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It has been a crazy summer – even though summer took her sweet time getting here.

Weather-wise it hasn’t been the best year for a garden which is kind of sad when I look into the greenhouse but since there aren’t any veggies to sell at the Farmers Market I have had some free time to do a few ‘fun things’ that I usually don’t have time for.

Like camping with Hubby!

Dani and Dalton (who are teachers and have the summer off) decided to come to the ranch for a couple of weeks.  Since they have grown into highly responsible adults Hubby and I decided this was the perfect opportunity for us to take off for a couple of days.  I hitched up Rattlin Ruby while Hubby threw in a change of clothes and Steve the Wonder Dog who doesn’t hesitate when he sees an open pickup door.

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Hubby didn’t want to drive or even navigate so I just headed off in a generally north-westerly direction and we ended up here – Keyhole State Park near Pine Haven, WY.  What a nice place to camp and the weather was perfect – not too hot and we even got rained on which makes for good sleeping weather in an old camper.

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We only spent one night at Keyhole but it was such a pretty night.

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Steve travels really well.  He’s just the right size to fit into a little camper.  He especially likes watching out the door – guarding us against the evil squirrels who inhabit campgrounds.

The next day we drove a whooping 26 miles to our next stop.  You’ll never guess where we’re headed.

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OK – you guessed.

We went to Devil’s Tower – our nation’s first National Monument and camped in the KOA campground where parts of the Steven Spielberg classic movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind was filmed.  How cool is that?

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It was a beautiful campground with a great view no matter where you were parked.

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And to prove it just look at the view outside Ruby’s back window.

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And what a photo for her scrap book!

I had to laugh though – this was a huge campground filled with many large & very expensive motor homes and campers.  As my sister would say “It was a veritable plethora of gleaming and perfectly painted mansions on wheels”.  Steve and I walked up and down every row to check out all these beauties and when we returned to our humble little abode I told Hubby that there was ab-so-lutely no doubt in my mind that Ruby was the oldest girl at the ball (so to speak).  But even with this mass of “Trailer Perfection” parked in all their glory Ruby still seemed to get a lot of second looks.  What a Hoot!

We thought about hiking around the base of Devil’s Tower but we had done that years ago with the kids and since dogs are not allowed on the trail we would have had to leave Steve behind – which wouldn’t be right.  So we stayed at the campground and were basically lazy.  We didn’t even stay up for the free viewing of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind which they show every night throughout the summer – of course they do.  Just imagine the thrill of watching Richard Dreyfuss sculpt a replica of Devils Tower out of mashed potatoes with the real Tower looming just past the screen.  But for us it was early to bed and early to rise so we could go see something that Hubby has driven past many times but has never stopped to see.

Wah-La.  I give you the Vore Buffalo Jump!

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Sitting right beside the interstate is an amazing thing that you really should stop and see if you get the chance.  Starting in the mid 1500’s this natural sink hole was used to kill large amounts of buffalo by the Native Americans.  They would slowly start to move the herds of buffalo toward the hole then stampede them at the last minute.  The buffalo in the front probably tried to stop when they saw the drop off but the animals behind them would have forced them over the edge.  The buffalo that weren’t killed by the fall would have been finished off by the hunters.  Then the work of butchering and preserving the meat for winter would begin.  It was a very interesting stop.

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Originally the interstate was supposed to go right over the top of this area but when an engineer testing the sink hole to see if it was stable enough to support the road came back with core samples filled with bones they decided to do some investigating.  There are many Buffalo Jumps throughout the area – even one not far from our ranch but this is one of the better known ones.  This particular site was used for about 250 years until the introduction of the horse made this form of hunting obsolete.  Every summer they work to uncover more of the site and learn a little more.

When we finished the tour – and I bought a T-shirt – we stepped outside to see this in the parking lot.

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Ruby, Ruby, Ruby…  You roll with the best of them.

(And no, that was not me spinning cookies in the parking lot.  LOL!!!)

Then it was off to Rapid City where we stopped at the Windmill Truck Stop to top off the gas tank before heading home.  As we waited in line for the pump a small gray car pulled up beside us and stopped.  Inside, an elderly man motioned for Hubby to roll down his window so he could tell us something.  I must admit, my first reaction was to look in the rear-view mirror to see if Ruby had scattered parts across the parking lot but to my relief the pavement was clear.  There was a glimmer of tears in the man’s eyes as he introduced us to his wife sitting in the seat beside him.  Although he didn’t say so, we could tell she wasn’t well and it appeared she wasn’t able to speak but she smiled as her husband explained they had seen us on the road and had followed us into the truck stop because he wanted to tell us that our little camper had made his wife laugh.  He must have seen our confusion as he continued to explained it was especially funny to his wife as her name was Ruby.  When she saw the name “Rattlin Ruby” plastered across the rear end of an old camper she couldn’t help but laugh.

He said it made her day…

With a shared laugh between strangers and a simple wave of his hand they drove away leaving Hubby and I laughing to ourselves and knowing that this would be the highlight of our whole trip.  I eased the pickup and trailer ahead to the pump wishing I could have told them that they had made our day too.

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It’s been some time since I last posted photos of my favorite vintage camper – Ruby but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on her.  In fact I was looking back at the old photos recently and was amazed at just how far she has come.  I thought maybe you’d like to see the difference too.

This is my first photo of Ruby – her baby photo.

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And here’s what she looks like today with her new paint and decals.  I’m still working on getting her shined up a little but she looks pretty good to me.

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Here’s the kitchen before – complete with a large mouse nest in the lower cabinet.

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and the kitchen after:

No more mouse nest!

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Her ‘kitchen’ hasn’t changed much except for the finish was sanded off the cabinets and they are now sealed with a coat of clear poly.  The biggest difference is one you can’t see – her stove, oven and fridge all work now and she has a new propane line that goes to them so hopefully we won’t blow up.  That would tend to ruin a camping trip.  Another big change is that Ruby has a new fresh water tank that runs water into the sink.  Will the wonders never cease?  Life is good when you have running water.

Remember this?  The dining room before:

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And the dining room after.  The seat cushions were redone (to how they looked originally).  The cabinets were refinished and the walls were papered with silk wall paper.  And don’t forget those mosaic windows on either side.  It’s amazing what you can do with a jar of broken glass.

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The bedroom before:  Can you say Yuck?!

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The lady who reupholstered the sofa stripped it down to the springs and built it back to better than it was originally.  She also did the bench seats and I love the way they turned out.  It’s a very comfy place to sleep now and looks much more inviting.  I did leave the supports for the hanging cot (bed).  Originally she had 2 cots – one above the sofa/bed and one above the table which also converts to a bed.  When I bought Ruby she only had one cot left which was in surprisingly good condition so I decided to leave the back bunk but took out the supports for the front.  The canvas cot and the two steel pipes it hangs on stows away in the ‘pocket’ above the back window (there’s a matching pocket under the front windows by the table too).  I don’t know that I will ever sleep on the hanging cot but I figured it would work great for extra storage if needed.

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I still need to strip and refinish the cabinet under the bed but I’ve got some good ideas to work into that area when I get the time.

Do you remember this hole by the door?

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There used to be a rather large (and completely rusted out) furnace which was sold for scrap metal shortly after I ripped it out of the wall and threw it out the door.  Instead, I now have a cute little fake fireplace (electric) heater which is much easier to use and works really well so what could I do to fill this opening?

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How about a nice cabinet with spots to hold fishing poles, books, nick-nacks and a fire extinguisher?  I still need to fill it with stuff but you get the idea.

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And the bottom opens to reveal a first aid kit in an old tool box.   I just need to label it so everyone can see what it is.   Just around the corner of the new cabinet is now a cork bulletin board for memories and a new mirror but this time the mirror is actually made of plexiglass.  I had no idea they even made such a thing.  I even remounted the clock into the hole where it belongs.  I haven’t hooked it up to the battery yet to see if it actually works but I’m working on it.

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There’s still 16 items on her to-do list along with lots of little touch ups here and there but she’s getting better and I’ve been having a lot of fun too.  I can’t wait to get her back on the road.

Happy Trails!

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Before the furlough and before the blizzard my sister, the girlfriends and I went on a grand adventure! We went to the Nebraska Junk Jaunt.

I first heard about the Junk Jaunt when I was camping with the Sisters on the Fly. According to them it was a ‘must see’. So the last weekend in September my sister hitched up her big camper, I hitched up little Rattlin’ Ruby and we loaded up 4 of our girlfriends and headed south.

Our first stop was to look at an old camper – I know, hard to believe but this time it wasn’t for me. It appears I have been a bad infulence on my nephew as he is now on the lookout for one of his very own. Unfourtunately, this was not the one. This camper was in really bad shape and the lady who owned it wanted a little to much for it. I’m sure he will find the perfect one soon but I remember how hard it is to be patient.

After our camper inspection we headed for Broken Bow, NE. My sister’s camper is huge compared to Ruby and I know I could have slept in her camper with the others but part of the reason for this trip was to see if Ruby could actually make it that far. And she preformed flawlessly! I really do love my little home on wheels. I have even added a few items to make my travels a little more comfortable.

Ruby is now equiped with a fireplace…

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OK – it’s electric and it only looks like a wood stove but it warms her up really quick and keeps me toasty warm all night. And besides that – she’s cute as a button and fits perfectly in our upstairs bathroom for the winter!

She also has laundry facilities…

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I also added a thick feather tick to her bed along with lots of nice blankets and I slept like a log. There’s nothing like being well rested to prepare for a day of Junking!

We drove down on Thursday. Parked in Wanda’s sisters yard and hit the ground running Friday morning – with all 6 of us girls in my pickup.

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Someone suggested I might need this book. I don’t know why?

Most of the sales open at 7:00 am and run all day till 7:00 pm.

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I don’t think the girlfriends really believed me when I told them it was 500 miles of rummage sales so it took a while to convince them. At the first stop my sister purchased a sofa with 2 matching chairs and a foot stool. They look like something right off an Austin Powers movie set – from the 60’s, harvest gold and avacodo green and in really good shape.

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I figured at this rate we were going to have to strap stuff on the top of Ruby just to get it all home but we left the furniture there to pick up later and headed out. The next stop was a huge metal shop crammed full of stuff. I bought 5 beautiful old window frames which will someday be refinished and sporting stained glass. I don’t know where I will use them but figuring that out is half the fun of junking.

After that we hit sale after sale and even though the girlfriends were a little shy about buying junk it didn’t stop me and my sister. By the end of the day we had pretty well loaded down the pickup and we still had to go back to the first stop the next morning and pick up Jenny’s sofa and chairs. We had lawn chairs for Wanda’s sister, a patio set for one of the girlfriends, a beautiful old chamber pot for Ruby, glasses, dishes, silk pj’s, new chaps (chinks) for me, a new bit for my horse and had pretty much crammed stuff into every cubby hole and storage spot inside my pickup. Everybody was holding stuff on their laps too.

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We finished shopping for the day at Burwell as it started to sprinkle. Thankfully, I had thrown in a tarp and straps which came in pretty handy.  We stopped at Wanda’s sisters friends house (well, that’s confusing) who had invited us for drinks. We never turn down drinks and in this case it ended up that they cooked us some of the best steaks we had ever eaten and a wonderful salad for supper. What nice people!!! By the time we were ready to head back to our campers it was 9:00, pitch black and raining really hard. We soon discovered that the Nebraska Sand Hill country is really made up of sand. The gravel (really it was sand) roads were pretty squishy and we had a couple wild moments just getting out of the driveway but once we got back on pavement we only had the lack of visability to worry about.

Talk about rain! It was impressive to say the least but we crept back to Broken Bow and made it back to a gas station before running the tank dry. Of course that meant that I was standing outside pumping gas in one of the worst driving rain I have ever seen. $60.00 later I was soaked to the skin and shaking so hard I could hardly shut the air conditioner off in the pickup.  One of the girlfriends was a little confunsed by the snowflake symbol on the dash. Oh my goodness – I haven’t laughed that hard in years! I was glad to get back to Ruby and her fireplace!!!

The rain stopped in the middle of the night but the dogs started barking shortly later. Wanda’s sister Sonja and her husband run cattle and also have some very nice horses which they train and also are also used for barrels, poles and such events at rodeos and horse shows by their daughter Jayde. As soon as you step into their house you can see how good these horses and riders are as the place is filled with trophy buckles. They had taken off for another horse show in Denver that morning and left us in charge. They are very trusting people.

So when the dogs started barking in the middle of the night I kept peeking out the window to see what they were barking at. At first I didn’t see a thing but then once the moon came out I looked out to see the outline of a horse in the barn. It turns out one of their horses – Max is quite an escape artist and is able to undo latched gates. I got up and threw on my jeans and boots but as soon as I opened Ruby’s door the horse took off. I cleaned up the spilled oats he was rummaging through and tried to coax him in by shaking the bucket of oats. This always works with our horses but Max is smarter than that and refused to be caught. Since I wasn’t too keen on stumbling around in the dark and it would be morning soon I finally locked the bucket of oats in the tack room and went back to bed after telling the dogs what good puppies they were and to keep an eye on things till morning.  It didn’t take long to straighten things out the next morning.

After a quick breakfast we were off to pick up my sister’s livingroom furniture then back to unload it in the barn and check on things before heading out for another load of treasures. Thankfully, the day had dawned with clear skies and was absolutely beautiful. We hit the fairgrounds in Broken Bow which was filled with lots of venders. We even ended up with several good purchases because of the rain the night before – one vender had 3 large flatbed trailers loaded with all manner of rain-soaked items that were only a quarter each! I just love those rock bottom prices. My best purchase of the day was a box of dishes – a complete 8 place setting of Shakespear Country dishes for $20.00. I had been picking up pieces of these dishes for the last year or so about fell over myself when I spotted a whole box of them so cheap!

We saw lots of unusual things like this chair.  We didn’t buy it but you got to admit it’s got style!

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Of course we came home with another full load and spent the evening sorting and packing away our treasures for the trip home. We also celebrated with a concoction that will forever more be known as ‘Junk Juice’ although I doubt if any of us can remember the recipe.

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Sunday morning found the horses out once again – freed by their ringleader Max but they were quickly gathered and order was restored before we headed down the road to a few more rummage sales and finally home – 1,131.4 miles later and Ruby pulled like a dream.

We saw a lot of beautiful country, met some wonderful people and got a whole bunch of stuff for very little money. I would highly recommend the Junk Jaunt – especailly for a girlfriend get-away but I have a few suggestions if you’re planning on attending the next one.

1. Order the Shoppers Guide from the website before you go. This is filled with maps and lots of information on the different sales and vendors. You can plan your trip and also see which of the sales have items you are interested in.

2. Go through the shoppers guide and mark the estate sales and first time rummage sales. These turned out to be the best spots we found.

3. Drive down on Wednesday and start shopping on Thursday. Not all the sales will be open yet but the shoppers guild will tell you which ones are.

4. Never acept a marked price as the final price. I am not good at dickering but there is definately some people who are. Learn from the masters and practise at home before going.

5. Take a bunch of friends with you as it is always more fun to shop with friends.

6. Take the time to stop and visit with the local people – Nebraska has some of the nicest people you will ever meet!

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7. If you drive past a rummage sale and everybody in the pickup sucks in their breath at the same time and goes “Ohhhhhhh!” in unison you better turn around and go back – that was one of the best stops we made.

We came home with Ruby loaded down and the back of my pickup completely full. My sister’s camper also had piles of stuff tucked into closets, cupboards and corners too. But best of all we collected some pretty great memories of the trip.

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There’s my little Ruby parked at Carhenge – the roadside attraction built by a Nebraska farmer just north of Alliance, Nebraska. There’s a photo for her scrapbook!

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I have been trying to add a new post to my blog for several weeks but for some unknown reason my computer and blog no longer play well together so we’ll try it a different way and see what we end up with.

Summer has been busy with lots of work, haying, hunters, garden stuff, farmers market and canning but I have taken a little time to work on my old camper Rattlin’ Ruby so I thought you might like to see what we’ve done.

Ruby and I (along with my sister and a bunch of the girlfriends) will be headed off on a grand adventure in just under a week.  We are going Junking!  Last year at the Sisters on the Fly campout I heard about the Nebraska Junk Jaunt – a 500 mile loop in the center of Nebraska of rummage sales, antique dealers, church bazaars and who knows what else.   If you know me, you know this is something I must see for myself.  So I mentioned it to the girls one day and plans were quickly made.  But there was much to get ready if I wanted to take Ruby.

First off I took the old girl down to Edgemont, SD to Jim – a guy who works on campers for a living.   Usually he works on much newer campers but he was willing to see what he could do with Ruby. First he by-passed the old propane lines (since they were kind of scary) and ran a new line to the stove and fridge. He also added a new regulator and pig-tails on her spiffy new propane tanks.

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A couple cans of spray paint also helped to spruce up her hitch a bit.

Right from the start, the stove and oven worked great but we had a few problems when it came to the cute little fridge. I am proud to report the Dometic company is still in business and continues to make great camper refridgerators but it appears that things have changed in the last 50 years. Jim (the guy in Edgemont) had no idea what was the correct way to light the old girl so he called the company and asked for the guy who had been there the longest. Of course they were curious about a 50+ year old fridge that appeared to still be in working condition. I guess the thought of it caused quite a stir. The company rep, to whom Jim was directed, had a couple of ideas but wasn’t sure any of them would work and I’m afraid he didn’t instill a great deal of confidence in Jim because he didn’t jump right in and try to light her after he hung up the phone. So I paid the bill and brought my baby home still not knowing if the fridge worked or not.  I should also mention that written on the bill was the following statement “Appliances are 40 + years old and are to be operated at your own risk”.

OK – that scared me for a couple of weeks but one day when Morgan (who is fearless) was home we decided to give it a try. The pilot light took right off and burned happily all night. I admit I worried about it all night long and sat up in bed to look out the window a couple of times through out the night to see if my little Ruby was a blazing pile of embers.  Fortunately, she survived the night in good shape. Unfortuantely, even thought the pilot light still burned the next morning, the fridge wasn’t any cooler than it had been the night before. I shut off the propane and started work on some other projects while I decided what to do about the fridge.

It’s a good thing I don’t work quickly as a few weeks later as I was cleaning out one of the cubbies I stumbled across a stack of paperwork that had come with the trailer. When I frist bought her I had found lots of papers – dusty, grimy, mouse eaten papers that I hadn’t really bothered looking at but had stuffed into one of the cubbies where all the odd ball stuff went as I cleaned. Thankfully I don’t throw anything away so amongst all these old registrations, receipts and papers were several booklets on the fridge. JACKPOT!!! In nearly mint condition were the instructions on how to lite the fridge along with lots of information on something called a Klixon valve. It also showed a picture of this long metal rod with a funky little pocket on one end. Wait a minute… I’ve seen one of those… You guessed it – in the middle of the pile of odd ball things there was the the ‘lighting rod’ I needed to light the fridge. Thank goodness I’m a packrat. Turns out that the funky little pocket on the lighting rod holds a short piece of lamp wick which you light then slide back to light the pilot light and warm the Klixon valve which opens with a click and starts the fridge.

Sounded easy but I still waited till Hubby could take a break from haying and watch (and call 911 if I blew myself up) as I attempted to light the fridge.

Wah Lah – it worked like a charm. The Klixon valve opened and the old girl moaned and groaned for a couple of seconds then took off like she’d been running non-stop for years. She ran all night (yes, I spent another sleepless night looking out the window) and the next morning I ran out to find the temperature in the fridge was a chilly 29* and the freezer compartment was coated with a glittery layer of ice crystals. Of course I ran in to tell Hubby the good news. I won’t tell you the first words he said but he did mention that at least I could keep my beer cold now. Ha!

I scanned all the important ‘historical’ documents and passed them on to Jim in Edgemont who was going to pass them on to the guys at Dometic so they will be ready the next time a crazy woman calls about an older-than-dirt camper fridge.

After all that excitement I was pumped to contiune work on Ruby. Next I tackled the water system.

Ruby’s water system is simple enough even I can’t screw it up. At least that’s what I thought when I started. I purchased a new fresh water tank and propmtly started plumbing.

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Things look pretty good don’t they? The one itsy bitsy issue with the whole system, which you proably can’t see in this picture is that they no longer make tanks the same size as the original galvanized steel tank that came in the camper so I had ordered the next best thing. It turns out the ‘next best thing’ is a tank that is slightly taller than the original so to fill the tank the water must now run up hill from the inlet on the outside of the camper to the inlet of the tank. Now I’m no expert on plumbing but I’m thinking there might be a little problem with that.

OK – there’s got to be a way to revamp this. The first thought was to cut a hole in the floor of the camper and lower the tank down a couple of inches but because of the metal I-beam that runs the full length of the camper there was no easy way to do that. In a moment of complete insanity I even thought that maybe it would work if I ran that side of the camper up on a ramp while I filled the tank but I’m betting as soon as we headed down the road water would splash out of the inlet until it reached a level inside the tank that was lower than the inlet.  I would have to add a shut off valve somewhere by the tank to make that idea work but what a pain in the butt. I finally decided the best answer is to raise the inlet on the outside of the camper till it is higher than the top of the tank. Of course that means I will have to raise the bench seats up an inch or two for clearence. I guess that will just have to wait till I get back from Nebraska.

I’ve decided when it comes to old campers you cause at least one problem for every problem you solve. Oh well, it keeps me out of the bars.

The third project I tackled actually turned out really well. I hung some artwork on her walls. They are greeting cards made by Leaning Tree.  They are a variety of cowgirl paintings by a very talented artist named Terri Kelly Moyers. Framed in black frames and then screwed right to the walls they look great but you know how it goes – when you fix up one thing it makes something els look bad.

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In this case I thought it just made the plexiglass windows on either side of the dinette area look nasty. I thought about it for awhile and decided Ruby needed some stained glass but since she is a mo-bile unit and tends to shimmy and shake down the road I’m afraid regular stained glass would be too ridgid to survive very many miles – but a simple mosaic would work great instead.

I cut out some red and green glass pieces to form a rose then headed out to Ruby with a jar of busted clear glass and a couple of tubes of clear silicone. Two hours later and this is what those boring windows look like now.

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I really need to get a picture of them at night with Ruby’s lights shining through them.  Now I don’t even need curtains for privacy.  And another plus is if I ever get tired of them I can peel off the glass and silicone and the plexiglass windows are still there. Sweet! I took a few photos as I worked to show you how I did it.

First I drew up a pattern. Usually if I’m working on glass instead of plexiglass I just draw the design on the back side of the glass but I wasn’t sure the permanet marker would wash off of plexiglass so I just drew it up on a piece of paper and taped it to the outside of the window.

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Then working on the inside you smear on some clear silicone. Be sure to open the window when you do this as the fumes from the silicone will run you right out of a little camper in a matter of minutes. Work in small areas of the window as the silicone will set up quickly especially on a hot day. I usually squeeze out enough to cover an area about 6″ square then take a small piece of cardboard to smear it around – covering all of the area. Once it’s spread around you just stick the glass into the silicone and press it firmly into place. You will be able to slide the pieces around for awhile so that you can get them set ‘just right’.  Sometimes when you press the glass in place silicone will ooze out around the edges.  If this happens just wipe it off with your fingertip but be sure to have some paper towels handy to wipe your hands on other wise you will end up with silicone on everything and believe me that’s a mess!

I always have lots of scrap glass around but if you buy pieces of stained glass to use be sure to ‘cut’ the glass into squares or triangles – don’t just hit it with a hammer as you will end up with lots and lots of skinny, sharp shards of glass that won’t work well in a mosaic.  Just buy a cheap glass cutter for around $3.00 at the hardware store and score lines going both ways before you start breaking the class.  Practise on some  old window glass to build your confidence if your nervous about the stained glass.

I’ve also done mosaics like this on the glass in old window frames. These look great hung in windows or even on the front porch. Easy-peasy!!!

Well, it’s back to work for me but at least we’re one day closer to the Junk Jaunt. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures of the treasures we find. If you don’t want to wait for my pictures just jump in the car and head to Nebraska too – I’m sure there’s enough junk for all of us! Happy Junking!!!!!!!!!

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I did it!  I attended my very first Sisters On The Fly weekend.  What a nice bunch of ladies and they really do (as their motto says) “Have more fun than anyone”. 

Of Course Steve wanted to go with.

Sorry, Big Fella – no men, of any kind allowed.

I took my sweet little trailer, Ruby – or as she’s know now – Rattlin’ Ruby and we spent a couple of days at Stockade Lake campground in beautiful Custer State Park.  It was like a trip home since I had worked and lived in CSP for two years when I was fresh out of High School. 

 I had to wait till after work on Friday before I could head over there but with only 35 miles to go it didn’t take me long.  I had spent the previous weeks getting stuff ready. I told Hubby that I was ready to go since I had packed everything, including the kitchen sink!  Ruby is still pretty ‘rustic’ but nobody cared – their campers had started out ‘rustic’ too. 

And just look at them now…

Everywhere I looked there were cute little campers…

 

OK – got to get a canopy!!!  I got so many good ideas – it was wonderful!

And everyone was so eager to share.  I made it into almost every camper there.

I was in Vintage Camper Hog Heaven and loving every minute.

But the highlight of the trip for me was when this rolled into camp.

 This SWEET little pickup and camper are owned by a local fella I have known for years.  Since this is a very special little camper it’s owner, Jim, was asked to bring her by even though it meant breaking all the rules when it came to ‘ men in camp’. 

I have driven past this camper hundreds of times over the years and always wondered what she looked like inside.  I had even asked about buying it at one point but as soon as I saw inside I realized why it would never be for sale. 

 

Jim is an artist and an amazing person.  I had no idea just how artistic he is until I saw this. 

Check out all the metal egg beaters on the ceiling.  I bet there were at least 70 of them without the handles screwed up there. 

I was blown away!  I just had to sit down and look.  Every surface was filled with hood ornaments, trophy parts and bits and pieces of all manner of things.  There was so much that like me, my camera didn’t know what to focus on so I’m afraid the photos don’t do it justice.

This was my favorite part – doesn’t the bed look like a berth on an old ship – so tiny and cozy.  He said he had to add this wall because the sides of the trailer were pulling out.  So he copied the arch of the camper doorway and made a great little cubbie hole for the bed.  I might just have to steal that idea for one of my campers.  And another thing I’m definitely going to do is copy the way he built his screen door.

Is that beautiful or what?

Jim’s son and grandson were there too.  His son is working on another old trailer that I’m betting will be just as wonderful as this one.  What a nice bunch of guys.

I did have a great time last weekend and will have to do it again.  The SOTF gals will be getting together the end of this month when the people of central Nebraska have their annual ‘Junk Jaunt’.  This event is a 3 day, 300 mile long rummage, antique, vendor filled sale that makes a loop through some of the prettiest country in Nebraska.  I was really thinking about attending until I got home Sunday afternoon and learned we will be moving yearlings that weekend.  Oh well, that gives me a whole year to save my pennies for the next one.

Thank you to all my new sisters for all the fun and especially the wonderful warm welcome I received.  I look forward to seeing you all again!

 

 

 

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Sorry I have been away so long – here we are at the end of another busy summer and I’m not sure where it went.

I know I promised you some photos of my tatted lace but my camera has decided it doesn’t want to work anymore so I guess it is time to go shopping once again. 

I’ve been busy gardening.  The garden has done fairly well – even though we haven’t gotten much rain.  It has been a strange summer with the plants only setting on a few ‘fruits’ that haven’t gotten as big as usual and things ripening up extra early.  I started picking winter squash in mid July – which is unheard of here but I guess if the plants are stressed they figure they better Git-R-Done as soon as possible.

Our youngest son, Morgan moved back home for a month or two.  He was working 6 days a week as a welders assistant on the new pipeline west of Newcastle.  He was lucky to get a really good welder to work with so he learned a lot and had a pretty good time too.  He just left this last weekend for school where he will be taking welding.  He was ready to go but will miss his dog Steve (probably more than he’ll miss his mother).  Steve will be living with us while he’s gone.  This should give me plenty of time to spoil the short little, 4-legged sweety pie.

We’re all missing that kid of ours but we know he’ll do well.

We also have news on our oldest son, Dalton and his wife Dani.  They are now living in Eastern SD where he is working as a welding instructor at the Vo Tech where he went to school.  What a great opportunity for them but we’re missing them as well.

And what have I done all summer beside garden?  I joined Sisters on the Fly – I am now sister #2831 – thank you very much!  And I have been working on my little campers – Nadine and Ruby.  Ruby is the one that has made the most progress.   

Besides doing a whole lot of cleaning I have ripped out and replaced some of the bad paneling, greased wheel bearings and discovered she has electric brakes, cleaned up mouse poop, started sanding cabinets and resealing them, cleaned some more mouse poop, wall papered, bought new tires, screwed her back-end back together where it had come apart after I cleaned up even more mouse poop, and pretty much patched, fixed and refinished everything I touched on her.  I also found a wonderfully talented lady near Custer who re-upholstered the seats and sofa for her too.  You just gotta love those red & white stripes!!!

Check out that new silk wall paper too.  It looked good on the computer but inside Ruby the first thing I thought of was an old-time Western House of Ill Repute.  Yep, looks like the finest little Texas Whore House you ever did see – don’t she?  Oh well, once I get all the photos and stuff hung up and screwed to the walls it should look real pretty.  And even though the curtains aren’t sewn yet the fabric looks very nice with it so I guess it has to stay. 

I hitched up Ruby and went to the county fair a couple of weeks ago and she performed flawlessly except for a few drops of rain that managed to get past all the silicone caulking I forced in around her ceiling vent.  I guess that still needs some work.  She is a work in progress but she is slowly coming along. 

Ruby is up in Rapid City this week getting her propane checked out (which has not turned out so well) and hopefully getting a new water tank and tubing.  The guys in the Service Department are almost as tickled with the old girl as I am.  The kid who parked her in the lot said he figured she was the oldest one they’d ever had. 

I do have to tell you about one wild adventure I had with Ruby early on.  One of the first things I fixed on her this spring was her door.  Someone had tried to pry their way inside at some point in her life so the bottom and top corners of the door were ‘sprung’ and wouldn’t fit snug like they should.  Of course that meant that rain and snow had managed to find their way inside and messed up the wood on the inside of the door.  I removed the door, took off the door latch, buffed off the old paint and primer, polished her up, repainted the arrow (International Red – Sweet!) and added some black pin stripping before replacing the wood with new paneling painted with chalk board paint.  I saw that in an issue of Mary Jane’s Farm magazine – so you can write messages on the door – Way too cute.  Once things were fixed up I replaced the latch and screwed the door back on and after a few minor adjustments (skillfully made with a large hammer) the door shut much better than it had before.  In fact, it shut so well that I couldn’t get it open again.  If I had been thinking at all I would have realized before now that I should have been inside the camper when I shut it the first time just in case but I didn’t happen to think of that until the door was firmly stuck shut. 

I wiggled the latch.  I cussed.  I begged the latch to open.   Then I cussed some more – with gusto – but it still wouldn’t open.  The key was no help either – first because it wasn’t locked and second because she hadn’t come with a key.  There obviously was something else ‘amiss’ with her security system.  I thought – no worries – there are little cubby doors all the way around the outside of the camper so I should be able to pick the lock on one of those and get inside – no sweat. 

I’m afraid to report that as a thief I would not make a very good living.  In fact, I would probably starve. 

Even though old campers come with pretty basic (cheap) locks I wasn’t able to get any of the 3 cubby doors open.  No problem (I thought again) there were screws all along the top of the hinge holding the doors on.  I would just take them off, remove the door and crawl right in.  I chuckled to myself as I picked the largest door to work on.  Heck if the spare tire could fit through it, so could I.  It took me 30 minutes to remove the 20 small screws along the top of the hinge then I stuck my handy-dandy screwdriver in to pry the hinge loose only to find out that the 20 screws on the outside weren’t the only ones holding the door on.  Inside the wall, locked up safe behind the stuck door were another 20 screws holding it from the other side.  This led to another 45 minutes of lock picking attempts and much more cussing.  My lock picking skills didn’t work any better the second time.  Finally, I was down to my last option.

The cubby door that was already bent: 

You guessed it – it is the smallest cubby door on the whole camper. 

Since the door was already bent I could reach my hand inside without causing any more damage and with the help of a screwdriver and a few skinned up knuckles I was able to remove the screw on the back of the lock.  Unfortunately, that didn’t release the lock.  In fact I’m not sure what that screw really does, if anything.  I’m beginning to think it’s just a ‘decoy’ screw and some kind of sick joke to make you think you could actually break in.  Either way, after lots of feeling around inside with my hand and trying to picture the inside of the lock in my mind I realized there was a clip that slid into the back of the lock to hold it in place.  A pair of pliers later and I had the lock out of the door and the hatch open. 

Success!!! 

Then I looked at the opening…

It is even smaller than the door…

I measured it… 

Thought a minute…

Then I measured my ass…

Hmmm… 

I measured the door again…

Pulled off my belt…

Took off my hat…

pulled the tape measure a little tighter around my ass…

Maybe… 

Just maybe…

By this time, my beloved Hubby – who has shown no interest in Ruby at all – till now – realized what was going on and had pulled up a lawn chair for the show.  I glared at him but refused to be intimidated by the smirk on his face.  I knelt beside the door, pulled out the heavy electrical plug and extension cord along with as much of the garbage, mouse poop and dust I could reach.  Tightened my mask down over my face (safety first) and started in – looking like a demeanted yet determined bank robber and wondering how I would explain this to the paramedics who would eventually have to come rescue me. 

After seeing how determined I was, Hubby did jump up and help by holding the door as I wiggled my shoulders – one side then the other through the small opening.  I had made it halfway through when Hubby suddenly yelled,

“STOP!!!  HOLD STILL!”. 

I stopped dead in my tracks trying to figure out if I had caught myself on something or EVEN WORSE if a snake had appeared.  Of course since I was stuck half-way in and half-way out of the camper I feared the worse.  Trying to keep my rising panic in check I calmly (Ha!) asked him what was wrong.  “Nothing,”  he answered, “I just want to get the camera.” 

Ha, Ha, Ha!!!

Damn man!

But I have to admit this did give me the added incentive I needed to wiggle my backside through the opening in record time. 

I had made it…

Well, sort of… 

My boots were still sticking out the side of the camper.

  But since this was obviously a very lucky day for me, things just continued to go my way.  The cubby I had chosen to crawl through opened up to the storage space beneath the sofa/bed so there wasn’t very much extra space and worst of all I realized at this point of the misson that the door I had  just crawled through wasn’t the only door I had to crawl through.  As luck would have it, the inside access door was a couple of inches shorter but thankfully a foot wider and just for added icing on the bundt-cake-of -life –  it was also closed!

Of course it was!

  Damn – I love a challenge!

 But there is a God in Heaven and he loves me – you see that door has a loose latch that I hadn’t gotten around to fixing yet so I was able to smack it a couple of times with my fist and it popped right open.  Yes!!!  Then I looked at the size of the opening and thought about the size of my head.  A short time and two scrapped up ears later I managed a few more sideways wiggles in a 1/4″ of dust, dirt and mouse poop and a sharp 90 degree turn to the side and I was able to squish myself through the last door and out onto the floor of the camper.  

Yep – 50 years old and I am born again.  Can I get a Hallelujah from the choir?  Thank you God for not making me one of those ‘full figured girls’.  Amen!

I laid on the floor covered in dirt, dead bugs and spider webs, with an old receipt stuck to my elbow and crap running the full length of my front but I was in.

  I was sure Hubby would be worried sick about me as I laid there, trying to catch my breath but as I rolled over I looked up to see his smiling face pressed against the window, watching me and laughing his fool head off. 

Let’s just say it’s probably a good thing, at least for the sake of our marriage, that I was ‘locked’ inside the camper at that point.

I am proud to announce the door latch has been fixed – it just needed to be moved back a little bit and I have taken the latch and cubby lock to the lock shop in Rapid City and now have new keys to open the doors on the old girl.  I have also learned three very important lessons:

1.  Always be inside the camper with screwdrivers, pliers and a large crow bar when testing out a door latch for the first time.

2.  When you buy a used camper the first thing you HAVE to do is clean all the nasty stuff out of ALL the cubby holes & storage spaces.

and

3.  Never ever crawl into a camper cubby hole while your husband is home.

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