After several weeks of work we finally took our 1978 Fleetwing on the road. We didn’t go far–just over 30 miles down the road to the closest state park we could get reservations at on a few days notice. It turned out not to even be in the woods, but on a golf course behind a state attraction less than a mile from the little downtown area. Not exactly the hiking venue we’d had in mind, but this was, after all, just meant as a trial for our camping set up. We had a little trouble backing in to our spot, being towing neophytes, but our camp neighbors helped guide us in and we quickly set up. Dorothy “decorated” the hitch with acorns upon arrival.
Then she decorated our table bench with fall leaves.
I got things together in the little camper kitchen.
This picture shows scale. Our camper was by far the smallest one there, no contest, and the only one that wasn’t white or offwhite. (If you click on the photo it will enlarge and you can see it better.) It was a real conversation starter. “Oh, you all are the ones in the little red camper!” That’s us, all right.
We walked around the campground in lieu of hiking. Dorothy collected nature finds in the treasure box we brought along for that purpose.
There was an old school playground with a steep metal slide (wheee!) and these creepy clown swings.
Dorothy and I broke out the camper craft supplies and made some acorn people after our dinner.
Everyone got tucked in; Dorothy up, the rest of us down. I was surprised that Dorothy actually slept the night through up there in the bunk. We had a great time. We’ve tent camped with Dorothy on several occasions, but she doesn’t remember any of them. She was curious about the fire (“how will we unlit it when we’re done?”), was confused that all the wood had disappeared this morning (“did the fire melt it?”), roasted her own chicken sausage and marshmallow, and insisted that we take showers in the campground facilities this morning. Traveling with a four-year-old is such a great reminder to savor every experience! We had a great time. We brought some things we didn’t need, and failed to bring a few things that would have been nice to have. Now that we’re a little wiser we’re excited to try it again soon.
More spookies in the house! A few years ago I got this brainstorm on how to display some of the crocheted doilies that have ended up in my linen collection from various dearly departed relatives. I dyed them black, starched them stiff, and hung them in my windows with suction cups and little plastic spiders. This way I get to enjoy the beauty of the fancywork done by the women who came before me, but I don’t actually have to use white doilies on my dresser. Dorothy has enjoyed arranging (and rearranging) the spiders.
Think back twenty or thirty years and imagine your grandmother’s refrigerator. It has a little crocheted yarn shape of some sort attached to it with a magnet, doesn’t it? Fridgies are a bit of an art that time has forgotten (and maybe that’s for the best), but I revived it for this little project as one of the details to finish of my camper’s interior. My camper doesn’t have an actual fridge, but I’ve attached this one to the galvanized metal backsplash I glued up over the propane range. Very appropriately campy, I think.
All four sides of the camper are now painted and it’s mostly ready to go. I hooked up the water as a test, and it works. The propane range does not work but I’m hoping it’s just because the tank is empty. I’ve been stashing bedding and kitchen essentials in it (a camper quilt is forthcoming but not done), and today I completed the very important task of putting together a camper art bag, with supplies for sketching or painting scenes, rubbing bark, collecting leaves, and gluing googly eyes and fake hair to acorns. I foresee many hours of mother/daughter fun at picnic tables, stringing nature finds on fishing wire and creating little woodland whimsies with the help of glitter pom-poms! I also found an old notebook, filled it with lined paper, and tucked a pen inside. I hope to keep a camper journal with as much or little as we care to log, as a record of our travels.
So we loaded up the muffins and other picnic items and headed for Western Kentucky. We stopped along the way for a picnic in the park. That’s my son munching his cracker in the photo above, not my husband, in case you were confused. (Genetics! Oh the mystery. That I can give birth to children who look just like my spouse. But in this case the outfit helps.)
And we saw the camper, but decided to think it over a possible purchase while we hit the touristy sites in Grand River. Patti’s 1880s Settlement
was totally charming, although we were a bit confused about where the 1880s bit came in. It was a delightful hodgepodge of home decor stores, feminine boutiques, sweet shops and touristy amusements.
Dorothy loved the playground, but loved the pink tractor outside its namesake boutique
Then we took a deep breath and…went back and bought the little camper! This is the only “before” picture I’m going to share until I have some progress for comparison. It’s a project! But I think it will be a fun one.
And finally we tucked our little explorers in for the road trip back home. They both slept, with visions of future adventures dancing in their heads, I hope.
Ok, so I know some women are really into jewelry. Me, I like jewelry, it’s fine, especially if I beaded it myself or if it was a gift. But if someone is going to spend money on me, jewelry is probably not where it’s at. This is currently a big joke in my house, as my tiny-little-camper lust intensifies. My husband and I laugh about how horrified I’d be if he, say, bought me a diamond bracelet instead of a vintage trailer. It would catch on my crocheting yarn, get mucked in my bread dough, scratch my baby’s head, and look terrible with my Old Navy t-shirts and Keen sandals. (Cue laughter.) But if he were going to get me a bracelet (and it were something I wanted), I’d probably go and get my nails done right before. But instead, I really want a little camper so my little troop of adventurers and I can go mobile. And this weekend we’re going to go look at one in Western Kentucky! And prior to the (possible) purchase, instead of a manicure, I went and had a hitch installed on my little SUV. Ta-dah! It looks solid, and it’s kind of exciting to think that we’re now tow-ready, if we decide to buy. If we don’t buy, at least we’ll have the hitch already, and we’ll surely have a fun excursion, hopefully not resembling our last mini-roadtrip adventure.
In further preparation, I’ve been investigating paint and fabric options for our wee, wheeled fixer-upper. I definitely think the exterior should be painted red, possibly with white polka-dots. And check out this terrific fabric for the inside, or this one. Who knew? Keen-wearing, bracelet-eschewing, cute-fabric-loving, adventure-seeking mamas who sew must be in such abundance that someone brilliantly created vintage camper fabric prints just for us. I feel so unoriginal, yet at the same time entirely pleased, because now I can buy one of these and stitch up some camper curtains!
In other news, Dorothy loves preschool. Her class goes Monday through Thursday only, and this morning at breakfast she asked me how many more days before she gets to go again. And we’ve shown our house twice this week, which means I’ve not had time to do much other than shuttle kids and plot my little camper kill. Still no buyer, but handful of recent showings is heartening.
So the weather went cool this weekend, and all of the sudden my bright and fun summer bag no longer seemed appropriate. Yet I wasn’t fully ready to break out the fall colors (it was, after all, back to something like 97 today) so I pulled out a project from last summer. It’s bright, but the wooliness of the yarn makes it seem a little more fallish to me. Anyway, it made me happy to get it back out. I crocheted it out of odds and ends yarn last summer based on a pattern in Crochet Today.
We had a low-key but nice holiday weekend. Here is a picture of the kids in the yard, getting some good use out of their sunhats before we trade them in for the woolly kind. I have to admit that rather than enjoy the gorgeous weather, I spent a great deal of weekend time inside ogling tiny vintage campers online, which was totally fun in its own way, so I don’t actually regret it. 🙂 I think teardrop and other tiny (meaning 10 to 12 foot) camper trailers are just so cute. (Search for “teardrop trailer” on Flickr if you don’t know what I’m talking about!) I think we may buy one, and then I’ll have the fun of personalizing it, not to mention making great adventures with my little happy campers!
And last but certainly not least, here is my big preschooler all ready for her first day of school. She had a really great day. Highlights for her included walking across an alley to the playground in a herd (not
holding any one’s hand!), building blocks, playing house with a panda toy, and being given a personalized cloth place mat at snack time that will be laundered and reused every day. My favorite quotes from her were, “the guinea pig was not as big as I expected. I thought it would be like a real
pig,” and “guess what, Mom? We get to go back tomorrow