Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It must be in the genes or is that jeans?

Mine is not just a love affair with trailers that started recently it’s in my genes, my make-up, my heritage. Of course, vintage is the bomb, the best, and “todal….ly awesome, y'kn├╝.” How do you spell that and sound like a “valley girl”?? I’m a valley girl, I think, does Fresno count? I was born in San Pedro, Los Angles County, does that count? No?
My parents loved trailers, all kinds of trailers. Camping was their passion. Over the many years of their marriage they owned several different trailers. Occasionally, in between their own trailers, they were even known to rent one here or there and try out different makes. We took nice vacations every summer, always camping our way to our destination. I remember only one vacation without either a trailer or a tent involved when we actually, God forbid, stayed in motels.

Charles’ family never owned a trailer, so he has come by this obsession through association and my dreams of once again reliving the “olden” days, as our kids say. With 7 kids, tents were more their speed. But they loved to camp too.

Here are few pictures of two of those really early trailers my parents had, pre-me. And I’m not talkin preemie here. You know back then people didn’t take many pictures like now with digital cameras. Now everyone is snapping pictures like mad, taking hundreds over a weekend. Back then, pre-me, and when I was a kid, you could take a trip across country and maybe use only a roll or two of film (12 shots per rolls back then). People were selective taking pictures. Film was expensive to purchase and develop back then.


Picture #1 & 2 are the oldest picture of their car and teardrop that I’ve found. The back of one of the pictures is stamped that it was developed in East Liverpool Ohio so it was taken somewhere between California and Ohio. The other one is taken somewhere on the east coast on the beach. Who knows??? The year ... my brother had no idea as he was too young to remember. They drove out from California across country to Vermont to visit family there for the summer, then down the east coast finally ending up in New Orleans for my dad's new job. They sold the teardrop and bought the next trailer in New Orleans.

Picture #3 & 4, the next trailer, were taken at Bayou Teche, LA (one is labeled on the back 1940) during the time my parents and brother were living in New Orleans. They would go there to camp, loved the area and went often. So, since this was quite awhile before I was born I'm telling you the story through the eyes of my brother, pictured with my mother. Norman, my brother, remembers driving down the road in dark next to the Bayou when the tire came off the trailer and rolled into the swamp. Our Dad was so mad loosing his new tire that he jumped into the swamp to look for it. There he was wading around in the dark in the swamp, my brother scared to death that a gator was going to get his dad.


I love the way ladies dressed for camping in those days! RIGHT! Heels, hat, dresses!! Good grief! My mother looks more like she’s going to a party, not camping. I've been trying to find out what kind of trailer this is, and have had no luck. My brother doesn’t know and was too little at the time to care. Of course you'd never see me say anywhere that maybe .... he's too old now to remember, but then you didn't here me say that!  Well, anyway, back to the story ... after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the media convinced my Mother that California was going to be invaded. Actually she thought that it had happened at one point, and was totally paniced. She then convinced my father that she “needed to be with her mother when that happened.” So, Dad quite his job in New Orleans and  moved her back to California with the trailer in tow.

Here's a picture of my Dad and brother in a campground and again, who knows where?
Can you tell that Dad is proud of his new 1940 Chevrolet Master DeLuxe Sport Sedan?

This was our Corvette Trailer taken, in 1956. I took this on our vacation to Yellowstone.  It was taken with my trusty little Brownie camera. Remember those?  BTW, I still have that little camera!

Charles and I have had only one other trailer before. That was back when the kids were young and well into their teen years. In fact, we owned the same trailer twice we loved it so much. Sadly, we don’t have any pictures of that trailer; just didn’t think of it at the time, there was no scrapbooking craziness like now. But, that was a wonderful trailer and we did love it!! However, Charles after living in it for a year, 5 days a week, he was sick of it and sold it as soon as that job was over. It was a 19 ½ ft, 1975 Comfort trailer that we purchased second-hand in the early 80’s in perfect condition. It had all the comforts of home including a full bath, with a miniature bathtub.

On seeing our “new” little girl we have people ask …. “Where’s the bathroom?” …. “Is there a bathroom?” … “No bathroom??,”…. “Why did you buy that,” …. “You bought a trailer without a bathroom?” Well, first they don’t understand the vintage madness disease or disorder, what ever it is. I just know that they haven’t come up with a vaccine for it yet. So I tell them about the fact that even though we had a beautiful full bathroom in our trailer, we “weren’t to use the toilet unless it was a matter of life and death.” The death part is underlined because it would be our death if we used it. Charles almost refused to dump. You see he has a VERY weak stomach and would end up heaving at the dump. (Truth be known he never could change a diaper either) So …. we always camped where we had “facilities” that’s just what I’m accustomed to anyway. So that really isn’t a biggie to me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A twist in time …. OR .... Back to the Future.


Surprising how fast things can go when something lights a fire under a guy and he discovers Craigslist. Originally we had it all worked out with our son. We’d purchase an older truck together and he would have “custody” of it, and we would use it when we wanted to pull the little trailer. Sounded like an ideal solution to me as we wouldn’t have to “store” it here. Well, there’s a nice 1984 Ford Diesel truck sitting at Max’s house now. One minute we’re talking about “later” getting something to pull the little trailer with and next we have it! I swear all that I said the other day was ……, “It would be nice, some day, if we found a truck like you had back when we met,” and viola a 1964 Chevy is sitting in the driveway! POOF, just like magic!
There’s another twist….remember, back in the very first blog entry, I said that the yellow stripe would have to go for blue? Well, guess what color the new/old truck is ……. You guessed it …… bright yellow. All I can say is that there will definitely be a yellow stripe or a white and yellow two-tone paint job in her near future.
Isn’t life funny about stuff like this? If you say … “OH, I’ll never do ______” or “I’m doing ____,” or “I’d never do that”, you find yourself doing exactly the opposite. God does have a sense of humor and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What’s the difference between Men and Boys?




RIGHT! .... you guessed it! The price of their toys .... OR .... was that quantity of toys? Or was that the one with the most toys wins?? Well, I’m confused!

I have to say first that there aren’t too many men with tool boxes sitting in their garage the size of the one Charles has .... Well, look at the picture! I'll wait...... You know the other old saying a picture is worth a thousand words. Boy, I’m just full of idioms tonight. Please note ladies the "tool box" has cable TV, DVD and VHS on top as well as a full sterio system inside! No wonder he loves being in the garage.

Charles has tons of tools, all kinds of tools, but of course there are always new ones out there that are bigger and better than the ones he already has. Sound familiar??? He started out buffing the aluminum with the buffers he already has but they wouldn’t do. Oh no! He NEEDED this better one, bigger one. Hey, there are pictures earlier in this blog to prove he was buffing per-bigger buffer. Well, look at the new one!

I mustn’t forget the new MultiMaster do all fandango that will do it in lightening speed with half the work. “There's no job too large or too small for the FEIN MultiMaster tool .... to ensure you get every job done right .... the FEIN MultiMaster makes every job faster, easier and more thorough”. This is starting to have the ring of infomercials. Oy Vey! Are we going to factor in the cost of these new toys, oops, I mean tools in the cost of the renovations??? This may change things …. like the “bottom line” a bit if we do, won’t it?

Now let’s be honest, ladies, we like “stuff” too, sewing stuff, scrapbook stuff, painting stuff, and all kinds of crafting stuff. BUT our “stuff” is really small and for the most part cheap compared to the price of his “stuff”. Now I’m really not complaining, I want you to understand, he’s having fun, and I want to keep him happy, AND his “stuff” is getting the job done ..... As Sergeant Joe Friday would say, "JUST THE FACTS Ma'am." I AM stating the facts, ..... well, anyway, as I see it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

MEN; "short term and selective memories!!"


It couldn't have been much more than two weeks since our harrowing experience getting the little trailer into the garage and what do I hear??? .... Charles is showing the "fruits of our efforts" or should I say "the sweat from our brows" to several friends saying "Oh, it wasn't bad at all. In fact I may do this every winter. Just store her in the garage." I almost fell through the floor.

While it's true that we wouldn't have to go up and down the driveway under our own steam, and me straddle the floor jack ending up in the middle of the street again.... Since we intend to get something to pull her with, the rest of the adventure wouldn't change. I can just imagine one of those times ...over she'd go just like a capsized ship. Our own little Poseidon Adventure. I sure hope I don't have to be Shelley Winters. As I remember, she's way over weight and dies in that one!!

Well, if I get to say anything about this ...she's going to have a nice little stylish cover and get all wrapped up for the bad weather, plus have a nice secure place to wait for her next trip. Besides, we may want to use her during the winter and I'm thinking of someplace a little more scenic than the inside of the garage.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Let's see what is behind door number two!"



Here she is sitting snugly tucked in for the winter. She's ready for her make-over.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What a way to spend a Saturday!!


What a day we had last weekend... it was now or never... It was the time to try to get our little trailer into the garage. If this was going to work we needed to do it soon. We really didn't want to wait for the notice from the city regarding the "code" that we'd be violating. Our idea was wonderful...have her in the garage and work along on her in the evenings throughout the winter and ...viola!! She's ready for spring.

Charles' first idea was to remove the tires, hopefully this would lower the trailer enough (on paper we thought this would work) to go through the garage door and into the garage, out of sight, out of the rain and a nice dry place for us to work this winter. The trailer sits at 7'10" with the wheels on, the garage door is 6'11". Well, it should have gone in .... Guess what, it didn't! Without the tires and wheels, the springs on the axle and the bolts hang down lower than they do with the tires on!! NUTS!! It was still too tall. First, put the wheels back on.

OK, we have a three car garage. Imagine this ...the trailer is sitting in"slot #3 of the driveway but we want it in "slot #2 of the garage (then we can work around her). Sounds easy! but without a car or truck with a hitch, (yes, I know we bought the "cart before the horse") armed only with a car jack (mind you it had a hitch ball attached to it, Charles' idea), me at the handle of the car jack and Charles with his 60+ year old brut strength" pushing at the front corner of the trailer we WERE going to move this thing down our driveway, in control course (by the way we have a rather steep slope on our driveway) and back UP the driveway into slot #2. Well, we started off OK for about the first 2 minutes. When we got her stopped I was in the middle of the street still hanging onto the jack handle .... not straddle it, thank God, and not in the neighbor's front yard with Donna's flowers all plowed up. We must have been a sight if anyone was watching, come to think of it, if they were watching they should have come to our rescue if they weren't doubled up laughing.

I still don't know how we did it, really. I just remember Charles yelling push...then he'd hold it and yell to get the wheel blocks moved up. so, we inched our way back UP the driveway. Well, I think that's the way it happened...it's all rather a blur in my memory. Of course there are no pictures since I was manning the jack handle and pushing all the way. There also was no front page pictures from the Fresno Bee with headlines proclaiming...."Husband, wife and small trailer in neighbor's living room." Almost sounds like a Lucy moment, doesn't it?

With the motorcycle jack at the back, the car jack and jack stands, the trailer was sitting in "slot" #2 ready to have her tires and wheels removed again and the axle removed. Great, but now how to get it lowered down without her listing on her side, looking more like a boat who has taken on water and the bilge has quit. And then of course, into the garage??? Hummmm! Well, we inched her down removing the jack stands, balance...balance. I was a wreck. Mental pictures started forming in my head....little trailer on her side...Charles pined underneath. Again, I'm thinking...Fresno Bee...headline..."Husband gives his all...wife's fault!" Another Lucy moment? Well, Charles had purchased 2 piano dollies from "good old" Harbor Freight and at 1000 lbs each, or so the label said, these should easily hold the weight load. but first we have to get her into the garage.

We couldn't tell if she was going to actually clear the stucco of the garage....this was going to be close, so close. We measured and measured, but remember the last time we measured her against the garage opening! Just as we're about to start with the "pushing and pulling" thing again, our neighbors came home (little do they know they almost had a new front yard decoration) and offered to help. Relief.... Gary is now manning the motorcycle jack at the rear, I'm still on the car jack and Charles is pushing from the front corner of the trailer. Donna is on a step ladder surveying the clearance. The jacks are down the trailer is slowing moving in...but "Wait." Donna yells, "it's going to hit the house!" Gary can lower the motorcycle jack a tiny bit more and then in she goes with a hair's clearance to spare.

What a relief, she's in the garage, no code enforcement officers to pester us. This is going to be great!! The piano dollies are in place at each of the back corners, the trailer stand in the front is lowered, the jacks are removed and she's sitting on her own "behind door # 2" just like the "Price is Right". Just a minute, ..... I think I hear Ricky calling, oh ... I mean Charles.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Buffing Out The Aluminum


Well, with a little elbow grease the aluminum can look just like chrome!! I wouldn't have believed it ... this 45 year old aluminum looks great. Charles is doing a wonderful job. Can't wait to see how good she looks with all the aluminum buffed out. We're still "thinking" about what to do about the city of Fresno's ordnance on parking anything on your own driveway for more than 2 weeks that is not being moved regularly (they consider it storing). How are we going to do this when we want to work on her every night for an hour or two?? She won't fit behind the fence even as little as she is. She's about 7 or 8 inches too high for the garage (which would be perfect, we could then work on her during the winter without worry of rain and moisture). We're got to do something right away or take her back to our daughter's house in the next few days. Time is running out!! Thinking......

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let the Restoration & Renovation Begin!!


Well, after what felt like a long time, looking in a lot of places I finally settled on material for the upholstery. I purchased the amount of fabric that I had "computed" that should take of the entire project. Two coordinating fabric that are indoor/outdoor fade resistant fabric in shades of blue. Well, true to my form I changed my mind, I'm always doing that...decided that the striped fabric ( I purchased enough of this for the curtains and the cording ) would be "lovely" for the sides of the cushions too, and it is! But, and here comes the big but... now I have to purchase more of the stripe and I've got lots of left-over floral. Oh, well, this isn't something I'll be having to do again for a long time. Goodness, the cushion covers on her are 45 years old! Here's pictures of my "upholstery room" better known as the dining room. Originally I was going to replace the cushions completely. I mean 45 years old, I thought they'd be trashed inside. After checking on the price for new cushions and then when I removed the old covers, SURPRISE the foam was in terrific shape. No need to buy new foam!! There was no mold, they weren't hard or dry and not deterioration at all!! In fact if I had thrown them away I'm quite sure that they would have been in a landfill somewhere for the next 100 years. Well, anyway, I purchased thick batting and completely covered the old foam making the cushions thicker and a little more comfy for us. Now just get the sewing machine crank'n.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We've found her!!


This is how she looked when we first laid eyes on her and fell in love! We had looked for a long time and up and down the valley and around the state, even looking on line. But, just like true love, sometimes you look everywhere and then there it is right in your own back yard. June 1st we brought her home. Right now she's known as Yella Stella but the yellow strip is going for two shades of blue, so too her name will change. We're thinking about that but no decisions yet on the new name. Now starts the work, getting her into condition. She is just perfect for us. The bed is seperate from the table. I'm an early riser, Charles is not. I need a place to sit, have my coffee, read or knit while he sleeps or naps. She's very light weight for a vintage trailer and only 12 feet long. Can't wait to get started on her.