Monday, November 21, 2011


Somewhere around this time, I decided to give my trailer the most awesome name ever... 

me:  oh! i didn't tell you my trailer's new name
joe:  oooo thats right!
joe:  what is it
joe:  ?!?!?!
me:  Agnes Gooch
joe:  gooch?
me:  yep
joe:  hahaha i like it
me:  it's a character from Auntie Mame
joe:  fun!
joe:  you are a little off your rocker
joe:  hahahha
me:  and totally appropriate!
me:  yep!!
me:  just the way i like to be :)

Ok, this is a really, really sad excuse for a video clip. I took it from my tv. I was going to say something about how I would upload a better version later, but the fact that it's shaky because I've been drinking wine and because I did not position myself in a comfortable position first seems to make it that much more appropriate. So it's going to stay.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

There is more than one way to skin a trailer

You gotta glue it then screw it!

One word. Larry. I love Larry. With vanillabean out where I couldn't just go and sit and wonder what to do with her, I decided it was time to really dive in to the research and educate myself exactly what this renovation thing was going to entail. Tons of forums, blogs, before and after photos, the Shasta cliques. Just because there were tons of resources for Shastas and zero for Aljos didn't make me feel the least bit alone. I didn't want those stupid wings anyways.. (I jest, truly).

You really have to click here to get an idea what I'm talking about...

But I digress. Back to Larry. Larry has the best videos on trailer renovation. He changed my trailer renovating life forever. His videos are not professionally filmed and not in a professional garage. They have the funkiest opening music and graphics. That is what makes them so perfect. He is just a really regular guy who restores trailers and films the process. But that's what I needed. It's not intimidating and he always makes so easy to follow. I want to see and hear about all the problems that arise and issues I may come across. I want to be entertained when Larry goes on about what he is doing but forgets to adjust the camera on the tripod or just blocks it with his body so you can't see what the hell he is doing. I love seeing the improvisations and knowing that I can trust my common sense (well, sometimes, hindsight is 20/20). He is awesome. I found his videos and spent about 4 hours watching them over and over in one night (and an embarrassing number of times since then). He has been the best resource hands down. I emailed him a question and he responded graciously right back. When the trailer gets finished, I am going to go visit Larry. :)

Larry in action:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trailer travels to tulleville

After doing just a little research on how to approach renovating a trailer, I soon discovered that to replace the water damaged panels, one must remove the outside aluminum layer, or skin. (This subject was later up to much debate by several people who eventually admitted I was indeed, right. You know who you are). As much as I wanted to work on the trailer in my driveway, I realized it probably wasn't a realistic notion. Even though I technically had the space, I knew once I started to dismantle everything, there would be bits and pieces laying around to get stolen or moved and the eyesore factor would be pretty high. I reluctantly decided to move it to my parents' house (the only reluctance being that it's an hour away). At least I would be able to spread out all the pieces and not have to worry about any neighbors. My stepdad has quite the workshop so I figured he could not only help me with the heavy duty issues, but it would also be a way to visit with family and work on a funky project together. Plus, it's a beautiful and peaceful setting.
Yay for AAA! Called them up and for an extra $35 rider, I could add RV coverage. Prorate due to being the end of the year and for $12 I get a flatbed out to my house. After about an hour of muscle, sweat, and I may have even detected a tear, the tow truck driver successfully got her on the road without running it into my neighbor's garage.

Easy does it

 We left about an hour after the driver and hoped that we would still get there around the same time. Driving on the highway I noticed something up ahead. It was a teetering hunk of round metal, was it my vanilla bean (did I say yet that that was the temporary name I gave her?). Coming up upon it and passing it made me laugh. Looking at it again from the outside in that capacity made me think I was a bit crazy. Yay! I love being a bit crazy.
I see a little round somethin somethin...

Is she leaning..?

There's my pretty girl!

Trailer found her home in the backyard. Close enough to the garage for all the cords to reach. And directly next to a spiky bush that would later become the bain of my existence. This would be her home until I (later to become "we") finished all the major work.

Making space. Stupid spiky bush in the background.

Nice little spot

Not a bad environment to work in

Temporary home

Happy and silly swinging

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Alright! Let's get started! Got my beat up old trailer (found out it's actually a 1956, not 1954). There she is. Sittin in my driveway. Yep. Uh huh. All ready for me to get started on. Here we go. Let's get started. On the way. Should be done in no time. Have all kinds of brilliant thoughts for paint colors, beds, artwork, lights. Yep. I go out and look at her everyday with excitement then just stand there, staring, blankly, realizing I have not a clue what to do. I feel a little panic, a little of that overwhelming anxious feeling working it's way from my stomach up. Before it sets in, I take a deep breath and decide that the best thing to do is just dive in.

So Will told me that she had been sitting in lot for about 10 years. Hmm. Never would have guessed that ;).  I knew I couldn't really start working on anything complicated yet, but I decided just doing something, anything, would get the ball rolling. I washed the outside and scrubbed with it a broom. All kinds of fun things came streaming, flying, and falling out of nooks and crannies. Adorable little spiky brown widow eggs, black widows, and an abundance of pine needles and leaves. Cool! Already feeling productive. I'm not sure what went on inside while it was at that lot, but a little imagination and the "decorations" left made me pretty sure it wasn't really anything I wanted to think about. I got two bottles of Simple Green and wiped down every surface on the inside. Ah, much better! At least I removed any surface nastiness. The bathroom was a different story.  I have to admit, it scared the hell out of me. I'm not sure what I was looking at. I took an extra deep breath and squeezed into the tiny 2 x 3 space and gave it a quick once over.

I decided to do my best to assess the issues of the trailer so I could do some research. Here is all the nitty grittiness of my beloved little caravan...

Hmmm. Wonder what was supposed to be here

Oh look, a wire thingy sticking out from the side!

A really thick piece of wood. Good thing they used a lot of screws straight into the skin.

Worst corner

Cute little levelers

Duct tape bandaid
Martin is starting to come around...

And yet this tiny little bulb is still intact...?


Only missing 2 lights/reflectors!

Apparently she was a lemony greenish color


Gonna hammer this out

Yeah! Screw 'em!

Sweet nothings


Trailer was a hot spot!

Hoping this is of the liquor variety

Monday, August 15, 2011

Trailer toddles home

Will and I exchanged some money and I did a little happy dance. I had no idea had to get the beast home since one of the tires was pretty much gone and we weren't sure about the frame. Actually, I wasn't sure about anything. I don't even know how to tow a trailer. Did it have brakes? No worries, I knew I could figure that out later. I tend to be much less concerned about the actual logistics of things. Like the fact that we had no idea when it was last registered. I just know that I want to do something. And when I get like that, I always find a way-or at least try my hardest. We are fortunate that our friend who owns a wrecking yard has a flatbed so he came and helped us pick it up. And by help, I mean we stood and watched and said "Is there anything we can do?".  He is a sweety and didn't directly say anything, but I swear I saw a glimmer in his eye that conveyed "Oh, poor naive girl has no idea what she is getting herself into".  After a creaky escape from some wobbly boards she was sitting on, off she went.  We followed behind as pieces of plastic bags and cardboard and other random objects came flying out the broken windows. I was really hoping the whole thing wouldn't collapse like a house of cards and just blow away in the wind.

And she made it! Here she is perfectly placed in our driveway. Somehow I had the feeling that my uptight neighbor with her meticulously maintained craftsman home would not be happy about seeing this hunk of metal sitting next to her property. Sure enough, the VERY next day I get a knock at the door and it's her! I thought, you've got to be kidding, really? One day only and you are going to complain? I didn't even let her talk, I just told her that it wouldn't be an eyesore for long. The first thing I planned to do was paint it (if only). She informed me that she was only concerned about the location as she planned to have her garage redone. Whew. I explained to her that it was my creative project and promised her that my driveway wouldn't turn into disaster zone.

I told everyone about my new prize. I was so excited about all the possibilities. Almost everyone I knew was happy for me (or pretended to be). Maybe they were just looking forward to being entertained by me making a fool of myself in my attempt to renovate with no experience? Some were "puzzled" (see explicit text above).  Should I make her a gypsy caravan? A gothic lair? A cheery rolling garden cottage? A whimsical jalopy? A tea and reading space? Yes! Should she have a big white fluffy bed? A gargoyle? A rain lamp? Yes! I had so many ideas you'd think I was planning to decorate a mansion...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Just a little creative outlet project...

Although I grew up camping and love road trips, the idea of owning a travel trailer for camping purposes never dawned on me. They seemed cumbersome to keep and maintain and one of those things that, despite all good intentions of taking advantage of, in reality you use once every two years. The idea of packing camping food and trekking to a local campsite and dealing with porta potty tanks, hookups, etc. just didn't seem to fit into my life.

But I've always found Airstreams and canned ham trailers so utterly charming. Those were caravans. Road trips full of adventures and meeting colorful people in curious places. Those were owned by people who lived a different lifestyle-not the kind that used a trailer for a weekend getaway, but that used it as an extension of their regular life.  They had personality. One of my mom's favorite movies is "The Long, Long Trailer" with Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz~cute movie. If you have a trailer and haven't seen this, I highly recommend.  I love the idea of the trailer being a space, not just a functioning place to eat and sleep.

How I came about my little caravan...

I was inspired last year by a pin I saw on Pinterest. Someone had posted some beautiful photos of a room covered in tapestry with a wrought iron bed. Beautiful colors and textures to the point of sensory overload. Once I followed the link, I ended up at the wonderful Magnolia Pearl to find out that the room was actually an Airstream trailer that had been completely customized. There was a french cast iron bathtub and chandeliers and colors and velvet and teapots and woven rugs and vintage lace and and and and....(Her home is even more rich and interesting than her trailer and or the Rolls Royce that tows it). I don't intend to replicate her style (who could?) but what an inspiration. I loved that it didn't look like a trailer on the inside.

I immediately became obsessed with the idea of having my own little space. Not for camping (although it will be possible) but for the process of creating it. I guess it's like an adult version of a dollhouse.  I had been doing silly little furniture refurbishing just for fun. Working on the computer all day leaves me yearning to garden or do a project with my hands outside. I needed something a little more challenging.

Craigslist Ad for Agnes
My friend found a little travel trailer on Craigslist. It was a 1954 Aljo for $450. There were a few others listed, but I knew immediately this one was coming home with me. My husband, on the other hand, was understandably confused as to what could possibly possess me to want to take on such a project and given the fact that I had no way to determine if what I was buying would even be salvageable. I love Airstreams, but this seemed like a good choice, you know, for my first trailer. It wasn't too big and the price was just right to not be too scary to take on.

The next day I was off to see her. I arrived to a house with a yard full of random vehicles and car parts and an extremely gracious man, Will. I think his charm sealed the deal. What a sight she was. I think I became a 8 year girl and literally jumped up and down when I saw her. I knew she was perfect! My husband was too stunned to really have a reaction. He suggested maybe I spend a little more money to get a nicer one, one that didn't need so much work, maybe one that didn't have "420" or "mob cut throat" carved into the wall or what looked like a seagull poop splat on one of the cabinets (no idea what it is).  But I wanted to start from scratch. And that's pretty much what I did.

Me and Will

So proud!