Saturday, June 7, 2014

Doing up caravans is not fun...

Just when I thought we might have a bit of a break from what has seemed like almost constant road tripping intermingled with restoration projects, here we are back at it again! How did this happen?
I mean it is, as always a great adventure and I love coming to America, but to be honest, I was all set to jump on a plane and head back to Australia right after we had dropped Rosie off at Retroluxe Vintage Trailers and come back when she was all done and ready to take to Trailerfest.
Ah  the best made plans...

So it started like this: Back when I first started Vintage Caravan Magazine, my dream was to make it a truly international magazine with features and readers from all over the world coming together like a community of wanderers finding their tribe.  Although our caravans (or "trailers" as many Americans call them) may all be different, unique expressions of our varied personalities, we all share a love of the quaintness of these tiny spaces as much as we love their portability.  Knowing that there were lots of events happening all over the world, my plan was always to have a car and caravan in the three places I spend most of my time: Australia, America and New Zealand. That way I could hitch up and go to any event in any of those places and live in eternal summertime in my rolling abode...

My other big dream was to eventually be able to offer a prize giveaway caravan to my loyal subscribers; the ones that have helped to make the press keep rolling issue after issue for the past three years; my favourite people in the world! Knowing that parts, labour and things like retro Laminex, cool flooring and professional paint jobs and upholstery were cheaper in America, it seemed obvious to do our first one there.

But back to the story..
One day I was heading towards LA, all set to fly back to Australia. Finding it hard to say goodbye, I decided to stop in and visit with my sister and her family one last time as they were staying over at a friend's ranch that was only about three hours drive away from where we were in California. We pulled into the driveway of the ranch and saw this:

"Isn't it just gorgeous", squeals my sister.
"Hmmmmm...." I reply as I hold my nose to enter inside the musty and grimy interior of a caravan that has quite clearly not been lived in by anything but mice since around 1975. "Lovely"( said with quite a large hint of sarcasm in my voice)
Anyway, it turns out that it was for sale for $1500 and the next day we had bought it and were towing it back to Oregon. What the?

Noddy got all fired up about how we had always talked about giving away a restored caravan as a Vintage Caravan Magazine subscriber prize.  With one issue of the magazine having just gone to print, the book launch done and some free time on our hands what better time to do it than now, he says. I ponder if this man of mine even knows the meaning of "free time" and remind him again that, even though I have done it many times before and have written an entire book and publish a magazine on the "joys" of vintage caravans, I keep saying; "Doing up caravans is not fun".  It's dirty, it's messy, it's exhausting and it's expensive. You end up with paint in your hair, broken fingernails and raw fingers from sanding and scrubbing and big dusty brown boogers up your nose.  Tell me again why we though this was a good idea?

I say; "No, I'm not going through this again. I am done with restoring old vans. If you want to do this one up babe, you're on your own.  There's too much work to do and I don't think you're being realistic about the costs of it all and the time it will take".
But we've had this conversation before and when I liken this whole process to child birth, people who have been through this and know what it is like always laugh.  You know the drill; you swear you'll never do it again, that it was too hard, but somehow you do, and when it is all over you sit back and admire what you made and go: "Isn't she just so beautiful?"

Yesterday Noddy towed the 1956 Mercury off to get water blasted in preparation for sanding and her new upcoming paint job and then he brought her home to begin cleaning and preparing the inside.
Today, armed with disinfectant, steel wool and a very large bucket of soapy water he started off by ripping up the filthy old musty carpet. Feeling just a tad guilty, I went and got some dirty work clothes on and went out to help.  Under the old carpet was yet another layer of 1970s blue carpet tiles - Gross! But just as we began to peel back the carpet tiles, I spy a thing of great beauty; it is the original mosaic laid lino tiles in a spectacular blue and yellow that matches the pale 1950s yellow oven and ice box. Oh my! How cool is that?

I got all excited about the discovery of this piece of originality and had a sudden overwhelming desire to preserve this very, very cool old floor. So I picked up a sponge and started scrubbing...
Yep, here I am doing it all again! Stay tuned for updates...

Subscribe to Vintage Caravan Magazine at:

The fine print:
The caravan is currently undergoing restoration in Oregon, USA and registered in California, USA
Delivery to a U.S winner can be arranged for a fee. (We don't mind taking a long road trip if you can pay for the gas!)
If the caravan is won by one of our Australian subscribers or by anyone else outside the USA they will have the choice to either shipping it home (at the winners expense) or sold and the proceeds kept by the winner.
The estimated value of the restored 1956 Mercury is $10,000 USD
The draw will take place once the restoration is complete and the winner will be notified by email or phone

No comments:

Post a Comment