Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Girl Camping Weekend, Coming Right Up!

After many months of anticipation (mental vitamin A!), two dozen galpals and I will camping together on a bend of The River of No Return. See the tiny blue dot? That'll be our campsite on the Salmon River, outside White Bird, Idaho.

Mr. Ed and I have had our Airstream at this location since the end of October, enjoying several winter getaways. Now I'll get to share this spot with a bigger batch of favorite folks, hoping they'll dig it as much as I have.

We'll surely come up with lots of new photos, so check back in a few days!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vintage Trailer Names and Numbers

We camped with Sisters on the Fly last weekend, and in that faction of vintage-trailer enthusiasts, every member has a number and many trailers sport a name. Lots of creativity on display for both.

For instance, Sister 3267, owner of a gleaming aluminum Silver Streak, applied decals to an aluminum baking sheet for a sign that seamlessly matches the trailer.

Named for a relative of her owner, this trailer's name is Miss Wilma. She sports her membership number on the front of her step.

Here we have Just Breez'n Along, with her name painted on the front of her curved roof.

Same here with Wild Honey.

Sister 1276 has a patriotic-theme trailer, and boasts her number on her cooler.

We know a lot about Sister 3471 just from this sign. She likes pink, green, lace, and polka dots, and favors Jack Russell dogs.

Trailer Trash Diva announces herself with letters cut from license plates, applied to a piece of driftwood.

Sister 444 (yours truly) employs house letters on a repurposed drawer front.

The trailer's name, Iron Pony, is on the back, the better for other drivers to see it.

Just a sampling, hope to show you more as the Girl Camping season continues!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Camping With Sisters on the Fly in Kennewick, Washington

For the vintage trailer enthusiast, there's nothing quite like that first group campout of the season. All the blogs, Facebook pages and online forums that sustain us over the winter can't take the place of pulling into a campground and seeing one personalized trailer and on-cloud-9 owner after another.

This particular kick-off was a Sisters on the Fly gathering in Kennewick, Washington.  The 50+ vintage trailers and occasional small motorhome were a far cry from the humongous white boxes that make up the modern-day RV inventory.

Even when they're the same brand or model, no two are ever alike.

Some are polished, some are painted, some are 'as found,' and loved just the same.

At a group campout, you always end up seeing something from the vintage trailer world that's new to you. This was my first look at the canvas awning/add-a-room setup that was an option with Aristocrat trailers. Very well made, and sturdy as well, with four roof-brace poles that attach the trailer's exterior.

Original commode and rear kitchenette in a '60s Aloha.

Fresh paint job on a wee Lil Loafer (one of the smallest travel trailers made).

'62 Shasta compact, complete with wings--among the most iconic of all trailer models.

I'll post more pictures as the week goes by. The camera got  a workout!

Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Properly Attach Your Trailer's Safety Chains

Right way: Cross the chains before you attach them to your tow vehicle. They should hang a few inches below the tongue, not drop near to the ground. In the event that your trailer comes of the hitch ball as you're moving, the crossed chains are meant to help cradle the trailer tongue until you can get stopped.

Wrong way: Chains hooked without the criss-cross, and hanging low to the ground. With this configuration, the trailer tongue is guaranteed to hit the pavement, dig a furrow, and do worse things than that after coming off the ball of a tow rig going at speed. You won't get the chance to slow down before your trailer becomes a dead-weight anchor that could jerk you right off the road.

Further reminder: Always double-check your coupler lock before you depart on a trip, and at every stop.

Stay safe!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How To Get More Use From That Tiny Trailer Sink

I don't know about you, but I have never washed dishes or anything else in the tiny sinks that occupy most vintage travel trailers. I do my water-type chores outside, cuz I really don't want to have to scour a dirty sink.

So what to do with that hole in the counter besides have it turn into a clutter catch-all?

* Place an enamelware bowl in the cavity. If you do have to rinse something, you can do it in the bowl. And it's prettier to look at.

* Put a plate over the top of the bowl. This gives you an extra surface area, and also works as a way to stash small items, of sight.

* Set a vintage metal serving tray over the sink. The tray's lip will hold it in place and you'll gain counter space.

* Think UP, and place a shelf riser over the sink. Now you can drip-dry those rinsed martini glasses!

* Set your tray atop the shelf riser. If you need to move things in and out of the trailer--condiments, perhaps, or snacks--you can just pick up the tray and go. And your regular sliver of counter space can be used for something else.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What to Pack in Your Trailer for: Parking & Hooking Up

Parking. Whether you're camping solo or attending a group event, you'll need a number of items to safely park your trailer and be comfortable living in it. Be sure you have:

* Two chocks for each trailer tire (see above). You can get by with rocks or chunks of wood, but a set of heavy-duty plastic wheel chocks isn't that expensive, doesn't weigh much, and is kinder to your tires.
* A tongue-jack stabilizer--blocks of wood if your trailer jack has no wheel, or a wheel holder if it does. The latter prevents your jack wheel from sinking into soft ground or from rolling on a hard surface. (Tip: Always turn the jack wheel sideways before unhooking, to prevent rolling.)
* Corner jacks--one for each corner of the trailer. These will stabilize the trailer and keep the floor steady as you or guests are moving from end to end/corner to corner.
* Several short pieces of scrap lumber. These come in handy for such purposes as raising a trailer tire on uneven ground or for making corner-jack platforms on soft ground.
* A level. Invaluable for getting your trailer level enough for a good night's sleep!
* Step, for getting in and out of the trailer.

Hooking up. When camping at a site with power and water available, you'll have an easier time using them if you have the following:
* Heavy-duty outdoor extension cord. I carry a selection of lengths; if I only need a few feet to get to the power outlet, there's no need to use a 50-footer. There also are times when a longer cord is necessary.
* 30-amp adapter. Most vintage trailers are wired for 110 power; however, many modern campgrounds only offer 30- or 50-amp receivers for today's big rigs. The adapter will allow you to get power into your smaller trailer.

30-amp adapter--you plug this end into the power pole, and your trailer's power cord into the other end.

* Hose with valve shut-off. You'll need this to get water into your trailer's tanks, if you intend to use them instead of bottled water. A hose also comes in handy in general. A coil hose, toted in a small bucket (also useful for lots of things), is a good way to go.

Monday, April 8, 2013

What to Pack in Your Trailer: For Showering, Etc.

Showering. You may be using the public showers at a campground or fairgrounds; perhaps taking turns at a rented motel room or even someone's private home; maybe even using your own solar shower. You should have:
* Shower shoes.
* Quarters and dollar bills for pay showers (sometimes you'll need to buy tokens).
* Towels/washcloths/clothespins for hanging up to dry.
* Carry-bag for taking toiletries and other personal items back and forth to your trailer.

Dry camping. This is code for 'no showers, no power.' You'll be doing the old spot-bathing routine, behind closed doors in your trailer. You should have:
* At least a gallon of water, from home.
* A water-fetching container, in case there is an on-site water source.
* A washbasin or bowl for washwater; plan to empty into a porta-potty or toilet rather than on the ground.
* Pot or pan for warming wash water on your trailer stove (optional).
* Towels/washcloths/clothespins for hanging up to dry.
* Package of large-size body wipes/baby wipes--great for cleaning up if you don't want to mess with water.