April 12, 2016
First off, I KNOW it has been a while since I have updated this blog. Last summer was the last post, in fact. Guilty as charged. Life has surged forward and now seems an appropriate time to catch up on Tallulah Belle’s ongoing adventures.
So the Great Memorial Day Flood of 2015 had occurred, we pulled Tee Girl out of the waters and took her back to the family ranch for storage in a pole barn alongside feed spreaders and ranch equipment, and there she sat. Our home situation had stabilized, with me working as a control room operator for Noble Energy in Houston, until the control room was moved to Dilley, Texas –south of San Antonio on I 35– and now I am back on a 7 on/ 7 off rotation, just like offshore.
We pledged that we WOULD make it to the Texas Vintage Trailer Club spring rally at Lake Livingston in April, so to make ready we bought a new 2016 Frigidaire dorm fridge and painted it the same Bright Idea yellow as the other appliances ( since the other fridge had self destructed on the rocky ranch roads), getting it finished and then packaged to travel. In March we made a weekend trip to the ranch and spent several days cleaning and repairing the issues which had developed. The trailer was filthy with fine white powdery caliche dust which coats EVERTHING, there was residue from the flood to be scrubbed and polishing/touchup to be done before the rally.
The big news was that we had located an RV storage facility not far from our apartment, so that we can FINALLY keep the trailer close by and not have a 10 hour round trip each time we want to use it! We found uncounted mouse turds inside, so everything came out and disinfectant followed by more disinfectant and then serious cleaning was the order of the day. Every bit of fabric or cloth was cleaned and then left in the sun for two days to air our. The bargman Trail-Lite which had vibrated loose and was dangling by it’s wire was reinstalled with screws to the wood backing AND adhesive to the aluminum skin this time, the aluminum windows and trim were scrubbed and then polished, and finally Tallulah Belle began to take on a semblance of her former shine. After an uneventful trip back to Houston she was finally nestled in her secure indoor storage slip and we were Ready To Rally!
April 8 crawled toward us with agonizing slowness, but eventually it was here, so we packed up the kitties and the supplies we’d need and hitched up Tee Girl for the two hour trip to Coldspring, Texas! A ravishing spring weekend was forecast, and when we pulled into the park we beheld a number of other vintage travel trailers nestled at the base of the soaring pine trees, glinting like metallic easter eggs through the boughs. What a sight!Vintage campers arrayed at the camp grounds.
The organizer told us that 42 campers were present this weekend (not all of them vintage) and that this was the biggest turnout ever for this particular rally. We set up at our site, got the awning up and furniture placed, and then watched as more and more vintage beauties rolled into the campgrounds! Among the numbers were 5 or 6 of the 2015 Shasta reissue campers in all three of the factory colors. One of the owners mentioned that their campers were excluded from some vintage rallies (sad, isn’t it?) but being Texas, all were welcome here!
Friday night had in store a fajita dinner for the campers, prepared by one of the attendees, and a chance to meet and greet other vintage owners. We finally met in person some of the people we had been corresponding with online via several vintage trailer forums, and got to see their own projects! (Big shoutout to Ethan and Amanda). After the dinner, when darkness fell, we were ready to grab some rest, as Saturday was the big day of the rally so we crashed fairly early.
Saturday morning dawned a flawless crisp cool 55F, the lake was sparkling and the breeze sighing in the pine boughs. We had our leisurely coffee, and then began to stage and set up for the photographer and open house later that morning. The exterior was already mostly ready except for the whitewalls/wheels, so a quick blast of Totally Awesome cleaner and the tires were spotless.
*NOTE* I know I have commented on Totally Awesome before but the stuff is truly incredible, ridiculous name and all!
Since we had brought Deuce and Ziva with us, we were concerned that they might react to a stream of strangers touring through the trailer, so we stayed closeby to ensure that they did not escape, but to our surprise both cats were completely mellow and lounged while the visitors paraded by! Deuce, in particular, went into his ‘Dude” (Big Lebowski) mode and charmed everyone, especially the photographer, who tried to get the cats into all the interior shots, but without success. Cats do what they want to on their own schedule, right?
The Open House saw a LOT of visitors and we hope that some of them catch the fever and find their own vintage camper to personalize and travel with. Unfortunately we did not get to go look at many of the others ourselves due to cat-sitting, but we did chat up many other owners for their stories and perspectives.
Saturday evening brought the potluck dinner –we had brought deviled eggs–and there was a tremendous amount of food for everyone! BIG kudos to the BBQ artist who did the brisket! We had a big circle of campers who enjoyed the meal and the fellowship with each other, and really, this is what rallies are all about!Some new/old friends, the Langley family and Ruby, their 1960 Shasta!
After the dinner, as darkness fell, we set up a campfire at our site, and a group of campers joined us for some Abuelita’s hot cocoa (with cinnamon) and storytime in the firelight. What a great way to end a perfect vintage camper day!
Alas, Sunday morning came all too quickly with the threat of afternoon showers, so we broke camp and departed before noon, headed back to Houston and secure cover this time, to wait until the next trip or rally.
Finally, the curse has been broken!
Follwing are some random photos of campers and owners in attendance this weekend.