Now we’re down to the real problem-why the whole trailer is sagging.
So this project is so basic. The whole camper is a minute big. It was built to be simplistic so by making it overly modern or trying to make it something its not would ruin what this camper is all about.
To keep it simple, I think the wood walls stained in an amber hue with polyurethane to seal is perfect. Flooring is marmoleum in an exact match to the original (except in sheet good not in 9″ squares). I’m keeping the original ice box and range but fixing them so they are clean and functionally safe. The gas lamp will be rewired to accept an LED light but will look like it is the original gas lamp – mantle and all.
For the soft goods, I’m turning to JoAnn Fabrics but getting a commercial grade upholstery that can withstand wet bathing suits and sand. Its pricey but with the coupons 60 percent off! it is affordable and it brings the brown and teal together! Then maybe a welt around the cushion to bring in the pinks.
The curtains I tried to go for a Hawaiian print to match the new exterior which will be that teal that our vintage 1957 Chevy truck is painted. Looked everywhere online (Search is limited online because the world is quarantined due to Covid) so on Ebay I could only find a close match. I tried all sorts of formicas for the counter but all seemed to fight with the fabrics. Then I found the pink on the Panolam website. Since there’s not much countertop or table, I think It’s doable-I’m not much of a pink person. The laminate slides in the cabinets will be (white with gold/brown speckle) from a craigslist find that was a freebee – I just need to delaminate it from the counter its already on.
Decided to keep the ice box original. Too many are being taken out of these old campers and destroyed. The little fridges that fit are just too small to hold anything worth keeping cool. I like portable coolers, or the marine fridges (but this camper is too simple for something so sophisticated). This camper was made with simplicity in mind, so I will use the ice box from time to time with ice in it, or use it as a cupboard to hold food.
Look what we found! Title reads 1955 but we think it’s closer to 1959/1960. Either way, needs ALOT of work! Notice the doorway threshold- very uneven. The outter walls are attached to nothing at the bottom and are free floating causing the wall to sag and the threshold floor shows the outcome. We will try to keep it original but we’ll see once we get into it.
On our way to the criterium for the day! Of course we’re dragging along our tin can because Mike races at 9:20a and Tony races at 4:10p. That’s a long time to sit around in a car!
So we get to Davis about an hour early and there’s plenty of parking. We parked on a side street (G street) just one block from the start line-how perfect is that?! Joe and I have a little breakfast and Mike warms up.
At the race, after the ambulances cleared out, Mike placed 14th! That’s pretty good considering he didn’t end up in one of the seven crashes! Yeah Mike!
So we walk around town and got a subway sandwich and ate in the camper-then we go to the second hand store and get some dvds to watch (but-OH! We’re out of time, Tony arrives with Rosa and his huge poodle.) So Tony warms up,
And it’s off to the race for him! He doesn’t do quite as well, but considering there was a crash around him – he got away with just a scraped up calf and managed to finish the race. Pretty successful race day.
And what a fabulous place to “camp” – just realized we were in front of the movie theater-air conditioning, popcorn! We hang out in the camper and then break camp and head home, just in time for the fireworks. Perfect fourth of July!
Can’t believe it’s August already! Has it really been a whole year since we first drove you home from the shop?!
This is our yearly pilgrimage to South Lake Tahoe’s Fallen Leaf Lake to be with all our friends from Joe’s school. Mike is racing his bike in another town so Joe and I are driving down with the camper by ourselves. We’re getting a lot of looks and many thumbs up!
I decided to stop for a bite to eat before making camp, but with the dog, who likes to bark as soon as we’re out of site, Joe stays behind.
When I get the food and start heading for the car…two guys are circling the rig and I’m a little nervous with my 12 year old all by himself in there! “Hi Fellas” I say (ready to fight)-to my surprise-they’re curious about the vintage camper. Want to know all about it-they LOVE old cars and never saw a vintage camper like this one! (of course they were looking at the camper-not the barky dog or the germy kid!). So we chat awhile and they look at the inside and invite us to their camp when we hit the park, but night is starting to fall and we still have to get there and set up! So off we go.
We pull into Fallen Leaf. We get our pamphlets and signage and head on in looking for our spot. Twilight is already here and we better get going! As we turn down our lane, there is a huge 32′ fifth wheel trying to get into its spot and one person already waiting. So we pull in and wait behind them. Before I know it, 7 people are asking me questions outside my truck window. Okay, I get out and give them the grand tour (I love this!). So after about a 15 minute show and tell, I’m the one holding up traffic! I shoo everyone away and continue around to park. GREAT-my parking pad is about 8′ wide (Curtis Wright is 7′) and there is a tree on both sides.
So as gracefully as I can, I back that little sucker in there! Thanks to our neighbor (his name just happens to be Curtis!) I had some direction because Joe ran off with his little friends leaving me to park! After leveling it and jacking all sides, I put up the awning and made camp. It’s 7:30p and I’m just eating dinner- I love summer.
We only had one incident where Joe fell off his bike and got a concussion. A quick trip to the local emergency room for a check, met some wonderful caring staff and then back to the camp. It’s the beginning of the school year, and end of the summer. I sure hope I’ll get out again for some camping before the winter hits!
This weekend we’re actually going to camp for the race in Modesto, CA! It’s sponsored by the Northern California/Nevada Cycling Association and sounds like it should be…Yawn…very exciting! That’s why I made reservations for camping nearby at Caswell Memorial State Park in Ripon. On the map it looks very woodsy and is right next to the Stanislaus River! Sounds so picturesque.
Just over an hour drive away…had to pass Lodi, which was having a big Wine Festival! That woulda been LOTS more fun!!! We arrive at the park, and we can pick any open spot we want! That’s kinda a cool way to do it! So four times around the place and we finally decided on the one closest to the entry…okay, whatever…
but it was real easy to set up on, nice big parking spot, and great fire pit, no one around us (well except for the park rangers!).
But we set up camp pretty quick and scouted the new digs. LOTS of people carrying rafts and tire tubes to the river-there’s only about a 20′ X 10′ sand beach to “lounge” on. Kinda crowded, guess thats why most locals brought float devices…not sure where they’re floating away too but guess it’s a good thing because there sure are ALOT of them. So back up at camp mosquitos are biting but a little spray and all is good. Guess its that time of year for box elder bugs too because there’s zillions of them, but I don’t mind them…much….
Time for some relaxing, Joe and I watch “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in the camper, Mike is checking out the sky through his eyelids on a lawn chair, and joins us for the last few minutes.
Time for dinner and instead of having the pasta dinner I planned, we decide to head for town and see whats going on there. The little Italian diner is closed, Mike doesn’t want to have “Pizza Legs” tomorrow, so that leaves Subway! Nice dinner and back to camp. Time to build a fire and what a BEAUTIFUL night. I took a picture but it turned out all black..but the stars were shining and it was very clear. We made some of the most amazing smores! Mike read the Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and it was time for lights out. What a PERFECT day!
Morning awakes us and it’s time for Mike to get ready for the race. Some oatmeal and blueberries and toast and coffee. He mixes his goop and goo in all the right bottles and pouches, and pumps just the right amount of air in the tires. Puts on his sexy leotard, I mean bike tights…and off he goes! Joe and I stay behind because there really isn’t anything to watch this time. The race loop is too large and not much to see.
So we watch Spiderman instead since our allergies are bothering us a bit (did I mention we have allergies to grass and trees?). We munch our way through the fruits and veggies, and Mike is back after the movie full of stories of his own. He stayed in the front pack, but there was a pretty large crash toward the end and most of the front pack went down, including him. But he got back up and finished and still felt pretty good. Others didn’t fair quite so well with the ambulance taking away three of the riders, and one…Mike got a chuckle out of, hollered “cut me Adrian!” as he struggled to get back on his broken bike with a face full of blood. Still, Mike placed 19th even with the fall so I think he was a big winner today! Way to go baby! Time for lunch.
And then it’s time to pack it in and head home. Sunday dinner with the kids all coming over…
What a perfect weekend!
It’s been three years, but we’re finally gonna bring OUR TIN CAN to a Bike race!
We got an adjustable ball hitch for Mike’s truck, and I’ve loaded the camper with healthy snackage and pillows and blankets, and a movie or two for Joe who is suffering with allergies.
So off we go! Golden State Race Series Criterium in Rancho Cordova, CA! We snuggle in for a long drive of 10 miles and then, found a perfect spot to park and set up. Mike gets warmed up for his race and Joe is hanging in there with his allergies!
Then Tony arrives with his doggie but no leash, so:
We leashed them together. How pathetic do they look!?
And it’s Tony’s turn to warm up for his race:
But were we done? Of course not! This is a two day race (aren’t they all…). This one is a Circuit Race for those of you who are following along.
So Sunday, back we go all refreshed with new snacks and bottles full of goo and packages of squishy stuff for energy…see…this is why I don’t race a bike…
This time we link up with Team Folsom Bike and find an even BETTER spot to set up! We can watch the race from inside the camper and have the whole parking lot to ourselves or walk to the start/finish line just one block away!
Joe and I catch another movie, have lunch, stroll around and look at some of the vendors, talk with other doggie owners and have a great time! This is the life! It’s like camping and if you feel like it, you can go watch a bike race! SWEET!
Oh and Mike placed 15th overall for both days…And Tony had his personal best too even with an eventful start and crazy finish!
Well, after the Palm Springs road trip Mike decided to trade in his Mercedes and get a truck to tow the little trailer. So off he went and got this AWESOME Ford 150:
So here we are the day before the Wente Vineyard Road Race! Decided to bring the camper and stay the night before in it and then we won’t have to wake up so early to drive to the race. Go to hook it up and…..HUGE disappointment! The ball hitch is to high to tow the little trailer somewhat level. It tips too far backward and the drain pipe in the back will be hitting the ground on each bump! Plan “B” – just bring pop up tent and make do…
Glad to be home! And then it hit me….Why didn’t we take my car to pull the trailer? DOH!!!!
So when I’m not showing it as a vintage camper, thought I’d make a bicycle rug.
Off to Friends By the Sea rug camp in Rockaway Beach, OR, to learn how to “punch hook”. With a wonderful teacher named Sara Judith,
who guided us through a week of learning different techniques of finishing our rugs and dying some AWESOME yarns:
- Well, here it is Thursday morning! Bright and early 6:00am, loaded up the car and with the help of my son-in-law got all hooked up and all lights working!
Now on the road…I’m so excited I can’t stand it! Stop three times at the rest area and various CVS for water and signage (see the back of the camper).
So around Stockton, CA I finally settled down and started driving. Hit L.A. at rush hour and didn’t get to Palm Springs till about 7:00pm. But I arrived safe and sound and look what was already in the hotel parking lot:
Am I adding too many pictures in this blog? Should I write more?
So I got all checked in at the Monroe Hotel and went next door to get some dinner. On the way back I saw a fella that looked like the guy who asked me if I wanted to go in his place this year. As it turned out, he came down too. So I thought it must be him. So I smiled and said “Hi Brad?”, Nope-not him. Okay-I’ll just go to the room and watch some t.v. Tommorrow we’ll be setting up and I’ll pick up Mike (my other half) and Joe at the airport to join in the fun.
Mona Heath really did a super job getting everyone all organized and Jim and Doug her “helpers” made sure everyone was parked correctly and had electrical hookups.
I ran around and took pictures of all that I could before the storm of people came through.
I’d show you all the pics of the trailers but don’t want this just to be pictures…I’ll just throw in some highlights since you probably are tired of the
Okay, Well I don’t want to bore you with pictures let me know if you want to see the interiors. They were so awesome!!! Had a great time with over 1500 people walking through. We even got eight adults in our little tin can at one time! The Docent and I had a little chuckle on how it kinda looked like a clown car with all of them coming out of that little thing!
Even got an award for showing! My life is complete..
Gotta have a display board on the outside of the trailer when I’m showing it (since only a couple people fit in it at a time…nice to have someplace else to see it-and in case your claustrophobic!).
So off I go looking for a nice easel that isn’t too expensive…CRAIGSLIST! (isn’t that what got me into this whole thing?)
So I find the perfect one! It’s ALUMINUM and one town away AND $15!!
Now to get the samples to put on the board. Flooring. Gotta get a sample of what the original was (the piece I saved got lost during the reconstruction). So I’ve had a starving artist-student recreate the floor from the photo of the original. It looks absolutely perfect!
Off to Kinkos with the pdf of the floor, and some pictures of the reconstruction. Some foam core board, some mat board, lots of glue and a little piece of the original fabric saved from that nasty back gaucho…
so of course there’s the problem of transporting….
took the cardboard I bought the foam core board in and a little duct tape….and presto!
Now I think I’m ready for Modernism Week! I can’t WAAaaaaaait!!!!!!!
Modernism week in Palm Springs (http://www.modernismweek.com/event/details/247714/) is less than a month away and many preparations are taking place. One of the bigger projects is the awning. I’m told that we will display on a blacktop at the Hilton. That means no staking down the corners of the awning! Ya know, I’m finding that when you display one of these things it’s often on a concrete arena floor or parking lot or hard surface of some sort. So I’m taking my cue from the gorgeous vintage camper we were next to at the Woodland show (thanks Mike!).
So first to build a frame. Tried out wood, not rigid enough. Next try is Aluminum square tubing (3/4″ and 1″- to telescope on the corner poles). And of course all kinds of fittings to make it work
So out to the table saw and voila a frame to put the awning on.
Now to fix the awning to work with either the frame or the tie downs, I think some little pockets/straps will do nicely. A trip to JoAnn fabrics and a trip to the tailor (my home sewing machine can’t handle this kind of canvas).
I explain what I need and Janna is happy to give it a try!
and so after a couple weeks, and a free weekend here it is!
Perfect for display on the blacktop! Thanks Mike!
(If you want to see how others supported their awnings, take a look:)
Also got the Gingerbread house finished! Time to eat it!
1946 Curtis Wright Camper, Canned Ham. 14″ ball to bumper
The Good: I have fixed up the outside of this vintage camper with new Oreo wheels, frame has been recently painted in candy cane stripe, comes with original tattoo fruit roll up awning, new propane tanks made from juju beans, inside lighting works fine.
The Bad: No stove, no sink, no fridge, no bathroom. Has a few leaks, take a look at the pictures.
This is a vintage camper and needs TLC! If your hungry, this camper isn’t for you!
Sold As Is, Where Is. Will NOT ship overseas. Camper is too unstable to tow and I would recommend flat bed. More pictures upon request.
Got a lot of great responses:
“Does this price include the ice cream cone Christmas tree?”
“ROFLMAO!!! I have a facebook page where I gather ads I find on Craigslist all over the US and post them, all vintage campers. Your ad was cracking me UP!!! Merry Christmas!! Lol”
“The price is great but I haven’t driven a trailer in snow before. Too bad.”
Two days later it got taken down, apparently Scrooge surfs Craigslist…
Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it! Had an internet friend refer my name to the people organizing the Modernism Week (http://www.modernismweek.com/trailer-show/)
or on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/VintageTrailerShowModernismWeek2013?fref=ts Thanks Brad!!
So a few e-mails back and forth and WE’RE IN!!! It will be held Feb 21-23, in the Hilton Hotel Parking lot. So I guess I better get the polisher out and start now!
These are awards they’ll be giving out. They’re designed by Steve Cambronne, see steveotomic.com! Wonder if we’ll get one?! I can’t hardly waaaaait!!!
This is the weekend for the big car show that I promised Paul Lacitinola of http://www.vintagecampertrailers.com , I’d be available for. Even though I haven’t actually taken the camper out on my own…I think I can do it. Paul wants us there on Thursday to set up between 9:00-11:00am. I plan on being there early because of traffic it’s better to be early and have the extra time to fart around if you need it..
Mike is taking Joe to school so I don’t have that worry. Thank you Hun! I have the camper all hooked up and ready to go by 8:30am. Making sure to have all my silly display items too…and then…OH! Maybe I should decorate for Halloween! So back in the house I go to collect more junk! Okay, I think I’m ready.
Off I go! Down highway 50 to Sacramento. WOW! What an easy tow it is! So light! And with the added brake assist-you don’t even notice your towing anything. So I make it to the State Fairgrounds and whadda ya know but Paul pulls in right in front of me! Easy! Just follow him in, and around, and down, and …hmmmm…..wonder if HE knows where he’s going…he does a u-turn….nope! He’s lost too!
We eventually find our way down the sidewalk to the front of building 3 (not an easy task with all the vendors set up and barricades already in place).
So after using a little persuasion on the entry doors, we pulled in and positioned our “rigs”. Then along comes the Spartan Manor and we make the place SHINE!
Here is where I thought I might ad some other photos of cool cars at this HUGE show that encompassed the entire fairgrounds!
Here we are on yet another weekend. Mike is a little too busy to go camping, and I think it would be a perfect time.
This is my FOURTH attempt! First time, the ball hitch was too short to hook to my vehicle (because of the spare tire attached to the back)-had to get a trailer hitch extender, second time Mike had the ball for the hitch in his trunk at work, and third time, after getting it all hooked up, realized the electrical hookup was about four inches short of plugging into the connection on my car-had to redo the electrical wires to reach.
So, I’m a little gun shy of planning to go camping on my own again. Maybe Walmart! So I let everyone know, I’m going to Walmart to camp! Lot’s of encouragement from friends. But when Mike drives me over to see if it’s possible…
Mike made some popcorn on the fire pit in the backyard
SOOO much FUN!!!!
Well, the whole reason for having the camper is to have a nice cozy spot to wait while Mike and the boys race their bicycles. But here we are at the end of the season and the Bicycle team is having a picnic at Sly Park. So Mike encourages me to find a camping spot there and make reservations, which I do. So excited to go camping somewhere OTHER than Fallen Leaf.
Now it’s the weekend for the picnic and Joe has piano lessons on Saturday morning (which I cancel), but then football in the afternoon which I can’t cancel, and Altar Serving-can’t cancel that either. Hmmm..
SOOO upset! Just isn’t going to work out this weekend. Will try again another time. Thank goodness the camping spots weren’t too expensive!
Today is the day we head to Fallen Leaf Campground in South Lake Tahoe to meet up with about 23 other families from our son’s school for the Holiday weekend.
I know we’re not quite ready yet, no brakes on the trailer, awning isn’t tested yet, and don’t have the darned giant bubble recipe made up (thanks Peg)! But damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!!
Pretty uneventful trip to the campgrounds. I think everyone is staying home because of the fire in Yosemite. That makes it perfect in Tahoe…less crowds! And the smoke is worse back home than it is here!
Several people stop to ask about our camper and I get to show it off a bit. After setting up camp, Mike and I put the awning up for the first time, and IT FITS! YEA! And all my worries about the door not going to be able to open without lifting the awning….no worries!!
After a couple days of relaxing and playing in the lake, the maiden voyage comes to an end.
Now to get the brakes hooked up…
Isn’t it funny how you see something from your childhood and it has such a profound effect on your day (or is that just me?).
So there was this stupid bird lamp my mom had forever. I’ll just go out to the garage and get it from her things and it will go perfect in the trailer since it has all the right colors and is from just about the right time period. It will look nice on the table.
But wait! When I go out to the garage, the lamp is a newer gold stupid bird lamp! Where’s the one I remember? A quick call to sis and now I know it’s safe at her house. CRAP! Now I need it even more!
Down to three different antique stores! Grrrr! But wait! There’s a statue of the birds!
So as you can tell, since they’re sitting on my counter, I bought them. Have to find a base and a lamp shade.
Gotta get the wiring post/neck/whatever and it has to be old and it has to fit the lamp. Bent would be nice…but not mandatory. So Mike talks with a guy at a store called Light Bulbs Plus on Auburn Blvd. (why can’t it be closer…). So off I go to light bulbs plus to find pieces and parts! When I get there, I’m told they don’t have anything like that! WHAT?! So I stand around and hmmm and haw….
The guy waits on two other customers…I’m still standing there…
I ask him if there’s anyplace else I could try. He tells me he’ll look in the back.
Out he comes with a box of old parts and yes, there were two rods that had threaded ends already on there. They’d have to be bent, but they would fit perfect even after bending (I bought both just in case…learning curve and all…). He musta caught my enthusiasm because he waited on a few more people and then went and got another box of sockets and caps, all very old that came off other lamps. Found one that fit my rod perfect and matched in patina to look very old. PERFECT! There’s $3.00 well spent!
So after a trip to home depot to find a conduit bender, Mike and I were out in the garage bending the rod to the right shape (remember he has broken ribs) so we had to find just the right persuasion tools to bend the little 12″ pipe.
I asked Mike what he remembered growing up with. He mentioned a red ship with a clock on the side.
What is that one thing you remember as you grew up?
So remember way back when I drove to Woodson Bridge to pick up my vintage awning that Marti Domyancic (Marti’s Awnings)made for me? Almost a year and a half ago! Well, Midnight Mass really got me enthused and had me thinking I could put the track up myself! With our big Memorial day weekend just around the corner, I’m hoping I can have an awning on it while we camp. So according to the internet (and you KNOW the internet doesn’t lie!), I needed some butyl tape (whatever that is!) and some silicone caulk. I ordered the rail from someplace in Indiana who promptly shipped it. So I’ve got that part. Over the weekend we go to Camping World in Roseville. Found some butyl tape (better get two packs of that stuff…), but not the silicone…oh well, on to Sportsmans Warehouse (OH WOW!!! They have EVERYTHING!). So about $250 later (let’s see there’s a porta potty…gotta have one of those, and then the bags to do your duty in…and the cast iron dutch oven-not sure what that’s used for…need some marshmallow tongs that extend…better get some of them plastic wheel chocks, and a level stick, had to tryout all the chairs) we finally had all we needed to get away from it all!
Back at home the project begins to get the awning rail installed. Cesar, my son in law came over to help Mike (who broke three ribs just before Midnight Mass)install the new rail. First they made a template of the curve of the camper using plywood. Then they attempt to bend the C channel track by heating with a propane torch (that’s what it said on the internet). But of course the curve is too great for the track to bend enough. So they resort to clipping and screwing it down.
Okay, that didn’t look good. Internet lied. Time to call a professional. Talked Harps RV service in Penryn and asked if they’d do it for me. They said they could do it in about three weeks. They were moving from one facility to another and had a few too many rigs as it was. “AWWWWwwwwwwww!”. But then, he was more than happy to walk me through it. Said I needed butyl tape (check!), and some C channel (check!). But not the dull kind, I need the shiny kind (there’s a difference?). Said the dull kind will show up real bad on my shiny camper and I’d have to look for some shiny aluminum so it will blend with the camper. And don’t install it on the side, install it on the top because there isn’t enough room on the side for the awning to hang properly. (YIKES! the top? Okay…) Told me to call if I ran into any problems. WOW! Great place, and I didn’t even have to go there! So I find some shiny aluminum C channel here in CA and order that, and it’s here within a minute. Mike calls in the troops and we get the butyl tape on, and C channel down, but the dark prevents us from doing much else. Have to wait for tommorrow to remove excess butyl tape from it and get it ready for camping! Looks pretty good. And it really does blend!
Today I finished framing some of my father-in-laws tied flies. Jerry was such an outdoors sort of guy! Loved to do anything outside. He hunted, fished, tinkered, loved RC planes, and tied fishing flies. He instilled a real love of the outdoors to my wonderful husband who in turn drags me outside to show me nature. Jerry has been gone for many years now, but I have to believe that he would’ve enjoyed that I was using his flies! (even though I’m not fishing with them…). Just noticed today is his birthday! Happy Birthday Jerry and thank you for the artwork!
Just got back from Woodland and have recovered sufficiently to start planning my next adventure!
But let me tell you about the weekend! HUNDREDS of vintage cars, rat rods, and “doesn’t fit in either category” vehicles. Several thousand people and a fabulous place to just sit and watch! I snapped a few pictures of the vintage campers but the crowd was pretty intense and hard to get good pics.
So I gotta polish this thing and get ready to show it in Woodland this weekend…and it seems a WHOLE lot bigger than it’s 13′ length! But today I got some help..
When I went out there and started polishing this old lady was out there polishing too! I didn’t ask her any questions on the account of she seemed very busy and intent on doing a really good job which is what I was trying to do. And despite her obvious age, she was keeping right up with me! Well, I got one side done, and she looked pretty tired. I hope she doesn’t expect to get paid. Well, maybe I’ll buy her lunch…
Well, I thought I’d go play when we got the trailer home, but…
Mike has fixed some of the light issues,
I hung drapes (still in the process)
The lock needs a key (kinda important)
needs to be polished for this weekend
needs the awning hung, I ordered parts for that. Should be here Wednesday.
Need some washers that can withstand high heat for the light fixtures, I can’t believe they have the globe between two metal screw on pieces. It’s chipping into the glass…
Ordered some little postcards of the camper to give out.
I put together a folder to look at (see picture)
Need to accessorize for show. (and yet…here I sit playing on the computer! LOL)
Can you believe it? After two long years, our little camper is finally campable.
We drove to Nevada City for a 1:00p appointment to pick it up. It was a beautiful and warm day, even in the sierra’s. When we arrived there she sat waiting to go home. This was Mike’s first time seeing her since we dropped it off to get polished.
We all got in and looked around. The cushions looked amazing! The curtains will need to be hung when I get home.
Pete says the outside should be shined up before I show it. So I’ll have to go get some “mother’s” aluminum polish and a rag. That’s what Pete suggested.
Here are three of the many Airstreams that Pete and his gang are working on. I bet they’re glad to have ours done!
So we just walked around and gathered our “stuff”. Oh! Here’s our awning, and there’s our trailer jacks, have you seen our heater cover? I think those were on the frame, think we’ll need those?
After collecting some loose ends…oh the spare….is over there….
We jumped in the “tow vehicle” (I can say that now, cuz we have something to tow!)
Pete presented us with our photo album, and off we went…Bye Sierra Trailer…
ok…well, you might think that’s where it ends, but we did make a circle around the block and came back and played some more with the wiring to the outside lights. After another hour and a half, we just decided not to hook up the left turn lights. We’ll just make right turns. And an hour later we pulled into the drive! Mike backed it up like he’d done it a million times, and it fit just right in our new pad next to the house.
Now we’ll get those brakes and lights working and hang the curtains, polish the outside, hang the awning, add some pictures, and a few other things to get ready for our shake down cruise! Stand by for adventures!
So today I hung the curtains…many times! You’d think by now I’d KNOW how to hang them! Years making them, years in the design industry, and pretty handy with tools! So WHY do they always look crookedy? One end is always lower than the other?
And then OH!!! (trailer needs to be level for the level to WORK!) Such a rooky mistake! I can’t believe I did that! Must be the 108 degree heat! Does anyone else work in this kind of heat? So here they are. Now I have to put the hooks onto the tiebacks and mount them. And find an anchor for the bottom of the back curtain. Well, you’ll see…
Here’s a peek:
Got some pictures today of the camper. Thought you might like to see:
Here she is with her little curtain snapped to the door and the really great little step that Joe made to get in and out easier. Not sure if it was made before or after he broke his foot….hmmmm
And here’s a picture of the back Master bedroom area. Needs one more drawer front for under the sink.
And here is the dining area. I will need to hang all the curtains when I finally get it back.
I’m hoping to get it back before the weekend. The boys have a bike race and this would be a nice spot in between the races. On the 28th I committed to going to the Woodland Fairgrounds to show it. We’ll see….
Got a call from Artist Upholstery in Grass Valley and they are finishing up with the cushions and the curtains! Lori sent me a pic of the door curtain:
I guess there must be some scrap pieces and I think Mark and Lori are having fun with the little camper because they’re finding other things to make for it like drawer secure straps to keep the drawers from opening accidentally while traveling, and curtain tie backs and lamp holders so they won’t fall off during travel:
Okay, had a little chuckle over this one, but it will keep the lamp from falling off the fixture during transit…
So today I called the DMV to find out if they’ve received my application for a Year of Manufacture plate. Remember Eddy?
They tell me that they received it May 20th…ummm….a MONTH after sending it in?! Okay, well anyway, still don’t have it….so they’re working on them right now, and it looks like there aren’t any problems with the application. So maybe give it another two weeks to receive the “OK” in the mail, and then I can put the plate on the camper… (News flash…it’s already there! LOL)
Love the DMV!
Today my good friend Nancy from Michigan was with me and we went over to see if there was any progress on the cushions.
There was lots of activity going on in the workroom, and they were setting up for the little camper! Mark let me know that he’d have it done by this Friday!!! We go on a week long vacation on Sunday. Wonder how that will work out…OOOooooohhhhh I can’t waaaait!
So Nancy wanted to see the camper, and I don’t know why the boys are all complaining about the height…Nancy doesn’t have a problem with it either!
So we left there, and had a great time walking around the sprawling metropolis of Grass Valley, and then FINALLY, I got to go to the restaurant I’ve passed a million times. The one Pete recommended for lunch called “Lefty’s” in Nevada City. It was a fabulous lunch dining outside next to the river. Fabulous food, Fabulous friend! Thanks for going with me Nancy!!!
Woke up early today to make the big drive to Grass Valley to meet Pete with my camper at the upholsterer. Was told the driveway was a bit tricky and hard to back in, so I let the “pro” do it. Got that little baby in a single car garage at an angle! Very tricky!!
This is a picture before backing in between the boat and wall on the left, and then taking a sharp right to put in the garage. So the boat cushions were on the work bench, and CalTrans brought in a seat to recover and then I’m next in the que!!! Plan on going Monday to see if any progress has been made. I was told it would take a couple weeks. But I’ll get some pictures anyway. Mark and Laurie from Artist Upholstery have an amazing work room!
Vicki just sent a picture of Joe’s progress. They received the fridge and microwave last week, and I brought in the little heater Vicki found on e-bay and I bought. They have it over the new wave heater to hide it. Decided to modernize it to make it comfy (and SAFE) to camp in. This baby has to last another 67 years! So a few more drawers, and doors, and some upholstery and THEN I get to take it for a spin….
Well, tried for months to find the right lights to go inside. E-bay-nope, Ruby Lane-nope, craigslist-nope, antique stores-nope, etsy-nope. Either they had the wrong shape, wrong color, or only one available.
Finally found something and ordered four,
I think they look perfect!
So there really isn’t an official camper manufacture design for the Curtis Wright Model 2 camper, so from the original advertisement on Tin Can Tourist, this label was born. Gotta hand it to Dane B. Kustoms out of Crockett, CA, they really know how to design with paint, I think it turned out VERY nice! (please excuse the funky photo…not really sure how to get a good picture of the stripe on the “mirror” surface…without showing everything next to the camper…HA!!).
Ya, I’m making two entries for this. I was there at Sierra Trailer Restoration picking up the vintage plates to go to the DMV and had to visit with the little camper and see what Joe was up to. So here are some pictures!
Joe tells me that he still needs to make the leg for the table. Notice how nice the metal trim looks around the seating and table and counter!!!
This next pic shows the original sink and original water spout which Joe tells me about painstakingly polishing the brass, only to find out that it won’t let the water through very well. Oh well, it LOOKS good! hahahaha! Back splash has a pattern to it that doesn’t show in the pic but looks fabulous!!
Look how nice the above cabinets look. LOVE the way Joe followed the ceiling with the curve!
Okay, now I just need to bring back the license plate and original hinges I found while cleaning out the garage to get ready for all of mom’s furniture which had to be moved because I moved her to a care facility and needed to clean out her apartment. Life keeps getting in the way of me having FUN!! (oh wait…this IS fun…)
I always heard what a pain it was to get the “YOM” plate, but now I know….it’s all TRUE!! On February 25th when I went to the DMV and got the new registration and plates, I mentioned I’d like to have my year of manufacture plates put on the camper. The lady gave me a new form (imagine that!) to fill out and told me to take a picture of the plate and send it in with the form to an address she put at the bottom of the paper. On February 27th, I sent it all in and kept copies.
Fast forward to today and I still don’t have word on my request to use my vintage plates. So I called, and an hour later was told they don’t have my request! Two months waisted! So I went down to the Folsom DMV (again), and waited an hour (again), and was told I did it wrong (again!). I have to bring the plates in to the DMV office with the forms and more money! GRRRRR!
So a quick trip (HA!) to Nevada City to grab the old plates off the camper and off to the Roseville DMV (I was told it was less waiting there). And a chat with Eddie and yes, I let him touch the vintage plates and take more pictures of them and measure them and write all about them on the form…and another $45. And he told me, okay! Now we’ll see if downtown gets the request and I’ll have some sort of tracking record (and yes, I got copies)!
Even with the flurry of trailers coming in to be restored progress continues on our little one. The flooring has been installed and the walls are finished. Gotta wait a couple days for the floor to set up and then back at it! Happy Easter!
Made a quick run to drop off the flooring and countertop samples back to Pete. Look what was in the drive!
That one on the right is the one that was found in a barn and featured on the “American Pickers” episode. It rolled in yesterday for a complete rehab.
And this little one is owned by “the Ranger”.
Check out his website on his art work! http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ranger-of-the-lost-art-wpa-nat-82375
I LOVE this place!!!
I was real disheartened to have to rip out the back bed/sofa from the camper. It was just a mess with droppings from critters and dust and who knows what else and was posing a real struggle to try and save…it had to be sawed out and destroyed. Looking at what they have now for futons…just wasn’t real thrilled with what I was finding. But I am pretty sure I wanted the bed to fold into a couch like the original and not be stationary.
And then, look what Vicki and Joe found! It even matches the interior walls perfectly! My dream comes true!
I took a ride out to see what the boys were up to (okay and touch and feel everything in person…okay okay, I WAS CURIOUS ABOUT THE MIRROR CEILING!)
Joe was hard at work on the couch. He was replacing the metal with wood (did I mention he was a master cabinet maker?), and plans on putting it up on a pedestal so that drawers could go under it and it would be a better height for a bed. Pete of course was standing around thinking up things for everyone else to do. Like….”So Jody, do you know what floor you want in here? And what countertop? We need to order that before we put in the cabinets. We don’t want to hold things up…” Well, huh? I thought we were doing a Forbo flooring called Marmoleum and a stainless steel countertop. “OH! You don’t want stainless steel! It scratches and shows up every little thing! Gotta have formica with a metal edge!”
Crap! back to my drawing board. Pete sent me home with some samples…
Of Course my little camper needs some art for the walls. How about a little picture? Took an afternoon to embroider and a quick trip to the thrift store for a frame. Fits perfect! Hope to find just the right spot in the trailer… What do ya think?
For those of you who might like to know, I used three strands cotton embroidery floss on white linen and then dyed in onion skin bath. Left corners were left in onion skin bath for a little longer so that it gave it an old and damaged appearance to it.
Now on to Jerry’s tied flies!
Got a call from the polisher and they need our camper moved because they have a big rig coming in to get polished. So Tony and I headed out early to go to Corning. Pretty uneventful ride there. As soon as we arrived, we saw the eighteenwheeler parked behind our little camper waiting it’s turn to pull up through to get polished. With a quick hook up and a fast check around we pulled away. I figured it didn’t matter if they could see my brake lights and turn signals, the glare off the camper was too blinding anyway! I think Debbie Gonzalez’s crew did a fabulous job! Can’t even tell the pieces that were replaced with the pieces that are over 60 years old…
So I pulled up to another building to take some pics. Maybe next time I’ll pick the buildings reflected in the finish a little better….Take a looky!
Tony is telling me the back taillight isn’t going off and is hot to the touch. “Don’t touch it!” I tell him. Sheesh! Kids….. Everything else looks good! So down the highway we go to Nevada City to drop it off at Sierra Trailer. What a beautiful day for another road trip. Lots of honks and thumbs up! (I think that was a thumbs up…), anyway, time to get the interior going. Won’t be long now before we’re camping!!! Yea!!!
I GOT IT!!! How Exciting! I finally got the Permanent Trailer Identification Card…or registration! Walked into the DMV and waited just 1 1/2 hours and gave them a chunk of money and the booklet of papers required including the Vehicle Verified Form that Donna Leek from Professional Registration Services in Grass Valley filled out for me. So they gave me some ugly license plates (current), and now I have to start working on the year of manufacture plates (YOM).
Today we have an appointment to get our little baby polished. So we all got up early, jumped in the car and headed for Grass Valley to pickup our camper. What a gorgeous (but cold) day for a ride. Arrived in Nevada City..lots of people packing up for the weekend and mounting skis on their car. Quite a bit of snow on the ground too! At Sierra Restoration had some problem with the lights not working on the camper. the connection is set up as a four pin, flat connector (like the vintage ones had), but ours is a round 6 pin, so we have an adaptor. Hmmm, left light doesn’t want to go off…
After about an hour playing with the lights, decided it was time to just go the way it was and hope we don’t get pulled off the road. Joe, meantime rolled his first snowman with nothing more than bare hands and blue jeans. He was glad to get in the car where it was warm and let his hand warm up and pants dry out.
Arrived at Gonzalez Polishing in Corning, CA a couple hours later. Mike was happy it was little and said he’d take real good care of it. Debbie thought it a good idea for us to be there Tuesday morning, because she had some big trucks coming in. Said goodbye to our baby and agreed to pick it up on Tuesday.
Woke up to an e-mail from Sierra Trailer Restoration! Plenty to go look at if I wanted! So I jumped in the car and met Mike half way and we went to take a look. WOW! Got all the aluminum put back on the outside, wiring is done, windows have been cut out and the new glass fits perfect. Have some new water tanks mounted under the back bed (yes, it’s now a fixed bed not a gaucho..) and all the electrical is under the front dinnette (which isn’t there yet). But it’s all coming together and Pete tells me it will go to the polisher the 28th of this month! Hoping to drive it to a race in April!
Today I contacted a “Vehicle Verifier”. She was recommended to me by a new friend from Vintage Trailer Restoration on Facebook.
I’ve already been to the DMV and showed them all my paperwork. They said I need to have the vehicle vin number verified so, “Bring it in.” they said. If they only knew what condition it was in! So I told them, “no can do” and they suggested the Vehicle Verifier. I didn’t even know there was such a job… I’m learning so much from this adventure.
So Donna is on standby and when I get the okay from Pete, she’s going over to take a look and verify that it is what it’s supposed to be…or something like that.
Just waiting and dreaming of having my little camper DONE!
Well, What do you think about our little stove top? Today Mom and I headed to Stockton to pick up the Caloric stove from Buckeye Appliance on Freemont St. I wasn’t disappointed! Josh did a wonderful job refinishing it and showed me how well it worked! I even got to see what else was in progress in the work room. Those guys really know their stuff. If you need a vintage stove restored to perfect condition and aren’t in a hurry (HA!), they are the ones to see! Thanks Josh!
Got the call from Sierra, It’s our turn!!! So excited! Pete says he needs the trailer so I called around to find a way to move the little trailer. DMV says, since it’s not registered, can’t give me a day pass to move it on the road so it has to be lifted off the road to be moved. Four movers quoted me about $300, but Penski, who couldn’t rent me just the car trailer (had to have one of their trucks to go with it) asked me how much a fix-it ticket would be. Hmmm!? Got the hint! So a quick trip to Kragen for tow lights, and a trip to Tony’s house to retrieve our table saw and presto! it’s ready to be towed! Stay tuned to find out if a police man was in my way! HA!
AWW!!!! I missed the bid on e-bay for the caloric stove that came out of a Curtis Wright up in Bend Oregon. We won’t mention any names Flytecamp. So browsing for another caloric stove on line, I found one in NY at Fletcher’s Trailer Sales!! I can’t believe there are three of these little stoves around!!! So I called Bill to see if he really had it or just had a picture of one on his website. He informed me he still has the little stove and we struck a deal! Should be here in a few weeks! Can’t wait!!!!
I often get people asking me about the project, but today was a little different. I talked with J.A. who tells me about their model 2. It is almost in original shape and so when they sent pictures, I was able to see what was actually in the front of the camper! Hope you don’t mind if I share your picture J. Really was interesting. Didn’t know that was a Gaucho in the front…not a dinette. Now I might have to redo my layout….
So Jerry is done with his work. And Sierra Trailer Restoration is ready to start on the shell. I got a call from Jerry who tells me he’s talked with Peter and he’s going to load the little camper parts on a truck and bring it up to Peter and Joe to begin the reconstruction of the shell. I don’t have any pictures because I’m not really sure when this is actually going to happen. So I’m just going to wait and try to be PATIENT!!
So, after a few months of sulking over the cooktop I’ve started looking for a replacement. Sure would be nice to have that little Caloric back to original. After several emails, phone calls and web browsing….got a call back from “Buckeye Appliance” in Stockton, CA.
Tom tells me there’s still hope! Maybe, if they didn’t sandblast, the emblem is still under the powdercoat! And if it isn’t, AND I have a GOOD picture, MAYBE he knows of someone who is good with making a new one in porcelain!!!
So I load my mom in the car along with all the bits and pieces of the cooktop and off to Stockton we go! When we got there, Tom, Josh and Darcy were there. Their store on Freemont is like a vintage mecca!!! Stacks of vintage tableclothes in perfect condition, aprons, door knobs, green milk glass everything, and oh yes, appliances from the 1800’s potbelly thru the 60’s. So I showed them what I had and they all gathered around and gave their opinions. Took the photos I had of the original, and talked about it some more. They said it won’t be quick but can be done. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping they can revive my little Caloric no.18. (sniffle, sniffle)
Because most of the construction is out of my hands for the time being, thought I might dream a little and make some drawings. Original or modernized is still dancing around in my head, but I think we can do mostly original with some hidden modern. I know I’ll need a microwave somewhere! So here is what I’m thinking..
Pretty excited to today. I’m headed to Woodson Bridge to a little vintage rally to meet Marti Domyancic who owns the Marti’s Awnings business in Sacramento.
She has constructed a vintage awning for my little trailer in the colors to match the interior and thought I might like to see some other vintage campers. Fabulous day talking with vintage camper owners and drooling over the campers!!
Well, Ryan got too busy with aircraft! So Jerry has taken over the project of replacing the weak areas on the shell. He has built a platform and has been hard at work on the pieces that need replaced. He has completed the door and is working on cutting out the door wall. When he’s done with the walls, Sierra Trailer Restoration should be ready to have it in their shop. Can’t hardly WAAaaaaaaiiiitttttt!!!!! 🙂
Yes, I’ve been playing around in the fabrics again! I just received all the fabrics to make the cushions. One is an ostrich vinyl, another is a ditsy print, and the third is a tweedy type, all commercial grade so they should withstand being outside in a camper. I think they look pretty good with the barkcloth. Now I’ll look for an awning.
And with every classic, you need a YOM (year of manufacture) license plate to go with…so I found this one and while it’s “clear” with the DMV right now, may not be cleared when the camper actually needs it. So, I guess I’ll just hope and trust that no one else wants this random combination of numbers and letters….
Found some mid 40’s vintage barkcloth fabric on e-bay with enough yardage to make some curtains (very hard to find!!). Will have to find some other fabrics to compliment it to make the cushions. Thought you might like to see the fabric…
Also the paint chip from the frame and wheels. Not an exact match but a great close! 🙂
And a sample of the marmoleum flooring. Guess I better order that soon.
As with all vintage campers the decision has to be made whether to keep it totally original or to modernize. Such is the case with this one. I wasn’t sure I wanted to reuse the rusted, non working, two burner cooktop. That’s why I bought the Princess oven stove combo and fixed it up. Now I’m rethinking that decision.
So, I brought my little cooktop down to “Perfect It Powdercoating” in Sacramento the same time the frame went in. I explained that it needed to be painted and asked that they NOT touch the front where the emblem was. He clearly marked it on the form. But when I went down to pick up the frame and cooktop, everything had been powdercoated flat black!!! My heart sunk. (no pictures…)
It was clearly marked, but some egghead either doesn’t read English or didn’t bother to look. My loss. Steve at “Perfect It Powdercoating” said he’ll make it right. He sent it back through and they painted the burners shiney black and the front shiney white. Okay, still doesn’t cheer me up but nothing can be done now since it’s been sandblasted off. Guess it’s back to plan A (using the Princess).
So what do you think? Marv’s trailers did a pretty great job on the little frame. New axil, (notice no leaf spring anymore), new brakes, a little more bracing to withstand higher speeds, and that stupid jack is replaced with one that will work! Thanks Tim for a beautiful job. And thanks again for repairing the bent jack after I learned that the wheel on the jack is supposed to be removed after raising all the way. A quick trip to powdercoating and voila!….
Mike can do anything! But shared his concern that he didn’t want the exterior of the camper to look like a circus mirror! So he contacted a professional who was willing to do the work and not charge extra for our help! So today when our aluminum came in, it was a quick trip to the U-Haul dealer for a 14′ truck, loaded the flat pieces of our Camper into it and with some creative tie downs, a ride to an “airport hanger” (thought it best to leave this location undisclosed to protect the innocent). Unloaded the pieces of our Curtis, then a trip into Sacramento to Cardo Industries to load the new metal. (sorry all you people who were driving down El Camino at rush hour that I blocked off while loading up the u-haul!). More fancy tie-down techniques employed….a rush hour traffic trip back to the hanger and unloaded the new metal. Ryan was very helpful and efficient at unloading it (but then, he didn’t have cars whizzing past him!). A chat with Ryan who will be doing the riveting for us put our minds at ease that the professionals are in control here! Looks like the construction is underway!!!!
Soooo excited!!! The UPS guy just brought my vintage wheels to me. I can just visualize how they’ll look all painted up with jade color and a nice shiney half moon in the middle. Tommorrow I’ll head to the tire dealer to get a tire put on them and then a trip to Marv’s trailer to try them on the trailer (if it’s ready…).
Meanwhile, I’ve torn apart the oven and am waiting on the insulation and knob I ordered from Vintagegasstoves.com.
Now it’s time to start on the little stove oven combination my daughter and I picked up off Craigslist in NV. Ahhh what a drive that was. A gorgeous day for a drive in the mountains! Mike, always looking out for my well being thought it was dangerous for me to go alone, so my daughter went with me (guess he doesn’t know how much more dangerous THAT could be!). So Ali and I took the hour and a half trip and found the trailer park that “Jim” was at. The little Princess oven/stove came out of a ’52 Aljo but I thought it would be fine for my 1946. So we paid him and he was overjoyed he sold it and wanted to throw in a ’79 brown full size oven for free…. Ummm no thank you… We were so far out of range for civilization, we passed a guy with his boxers down around his ankles, relieving himself in the street. Just keep driving….. Finally, a Cabelos! We stopped to have lunch and then another quick hour and a half and we were home.
Oh so today Mike and I pulled the little thing apart. Doing a complete rebuild on the Princess. Need to order some new insulation and a few other parts from Antique Gas Stoves (they have amazing units on their website, they laughed when I asked if they’d do mine for me…but it was a nice laugh, so I’ll throw them some business anyway). Need a sandblaster. Guess they’re about as expensive to buy as it is to have done. Guess I’ll buy one so I can use up some of my spare time!
Well, today we got the door wall on the saw horses and started taking it apart. This was an early model 2 made by Wally B. and I think he was still experimenting with materials. Three walls were constructed with aluminum exterior and furniture grade cardboard interior. Lots of bracing too! The door wall was the strongest wall with the trade mark airstream double walled aluminum. Coincidently its also the only wall that stood the test of time. But with a complete rebuild like this one, it had to be taken apart, inspected and rebuilt. So Mike, Tony and I armed with screwdrivers, and other various implements of destruction, carefully pulled apart the two sides.
It was amazing to see the insulation still intact, and the aluminum still very shiney. This wall had aluminum bracing in it! That explains why it was so solid! Looking at the later model 2’s, it appears that Wally changed the design and started building them with all four walls double sided! And of course the roof is double sided. We’ll be changing ours to the double sided so it will be sturdy and strong for another 100 years!
Well, after several phone calls and a visit or two, I think Tim knows what needs to be done. It’s been decided that more bracing will be needed to make the frame strong enough to withstand today’s highway speeds. I drew up a Cad sketch and Mike talked to Tim about getting it done soon. Maybe in the next two weeks… I hope! Time to start work on the wall reconstruction!
With a lot of vacuuming and some elbow grease, the bed is pulled off and the aluminum under belly is the last to go. We are finally down to the frame! Still can’t get the jack to lower, will have to use a flat bed to get it to the fabricator to make sure it’s a good stable frame, fix a small crack, put on a new ball hitch and yes, fix that stupid jack! Spent the rest of the weekend cleaning up and re-stacking the deconstruction debris. Stacked the camper walls, and ceiling in the garage.
So Monday off we go to the fabricator! Flat bed driver is a little late, but takes no time to get the frame up on his tow truck and it’s a quick drive to the fabricator. I mentioned the original long trip home to him and he informed me that the other driver told him all about the unstable ride and was worried because he was out of tie down straps! Wow! My camper is ALREADY EPIC!!!
So here we are at Marv’s and Tim is taking notes as to what we want done with this rusty old trailer. I think he’s wondering why we don’t just build a new one with better material that is lighter weight and stronger… But I think he finally gets that we want to keep it vintage and true to original. He talks about getting a ball hitch that is like the 40’s hitch and not one of the newer ones (he has one of those!), and said he’d look at the wheel and bearings and fix the crack and the jack, but couldn’t do much till it gets sandblasted because it’s just too rusty to see all the problems it might have. So we make a note that Tim will fix it up so we can pull it behind the car (with a temporary permit of course), to get it to the sandblaster and then back to Tim for the rest of the fabrication and then back to the sandblaster to get painted! Shhheeeeesh!
So this is going to give me some time to do some planning and searching for pieces for the inside!
Sunday, I bring my little guy to a boy scouting event, but when I get back to the project, my loving hubby and handsome son has taken the roof off, and is in the process of pulling off the front wall. By mid afternoon, the entry door wall is the last wall off. Then the wheel wells come off and clean up. We’re done for this week! Thought you might like the picture of the original floor.
So today we ripped out the rotted, mouse dropping infested, bed in the back of the trailer. I originally thought we could reuse the frame since it was made of hardwoods and was in pretty good condition. But after an hour of struggle and breathing fine dust particles, that thought was abandoned and the power tools came out. Sawed it in half and struggled some more, and then we finally were the victors! Shop vac’d all the loose dirt and disintegrated wood and…the master bedroom restoration was underway!
Then we loosened the inside strap holding the wall on. Everything was stable but looked a little scary. We proceeded to take apart the cabinets, closet, icebox, and walls. I cleaned with the vacuum often and by the end of the weekend it looked pretty empty. We’d have to call it quits till the next weekend.
So here we go! Saturday November 5th 2011 we went to Dixon, CA to take a look at the craigslist find.
It was love at first sight. Such a “wonderful” find. The owner, Billy D., told us it had sat there on the farm for the past 40 years, originally used as a spare bedroom for visiting relatives. Over time it had fallen into disrepair and grandpa was always going to fix it up but the farm and then ill health kept him from the task. So it was left right there, waiting for us to find it! This was the day we were going to get started. After calling the tow, and having lunch, and sitting and chatting, and waiting, and waiting, the tow truck arrived. He seemed on a tight schedule and loaded the little camper on his flat bed without too much worry.
With a quick check of the tie downs, off he went. First around the crated peppers hitting ruts and rocks. As he passed he slowed down (I thought to check his cargo but) just enough to ask Billy if any of the vintage muscle cars were for sale. But with the answer, the driver continued down the dirt road to get to the gravel road, to get to the asphalt road…bumping and turning without a care. YIKES!
We jumped in our car and caught up with him on the asphalt road because he had pulled off to make sure everything was still secure. I guess he noticed a few things falling off?
But with a few more straps and his pager going off, he jumped back in his cab and in a hail of black smoke pulled back onto the road. We finally reached the main highway and had 36 more miles to go! I could hold my breath that long…
Down the highway at full speed, debris flying everywhere. Kinda glad to see all that extra dust and dirt was being left behind, but worried something important was being lost! Our little camper was leaning a bit more than when we first laid eyes on it. And with each good bump, another screw popped off. Lower and lower to the flat bed our camper was inching. Fourty minutes later we were pulling into the driveway and I could breath a sigh of relief. At least we made it home..
So, I’m browsing and not sure how I ended up on this one. Maybe I was looking for a “cheap” pop-up camper for our next school wide camping adventure in Lake Tahoe during the Holiday. Or maybe it was fate…but WHO in their right mind would pay $1,000 for a piece of crap like this!? It’s amazing the suckers you’ll find on craigslist!
What is a Curtis Wright camper anyway, and WHY would he think it’s worth $1,000 in THAT condition?!
So I researched… and found info on: Tin Can Tourist (http://www.tincantourists.com)
Curtis Wright moved to LA from Michigan before the war to start a manufacturing plant in the 40’s. He took advantage of the famous Curtiss Wright (notice an extra “s”) who designed and manufactured aircraft for the war effort. There is no documented relation between the two.
Curtis Wright also manufactured aircraft parts during the war but enjoyed putting together camping trailers with leftover aluminum. He manufactured only two models at that time, the Model 5 (luxury), came in 22′, 27′, and 31′ lengths, and the Model 2 (Trail-R-Pal) came in the 16′ length (ball to bumper).
The war ended and Wright Industries hired a man named Wally Byam to help with the construction and design of the campers. Wally was hired for his innovative design ideas. He had his own trailer company before the war and manufactured Clipper and Silver Cloud models of campers. He stayed with Wright for about a year, and then in 1947 started his own company and called it “Airstream”. Mr Wright continued to make campers but in 1949 sold his business and it was renamed “Silver Streak” and moved to El Monte, CA. They were in business till the 1970’s.
It is also said that there are only 7 Curtis Wright Model 2’s known to still exist. One was owned by Howard Hughes and he gave it to his girl friend to use to come visit him while he was traveling. That one is in Montana (see Blue Moon Caravans on Facebook). And another one was just restored up in Bend Oregon by Flytecamp. So CUTE! But I’m not sure about this one for sale on Craigslist…It’s pretty rough….not worth $1,000. So I only casually mention it to my other half.
But he surprises me and tells me he thinks we could restore it together and take it for little trips like his bike races, and overnights…
So we should go take a look and see if it’s as bad as “all that”…….hmmmmm
I set up an appointment…