Saturday, January 16, 2016
On a recent visit to our small-town thrift store, I came upon a donated bag of crib linens. I have no one in a crib to buy for. But the color scheme, with pinks, browns and cream, matches that of a trailer I'm working on, so I took a closer look.
'It's 4-buck-a-bag day,' said the counter volunteer, in an encouraging tone.
The set included a crib-sized dust ruffle. Eureka--that size is a perfect fit for the top of a 4-foot folding table--a utilitarian item that's standard in my Girl Camping gear due to its many uses.
The hand-crocheted afghan--surely made with love--gives the tabletop a warm, pretty top layer, and can be used for personal cozy-up use as well.
The crib set's quilt, a machine-made item from Martha Stewart, will make a perfect topper for the bed inside the trailer.
And, the set's coordinating laundry bag can hang inside a closet to store towels and other linens.
You just never know where inspiration might strike, and I've now added 'children's section' to my itinerary on thriftiquing ventures!
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
I can testify: Until you've done it, the idea of taking your vintage trailer apart for rot repair is daunting (use this link to go to Rot Repair 101, the earlier post on disassembly).
This is my 1965 Shasta compact, which sat under cover for 6 years until I learned the take-apart process with another trailer.
Thanks to my guinea-pig trailer, which turned out great, I lost my fear of removing pieces of a trailer, and also learned that the simple construction of a small vintage trailer makes it less complicated to fix than I'd feared.
Shastas have a reputation for rotting at the rear corners, and mine was no exception. Water had gotten in over time after the original seals got old and disintegrated. Because water always flows downhill, the moisture migrated to the 50-year-old rear corners, rotting them.
This is the right-rear corner. It was so soft from rot that I could pull it apart with a fingertip.
This is the same piece of the framing, higher up. The rot extended up about another foot, and went sideways into some horizontal framing pieces. The corresponding large frame piece on the other side was almost as bad. (Note the darker brown wood that's under the insulation--that's the backside of the interior paneling.)
The old frame pieces, before they were removed up to the point of healthy wood, were used as patterns to make new ones. Each one was custom-cut from a 1x6 piece of new lumber.
During the pattern process, places for wiring holes were marked and drilled. The pieces weren't fastened on until the holes were done.
Each new side piece was sprayed on its back side with a fast-set wood glue. Then it was butted up beneath what remained after the rotted section was removed.
Here's the curb-side section, set into place.
Next, the rotted 1x2 frame pieces were replaced. (They were removed before the side pieces went on.)
These pieces provide structural support, as well as surface area for nailing and connecting the side pieces.
Here is a completed rear corner. (You'll note some discolored old wood; it was allowed to remain as it wasn't rotten.)
And, here's the completed rear-end rot repair job, ready for new insulation to be added before the skin goes back on.
Cost: About $40 in lumber, and $20 for each 4x8 section of foam board insulation. As long as the skin was lifted, I went ahead and replaced as much old insulation as possible, all the way around.
We put the skins back on, then painted the trailer, and reinstalled the windows, door, vents, J-rail, and other trim with new butyl tape and edge sealant.
The finished product:
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Thursday, January 7, 2016
You see the trailer photos on Facebook and read about the camping-event fun everyone else is having, and you wonder:
How do I get in on this? When will there be an event near me? How do I get invited?
You take a first step--which is to hook up or pack the tent, and go camping. Even if it's only for an afternoon, and no farther than a girlfriend's yard. With no other objective than to go do it. I'm serious.
Don't fall for the notion that desire alone will bring the Girl Camping opportunities to you. That puts the goal out of your control, and can leave you waiting forever. But you do have control over the actions you take, and that's where opportunities lie--with actions.
Some of the best of my Girl Camping times have occurred when I've been all by myself. Or with one friend at a time. Or with a handful of gals who do nothing more all weekend than hang out, laugh, and enjoy one another.
In fact, I seldom attend what you'd call an 'event,' or rallies with scads of people and a program of activities. Instead, I do most of my Girl Camping with a small network of drive-distance friends.
The secret: I found my tribe (as the cliche goes) by starting as a tribe of one. I learned, almost immediately, that practicing your passion draws others to you. One turns to two. Two turns to four. And so it goes from there. It's not just your tribe numbers that grow. You also end up with more chances and places to go camping--because action breeds motivation for more action.
Proof: The Girl Camping page on Facebook, which I launched and still maintain, has close to 20,000 followers. The weekly reach has been as high as 3 million. It's probably how you found us.
Yet the Girl Camping page, and spread of the term and concept (use this link to join our group-discussion site on Facebook), started as nothing more than a way for me to 'talk camping' with the first five gals to spend a weekend at my Girl Camp property. The page took off from there all on its own, with no paid promotion or sponsorship of any kind.
The interest was greater than I ever dreamed. I've never experienced anything else quite like it.
Call it a Girl Camping tribe, a clan, a gang, a family, or what you will. You do have one, and you will find it.
Hit the kick-start. Just go camping!
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
I can feel it…2016 is going to be an amazing Girl Camping year. A few thoughts on 'why the vibe.'
* Over the past dozen years or so, and especially in the last few, passion for vintage trailers and the VT culture has gone from obscure niche interest to full-blown social phenomenon.
* The hobby has become an industry, supporting a TV show ('Flippin' RVs'), a magazine in the U.S. and one in Australia, books, rallies, social-media sites, repair and service businesses, and the re-introduction of vintage-trailer styling by the RV industry.
* VT iconography has been mainstreamed. You can buy a vintage-trailer birdhouse at Rite-Aid, VT-theme pajamas at Walmart, Target, Shopko and JC Penneys, VT fabrics at all major outlets, even flamingo cowboy boots with a vintage Shasta on the soles. If you want a way to flaunt your interest, the product range is there.
* VT interest is large enough now for many tribes to have formed, each with a specialty within the specialty. You can be into it for the restoration/rally award factor. You can join a camping club that admits women only, or one that only allows men. You can go co-ed if you'd rather. You can keep your camp trailer at home for the sole purpose of decorating it and sitting in it once in a while. You can become a vintage-trailer collect-o-holic. You can sign up for trailer-caravan trips and travel to cool places. You can trade your vintage trailer for a new one, or vice versa. Whatever clamps your hitch!
* Social media, Facebook in particular, have opened the hobby's doors like nothing else before them. Thanks to on-line photos and conversations, would-be campers and VT dreamers have a way to see into the hobby and learn from veterans before ever spending a dime. And let's face it: It's hard not to fall for the romance of a perfectly tricked-out vintage trailer. You see one in a picture, and before you know it, want one of your own. Then you go looking, then you find your trailer and your tribe, and then, well, here we are, both on this page together.
I said I'd keep Post No. 201 to a few thoughts, so I'll end here. There's much more to say, but I'll leave that open for you, in Comments!
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Girl Camping Girls, hosted by yours truly, is now a bonafide Facebook group and as such, provides a broader yet more intimate way for us to meet one another, make new camping friends, and plan campouts and adventures in our respective areas.
Here's how the group works:
* It has Closed Group status. This level of FB privacy means that anyone can see who's in the group, but only members can see the posts and respond to them. Your posts and photos to the group won't appear to the FB public, and your non-camping friends won't see them in their news feeds.
* To join, click the Girl Camping Girls link. Once on the main page, click the Join button to be approved. After you have been approved, you can add any other FB friend you wish.
* When you have a campout planned, use the Events tab to announce it and keep track of attendees.
* Any member can add photos--and please do! No one can ever get enough of seeing your trailer, camp setup, decor ideas, and rehab shots. (Trust me on this!)
Over 100 happy Girl Campers got onto the new bus within the first 24 hours, and there's room for plenty more. It's already turning out to be a pretty fun ride, and all you need for a ticket is an account with Facebook.