Vintage Trailers RRAAWWK!

You just can’t beat the Pacific Northwest when it comes to disappointing weather – which makes owning a travel trailer the best thing ever.

This week is Creation West, a four day outdoor concert in Enumclaw Washington with some of the biggest, and not-so-big Christian bands. Think Woodstock without LSD.

The mosh pit at Thousand Foot Krutch

Get rid of your personal bubble and rock out!

One of our sons is really in to this event. He’s the type of kid that begins the countdown clock to next year the second he leaves the parking lot at the end of the show. For him and some of his friends it’s a bit of a pilgrimage.

Basking in the light of Rock and Roll

Basking in the light of rock and roll

The trouble is you can never be too sure about what you’ll get for weather around these parts. Sure, we’re Northwesterners and we’re used to the rain, but who really wants to tent camp in a field with a few thousand people in the rain? Owning a vintage travel trailer allows us to do things we might otherwise reconsider because of weather or other circumstances.

Vintage trailer camping at Creation 2012

A little rain can’t dampen the rock and roll fun thanks to our vintage Kit Companion travel trailer

A trailer provides freedom. A vintage trailer provides freedom and coolness horsepower of about 1000. Both new and vintage come with a cost, you just need to decide which price you want to pay. For us, the price of owning a vintage trailer – dry rot, weight, funky wiring, sticky doors and not-so-perfect siding – is a price we’re comfortable with. The thought of making monthly payments that keep us from using a trailer is a big downer for us. We want to get out there and experience life and our trailers allow us to do just that.

Creation 2012 entry gate

Let the awesome begin!

Living life is where it’s at. Taking four teen-age boys on a pilgrimage to Enumclaw to spend time at the altar of Christian RAWK! is a pure delight. Hearing them talk about the bands on the “Fringe Stage” (Christian rock bands that might find it difficult to get stage time at a church), and seeing their delight at getting signatures on their phones from favorite band members is priceless. Sitting in the comfort of out little cabin on wheels, talking about this crazy life from a teen-age boy perspective is life-giving.

Card games and conversation

A vintage trailer is the perfect place to chill out between concerts

If you’re thinking of getting a vintage trailer and you’re not afraid of imperfection, go for it. When you’re standing with your teeneage son in the mosh pit, jumping up and down to the thunderous beat of rock and roll with your fists in the air , the little corner of lifted linoleum on the floor of your vintage tin can will be the last thing on your mind. Rock on.

Flaming stage pyrotechnics

Could’ve used some of these flames to warm up after the rain finally stopped…

The Trailer Tick

Hello Rover followers. My excellent wife has seen fit to give me a chance at guest posting. Enjoy.

Driving is a significant part of my life. Three days a week I make the 140 mile round trip to our Eugene office. There are a number of ways to get to my office and most of the time I take a very similar route for the sake of saving time. That said, there are a lot of backroads between our front door and the freeway.

The fields of Polk County

The fields near home are a backroad adventurer delight.

It’s on these roads that my keen eye searches for trailers that my dear Vintage Rover might burst into song over. I’ve been bitten by the trailer bug too. I’ve got the Trailer Tick. True story. I can think of 3 trailers right this second that if I had some extra “Benjamins” I would walk up and make a cash offer – no hesitation.

I also like to see old trailers and the way people have treated them with creative license to cover the inevitable blemishes that accrue over years of travel and neglect.

On my way home the other night with our son we spotted a sweet little Aloha “canned ham” out in a vast field just a few miles from our house. The sun was setting and the glow was perfect. The little gem was perched at the edge of a pond with a whispery willow tree waving wind-blown branches over it like Vannah White revealing a new letter on The Wheel of Fortune. I knew I only had a few minutes to get the shot as the sun was setting fast. Photographers refer to the hour around sunset and sunrise the “magic hour”. Unfortunately I was hearing the clock tick away in “magic seconds” before the light succumbed to the mountains west of us and didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked. Regardless, I pulled the Jeep out into the field and whipped the camera out.

It was a beautiful setting and I don’t know that I captured it exactly as it was in my mind’s eye, but it was a fun little adventure if even for only a moment.

Do you see trailers while your out and about? Where are they? Have one that you pass all the time and think to yourself “you know, I should just go up and ask”? Well, do it.

Oh, and if this little sweetheart is your trailer please drop us a line in the comments, I’d really like to photograph the inside too!

Aloha Canned Ham Polk County, Oregon

The little gem looks like a perfect respite in the fields near home.


Aloha Canned Ham Trailer

The magic hour.


Magic hour light on a canned ham Aloha trailer

Whispy Willow, a pond and the setting sun.

Take Your First Step Today… No Excuses.

You don’t have to climb the staircase, just take the first step.Image

When you think about starting a project bigger than yourself it often seems insurmountable. I tend to be a planner by nature and so I try and think of all the details involved in a decision. This is a great strategy when you are packing for a trip, going to the grocery store, planning a meal. It messes with your head when you start kicking planning up a notch. When you start planning life, the details can seem to get in the way of living it sometimes. I believe in making a plan and working it, but sometimes you just have to choose a direction and go to it. TAKE THE FIRST STEP and you are on your way to completing your goal. You are on your way to meeting the unforseen, the dangers, the pitfalls, the glory of the view from the top of the mountain. For me having kids was a bit like that. I knew I would never save enough first, plan for everything, learn everything, and be everything all at once. I think most of us find that to be true AFTER we have children, but we would never ask to get off the ride once we get started. What do planning for kids and a travel trailer blog have to do with each other I can hear you asking? Well, in my world everything. The two reflect my journey very well.

When I married my husband I already had a wonderful, “planned-for” daughter. I was happy with one child. I will confess, I made my husband think long and hard about my decision not to have more children before I said yes to his marriage proposal. I wanted him to be clear I did not want more children and did not want him to feel robbed of having his own children. Four years into our marriage, we changed our plans and our first son was born, to the delight of our small family. I had my heart change and although I had no idea how we would care for another child in our family, I knew we would figure it out. At the time my paycheck brought home more than my husband’s. That is not to say it was a large check, just a tiny bit bigger. Looking at the cost of childcare for two children, it made more sense to tighten the belt on our half starved budget and just have me stay at home with our children. It was scary and a relief all at once. It was a giant step forward in faith that things would find a way to work themselves out. We didn’t have any public assistance like housing or food stamps as back up, we made $20.00 too much to qualify and I knew we would make it on our own anyway. My training growing up in a finically challenged home finally paid off. I had a large skill set for running a home and being pretty good at DIY. My dad had owned hardware stores, I had a paint and wallpaper business with my mother in high school, I had run and managed paint departments and worked several odd jobs in my 30 years. I didn’t know how, but I was sure we would make it. It was at the point I was just thinking I had a handle on all of this stepping out, when my world of plans went out the window and we brought another wonderful addition to our little family. I had no business “planning” this third child, and yet to be in this world without this young man would have stolen a joy in my life that is unthinkable. He arrived with no plan in place, no vision for the future, no skill set for 3 children and yet I stepped up to the plate and hit the curve ball, ran as fast a humanly possible and made it to base headfirst, arms and fingers straining and outstretched. It was in this time of my life I learned, “Plans change. Unplanned happens.”

Having purchased my first fixer upper vintage trailer, I took the first step into a plan I never made. I realized a deeply buried and guarded dream inside of me and gave it wings. I also developed a tick. Not the little black disgusting insect tick. Not the muscle twitch. The “Trailer Tick”. I can no longer drive anywhere as a passenger or driver that my eyes and mind do not roam the road, behind barns, driveways, mobile home parks, RV storage, campgrounds, highways, classified ads, Craigslist, forums, grocery store parking lots. I have an illness borne of the joy of sharing my trailers and I couldn’t be happier. My first step was slightly terrifying for me. It was taking money out of our small emergency fund (a huge no-no!) and buying a $400.00 fixer upper. I had no idea where we would go with it. I had no intention of a blog. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in an old smelly wreck of useless hunk of siding and wheels. I didn’t know anything but my girlhood dream had come true. I didn’t have a big plan in place. I didn’t even know if I could ever pull a trailer by myself. I didn’t even own a rig to pull it with. I just took the first step. That first step has built itself into a detailed plan I am step-by-step climbing the staircase to build into a game-changer.


My husband who is not a planner and is open to risk taking, bought this 1968 L520 Datsun pick up when our daughter was in Kindergarten for about $600.00. We moved EDD (his licence plate letters) to and from several houses and locations. He sat mostly in neglect for about 10 years while life streamed on. This year EDD drove my husband Patrick and our two boys to a carshow. We detailed him out as a ‘work in progress’, put in new brakes and a clutch, not an easy fete for a vehicle that hasn’t been manufactured for decades. My husband loved EDD from the get-go and so he understood my trailer dream in the way one enthusiast understands another. As a family, we rallied together to make this car show happen. He got a new rattle-can spray paint job that showed he was a work in progress with a vision behind it, his old paint was rubbed and waxed and rubbed again to gleam to the best of it’s tired ability, and he ran for the first time in a long time under his own power. The first family outing to the little carshow with a few hundred guys who were wowed by EDD’s elderly charm helped solidify the vision for his future. It buoyed my husband and all of us were elated with TEAM FARRELL and our progress. My first son now drives EDD down our country road to work odd landscape jobs for our neighbor. That job, with this truck, supports his summer dreams of concerts, camps and road trips and some independence worthy of a 15 year old. His younger brother is working for the neighbor too and learning to drive a stick-shift. I didn’t see that kind benefit when we bought EDD years ago. Didn’t plan that.

So what does having babies, a 1968 Datsun dream and trailers have to do with taking the first step? Everything. None of it was planned. All of it has been the core of what makes my life a journey I adore waking up for. It all began with just taking THE FIRST STEP. By just taking the first step a journey into a fuller future was created. I would not be comfortable, I would not be certain, I would and will fail along the way. But you know what? I have never lived to my fullest like I am living now. Bumps, bruises, uncertainty, difficulties, hardships, have been the valleys that have brought me to my mountain tops. My children are adaptable, stronger, carry a vision for a long process and the steps it takes to undertake a project. We have all seen the benefit of our hard work pay off. My marriage is richer, my life is enriched with more friends and experiences.

The first step changes everything and it seems the scariest. Having said that, I have no idea why I don’t ‘First Step’ more often. The twisty, gravel-backroad, wild-bumpy ride is tough, but the view from the first step is so much better than from where I was standing before. What is your first step? Is your vision a little fuzzy in regards to how it might work? I think sometimes fuzzy vision is clear enough. I encourage you to take that first step if not today, soon. You are missing a wonderful something that makes life bearable in the midst of the elbow grease it takes to live it.

I would love to hear about your first step. Share it with me, that might be YOUR first step.

Please take a minute write a note or leave a comment.


Life Is In The Details.

There is a time and place for everything the Good Book tells us. The more life I live, the more I am aware of seasons and not just the type that sends one shoveling snow or raking leaders. There is a season of childhood, young adult, adult, mature adult, and a contented season. The contented season should be present in each season of our life, but how often is it? I find as I age, I am often more content. I have no frame of reference for those folks that lament over aging. I am crazy about my birthday. The way I see it, it is better to have birthdays, than to wish you were alive to celebrate them. I really do celebrate the gift of life. When we celebrate at our house the birthday honoree gets the best possible day, but it isn’t about showering them with packages. The birthday honoree gets to be King or Queen for the day. They choose the meals, the events, who surrounds them, and where it takes place. It is always a meaningful and well spent day in our family when someone has a birthday. It may or may not be flashy, but it is meaningful and we are all aware of just what a gift life is, and how much we love those in our life. It is a celebration, complete with some wackiness from time to time. Yesterday, I realized my feelings about Thelma Lou are like my birthday feelings. I not only love to celebrate Thelma, I love to share her with others to celebrate.

Five men of various seasons, mostly young adult and one adult, will be sharing my trailer Thelma Lou and a tent. They will journey to Enumclaw, WA hours away then be immersed in the beautiful outdoors with endless concert music, the rewards of hours of driving in the un-airconditioned 1979 Jeep Wagoneer named Wilma, or WilmaBeast. It will be a celebration of outdoor concerts all day long over four days. My husband has volunteered to drive my 15 year old son and three of his friends to CREATION. Creation 2012

I want the details to be complete for them to have a food time. That was not a typo. I want lots of food they will love, but not have to work at. Man bonding kind of food, not mom, all healthy all the time food. Event food. Frito Pie, spaghetti, tacos, breakfast burritos, cookies, brownies, soda that is normally off limits, chips, salsa, candy. Decadent food that becomes part of the adventure. Easy food my husband or one of the guys can just heat and go. I want to take some of the girly out of the trailer and strip her down to the essentials. The pillows on the sofa Futon bed for example have gone from cottage floral, to brown ticking stripe so as not to be so feminine. I made the covers yesterday, with them in mind…ok, US in mind, as I had to like them as well.


I remade a curtain for the bathroom door that now reflects a plaid and ticking stripe theme, instead of a ruffle. I don’t want the guys to feel like they are visiting a grandma or moms camper. I want them to feel like it is perfectly adequate as a cabin or a ‘man den’ as much as possible simply by changing up a few details, without a full separate makeover. My desire is to host and serve them with love by way of making them comfortable the best way I know how; FOOD, shelter, a space to be themselves and be content. I want to create an environment that creates a memory these young men will take to their old age. I want to make them feel like my guests of honor, and honor the choice they have made to celebrate LIFE with the gorge camping, with music and great friends. I want to honor their choice of celebrating being alive. At the very core of my love of vintage travel trailers, the real heart of what I want to express is my love of people and wanting them to feel loved.


As I prepare a home away from home for these guys, I am aware that LIFE Is In The Details. You miss the details, you miss a big part of life in my opinion, and when you miss life, you miss the main idea. I don’t want to miss it, I want to be content, right where I am…today. ¬†Happy bonding men. Make a memory for me, will ya?


Dreams In Color

After Boot Camp style cleaning and fresh make-up she is ready for company.

Dreaming in living color is something that comes natural to me. I am by way of profession a color consulant with decades of mixing paint in a paint department, studying color under my mothers wisdom as an artist, and generally being fully soaked in color. God has blessed me with being able to see color and know it the way some people taste food or smell perfume. I dream in color, I don’t care what experts say. I have awakened and gone into work and created a color I saw in my dream. I cannot put a brush to a canvas and create anything but abstract looking art when I am trying to make a portrait, I cannot shade a circle correctly, I cannot make a frame-worthy work of art to save my life, but I can mix you the color to use with relative ease in any situation. It is a gift I have crafted but that I do not work at, a natural extension of who my creator made me to be. I have honed the craft since Kindergarten. I could mix colors before I could write my own name.

When I found Thelma Lou she had been updated with a color slap-dash applied in all the wrong ways. It was a wrong color, a wrong application, a wrong look, a wrong feeling. I saw the mission to set the poor girl free with a make-over the moment I stepped through her doors. She birthed a dream since childhood in me, and I felt I could bring her cosmetically to the full potential she had and was worthy of. My husband downloaded an itunes song yesterday that has a lyric “I can move a mountain when a mountain moves in me.” When I met Thelma, a mouuntain stirred in me. She has been a process, a project, a vision, a comfort and a lot of elbow grease.

Thelma Lou Before Boot Camp and Make-Up.



Thelma Lou has been a work in progress for 13 months. She was pretty much cleaned up and ready to roll in about a week, but I have continued to adjust and tweak things that just seem more suited to what she needs. As we spend time together I have gone from putting all the fun ‘PRIVATE-GIRLS ONLY!’ necessities inside that make her comfy, to taking her to a more public use and less of my whims. I recently redid her bathroom. I am still awaiting changing her old “leaks like a sieve” blackwater tank to a new holding tank, so we can use the toilet fully functioning. Currently the toilet bowl is fitted with a chamber pot arrangement for night time, that gets emptied each morning. This last week I took her to a more prominent part of the inside. She got a custom paint job that in a small space photos don’t do her justice, but in life made all the difference. Her bathroom feels like that small second 1/2 bath off the kitchen now instead of the ugly closet. When you have a 15′ trailer, ALL the spaces need to look uniform in order for it to feel comfortable instead of like a musty crackerbox. Now, I remind you, that I am making these trailers road ready, not rebuilt. She had good bones. Bootcamp axle building 101, cleaning like there was no tomorrow from afternoon to daylight, sweating like a football team with daily doubles in August, and using more sandpaper than hardware store can hold, is the bootcamp of our past. Now we are just taking the good bones and applying paint, curtains, a bit of removable carpet, and some accents. The wobbles in the paneling damaged from storage and a few minor leaks are still there, the ancient vinyl contact like paper on the ceiling with wrinkles in the corners is still in place, just freshly painted. Somehow fresh paint and newly sewn and starched curtains takes the edge off her age and blems. She is 47 and I am 50 years old. We both have need for a little make up when company is coming. My make up looks a little different. It has foundation, mascara, blush, eye liner, lipstick. Her kit has paint, trim, carpet, curtains, and recovered cushions.


All the same, we have both weathered the years and come out of them with a few wrinkles and lots of character, a bit more charm for the miles, and become welcoming to those we love. Make up applied correctly gives both of us the illusion of having it more together than we really do, and you know, at the grandma stage of my life, I am perfectly fine with that.

*Song on iTunes by Danny Schmidt -Houses Sing