The “We Can Do It” poster created by the War Department to recruit women for industry, has taken on a life of its own, spanning generations. The image has been used on kids’ lunch boxes and campaign mailers. Recently I discovered P!nk’s video — her “Rosie” is a champion for the underdog. Check it out: http://blogs.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2010/11/pink_rosie_riveter.php
Now I know about aluminum primer, which is useful information if you plan to paint aluminum.
The decals came from a sign shop in San Mateo. They did a great job, but I’d have gone elsewhere if I’d known about the dead end street. Let’s just say I need practice backing the trailer. It was a twelve minute turn around.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I discovered rubbing compound. Who knew that fifty-seven years of oxidation would buff off? I bought one of every compound they carried at Napa Auto Supply and went to work. The stuff that exfoliated best was for polishing mag wheels.
The camper needs a name. Mighty Mouse was suggested. Mighty Mouse might be about the right vintage.
This gallery contains 5 photos.
That’s what came to mind when I first arrived at Vintage Campers in Peru, Indiana. I’d foolishly worried about not being able to find the place. Proprietor Dan Piper explained that he’d “got the disease … Continue reading
Airstreams are the Cadillacs of tin can campers. In Wax, Tilly lives in a sixteen foot beauty in Parking Lot C. I found a 1948 Wee Wind, restored, for thirty-eight thousand dollars — about thirty-six thousand more than I intended to spend.
I reviewed my criteria: ideally mid-century antique, polished aluminum, light enough to be pulled by my Ranger and road-worthy. And of course cheap. Which ruled out anything called Airstream. I had to broaden my search.
A cruise through cyberspace brought me to a field in Peru, Indiana, and my introduction to the rare Beemer travel trailer. The owner, Dan Piper, has assured me the trailer will polish to a mirror finish if I put the time in. The tires are new and it comes with a spare. It’s ready to roll. The work it needs is cosmetic and I can do it myself. I think I’ve found my tin can camper.
In “Wax” Tilly discovers a shortage of housing near the Richmond shipyards and is offered an Airstream …
About ten years ago, I was accumulating found construction materials for my beach shack. I was collecting granite countertop scraps when Rube read about a bowling alley that was being deconstructed in Oakland. Rube decided that an old bowling lane would be the perfect material for unique countertops — especially if you could preserve the lane markings in the final finish. Of course I loved the idea. “It would be very cool,” I agreed.
I imagine he was grinning as he hung up the phone, knowing I spend hours trying to track down an architectural salvage company with a bowling alley in the inventory. He probably thought I’d get into a bidding war for the material. I did eventually find it. But the wood had been piled outdoors, and a late season storm had ruined it.
I’ll never learn. Or maybe I don’t want to. I think often of Rube’s idea to build a straw bale Italian villa. You’ve got to admit, it’s a great idea. Great ideas aren’t always practical.
In early March, Rube called me to tell me his in-laws Elly and Ernie, in Minden, Nevada, had an old travel trailer that a renter had left behind. He said they would give it to me. I’d been toying with the idea of a camping book tour — my characters lived in an Airstream during the war — and here was an offer of a free camper. The details were vague, but I hadn’t seen Elly and Ernie in more than a year, and a drive over the Sierra seemed like a fine Sunday activity. Maybe it was meant to be.
Long story short: it wasn’t. Rube had misjudged the size of the trailer by 50%; there was no way my Ranger would pull it. And among the many things it needed, it needed tires — which is probably why it was left behind. But the die was cast and I was now convinced that I needed a vintage camper for my book tour.