Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Ruby the Camper’

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.

IMG_1113

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.

IMG_1118

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

IMG_1139

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.

Sundance-20140628-00846

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?

IMG_1135

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

Moorcroft-20140628-00852

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

Moorcroft-20140629-00858

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!

IMG_1154

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.

IMG_1159-001

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.

IMG_1165

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »