Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds And The Brown Cloak Of Wonder.

Image

1969.  A good year.

Why? My husband was born and so was Lucille the 8 foot Aristocrat Fireball we own. Lucille is in my front yard. She came to live with us last month. She has issues that need addressing. Big things. Well things that take time really. For instance, she has a tear in the corner of the roof at the rear. Because of it she has rot, and not a little spot under the corner of her silver skin. The kind of ROT that means take all the skin off section by section and replace framing and ALL of the paneling on the interior.

Image

Image

Now as daunting as all that is, summer coming to an end and the time to do such a time sucking task is closing rapidly. Currently we have a brown tarp wrapped around her to keep the weather out. Sad as it is to see her in her brown hospital gown, it gives me hope. I have spent nearly as much time going through the internet with a fine tooth comb looking for photos of other Aristocrat Fireballs as  it may have taken to just fix Lucille. Having owned up to fact I am a little overwhelmed, I am also filled with excitement every time I think about hooking her to a tow vehicle and spending my first weekend in her by a stream. I have the place all picked out in Central Oregon off the Metolius or Deschutes River. Heck, I can even smell the the sweet Ponderosa pines in the heat and taste that camp coffee.

Image

When I look at her covered in the dismal brown tarp, it is a little depressing. I want to go adventuring in her NOW! When I get to feeling down about her progress and how much I hate she has to wear that shabby gown, I start getting empowered somehow. I start seeing that old vinyl tarp as the ‘Cape Of Power’ she wears that takes her from being a lowly little neglected hunk of tin and dry rot, to a fun loving gal who can conquer any road adventure I throw at her, and do it with style darn it! It is going to happen, it is going to happen, IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, and I just can’t help but get excited to go out an play with my new friend Lucille, (or Lucy to those of us who are family).  My brown tarp of despair can be my Brown Cloak Of Road Wonder if I just let myself believe it, and you know what?  I DO BELIEVE IT!  When she gets her build on, and her new interior design work fininished she will be an outdoorsman-woman to be reckoned with.   The Beatles may of summed this project up best. “LUCY IN THE SKY” but at the moment the appliciable song version may be the parody song “Lucy In Disguise” by John Fred and His Playboy Band”.

ImageLucy In The Sky With Diamonds lyricsSongwriters: Mccartney, Paul; Lennon, John;

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she’s gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

THELMA LOU BEFORE 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.

ImageMAKE-UP KIT CONTENTS OF JALET AND THELMA LOU.

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

The importance of dreaming in earnest

20120628-072529.jpg

Time has passed. All of us know it, most of us feel it, but none of us can do a thing about it. For the past several months life has has been full, not necessarily eventful, but full.

Sometimes living your dream is crowded out by the importance of living your life.

I am finally all wrapped up with school for the 2011-2012 year with my now Freshman and Sophomore young men. Except for sending the books back from this year, we can say “That’s a wrap.” We school online from home and it is an exacting and rewarding part of our life. Having stated that, it is also a significant time absorber and a primary focus for our family.

With summer break finally here it is time for me to fit life and dream together again – like well fit puzzle pieces instead of holding the random pieces and looking at the photo on the box in utter disbelief that it’ll all go together.

One of the things I love about my life is that there are so many pieces to it. I wear a lot of hats, and always feel like I have the potential to wear a few more, or at least try on ones that look intriguing. The last hat I tried on was the ‘Bobbi The Builder Hat’ The hat that I wear when I can repair and re-road ready an old trailer all by myself. The magic contractor hat that tells me I can do it, I just have to learn how. The hat that takes me from a passenger of my dream to the driver. I tried this hat on last fall and I learned something when looking in the mirror, it was too big.

Sure, the hat was too big but it put it on anyway. I can do a lot of things. I’ve made benches out of barnwood, birdbaths out of leftover concrete and rhubarb leaves and probably my finest achievement – three wonderful children. Unfortunately the skills of being a mom or bench builder didn’t quite prepare me for the large scale rehabilitation our dear Roxy is needing.

Add to this temporary lack of carpentry skills and table-saw-magic a healthy dose of rain (as in months of relentless Oregon rain), and no where out of the elements to work and you can see where this is going.

The hat slipped and momentarily obscured my view of my dream. But I refuse to give up.

I took it off and decided to wait until a smaller size hat or more experience came alongside me. Rain, tent vs shop to work in, school starting again, obligations, commitments, uncertainty, new adventures, grocery shopping, holidays, family time and life just caused Roxy The Aristocrat to take a back seat. I can almost bet I am preaching to the choir here, all of us have a full schedule.

So, not wanting to post something inspiring like, “DAY 123, No Progress Today” I didn’t post anything. To add to the word drought I didn’t set my blog up correctly to get email notifications when folks commented. Ugh. Over the months though I remained ever hopeful that there would be a coinciding break in the weather and our schedules. Neither appeared, and more time than I anticipated moved on without my blogging. But, there was progress.

We were able to take a couple of trips in Thelma-Lou, our 15′, 1965 Kit Companion over the winter. During a trip to Mt. Vernon, Washington an idea birthed itself into thought-life. I was preparing Thelma Lou ready for our return home adventure, when something I call vision came dashing into my world setting me in a new direction. The idea nearly sent me into a fit of cheerleading enthusiasm, and yet it seemed just hair-brained enough to sound silly if I said it aloud. I kept the vision to myself for a little while. When we had traveled 3 of the 5 hours of the trip home and it was getting dark enough my husband couldn’t really see my face, I said in a serious tone,

“I have an idea, but I am a bit afraid to tell you aloud, and seem silly, so understand I think I mean it.”

Being my biggest fan, he loved the idea and plans and what-if… began bubbling up among the road noise and bouncing in the bone-jarring cab of Fern, our 1989 Ford pick-up truck. Since then we have purchased a new tow rig, a vintage 1979 Jeep Wagoneer named Wilma.

20120625-212410.jpg

We have mapped out a plan, made a logo and branding, sent a some friends on a trial run and embraced a vision. Now I am not only the owner of two wonederful vintage trailers and a cool old Jeep named Wilma, I have a way to support my dream and share it with others. I have become bold about sharing my vision and, to date, I have not had anything but excited support from those who hear about my plan. I have an unwritten waiting list, so I have to get busy.

Phase one: Try the idea on and see if if flies
Phase two: Try it in real life.
Phase three: Brand it my own
Phase four: Get it on the road
Phase five: Get it known.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but hey, we all need some inspiration to get us through the tough times. Here is a concept photo of phase three.

20120625-212102.jpg

So instead of just sharing the story of rebuilding a re-road ready trailer, I will share the adventure of building a business, another venue for life, and more adventure to share with you here. Stay tuned as I share what the vision is, how I have chosen to implement it in an imperfect state rather than not at all, and how it changes me and itself as we travel this road.

As the country song goes; “Life’s a dance you learn as you go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.”

Lifting the slip under the little black dress

Well, it eventually happens. The naked truth is revealed and you have to either come to terms with it in the light of day,  or put the slip back on and ignore the bumps and bulges and resort to comments on what nice closets she has.

Sunday was the moment of truth. Roxy…had rot.

Taking the aluminum siding off reveals water damage and dryrot that is structural

Lifting her slip above the knee reveals some surgery is needed beneath the cometics to put her back in shape, but at 45 this 67 Lo-Liner Artstocrat still has some moves.


It all began when we decided lift her slip a little above her knee to politely inspect a sag and bulge.  It was a task that as a novice was off putting, and yet on the dark side, a bit exciting. Was my worst fear about her structural integrity about to show she had none; or was it simply going to be an insight into her slightly checkered past of neglect, that merely added to who she had become as a trailer, and what potential she now possessed? Could I help her find that potential? Did I have the skill set to bring her inner beauty out so her strengths showed and not her flaws? Would this take a hired expert in the field. OH WAIT, I am the hired expert. The reveal gave us an X-ray idea of the damage. This journey had changed. I was about to leave my firm painting and decorating knowledge base, and dive into the soft squishy formless core I had of basic building construction. I can see what needs to be done, but now I have to run power tools that are loud, can eat digits I’m fond of,  and I am a little afraid of these tools that are to big for my hand. Then, I must learn a few joinery tricks that involve a bit more than screws, hammers and nails, and Spackle. Readers, this is where the rubber meets the road-trip dream. Is Roxy all window dressing, or can some seemingly simple straightforward, time consuming, fear overiding and elbow grease hours take her from dilapidated to resuscitated? Confronting each of those fears resulted in the first ‘Form Fix-Up’. I think I am on the right track.

Now, where did I put that phone number to my building skills 101 life line?

Replacing dry rot and water damaged areas under the tank of the 1967 15' Aristocrat Lo Liner

Sucking up the uncertainty and fear, and borrowing some MOXY from Roxy for a dry rot repair.

Welcome to Vintage Roving!

This is where my old dream hits new reality in print and photo evidence from time to time. I will document the travel adventure of buying and flipping vintage travel trailers as woman, wife, mother and Backroad Pacific Northwest Adventurer.  I hope to go from novice, to nou·veau expert, as life gives me a fresh education, and rewards the hard work with new vistas- Vintage Travel Trailer adventure style.  COME ON!

The Dream in a sketch

Living an awakening dream