Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vintage Trailers: The Private Palaces of Personality

Vintage travel trailers are just like the people who own them: No two are ever alike.

In fact, when it comes to the trailers, each and every one is a private palace of personality, creatively expressed and instantly recognizable after you've seen it once.

Each one is an instant conversational ice-breaker, wherein even the shyest of owners is able to say something about herself without actually being the first to speak up.

Even the trailers left very plain, with no artwork or other add-ons, reflect a distinct personality.

With its horse and native American graphics, plus its desert color scheme, this vintage trailer says something about what resonates with the person who owns her.

Here, we have the personality expression of someone who likes to travel light!

And here, we have the expressed personality of someone who is quite the opposite.

So this has to get us wondering:

What could your vintage trailer tell us about your personality?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Vintage Travel Trailers From China

Look what we rounded up in the process of putting away Christmas decor and gifts.

It's a veritable trailer park from a multitude of retail sources--Hobby Lobby and Amazon among them.

What they all have in common is a little tag somewhere that says MADE IN CHINA.

Which has to make a person wonder, even if only a little bit, about the process of turning the growing interest in vintage travel trailers into a mass-produced product--one that's likely meaningless to the Chinese workers turning them out to the specs of some importer somewhere.

No political shadings intended. Just an observation made while a whole bunch of the vintage travel trailers from China were all lined up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vintage Trailer Towing Tips (Or Any-Trailer Towing Tips, For That Matter)

Few things in a Girl Camper's life are more empowering than to be hooked up and on the road, with her very own trailer in tow.

And, few things are likely to be more terrifying at first for those who've seldom (if ever) towed anything  until this point.

Learning to tow safely and with confidence is quite a bit like learning to ride a horse:  It's normal to be anxious at first, because you're suddenly expected to be in charge of something that's very big, and that you aren't sure you can control. Confidence comes with experience, but in the meantime, getting the experience can be pretty nerve-wracking.

Whether learning to ride or to tow a trailer--a few basic lessons do help. I'll pass some along, in tip form.

These are towing principles that were taught to me for towing horses--e.g., live cargo that can lose its balance, and even be injured from erratic driving or flat-out driver error.

'Caution' is the byword. When you have a load of expensive horseflesh behind you, the very, VERY last thing you want to do is get into an accident, or break down on the side of the road. You learn to think ahead, minimize risk, and above all, protect the cargo.

Which is just what you'll want to do when towing your precious trailer.

* Minimize lane changes. By keeping to a steady track, you reduce chances of having your load shift and possibly put the trailer off balance.

* Stay in the slow lane (note where the trucker is here), and let the rest of the traffic go around you. That car in the picture is going to be much more nimble at changing lanes than you will be, with your trailer, so leave that to the other driver.

* Minimize the need for stepping on your brakes. When going down a steep grade, for instance, take your foot off the gas, and shift into a low gear instead of riding your brakes. This will slow the tow vehicle and the trailer behind it and save wear and tear on the brakes.
* When approaching a stop sign or stop light, take your foot off the gas early enough that you can coast to a stop with little or no braking. Always leave plenty of stopping room between you and the vehicle up ahead--no tailgating!

* To avoid damage like that above--note the crease running the length of the trailer, and the huge paint scrape on the door--make all your turns wide and slow. With the trailer behind you, you need to make a wide arc as you turn in order for the trailer to make the turn, too.

* Invest in good equipment--this includes tires, hitch system, brake system, lights and wiring--and then inspect and maintain every piece of it like it's your religion. Do the walk-around at every stop: Tires good? Hitch secure? Lights and signals working? Gas tank topped off? Prevention is always your best insurance.

* Get roadside-assistance coverage, making sure you know what the towing coverage is before you sign up. Should you ever  blow a tire or break down and need your whole rig towed (heaven forbid), price of the premium will fade and you'll be very glad you're covered.

* Don't make a grand cross-country adventure your first novice trailer-towing trip. Practice towing by taking short, local trips that'll help you get the feel for your rig--its acceleration capacity, braking behavior, corner-turning capacity, and so forth.

You can do it--just do it safely and smartly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Vintage Trailer Fever As Pinned to Pinterest

How many of you have become aware of and are using Pinterest?

For the uninitiated, Pinterest is a highly visual social medium that's taking the world of creative-minded people by storm. It's a way to peek at the 'creative-inspiration boards' that you might get to see for real in a design studio, except this is the online version of what's inside other people's heads. The format allows a user to click on any blog photo, and 'pin' it to a personalized Pinterest bulletin board of favorites.

Subjects are searchable for the photos they'll yield--Camping, Vintage Trailers, Glamping, Trailer Camping, you name it and you will see it. Users can follow one another and repin images they like onto their own fave-topic boards.

Users also can follow links back to the blogs of image origin. It appears that is is how quite a number of people found their way here to the Girl Camping blog--by virtue of seeing some of its photos on Pinterest.

OK, now back to those of you who already use Pinterest.

* What are some favorite People, Boards, or Interests that you follow? (Help give a Newgal something to get started with.)

* My hunch is that a person could become addicted to Pinterest in relatively short order, once she got the hang of it. Fair assessment?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Dose of Mental Vitamin F (Fun) From Girl Camp

Moms of the '50s always told us kids to 'go make your own fun.' At Girl Camp, that's exactly what we do.

If there's a birthday (and there usually is,) it gets celebrated in the most glittering way possible.

Like when Girl Camping Girl's hubby turned 50, and asked for an Airstream cake...he got one. With 12 girls in tiaras to serve it to him.

The acclaimed and highly coveted 'redneck wine glass' delivers liquid fun on demand.

The mental vitamin F is dispensed from several areas of activity, and we try our best not to let anyone get lost trying to find them.

The vitamin F from an afternoon on the water is worth the 5-minute drive to get there from G. Camp.

MAJOR mental vitamin F from seeing lots of vintage travel trailers all in one place and all lovingly personalized.

Not to mention---it's also quite finely fun to be part of the most amazing drive-by attraction of the year in Elk River, Idaho--pop. 156.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Remembrances of Campouts Past

Suffering from camping withdrawal? Need a little fix to tide you over? We hear that!

Though we do our best to keep everyone entertained and engaged through the non-camping season, with ideas for traileresque holiday decor and such, there are times when we just have to go straight to the actual-camping scrapbook in order to tide ourselves over.

Call it a booster shot of mental vitamin A (Anticipation).

Forget those pictures of campers in the snow. If we're gonna fantasize, then let it be about summer! (This is from Girl Camp 2010, when we campin' gals took over the swim dock at the nearly reservoir.)

And here we are at a Halloween campout, where the Girl Camp Lodge became the Insane Asylum for the weekend.

There was the early-May impromptu campout in Miss Grace's backyard, where we put up the tiki umbrella in defiance of the spring winds.

There was the grand time we had in Pendleton, Oregon (home of the famous Pendleton Round-up), where the cowgirl trailer fit right in (Miss Pamelot on the left, Girl Camping Girl on the right).

That's where we got to meet some fine new friends, like Miss Linda, who owns this fabulously painted trailer.

There was Memorial Day weekend, when Girl Camp finally greened up after a very long and snowy winter.

And we mustn't forget the annual Farm Chicks campout at lovely Riverside Park in Spokane--one of our favorite events of the whole year.

Do these campers not look pretty darn happy to be glamping it up together?

Guess we'd have to call this a Petticoat Junction moment.

Even when we're all alone, conjuring up new adventures from Girl Camp World Headquarters (this is the penthouse parking pad at Girl Camp), we are lovin' life...hope you love yours a little bit more after this visit to the camping scrapbook!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Girl Camping Without the Camping

Here's one thing you can say about Girl Campers--they don't have to be camping-camping to want to hang out together.

Even when camping-season weather is far, far away, and trailers are tarped up or otherwise stored away, girls still find ways to gather up.

They can spend a day foraging for funky junk,  not buy a thing, and still have a great time because they got to talk about their favorite things all day.

They can find indoor antique fairs and shows to attend (this one had a vendor operating from a vintage Shasta), and people-watch those drawn to the magnet of such a sweet little rig.

They can invite one another to a brunch just for trailer-ites, and then deploy for some city fun.

They can pull on winter clothes, pour some beverages of choice, and go visit the 'project trailer' out in the Man Cave (or Girl Cave, as the case may be).

They can rent a room in a meet-up town, then explore the sights and local color.

They can team up to check out trailers that may (or not) be for sale.

 They can entertain each other by taking and posting photos to social sites.

Endless possibilities, really, with many we didn't touch on.

The available connection--it's really as much about that as it is about the actual camping.

That's what we think, anyway.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas With Your Vintage Trailer

Any time spent decorating a vintage travel trailer is fun--but at Christmas time, it's even better.

You get the perfect reason to go from 'excess in moderation' to 'excess in excess.' The more lights, the more baubles, the more trims and garlands, the better! (And if you happen to love red, you're automatically in business.)

Faux tabletop trees can go just about anywhere inside. For a different style of trailer than this one--more frilly or cottage, let's say, than Western--you could use feather trees, bottle-brush trees, tree-scented potpourii, a quilted tree...endless possibilities. (Tip: The small spaces inside a trailer are just right for smallish items that might seem lost inside your bigger house.)

Turn on the heater, put on some Christmas music, and entertain yourself by tucking favorite ornaments in amongst the pillows.

Layer on the lights and garlands, for the 'more is more' approach (favored at all times by some of us, not just during the holidays).

Shiny objects that reflect light are good, like these vintage round ornaments set into or next to glass, and LED tealights are handy as well (find them 3 to a package at Dollar Tree). For a Western or cowgirl trailer, jute rope makes a dandy garland, one that contrasts nicely with the all the shiny stuff.

Faux wreaths and greens have their place, and we use 'em, but it wouldn't seem right to decorate for Christmas without some real greenery, too. We popped a fresh 4-foot grand fir into an old washtub, and didn't even need to put it on a stand to make it stand upright--the branches hold it in, and we can pour water for the tree right into the tub.

Single-color ornaments give more visual 'pop' than a lot of mismatched ones, but if you love the mismatched ones--go for it!

For the greenery on the left side of the door, we simply turned a wooden stool upside down, set it on a chair, and filled the space between the legs with pine boughs and curly willow branches. Then we laced in a long red beaded garland.

And, for writing a cheery holiday message to would-be visitors, a chalkboard mixes in nicely--especially if it has a bright red frame!

We know that many of our Girl Camping friends have put their trailers into storage for the winter, and won't get a chance to trick them up for Christmas. This post lets these ladies live vicariously!

(And to all--a Merry Little Trailer Christmas from your friend, Girl Camping Girl.)