Thursday, March 27, 2014

Annals of Trailer Trolling: Hood River, Oregon

'What is trailer trolling?' you might ask.

Think of it as active birdwatching. Or as similar to hunting for big game and bagging it with a camera.

It's a favorite pastime among certain Girl Camping Girls, including Miss Patty, above, and yours truly.

We're into the exploration of back roads and fresh neighborhoods anyway, and the trailer hunt--spot it, take a picture, move on to find another--is a bonus.

On our latest girl-getaway adventure, to Hood River, Oregon, we learned that the 'food trailer' concept is alive and well in this area some 60 miles east of Portland. We spotted several vintage trailers converted for use in mobile vending--with serving doors set into the side.

We spied this newly painted Oasis in a newer neighborhood and gave it a camera-salute. Note the big front window, and the distinctive arcs in the paint design--two Oasis characteristics that help make the brand easy to ID. We concluded that this trailer is very likely to be somebody's Girl Camping baby!

We've seen hundreds of trailers over the last few years, but this was the first time we saw one like this--with masonite construction (a type of plaster over wood) rather than metal. The sign said the trailer is a 1949 Traveleze. It would have been fun to know more about it, but no one was home.

At a place that was having a yard sale, we noted a 1962 Aristocrat sitting in front of a much newer motorhome. The owner gave us a tour. He even coughed up a price when we asked if he wanted to sell it. I gave it some serious consideration--have ladder, can inspect roof--but ultimately, it wasn't roadworthy enough for a trip of any distance to get it home.

The only trailer we went home with was this birdhouse trailer, plus birdhouse truck, that we sleuthed out at the Rite Aid store in Hood River. Much easier on the fuel bill for the homeward trip!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Travels to Hood River, Oregon

It's a ritual. Each March, to mark the start of spring, I tuck The Little Little Trailer into a purse and set off to meet up with Miss Patty for exploration of some Northwest town or other. (Because the weather often is still iffy, we leave the big trailers home.)

This year we chose Hood River, Oregon, in the Columbia Gorge. We've previously met up in Pendleton and Joseph, Oregon, and in Walla Walla, Washington.

For accommodations, we rented a small, quaint house not far from downtown. Then we imposed a little of our own camping style on it, with a few blooming plants and such. We each had our own tiny room--a little bit like staying in a trailer, right?

Hood River has several claims to fame, one being its title as Windsurfing Capital of the World. Windsurf boards are so ubiquitous that they're almost trash--which is how Miss Patty ended up with a pickup load to take home for a clever project.

The weather turned out to be lovely and calm, and the mighty Columbia reflected this with an almost-still surface.

Mt. Adams, to the north, was clearly visible. So was Mt. Hood, to the south.

Hood River has a lovely, well-kept, and thriving old-fashioned downtown. The restaurant scene is active and creative, with a serious 'farm to table' bent to it.

We got all excited when we walked into a gift store and found a rack of items featuring cute vintage trailers. So excited that we 'forgot to remember' the name of the store!

Hood River's orchards and vineyards make for another of the area's claim to fame. We didn't have to get very far out of town to find both the orchards, and some intriguing roadside businesses.

Like this one, which sold everything from secondhand sporting goods (see Photo #1) to landscape trees (I bought three) to old furniture and house fixtures.

Of course, like big game hunters, we also scout for trailers all the time. 'Trailer trolling,' as it were. When we can get a photo next to one, so much the better. Here, Miss Patty bagged a big one! It's converted into a food trailer, which seems to be a popular idea in the Hood River area. We saw several of these.

To be continued--with more about the trailer trolling.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Girl Camping at Home

I love everything about camping with 'the girls' and look forward to every outing. But the truth of the matter is that even Girl Camping Girl spends more time at home than at campgrounds. Unless you make your living as a camp host, you probably do, too.

To fill in those gaps between camping for real, I find myself applying aspects of the Girl Camping lifestyle to my home. The small trailer replicas are a given!

I also bring the outdoors in, with such things as willow twigs placed in water so they'll leaf out.

Pennant banners are fun and interesting. Why save them just for use outdoors? This one, with scenes from fairy tales, has amused me all winter in my living room.

Normally used outdoors, this tea-light chandelier gets to come in for the cold-and-rainy season.
It reminds me of evenings out under the stars.

The picture postcards from my travels make a colorful tide-me-over when I can't be on the road.

After the birds go south for the winter, their little houses come inside and become a mini trailer park.

I collect paint cards, for inspiration.

I'll even go so far as to 'play trailers' with food--leading to the 'ginger-bread trailer house'!

Obsessive? Yeah, maybe so.

But what the heck--Girl Camping fun isn't just where you find it. A lot of times, you have to make it yourself.

And I don't stay home without it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tip for Using Stabilizer Jacks With Your Camp Trailer

Stabilizer jacks--one for each corner of the trailer--are customary equipment for use with a camping trailer. They help keep the trailer frame level and steady as you're moving about inside.

But, without their own means of support, stabilizer jacks can sink into soft ground or warm asphalt.

To prevent this, cut 4 pieces of lumber or plywood to a size about 2 or 3 inches bigger, all around, than the footprint of your jacks. Then simply place one of these beneath each jack before you tighten it up.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Just to Catch Things Back Up

After a fabulous January start to our new Girl Camping year, things took an unexpected slip. Literally.

Mr. Ed broke his ankle when he lost his footing on a patch of ice and fell down in front of the Girl Camp Cabin.

The repair took 7 screws and a metal plate. The recovery, and the caretaking, are still underway. Mr. Ed is still on crutches, and I am his mobility assistant.

Naturally, this put camping and most any other kind of traveling on a shelf for a while. Especially when winter made a decisive reappearance.

Frequent February view: From the window of the orthopedic surgeon's office.

Fortunately, my Mr. Ed is not the equine Mr. Ed, so a broken leg doesn't mean curtains. Thank goodness! As he's been mending, I've used some of the mostly indoor time at home to work on some trailer-embroidery projects.

Like this one…from a pattern drawn by Vicki Stanifer.

Finished and pressed:

This past weekend, early March things finally worked out for me to spend a couple of nights doing some Girl Camping at our winter trailer encampment on the Salmon River.

Where it was just so great to be outside in warmer air and to see things turning green. That was the best Girl Camping decor of all.

So that's what's been up with yours truly--how about you?