Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Continued: Girl Camping Moments, 2015

I ended my previous post with more 2015 Girl Camping outings left to report. Not to say that I'm done camping for the year! But between the July 4 Weekend and mid-September, I seized these other chances to be out and camping with friends:

End of July: Girl Camp! This is a privately hosted (by yours truly) camping bash in Elk River, Idaho. I chose to keep it simple by taking the smallest of my vintage trailers, this 1961 Aloha compact named Little House on the Bumper.

Things tend to go a little wild at Girl Camp. Maybe it's the matching shirts, or the crazy costumes that appear at some point!

August: Miss Shelley took her '53 Aljoa and I took Iron Pony (1972 Red Dale) for a weekend of primitive camping on the fabulous Selway River of Idaho. We soaked up the sun and soaked in the clear running water. This was camping, not glamping, though we did allow ourselves some amenities.

And it's a good thing we did, because just days later, the area was devastated by forest fire. We aren't sure whether this lovely free campground survived or not.

September: Iron Pony made the trip to Cheney, Washington, for Karen's Kamp--a weekend hosted by Miss Karen at her country home. She has the luckiest hens in the world. They live in Karen's Chicken Mansion, and it certainly is that! These chickens live in style. And so did we!

In between these trips away from home, I had plenty of chances to camp at home, too. Wherever, whenever…carpe camping!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Carpe Camping! Girl Camping Moments, 2015

'Carpe camping!' In other words, camp whenever you can.

I love all chances to go somewhere with my own little home(s) on wheels, and seize them often. Here are some carpe-camping snapshots from spring and summer 2015.

March: First outing of the year for Iron Pony, 1972 Red Dale. A group of us got pre-season campsites at Hells Gate State Park on the Snake River, Lewiston, Idaho. It was great just to be out that early in the year, but also an unforgettable Girl Camping weekend for the exciting jet boat trip we took up the Snake River into Hells Canyon.

Hold on, everyone, big rapids coming up!

End of April: Girl Camping on the Salmon River for our Spring Rendezvous at Swiftwater RV Park, White Bird, Idaho. The Airstream, third trailer from left, is my aluminum abode; it spends the winter here, and goes home right after the Rendezvous weekend.

Like Iron Pony, the Airstream is a 1972 model. Name: Big Chief. ('Big' is right, because it's over 30 feet long and weighs 5,600 pounds, empty.)

Mid-May: Girl Camping weekend at a friend's country place for her birthday celebration. Maiden voyage with the 1965 Chief trailer I bought late in 2014. It earned an A+ for remaining dry during a steady downpour!

The Chief brand was manufactured in Seattle, and that's about all I know about it. This model has beautiful turquoise/aqua appliances, and I named it Crazy Horse.

Early June: Iron Pony gets all dolled up for the Farm Chicks campout in Riverside State Park in Spokane, coinciding with the annual Farm Chicks Antique Show.

This is always a fun gathering, with attendees from far and wide.

Mid-June: An impromptu overnight stay in Montana with several fellow members of Sisters on the Fly--the log-cabin trailer belongs to Miss Linda, who was traveling with Miss Patty. I was treated to a
bunkhouse stay, as I didn't have a trailer with me.

However, I was able to furnish the first round of Happy Hour drinks on the front porch of our hostess!

July 4th Weekend: A Girl Camping weekend at GIRL CAMP! The little mountain town of Elk River, Idaho, puts on a great fireworks show, and there's nothing quite like the parade of locals down Main Street. Since we do believe in 'Sum Boyz OK,' this is a co-ed camping weekend.

Obviously OK with Mark, hubby of Miss Mig, both of whom were in the parade!

There's been more in 2015, but I'd better end this post here just so I don't keep you forever. Thanks for coming along on the ride so far!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Rot Repair 101

Has this happened to you? You buy a vintage travel trailer, all excited. You get it home, pull back the cushions (which you should have done before handing over the cash), and you see something like this:

Rotten, warped, mildew-stained paneling, indicative of water damage.

Now what?

If you're a newbie, you may be tempted to paint over it, put the cushions back in place, and call it good.  Or to tack another piece of paneling over the bad spot. These may be cosmetic solutions. But they aren't safe solutions. And here's why:

What you have here is the trailer equivalent of Stage 4 cancer. Left untreated, the prognosis is poor-to-deadly. For moisture to have reached the interior wood, it first must have penetrated the seals on the exterior metal skin. Then the moisture attacks the wooden framing that gives the trailer its shape and structure, eventually rendering it structurally unsound.

Only after that does moisture reach and begin to rot the paneling. See the broader expanses of the horizontal wood, above? That's the back side of the paneling--the same paneling you see on the inside. The paneling itself is only an eighth-inch thick. That, some thin insulation, and the exterior skin, are all that stand between you--the owner/occupant--and the forces of traffic and nature. If you don't fix this problem, it will only spread and get worse.

Because it occurs from the outside in, that's how you have to fix it to do it right. In other words, you have to take the trailer apart from the outside, remove the bad wood, replace it, and put the trailer back together.

To do that, you first must remove the J-rail. This is the aluminum trim that wraps around the edges of the exterior.

The lights, windows, and license plate holder also have to come off. This is so you can loosen and either lift or remove the corresponding section of metal skin.

The old insulation also needs to go. As long as you're in there, you might as well replace it anyway.

Now you can start to assess the rot and take inventory of what will need replacing.

A side panel (maybe more than one) may need to come off in order for you to have best access to the repair areas.

Here's a close-up of a rotted rear corner support. It fell apart to the touch, as did much of the other rotten wood. This isn't what you want to have between you and the outside world as you're going down the freeway. One bump or pothole, and the back corner could collapse.

The actual repair phase of this trailer is about to begin. Check back for photos of the process.