We’d not been camping all summer. Our little Yellowstone has a shelved closet in place of what was originally a tiny bathroom. I never wished we had a bathroom, but this summer of my third pregnancy I’ve been rather disinclined to leave those particular comforts of home. We did finally carve out time for a short trip, however, and I’m so glad we did, in spite of several night-time walks my dog and I took to the public bath house.
It rained in the afternoon but we had perfect, temperate weather by evening. We couldn’t have asked for better July camping weather. Dorothy set the table while I cooked over our fire.
Our darling trailer served us well. I really should get the broken windows replaced but just haven’t had the heart.
We enjoyed some hiking through O’ Bannon Woods next day.
Disclaimer: This post is coming from the slightly OCD Renata that once brought you trailer textiles and a camper fridgie. What can I say? I get focused on one thing and beat it to death. I’ll clean the bathrooms some other week; right now my energy is consumed with Camper. It’s not a bad life, really.
First, I got stuck under a grumpy 2-year-old at my computer and needed something to do while I sat there and held him. So I created a camper graphic to put on a new yard sign for our campground. Here it is.
Then today I found these totally awesome mid-century Samsonite suitcases at an antiques/junk store and bought them because I’m traveling by air on a trip next month and clearly I needed these old blue cases to avoid confusing my luggage with everyone else’s on the conveyor belt. The wheels and handle still work perfectly, the lining is intact, the keys were included, and the metal is shiny and perfect. I get the feeling they were mostly stored instead of used. The original “Ladies’ and Men’s Packing Guide” was still tucked into the big one, advising me to “use shoemitts of fabric” to pack my shoes. I swooned, because I’m into that kind of thing, you know? The original Samsonite tag was also still on the big case, never inscribed, but I think I’ll tuck it away with my packing guide for posterity and decided to make my own instead.
I went to print out the card to tuck into my new homemade luggage tag (the fabric is a laminated cotton) but couldn’t find a design that seemed right on the Avery website, although I often find really great printables there. Then it struck me that this was an excellent opportunity to use my own new graphic, so I designed a card with it and stitched it in. I think it looks perfect, and now I’ll have a little piece of my camper with me as comfort when I’m trying not to vomit at 32000 feet. (Campers=good; flying=bad.) Then I decided that my children need t-shirts with the same graphic (don’t they though?) and maybe even me too. So I headed over to Cafe Press, where I discovered that it is cheaper for me to offer my own graphic as an item for sale and subsequently buy it myself than it is for me to just privately design and purchase my own product. Sort of annoying. But why not? Most of my search engine traffic here is from people who google campers, so maybe they need Renata-designed camper merchandise too, right?
So in case you happen to fall into that category here is the link to my brand-new Cafe Press store, where you too can join the vintage-camper-graphic-wearing crowd. Or something. Who knows what’s next? Maybe I can convince Cafe Press to start offering fridgies.
So the timing of my new camper acquisition didn’t seem too great. I pulled it home on a Tuesday, got sick with a summer cold next day and spent the remainder of the week dragging around the house feeling lazy and yuck, finally got up enough energy to paint part of the exterior (see last post) over the weekend, then left for Philadelphia with the kids. After all the excitement of getting my little Yellowstone I was let down at not being able to work much on it. But then something magical happened! On the day before my trip to Philly my maternal grandparents came by to see the new camper. It turned out that they had also owned a late-60s Yellowstone of about the same size and layout. How fun! Granddad remembered every detail; Mamaw’s fingers couldn’t stop themselves from doing a little cleaning around the kitchenette while they were there looking around. I got the grand idea to leave the camper over at their house during my trip. I could tell Mamaw wanted to scrub it a little and I figured they’d have fun just having it there on site for a few days. So I pulled it over to their house and left it, all dirty and full of miscellaneous supplies, in their driveway and waved goodbye. The kids and I spent a jolly five days visiting friends and family and driving 1400 miles.
When I left the camper at Mamaw’s the entryway looked like this (above).
And when I came back it looked like this!
And when I left the back wall (with water damage under the window) looked like this.
And when I came back it looked like this!
It turns out that a little more than cleaning went on while the Yellowstone was parked at my grandparents’ house. My mother and her parents (all pictured here with my kids) caught vintage camper fever in my absence. They might have started just cleaning, but they ended up completely refurbishing the interior. Granddad replaced the damaged and missing veneer on the back wall and in other spots, Mamaw cleaned every nook and cranny, together they stained and sealed every surface, stained and rehung all the cabinets with the new hardware I’d left behind, painted the metal parts that needed repainting, and then on the day I drove back across the Pennsylvania Turnpike Mom laid the new floor while Granddad (did I mention that he is 85 years old?) went behind her with the base shoe. Wow! It looks fantastic! It was really fun to see what they’d done, and to savor the idea that my beloved family had such fun on this project while I was gone. It felt like camper Christmas going through it today with all the surprises! I think they all had a great time doing it too and we all enjoyed the big unveiling today. Now I get to pull it back home and finish the exterior paint, and then I’ll be straight onto my very favorite tasks of sewing the new cushions and curtains and outfitting it with all our supplies. I hope I can talk my grandparents into making a little excursion with us once it’s done, even if it’s just a daytime camp-out at a nearby park. Now this is a family business!
Two unrelated projects, two different kinds of paint, but one color scheme. Here we go:
Folding chairs, rescued from my basement. They came with the house. First I spray painted them…
…then made fabric covers for the back and a nice padded foam one for the seat. I’m keeping these in my garage to pull out when I need comfy seating for child-watching in my back yard and swing-set area. Love making something cute out of old forgotten items left in my basement!
And the new camper. Unfortunately I haven’t finished this job because of threat of rain, but I have one coat on most of three sides. It looks sweet. Here’s the door side before (can you find me in this photo?)…
…and after. Check out my rims! It’s hard to tell exactly what the original blue shade was on here, but I think I probably went just one notch brighter. I love it so much that the first night I had to keep peeking at it our my bedroom window, just to take one more little look at the awesome aqua stripe. My husband has started teasing me about it, which I totally deserve. I can’t wait to finish up the exterior paint job and really make some progress on the inside. It’s going to be so cute! I’ve been watching (and winning) some online auctions for vintage Pyrex dinnerware, with turquoise and flamingo (reddish pink) bands. It’s going to look perfect in this little camper. You know me and dishes, right? I can’t pass up the opportunity.
So almost two years go I bought my first camper, all ten feet of it. Rob and I were enthusiastic but anxious–would we use it? Could we tow it? Would it smell odd? I did not believe the nice woman at Fine Design Camper Sales who told me she was selling me my “starter camper.” I thought we’d be lucky to get our money’s worth out of it. Well, I guess the joke was on me. Not only did we enjoy camping in it, I also sort of fell in love with the whole vintage trailer scene. Fast forward to today…when the very same Sherry sold me my second one! Can you tell Worth loves it as much as I do? It’s a 1967 Yellowstone. It needs work, which you can be sure you will be reading more about.
It contained the paperwork from when it was new, including this awesome old sales brochure. I can’t wait to repaint the faded turquoise stripe on mine! (This one looks too classic to do anything too creative with the paint.) The interior of this little 14-footer looks just like the photo on top, but, you know, with forty-five years of wear to the birchwood and fixtures. Again, I can’t paint over the inside but I am looking forward to restoring the wood and having fun with new fabrics. This one has the original aqua appliances. Sweet!
And am I wrong, or is that actually me in the bottom corner picture with the baby in the stroller? I think it might be. We’ve just now been reunited. Fun times ahead! As the brochure says, “From the compact fourteen foot to the spacious twenty-seven foot, there’s a model to suit almost every wish plus a travel trailering promise of happy, carefree times.” Indeed!
I listed it on craigslist a few days ago, but because I’m, um, emotionally attached to the item it took me a few days to get the courage to own up to it on here. Don’t laugh–the next owner is going to love it too. And of course I’m not getting out of the vintage camper business, I just have my eye on a new one with an extra bed so my son can get booted to his own sleep space and will quit kicking me in the ribs all night. I think an extra two feet or so of camper will serve us well. So hurry up and share the link to mine, so I can sell it and buy the “new” one! Eek!
ETA: Camper is now sold and listing is no longer active. Thanks!