As June morphed into July, we seized another opportunity to camp in Tallulah Belle, this time in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Melinda had been involved with BeautiControl cosmetics, and the company was hosting it’s annual convention in Grapevine, Texas this year. She could have stayed at the convention center, but found out that there was a very nice RV park only two miles from the location, so we decided to take the camper and log some more time camping! The park is named “The Winery”, also in Grapevine, and is one of the most upscale RV parks we have ever seen. We reserved a space for the event, and drove in on a Wednesday afternoon.
This park caters to the ginormous motor coach crowd, and a majority of the sites are large pull-through type, but all that was available to us was an unusual site on an elevated shoulder of the main road through the park, with a railing and a small set of steps leading down to the picnic table/seating area. At least we were able to set up the awning over the picnic table. During the three days of Melinda’s conference, I walked around the park, took some photos and got some more practice putting the tarp up at short notice, as it was unseasonably cool and rained several times.
The park itself was large, several hundred acres, with rolling green grassland hills and small ponds, several different locations for pad sites and cabin camps, and very well maintained.
Every Saturday evening there was a firework show over the main pond, which was straight away from our site, so it was like a front row seat.
We had the usual visitors, wondering about what year and brand of camper, and hearing their fond memories of parents and grandparents who owned trailers “…just like that.” We had a great visit, and as we were leaving we were hailed by a fellow who worked for the park, wanting to see Tallulah Belle. As it turns out, this man had worked at the Shasta location there in Grapevine, Texas in 1962 when he had graduated from high school, he was wondering if maybe ours was one of the ones he had personally helped to build!
On the way back to Lafayette we stopped in at Terrell, Texas to take some photos of Tallulah Belle along with a late 50’s Soviet MiG 17 fighter, which is displayed in front of an antique store.
Somehow these two Cold Warriors seemed to belong together in a photograph, although only one of them is still on active duty!
Home gain, after Grapevine, and we noticed something troubling. The birch wood above the front window had become discolored, and worse yet, was soft and spongy when touched. What the hell?? It seemed as if the wood had gotten soaking wet and was delaminating from inside.
Well, we had paid for a spot at a vintage rally in Fentress, Texas in September, which was to be Tallulah belle’s first rally, and we were going to have to fix whatever was causing the problem before that time. Problem was that with my 14 on/14 off schedule, that left precious little time until the rally. So, upon my next time home again we would find and fix the issue.
With a VERY small window of time left, we started on repairs, which meant, remove the front window and the front skins, to find soaking wet insulation, which had caused complete failure of the interior birch. To this day we stil have NO IDEA how the water got in as every seam was sealed with double layers of butyl tape, but somehow there it was, and it needed to be removed and replaced. We ended up removing all the front wood, the streetside dinette panel and much of the framing. Gentle Readers, remember that it is now September in Southern Louisiana and 100F temps are everyday. It was literally a frenzy, as we tore down, remade and reinstalled an entire front end in FIVE DAYS. I will let the following photos tell the story.
Five long exhausting days and the work was done, the trailer buttoned up and ready to go to the Fentress rally.
So we thought.
While I was offshore, Melinda was cleaning and getting the shine on for Tallulah Belle’s rally debut, and she plugged in a vacuum cleaner in the front of the trailer, to find a dead circuit. The entire front circuit was not working. No lights, no power, nothing. CRAP!
Really??? Yes, really. So with heavy hearts we had to cancel our trip to the rally. When I came in ashore again I had to remove the newly installed roof metal and trace the wires, to find a nick in the Romex which had cause a short. Four more days of work to remove, replace and button-up AGAIN.
At least the damage had been repaired.