The advent of SkyStream in Skyforest
Compiled by Mary-Justine Lanyon
Bill and Michelle Johnson grew up in Lake Arrowhead and graduated from Rim of the World High School. They finally met when Michelle was working as a waitress and Bill as a water ski instructor.
Eventually they managed their own real estate and design companies.
“We have had many adventures together,” Michelle said, “but this one is our biggest.”
She is, of course, referring to SkyPark at Santa’s Village. After closing escrow on the property in May 2014, they opened the doors for Christmas 2016.
“Our vision,” Michelle said, “was to create a sustainable business that could be the cornerstone of the community by providing jobs, a sense of community and a destination for mountain visitors.”
The final piece of the puzzle is finally falling into place with the restoration of six vintage Airstream trailers and the creation of SkyStream Resort at SkyPark Camp + RV Resort.
“We always wanted to add a permanent way to stay for both our park guests and our wedding guests,” Michelle said.
“We explored every possibility, including cabins, tent structures, teepees and much more,” she said. “The feasibility of some of these was very low. My original idea was to create an eclectic collection of accommodations like school buses, trains, boats, vintage trailers. Logistically, this would have taken years to collect and build.
“The takeaway from this exercise was that I needed to create a destination attraction. With that came the idea to put together a small resort of vintage trailers inside SkyPark Camp + RV Resort.”
Michelle Johnson started searching for trailers, with the Airstream at the forefront of her mind.
“I was searching Craigslist one day and came across multiple Airstreams from the same seller,” she said. When she called him, she found he had multiple units available. They were already completely gutted, which would make the remodel easier and she and her team could start with a blank slate.
Michelle said she spent a lot of time inside each Airstream to get a feel for the space. “I decided to approach the project as if each trailer was a hotel room. I made lists of all the amenities I love when I’m in a hotel and went from there.”
She chose everything that went into each trailer, down to the types of towels they provide to guests.
“These Airstreams are more than 50 years old and each has its own quirkiness and personality,” Michelle said.
“Each one has an incredible view of the valley below and the sparkling skies above.”
Each Airstream has a DreamCloud mattress, a Keurig coffee bar, a fireplace, air conditioning, a mini refrigerator, custom bedding, a patio with a firepit, a picnic table and benches and two Adirondack chairs. Bed linens are provided for the beds and convertible sofas. Bath linens and sundries are provided for the showers in the camp bath house.
Each of the Airstreams is named according to its theme.
Camp Christmas: “We had to have a Christmas-themed trailer,” Michelle said, “but I wanted it to be tasteful and cozy for our guests to enjoy. I hope guests will enjoy a cozy cup of hot cocoa while sitting by the fire!”
Cozy Clipper: Michelle said this trailer is truly special and unique. “The 1948 Curtis Wright Clipper is the most treasured trailer in our collection,” she said, adding it technically is not an Airstream but was co-designed by Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream. “I decided to honor the original design of this trailer and strive for a 1940s feel, like what you find in a cabin in Lake Arrowhead in the 1940s.”
Happy Camper: “Sally” was the second Airstream the Johnsons acquired. She is a 1971 Airstream Sovereign.
Michelle said the design in this trailer was inspired by the old cabins and camps of the Adirondacks. “We celebrate all the adventures of camping and the mountains with the design of this trailer,” she said. “We also like to remind everyone of all the adventures we offer at SkyPark, including mountain biking, climbing, fishing and hiking.”
Wanderlust: “Sassy” is a 1973 Airstream Sovereign. “I have always been very inspired in my cabin restorations by Ralph Lauren’s Colorado Ranch,” Michelle said. “Over the years, I have been so intrigued by the artifacts I have found in the cabins I have restored. Every item has a history and every item has been used by someone before me.
This trailer really celebrates the Spirit of the West with its Navajo textiles, antlers and lodge pole furniture. I wanted this Airstream to excite the nomad traveler to seek their own inspiration in the American West, the Rocky Mountains and the desert plains.”
The Northwoods: “Kixsie,” a 1973 Overlander, is named after an old work truck Michelle’s children named. “We have a tradition in our family to name our vehicles,” she said. Kixsie is a little smaller than the other Sovereigns, measuring about 26 feet. “I wanted this trailer to have a rustic feel but with a lightness. I have balanced the light and dark by using warm, cozy fabrics from Pendelton, dark ebony cabinetry and light wall colors. It is a nod to our NorthWoods where all the adventure begins at SkyPark.”
The Mountainside: “Ollie,” a 1972 Airstream Overlander, was the first trailer the Johnsons acquired and was the inspiration for all the floor plans. Ollie’s design inspiration came from the West – its wide-open spaces, Native American and cowboy cultures. Many of the items were procured in the Southwest – Navajo textiles, cowboy artifacts from Arizona ranches and much more.
Michelle notes that the SkyPark lands were originally a summer camp for the local Serrano Indians. “They came to the meadowlands during the summer to escape the heat of the valley below,” she said. “They also gathered flora and fauna for medicinals. The meadowlands at SkyPark are one of the last alpine meadows on this mountain range.”
For more information on the SkyStream Resort and to make reservations, visit www.skyparkcamprv.com.