extermination was to combat the typhoid fever epidemic.

As you can see, Bisbee is a very artsy town.  Shops and homes are decorated.  It’s hard to take it all in in two days.

Some of the sidewalks remind me of Saskatoon. In Saskatoon, you will also find these glass brick sidewalks. The glass allows light to enter the shop basements. This was where the “bargain basements” were located in Bisbee.


Even though we only spent 2 days in Bisbee, we found ourselves at the Old Bisbee Brewing Company on both days. Imagine that! On the first day, Paul ordered the sampler, and from it, I chose my drink – Salut! It isn’t a beer. It’s created using champagne yeasts with peach and elderberry flower extracts. Because of the elderberry flower flavor, it reminded me of European lemonades. Mmmm! After my first Salut!, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so we made our way back the next day. Paul was more than willing to go with me. On the day we left, I wondered if they’d be open in the morning so I could get another.  Next year.  Salut!

In the next post, you’ll see why we really came to Bisbee.