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Posts Tagged ‘vintage camper’

I hope everyone else has been having as much fun this summer as I have!

Of course my garden looks like crap but I have to admit the weeds have had a spectacular year.  It was soooo cold for soooo long this spring that the veggies  that actually sprouted are way behind.  I’m not sure if there will be anything at all except some herbs and a few green beans to harvest.  There are a few tomatoes on the vines but they are very green and with the cold nights I’m betting we will have a house full of green tomatoes this fall.

Since it is just plain depressing to go out into the garden I have been keeping busy with other stuff…  Some really fun stuff.

I have been working on my little camper – Rattlin’ Ruby and she is starting to look pretty darn spiffy.  We have the Custer County Fair this weekend, a Sisters on the Fly event in Buffalo WY next weekend and finally a car show to enter her in next month.

 In a moment of total and complete insanity I started polishing her silver aluminum hide.  Of course when I started this little project it was hot and dry but since then the skies have opened up and it rains just about every evening so my polishing has come to a screeching halt.  Only about a third of Ruby’s back-end is polished and about half of one side.  She looks a little goofy right now but that will not stop us from going to the fair.  We leave today and will carefully weave our way through the masses of motorcycles that are on the road this week for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  It should be fun!

This last few weeks have been filled with even more fun.  I know – it’s hard to believe it can get any better than polishing an old camper, right?  Ha!

The first thing we did was the Days of ’76 in Deadwood.  I have never been to the ‘Days’ and I have lived here a really, really long time.  I didn’t get very good photos but we had a blast!  Dalton and Dani were the ones who came up with this wonderful idea and so we jumped in the pickup and drove to Deadwood where we had a fantastic meal at the 4 Aces Casino – prime rib and crab legs.  My advice – forget the salad bar and head straight to the good stuff.  From there we walked (actually we waddled) down to the Rodeo grounds to the vendors who ended up with some of my hard-earned cash and the grandstands which are amazing on their own.  Built from huge logs it’s like a work of art you can sit in.  I’ll try to post some photos when I get back from the fair.

The 2nd fun thing I did was to go to a party at the Antler’s Bar & Grill which was hosted by the Newcastle Library.  You got to love a library which holds a get together at a bar!  This one was for Craig Johnson – the wonderfully talented author of the Longmire series of books which inspired the TV show – Longmire.

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If you haven’t been watching Longmire on Monday nights you have been missing out!  The story is based on the sheriff – Walt Longmire who lives in the make-believe town of Durant, WY (which is patterned after Buffalo, WY).  Craig lives in Ucross which is a small town close to Buffalo.  The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce have celebrated Longmire Days for the past 3 years and I have wanted to go every single year.  I haven’t made it yet but I am definitely going next year.

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Craig is traveling around the state of Wyoming and visiting all 73 Wyoming libraries to talk about his book The Spirit of Steamboat.  What a nice guy!  He is a wonderfully funny speaker and is so humbled by the amazing success of his books and the show.  Its obvious he loves Wyoming and the people who live there and has become something of a local hero although you would never know it to speak to him.  In fact the Libraries ‘pay’ him to come speak with a 6 or 12 pack of Rainer Beer – which is Sherriff Longmie’s favorite drink.  He says he hasn’t bought beer in 7 years!.  What a great sense of humor.

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As you can tell I was very impressed and inspired by his talk.  I may just have to start writing murder mysteries too!  In my free time of course…  Dang, I’m funny!  I suggest you read his books (and the entire Britannica encyclopedia set) while you wait for my book to come out.  I believe the library also has Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD of the TV series.

The 3rd really fun thing I did last week was to join a few people from work who wanted to do a Mud Run.   This event was hosted by the Campbell County Mudders to raise money for the families of the 3 miners who were killed in a bus/car accident a couple of months ago.  It was for a good cause so I figured why not?  How bad could it be?  There were 5 members of our team – some of which actually like to run (go figure) and some of us who were built more for comfort than speed (myself included).

OK – I must admit most people who do these runs actually spend time training for them but since it was kind of a last-minute thing we had less than a week to prepare.  I trained by eating as much chocolate as possible and by running 2 laps around the house one evening.  It took me 2 days to recover from that.  Even with that extensive training, I was not prepared for what we ended up doing.   Silly me.  I imagined we would be jogging around the horse track at  Camplex with a few mud puddles to run through.

Lets just say it was a little more intense than that…

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Turns out that this event was one that would be classified as an Extreme Mudder Run.  As I always say “Go Big or Go Home”.

That’s Beth, one of my team mates in the picture above.  She was in the first obstacle.  Who knew they would build obstacles in a race?  They had dug 2 holes in the track, piled the dirt up on each end of the holes and filled both holes with water.  And that was just the first of many ‘fun’ things to come.  The course was 5K (or 3.1 miles) and was run in 2 laps with 16 obstacles in each lap.  The 1st obstacle – pictured above – we had to do 3 times.

Can I just say one word?

BENTONITE! 

If you’ve never had any experience with this powdery grey mineral you might not realize what water does to it.  I on the other hand I have helped seal off stock tank leaks with the stuff and have learned all the fascinating properties of the stuff.  I have found that combining water and BENTONITE creates one of the slickest, gooiest, stick-to-your-body gunk you will ever run into.  And ‘run into it’ we did.

We ran through it, slid down it, swam through it, climbed up it and slithered on our bellies like a reptile in it.

As if the challenge of wet BENTONITE wasn’t enough there were also huge tires from large mine vehicles to climb over, a cable bridge stretched between two tow trucks to fall off of, barbed wire (one with electricity to zap you) to crawl under, culverts to crawl through, structures to climb over, large round hay bales to climb up and over, a large roll-off dumpster lined with plastic and filled with water you had to wade through and duck under wooden walls and a vast plethora of chances to break a hip on.  As I get older I find myself thinking about that stuff more often.

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Thankfully, Beth’s daughter was there to take pictures of us as we worked our way through the course.  I figured I might need them for insurance purposes too.

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Thank goodness for my fantastic team mates.  That’s Jonathan hauling my lazy *%$ through part of the course.  Actually that was one of the obstacles – to carry a team-mate for a distance.  We had to stay together as a team and surprisingly we did pretty good – less than 90 minutes to get through it all.  We even beat out a team of 21-year-old gals who had to ask another team of guys to help them along the way.  Of course that could have been their plan all along – if you get my drift.

Here’s our ‘after’ photo.

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You can’t really see what a mess we were.  But they did direct us to the livestock wash racks before allowing us into the bathrooms if that gives you any indication of how we looked.  I’m still picking BENTONITE out of my belly button.

I have to admit I am rather proud of our team and even myself.   With a little help from my friends I was able to do every obstacle except one – climbing over a 15 foot wall with a knotted rope to pull yourself up with.  I’m going to have to work my way up to that one.  But all in all I didn’t do too bad for a 52-year-old woman who sits at a desk all day and eats massive amounts of chocolate.

Will I do it again?  I just might.  I must admit that when I hit that first obstacle my first thought was “What the hell did I get myself into?”  But completing each obstacle and crossing that finish line was a rush I haven’t felt for a long time.  Yep, I’ll do it again but next time I’ll train a little better – more chocolate and maybe 2 more laps around the house!!!

Now I’m off to have more fun!

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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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I can’t believe it’s the end of February already.  I have been a busy woman – the tomato and pepper seeds are planted & sprouting.  The garden plan is drawn up and the hoop house is ready to go.  I was in full garden mode and fully focused on my gardening mission when BAM! in the middle of everything I got a phone call from a man I had never met…

“I hear you restore old campers…”  He started.

“Yes?”  I answered wondering what kind of weirdo made crank calls like this.

“It’s free if you’ll drag it away…”

Not every woman would fall for a line like that.  But I did. 

Apparently, this very nice man had purchased a house and property on the outskirts of Newcastle last April and was ‘blessed’ with the old camper that had been a permanent feature for some time.  To tell the truth, I’m not sure he realized it was part of the deal when he signed the papers.  Now, after nearly a year of looking at the old beast he had decided it was time for it to go – one way or another.  Of course I offered to stop after work the next night to check it out. 

When I first saw it – I gagged.

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NO WAY!!!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 

This thing is huge – 24 feet long!  I want cute, little campers not carefree mobile home living!  Besides, the thing fairly screamed “Drag me to the junk yard!”  

I considered turning around and quietly driving away at a high rate of speed but I had told him I would stop so I did even though I had already made up my mind.

The very nice man who now owned this treasure met me at the door.  (I didn’t even have time to knock).  He knew nothing of its origins but had already offered it to several people.  From what he said I got the impression that every single one of them had run screaming into the woods!  Obviously I’m a little dumber than the rest as I was still standing there.  

One or two of them had actually stopped long enough to inquire about striping out the ‘good stuff’ before they high-tailed it down the driveway but no one was insane enough to consider taking it home.

I was desperately trying to think up an excuse to leave.   

Good Grief – I haven’t even finished the two trailers I have and you know, Hubby would probably divorce me if I drug that thing home. 

But I should at least look inside – just to be polite.

So I stepped through the only door that would open – did you notice it has two?  I walked past the rotted wood on the inside of the door and the one single board that was all that remained of the screen door.  I was trying to remember when I’d gotten my last tetanus shot when I stepped onto a solid floor!  

No Way!  I bounced on the threashold then I bounced my way around the room and down the hall (I’m pretty sure the very nice man thought I was nuts).  The floor was solid.  This thing has been open to the elements for roughly 15 years and the floor is still good?  That can’t be.

The arctic winds whistled through the trailer like a wind tunnel at an airplane test sight, chilling me to the bone as I bounced past the bathroom.  OK – that’s scary but at least there wasn’t the smell of rot and decay or mold and mildew or the stench of mice poop rotting in the corners.  The old girl was as fresh as the great outdoors.  Of course she had been airing out for 15 years.

So she’s solid underneath and smells good but I still shook my head –  No Way! 

Then I noticed she was actually pretty clean inside.  No rubbish piled up – no junk stored inside – no furniture or mouse infested upholstery to deal with.  Considering the winds in Wyoming everything had probably blown out and across the pasture years ago.

We moved to the kitchen – me, still bouncing on the floor.  He looked at me – a glimmer of hope in his eyes that he could pawn this thing off on the crazy lady but I stuck to my guns.

 “I’m sorry, but this job is way beyond my skill level.  I don’t think……I can……..Ahwwww.”

I looked up…  my jaw hung open, slack and agape.  I’m sure he could see every filling in my mouth.

Above me was the most beautiful ceiling of honey-gold birch I have ever seen in a camper.  It glowed like the setting sun.  It’s warmth filled the room.  I fell to my knees to worship at the Holy Shrine of Heavenly Birch.  How could this be?  Her roof was still sealed.  Through the tears in my eyes I could see there was very little water damage.  The worst of it – an area about 2″ square on the corner of one ceiling vent.  In hushed reverence, I reached up with a trembling hand and closed the vent.  Really? 

The freaking vent was open!!!

I took a deep breath.   The very nice man drooled in anticipation.

“Well, she’s got potential but – no.”  I shook my head…

And then I saw the kitchen cabinets – honey gold birch radiated a soft glow, gleaming in the light from the busted window.  Rounded corners and classic details from the 50’s.  Original appliances – the stove and fridge were both clean inside and in good shape protected by a layer of dust.

I smiled and heaved a weary sigh. 

“No, sorry…  I can’t”

I got in my pickup and drove away…

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You should be proud of me…  Hubby was…

 

I went home ate supper and tried to sleep that night. 

But she wouldn’t let me.

I spent the next two days trying to talk myself out of it. 

But she wouldn’t leave me alone.

For 3 nights I didn’t sleep because that nasty old camper wouldn’t stop whispering to me!

She crept into my thoughts – at night, at work, at all hours of the day. 

‘Pearl’ haunted me.

I should never have given her a name.

Dopey from lack of sleep I finally gave in.  I called the very nice man – the offer still stands. 

Now she’s mine. 

The very nice man thinks I’m totally nuts. 

Of course, Hubby has known that for years.

I spent $40.00 on used tires to fit her rims and another $40.00 on duct tape and silicone.  With the old sheet of plastic from the greenhouse I should be able to seal up the windows till I can get them fixed but first we have to get her home without a major mishap…

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Heaven help me!

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I should not be allowed out in public…

On quiet country roads…

Alone and unsupervised…

And I should not be allowed to drive a pickup fitted with an interchangeable trailer hitch and a big honking diesel engine built to pull heavy loads.  This is a bad combination for someone like me – someone who falls in love very easily and someone who is incapable of saying ‘No’.  You see I have always had a problem with temptation.  It is a dangerous thing and for me ‘stuff’ is much too easy to drag home.

It happened again tonight.

“Look what followed me home, Hubby.  Can I keep her?”

I don’t know what happened…

It’s all just a blur…

One minute she was tucked back in the weeds, nearly hidden behind a big old horse trailer and the next minute she was hitched to my pickup.  Maybe it was magic, maybe it was fate or maybe it was a miracle sent straight from Heaven above. 

It really doesn’t matter.  All I know was that suddenly – ‘Poof ‘- she was there.

(OK – it actually took a shovel, a handy-man jack, a pair of channel locks and a can of spray lubricant to get her hitched to the pickup but you should have seen how fast I got-r-done!)

She is awfully cute and when I saw this kitchen it was all over for me – everything but the check writing.  I was smitten.  I was in love.   And I didn’t even notice the large mouse nest in the bottom cupboard.

And then there was the bed room complete with the original, 50-year-old olive drab canvas removable bunk bed/storage shelf hanging overhead.

OK, that’s not so cute right now but it will be.

And what about this great dining area complete with the bright red table and orange bench seats.

Yep, I’m betting that orange wasn’t the original color of the seats but the floor is original.

And so are the lights – both of them…

And so is this…

LOVE IT!!!

Yes, I shouldn’t be allowed to roam the back country roads alone and unsupervised but I do it every chance I get and sometimes I come across the bestest stuff ever – like a vintage 1960 Siesta travel trailer that measures a whopping 7 X 13 feet for a total of 91 square feet and 1,735 pounds of ever-loving potential. 

Yes, it’s true – she has been adopted and from this day forth she will be cared for and loved and known for ever more as

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Nadine’s little sister.

“Mom, she’s touching me!”

“Am not!’

“Are so!”

Look – they like each other!!!

 

I think I need some serious therapy!

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Look out! I’m back up and running and life is good.

And what have I been doing with all the free time I had?

I spent $250.00 and I bought myself something I’ve wanted for several years.

I have looked high and low (especially the last few months) and finally found the one … 

my new project…   

my new ‘baby’…  Nadine.

No – she’s not standing behind this nasty old camper.  She is the nasty old camper!!!

I will love her,and I will take care of her,and I will name her Nadine,and I will bring her home,and I will fix her up,and she will be my favorite camper in the whole, wide world!

OK – that’s a little freaky but it’s true – her name is Nadine. 

I don’t know why – she just looks like a Nadine.

I know – most women have never dreamt of finding an old camper and fixing it up but there are a few of us warped and fun-loving gals out there who do.  Just check out the website for Sisters on the Fly and you’ll see why. 

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Someday – when Nadine gets a little more ‘grown up’ we will join them on an adventure or two.  But until then I will tear her apart and rip up and fix the soft spots on her floor and lucky you, I will probably write about every little detail.   I have to write it here, my family is already tired of hearing about her.

Here’s her inside view.  Hmmm – Avocado Green.  Who remembers the ’70s.  I was actually looking for a trailer older than this one.  I was hoping to totally avoid the period of Avocado Green and Harvest Gold. 

Here’s the sofa that pulls out into a bed.  Can you say “Nasty”? 

I knew you could.

Ane here’s her little kitchen.  Actually, the stove and oven work great!  Looking inside,I’m betting no one ever even used it so I’ll clean it up and this will have to stay.  Thank goodness it’s not the bright, neon, glow-in-the-dark green that the counter top is.  This I can live with as if I squint my eyes I can almost convince myself that it is actually Sage Green instead.

Of course there were other issues.  It snowed big time again and her tires were rather ‘iffy’.

After fixing or replacing 3 of her 4 tires she made it home and is now sitting in front of my garden shed. 

Perhaps mud flaps for the pickup should be high up on our list of things to do.  What do you think?

Another big challenge will be getting a title for her.  I’m not even sure what she is.  If I had to guess I would say she was built in the early 70’s – probably 1970 – 1973.  If you look realllllllly close you can make out the name ‘Nomad’ under the big window on her side.  And there is a label by the door that says she’s a product of the Skyline Corporation.  We measured her and she is 20′ from bumper to ball and there are some numbers stamped on the hitch but other than that she’s a woman of mystery so far.  She was last licensed in 1995 in Colorado and has passed through several hands since the title was lost so I’m sure the whole title thing will be a major saga but maybe by the time I get her fixed up we’ll have one.  So for now it’s time to get to work.

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