AMARILLO, Texas – The great expanse that is the Panhandle calls travelers to explore the open road. The old route 66 has a plethora of pit stops from the Cadillac Ranch, the barbed wire museum, the big Texan, and one you might not expect to find in Amarillo, the RV museum.
Trent and Jack Sisemore are a father and son duo that has been in the RV business since 1974.
For over 30 years, they’ve been collecting rare recreational vehicles in an 8,000 square foot metal building in the crossroads of the panhandle.
“We were very strategic in the accusations that we did through that 30 years knowing that this was going to be the ultimate consummation of that,” Jack said.
Winnebagos from way back, buses from blockbusters, and a few motorcycles to round out the mobile collection, this archive is sort of an accolade of Americana.
Their collection includes a 1935 Airstream.
“It’s the oldest Airstream in the world that was built by a Dr. Holloman in his back yard in Florida,” Trent said. “It was all built by hand. It looks kind of like something from a Jules Vern movie.”
So what did Dr. Holloman get from Airstream if he had to build the RV himself? Plans and one license to build it, according to Trent.
“It was out of Popular Mechanics and it cost five dollars,” Trent said. “But then as you can see, we’ve been in manufacturing and I don’t know many people anymore that could build something of this design and this quality. I mean it took years of love and care to build this. ”
The oldest RV in the world, you’ll find that here too.
“It’s a 1921 Lamsteed Kamkar built by Anheuser Busch,” Trent said. “They actually built five of them. There’s two of them left. This one and one in the museum in Harris in Reno Nevada.”
Even the super campy campers of the 70’s are all restored and maintained to the sparking super fly semblance that was somehow in style.
Jack and Trent are incredibly tedious about recreating what life was like during the time period of each trailer.
“I do a lot of RVing in the fall, and I go everywhere I can go,” Trent said. “Every garage sale, every yard sale, every junk store finding all the old toys and games that go along with these and the books and people can then go back there and remember how much fun they had.”
These old-school campers are a far cry from what you can find today but telling this story isn’t just about a fond look at the fixtures and patterns of the past. This is about getting out there and seeing the world from a perspective with propulsion.
“From the time man began people have adventured and tried to move into new frontiers. And so that spirit, it keeps it alive,” Trent said. “And this keeps the history of the RV industry alive.”