Hi! My name is Helen and I'm 64 years old. I created this blog as sort of a nudge to myself. When I see that age 64, I think oh dear, I'm too old to start over, what am I thinking?? But I just don't feel it yet. I'm feeling pretty good, no major medical problems, knock on wood! ouch! :)
These are just my thoughts right now, but I feel I'm right on the edge of making a huge change in my life. It will take many baby steps, I know. So I created this blog hoping for encouragement and advice. I've lived in the same area for over 20 years now and now I want to travel, meet new people and see new places. I'm appalled that I've done so little traveling in the last 10-12 years. Yes, I should have done this many years ago but sometimes the ruts of life get in the way. Is it too late for me now? I don't know. Won't know 'til I try.
I have many, many questions, but first, my first step is to acquire some sort of RV vehicle. I'm thinking something I would drive, rather than tow. Mainly because I've never towed anything and I figured I'd survive longer without that worry. It would also have to be very inexpensive because the ending of a very bad relationship left me with little funds. I'm not looking for someone to latch on to, I'm looking for friendship, encouragement and a new way to live for this next phase of my life. I don't have much money so I'd be looking for odd jobs to bring in some extra along the way. I need only the basics but would like to at least purchase a laptop to stay connected to the internet. I've been using one of those cheapie Tracfones for my cell, so I'd have to look into a decent but inexpensive new cell, I guess.
I've been looking online for anything and everything to help me learn. I have two neighbors here who, I think, would be willing to help me in checking out any travel vehicles I find, but only one of them has had a travel trailer and he didn't have it for long. So I need to find something cheap that requires very little repairing........heck, that's not much to ask for, is it? :)) That would be my first step. So, I'm figuring in about a year or hopefully less, I can get rid of many things here, compile the essentials I would need, and in that time frame, become familiar with driving a travel vehicle if I'm lucky enough to find one.
There are so many things I need to learn! Are there any older women travelers out there? I'd love to connect and make friends, hang out, etc. If I'm doing everything correctly here I'll continue this later.
Thanks for "listening"!
I'm really encouraged by all the advice I've been getting, thank you all so much.
March 18, 2011
I have been spending a great deal of my time going through all my "stuff". I can't believe I have so much stuff! There's a neighborhood garage sale coming up and I've got loads to put out for it! This will be my 3rd garage sale since about October 2010! This is what happens when you become a collector, folks.
I've acquired so many different collections over the years and it's all coming back to haunt me. LOL! Actually I'm having a difficult time letting go of some things so to keep the momentum going I've devised a Plan of sorts: Any items I THINK I can't part with will go into my storage shed, conveniently located in my back yard...to be gone through one more time at a later date. Then I have 5 trash cans for items I'm positively sure I don't want and probably no one else would want either.....I don't know how I ended up with 5 trash cans, I think it had something to do with yard work, who knows? Ok, then I have a corner of my garage...which has actually turned into half the garage at this point....for all my garage sale items. The aforementioned sale is scheduled for April 1,2,3 and I'm actually looking forward to it! There's hope for me yet! So, storage, trash, garage sale. I feel that I'm making progress!
I will be keeping my "stick" house and because of that, I'm currently negotiating terms with my sister so that she will move in, probably in a year's time, and just pay the mortgage for me. Her idea actually, and a good one, if it all works out. Thus, she gets to move out of her small, cramped apartment into a very slightly larger house with a back yard for her dogs, rent and mortgage are about the same. I, on the other hand, am relieved of the mortgage payment, and have some feeling of security regarding the house. The neighbors are very good about watching out for each other so she has at least a couple to run to for any emergencies. There are pitfalls here, little glitches that may arise but on the whole, maybe it will all work out.
I had originally thought I wanted a motor home but that's changed totally. Now I'm looking for a vintage travel trailer........did I hear "lots of luck"....? Yes, someone may as well say that because the trailers are far and few between. I was hoping to find something in my state (Texas) or at least one of the nearby states.........so far, however, I've found nothing. And I've noticed the prices seem to be going up!
So, anyway, I'm still looking for my vintage. I'm just not sure though, if I might be limiting myself by my "wants". For instance, I really don't want a huge dinette, there's just me, so I'd prefer a much smaller table with smaller benches. Then, the kitchen, well, I've changed my mind on this: originally I wanted a front kitchen, but after looking over many of them online I think a side kitchen is better because there's actually a bit more counter space, or it looks like there is to me. With the bed, again, just smaller, I don't need a full size mattress, certainly not a king size either, just a small cot or twin sized one. To me, these "wants" would give me a little more walking around space inside. PLUS, I want a dry weight of about 1200-1400. Am I asking for too much??
Last weekend a group of the Sisters on the Fly were camping in Santo, Texas, so I drove up there to see their trailers and talk to some of them. They were all very encouraging and said just go for it! It was exciting and fun to me!......... and I really enjoyed seeing the colorful trailers, as well as look inside many of them to see how each was individually decorated. I really fell in love with so many of them! The one that stood out for me was a 13 ft. Shasta, but mainly I liked it so much because it was all original inside and the counter, table, etc. were in green.......my favorite color. LOL.
Well, I need to close now. Stay tuned! My vintage travel trailer may just be around the next corner!
Thinking of ways to add to my travel trailer fund: A neighbor helped me tear down a greenhouse in my back yard in the past two days, and it was a bigger job than either of us realized, but now it's done. Have a lot of 2x4s, 2x12s and some 4x4s, also those plastic, wavy sheets...can't think what they're called right now, but anyway, all of this will be added to my garage sale material. Also made up flyers to advertise pet sitting and dog walking, but have since found out I can't post them around the neighborhood. Bummer. Anyway, just a couple of thoughts.
March 29, 2011
I was so excited yesterday! Going out to see a Serro Scotty, 10 ft. First I got lost and this is just going from one side of town to the other. LOL! That's usually pretty normal when my sister....who can't read a map......comes along. She's learning though. Finally found the place and at a quick first glance the trailer was just "adorable"! Then reality set in and I started noticing all the bad stuff. I am so grateful for the list that VK sent me, two pages of what to look out for when checking out a trailer. It really came in handy. The trailer was in such bad shape, skin was so beat-up. Evidently someone had nailed something large to the outside and then it was pretty much ripped off, half dollar size holes left as a result. There was a lot of rust underneath, around the door entrance and the hitch. The screen door had no screen, door handle was broken in half. The floors squeaked for some reason. The inside must have been gutted at some point because the storage areas ...cabinets...looked very rough, rough wood painted over, no sanding done. The owner did have a title and did have the trailer registered as a classic. But wanted $3000 for it. On the way home I thought briefly of offering a few hundred and trying to teach myself to restore, but finally decided that would be money going out that could be put in my "trailer fund". So I went over excited and came back disappointed. Maybe another day.
April 13, 2011
Well, another "hopeful" shot down. VK ......who has been helping me look, and who has had loads of patience with an irritating wannabe..........found a nice little Shasta in Kentucky for me, but by the time my message got there it had been sold. And no phone number.
Only one pic, looked to be a 10 footer, maybe a 12. Wings. It had wings. sob.
I've come across quite a few folks who don't put much info in their ads. It's all very well to SAY "nice interior", "no leaks" and so on....but I, for one, would like to SEE lots of pics and details! Anyway. The owner said they'd be getting another one in soon and she'd let me know.
Geez, I sound like a gripe. Isn't it 5:00 somewhere?
signing off for today.
April 21, 2011
Haven't been having much luck in finding my trailer. Still looking.
May 16, 2011
Well, people. I'm going to Arizona................. to pick up my TRAILER!!!!!! And I'm scared to death! My very first trailer! And first time towing!! The trip back will be slow. This will be an adventure! It's a 1965 Santa Fe, 10 foot. Needs some work but I'll figure it out as I go along. Thank goodness for VK. She has talked me through many a slump and finds my crankiness amusing. LOL. Ok. Got things to do, leaving possibly tonight so it'll be daylight when I get there. Don't know for sure yet, though. Major stomach flipping here, nail biting, the whole works.
May 22, 2011 (I think)
Thank you all so much for your congrats and good wishes! You're all great people and I hope to some day meet as many of you as possible.
I think I've finally recovered from the trip.....and the shock of actually getting my first trailer!!!
I got lost going up and I got lost coming back. This is par for the course for me. In fact, I used to get irritated with myself but now I kinda' enjoy it......it's one of those "oh, well, here I go again" things. Maybe I'm doing it on purpose but haven't realized it yet! LOL. Anyway, I took two of my dogs along, which I would deem insanity on my part but they actually did very well. And, I think I talked to them all the way up and back.......maybe that's why they slept so much. ha! It was Sam's first trip and after the first HOUR of whining on the way up, he settled in nicely.
I had no problems towing at all! My very first tow, everyone! Mountains, crosswinds, dust storms, border inspections, winding mountain roads....I made it through. Shouldn't have laughed (I think I was giddy with exhaustion) when the border patrol guy asked if anyone was in the trailer, though.....had to get out and open the door for him. (He could have looked right in that big beautiful back window). Anyway. That upset Sam. He lost sight of me for a few minutes and he's a protective kind of dog.
I haven't really gotten started on the trailer yet. We had some rain/drizzle/spit several days in a row so I ran out and bought a tarp.....mainly for my own peace of mind, because our so-called rain doesn't often amount to much. I'm going to just take it one step at a time, I think. The trailer is campable now but there are things to be done. I don't know if anyone would understand, but I want to "get the other person out" and put my "mark" on it. Does that make sense? Probably not saying it very well.
VK has advised me on things to be done, and also to take it one step at a time. Eventually it will be painted....... blue and white, I think. I wanted green/white but I found an awning in the outside storage....fantastic!.....and it's blue and white. The trailer is faded pink and white right now, and I've already had one neighbor come over to tell me he didn't like pink! If it was a rosy hue I probably would have had a few words to say, but it's a pinky pink, so I don't blame him. That's a future task so he'll have to live with the pink for awhile. LOL.
I'm debating the stove right now. I think it's a Magic Chef and I'm wondering if I'll really ever use it. I had envisioned campfire meals, and maybe using one of those little two burner things on occasion. I'm actually fond of the occasional peanut butter sandwich too, when I don't feel like cooking and frankly, that's almost all the time. Anyway. I think I'm going to take everything out that I can, decide what I really want in there, and maybe sell what I don't want. VK says the door latch is a Bargman, Bergman.......don't remember, but it's hard to find evidently and I am to treat it with kid gloves. That I will certainly do.
I've also got to catch up with things around here. Immediately took my truck in for one of those "100 point" inspections as soon as I got back. Everything's in good shape, only recommendation was to have tires rotated and balanced. Gas prices were about the same as here, which really surprised me. Only twice I had to pay high.....high to us here........$3.99 and $4.24 per gallon. Most of the time it was $3.69 and $3.79....around that. Yesterday I found $3.63 at an Exxon down the road, so filled up to the very top.
Well, I'm rambling here. I'll put some pictures up eventually.....or I should say, I'll try because, for some reason, I have problems with the pics. The name is still being thought about.......nothing has come to mind, or smacked me upside the head so far. Maybe....the "short, short trailer"...........? as opposed to Lucy and Ricky's..........well, never mind. I'm obviously suffering from more belated sleep deprivation from the trip. LOL.
So long for now.
May 26, 2011
Well, my progress has been slow in starting.....though dragging my feet has developed into a quick walk now. Pretty soon I'll be running because I'm already planning trips in my head. For the first few days I just walked around and around "Mad Maxine" wondering what I'd gotten myself into. I am, indeed, pretty much a procrastinator, but I'm too old to change that aspect of my character so I just live with it. The "Mad Maxine" name is temporary, I think. Nothing else seems to come to mind yet.
She does have personality though. A couple of neighbors have been by and she's been called "adorable" and "what a cute little thing". I'm sure I saw her perk up a bit at those words. LOL. I've got one neighbor though, who is not happy...... I think. They haven't been over since I got home so I don't know what's going on. Worried about it for about a day, especially when I detected some obvious attempts of avoidance......then, since I'm also absentminded, as well as a procrastinator....I just kinda' stopped worrying about it. Just wait until she has her "shine" on! They'll come around.
I'm working on the eyebrows and it's been very slow, got them all off, used my grinder to get most of the gunk off, then sprayed and soaked them with Simple Green last night and tonight I'll see how they look.
AND, I've decided to strip the paint but not repaint.......I'm going to buff up the silver! Yeah! It'll look cool and maybe ole' Maxine won't feel or look so beat up and tuckered out. We'll get there, just takes some time. My goals right now are: repair or replace vent, finish eyebrows, re-putty edge trim, strip paint and pull out that yucky carpet. Then I might take a break and go fishing. Neighbor next door gave me a nice-sized catfish a few days ago......his bucket overflowth. Sure was good!
That's it for now.
June 1, 2011
At least I think it's June 1. I've been off work for several days and lost track. I'll try to put some pics up of "Doodlebug", aka "Mad Maxine" ....... no longer. She's had a name change. I've had a lot of changing of the mind lately. Instead of painting, I want to strip her totally and buff her. I've started on the back end but it's slow work, so I'm hoping someone can give me some hints.....other than taking it somewhere to have it done, can't afford that. Is there some kind of spray I could use on each section, that would make it easy to scrap/wipe the paint off? The stuff I've been using is poured out of a bottle and wiped on with a paintbrush, after about an hour I scrape it off. Anyway....I don't have a covered area to put it in, and I have to consider the neighbors. There's actually two layers of paint. I couldn't believe this! White was the original color with a narrow, silver band going down each side. Then for some reason someone painted the whole thing pink. Over the white. And it wasn't quality type paint.
I've pulled all but two of the eyebrows ........I hope someone didn't superglue those two! Sure seems like it though, but I'll keep at it and hopefully, eventually they'll loosen up. If I can get the pics on, you'll see the difference after I've sanded and painted. Pulled all the light "fixtures" and wrapped all the loose wires in saran wrap.....I don't know why, just didn't like the idea of them hanging unprotected. I plan to wire cap them, they were originally just wrapped with some kind of tape.
Whoever painted this trailer pink must have been on a binge because even the light covers got hit. I've got the pink off all the covers. Moved on to the license plate light, which was solid rust covered, but after a lot of sanding it's looking pretty decent. I finally got the bed board out, there wasn't a bed box, just the board......I plan to cut this in half so I'll have a twin size board. Then I'll just need to get a twin mattress, etc., etc. If that doesn't work out for any reason, I'm going to look for an army cot and figure out a way to anchor it in there. I want it to look like a daybed and be twin sized so I'll have a tad more walking space. The two large boxes covering the wheelwells will be cut down to just the wheelwell size, sanded and painted to be used as small tables.
All windows are in good shape except the front one. I'll have to get replacement "slats" of glass for it. I have a screen door but may have to redo it........I'd rather have wood one. Wouldn't a wood one hold it's shape better than this metal/aluminum one? The Bargman handle and key are in good shape, just had to WD the keyhole a little.
Oh! this awning! I've never seen anything like it. It's in three parts, the parts are zippered together, then there's some clips along the edge that I'm guessing clip onto the awning railing.........? It's in pretty good shape but much too big for the trailer. It's got posts with it but I haven't tried putting it together yet. VK thinks it might be a "room" and not an awning. You'll see a section of it in the pics...I think the blue and white would look good against a silver trailer, if I can get it all to work out.
Well, that's it for now. Progress is slow. More info later, I hope.
June 8, 2011
Things are moving slow here. But then I am a slow person by nature. This weather is really the pits! We need rain badly! If anyone has more than they want, please send it down this way!! My grass crunches when walked on....I feel sorry for it and don't look forward to a brown lawn in mid-summer. And, of course, the heat is making it very difficult to get things done. Anyway, I have two questions: My arm is about to fall off, is there a secret, easier way to strip paint and I just don't know about it?! And, I've done alot of sanding and buffing on the eyebrows but some black spots won't come off so I've been spraying them with Rustoleum hammered silver paint....question is, what's the secret to getting the hammered look? I rather like that look but so far it's been blotchy and not evenly "hammered". I guess if I got hammered it would look fine...that's my fallback plan. LOL.
Got the carpet out....yucky. Underneath, VK says it looks like Marmoleum, I'm not familiar with this. But it's in really bad shape. In one small corner you can see the actual colors: red, black against a white background, looks very pretty, but that's the only spot that's half way decent. So I'll probably stick to my original plan of covering with "peel and stick" tiles.
Well, I'm headed out to stand under the sprinkler....if I can get the dogs to move over.
Until another day.
June 27, 2011
Things have gotten bogged down for me. Having problems getting my title situation cleared up. The person I bought the trailer from insists it's a title, title office here says no. So, I'm giving it one more try here, I'll go to the tax office downtown.........it's in a much larger building so maybe that will make a difference.....LOL. Though I don't feel like laughing out loud.......I have a very urgent need to dip a line in some water somewhere and I'm being delayed unjustly in doing so!!
Anyway. Haven't felt like doing much to the trailer at this point. Well, I did take one of the edge trims off and cleaned it up. Wasn't difficult, I thought it would be real floppy and hard to handle but I didn't have any problem.
Well, that's it, not much news at this point. Maybe later.
July 7, 2011
Finally got all the paperwork cleared up!!! Doodlebug is truly mine!! I took every piece of paper I had and marched into the tax office determined to get my title.........but I only showed them the bill of sale, the weight receipt and a statement form I got off the internet which I signed stating I had a travel trailer, not a park model. I just threw that in. The clerk had to consult with someone who said no, I had to have a title. I said I bought this trailer out of state.........MAGIC WORDS! No title needed! They took the three items I gave them, brought out a form for me to sign stating that I wasn't fibbing when I said it was purchased out of state and I received my Texas license plate and expect the title in the mail shortly! I also asked for a copy of every piece of paper involved and got all that. I was a very happy camper walking out of there. So the "identification card" that the seller kept insisting was the title was of no use at all. I actually got hold of the first owner by letter, who responded pretty quickly. He said he had given my seller a bill of sale and notified his DMV that he'd sold the trailer. They only have paperless titles in California. It's a shame I never saw that bill of sale because it might have helped eliminate some of my stress. So the moral of the story is: don't ever use a title office and don't believe everything you're told. Anyway, it's over and done with.
Eyebrows are done. Lights are done, though I'm waiting for new side lights to come in the mail. I really only wanted the covers since the plates are in good shape but VTS didn't sell them separately. I need to find someplace around here for parts so I don't have to pay shipping......I try to be frugal. Got two edge trims done, working on the third piece. She does look cute in pink but that stuff is hard to get off and it's everywhere! I think I'd like to replace the screening in the screen door and spiff up the metal parts too, so have to add that to my list.
I can only work in the early morning and late evening because this heat just rags me out. It's just a shame Doodles won't fit in the garage. She's too tall by, maybe, six inches. Just guesstimated.
Bye for now.
July 10, 2011
Wow. Thunder, lightning! About a minute and a half of.....what I'd call.....a gentle shower, and that was it. The cool wind was sure nice though, for about 5 minutes worth. I raced out and covered Doodles....since I still haven't gotten the roof vent fixed yet. I'm looking for $200 for that, but it's eluding me at the moment. Anyway, I should have timed myself. I think that's the fastest I've ever gotten that tarp on........especially with a panic-stricken dog at my heels, she's terrified of thunder......
Got my new side lights on! Rediculously proud of Doodles.....doesn't seem like I've gotten much done but, being biased, I think she's starting to look good with her new lights and spiffed up eyebrows.
Well, I need to go bang on some edge trim, eventually get it buffed up and painted. I've really grown partial to that Hammered Silver......maybe I should buy stock! LOL.
In two days I will be 65 years old. Hard to believe sometimes, but really haven't had too much time to stop and think about it. Got to get this trailer fixed up and out on the road!!
Hark! Do I hear rain?? ............no. Just the neighbors illegally watering again.
That's it for now.
August 10, 2011
Don't really have anything new to add at this time because I haven't gotten much done lately. Just thought I'd let everyone know I'm still breathing. Too blasted hot here! Add humidity to that and you'd think I'd lose some weight!! It's unfortunate that I'm not a picky eater. LOL.
I'm also distracted at the present time by my oldest dog, Maggie. She's fifteen and I think she's going bananas on me, which, in turn, is driving me bananas. Old Mags is deaf and her sight is going, but she sits out there and howls at the moon every chance she gets. I'm surprised the neighbors haven't had a few words to say. I say alot but it all falls on...ahem...deaf ears. LOL. And sometimes when my youngest dog races past Maggie the breeze causes her to wobble a bit..........LOL. But other than being old like her "mom", she seems to be doing ok.
I'm kinda' worried that I haven't received my title yet, does it usually take a long time, anyone know? I think it was back in May when I got all that paperwork mess done.....this is August!!
Bought myself a new drill.....nothing expensive, of course. A Skil. Mainly bought it because it came with two batteries and plus my old one was begging for mercy. So I shot it and bought the Skil.
Well, sadly, nothing new to report. When the weather starts cooling a bit...ha ha...... I'll probably perk up more.
September 1, 2011
Well, I'm back. It's unbelievable how much trouble I'm having in acquiring a simple title. All this time I've been waiting. Finally, when I realized two months had passed, I trotted down to the tax office to find out what's happened to my title. They don't know what they're doing down there. Really. Basically.....to try to keep this short, but still get my gripe in.......the person from whom I bought the trailer just plain lied. I believed the lie, unfortunately. He kept insisting the paperwork he gave me was all I needed to get a Texas title. Now I can't even get him to respond to phone calls or emails. So, .......so much for short, huh?........I called the California DMV, talked to a nice person who directed me to a form online that I printed out, filled out, and sent off, to request copies of the title/registration for my trailer. I can only hope this paperwork, plus all the other paperwork I have will do the trick.
Temperature has actually gone down a bit here.......now I hear it's only 100-102 degrees......almost a cold front!! LOL. Of course, the grass is already gone. My one baby tree, which I've been trying to save, has some brown leaves at the top.......sob. Weather should start cooling down a bit towards the end of this month. We're all waiting.
Well, that's where it stands with me. I'm trying to do bits and pieces here and there on the trailer, in spite of the unrelenting heat.
My doctor tells me I'm in good health for a person my age. Just wanted to throw in some good news. LOL!!
September 30, 2011
Geez! where did the time go?! I guess I've been busy. Still working on bits and pieces and at the same time planning trips.....ha! you should see the list I've got going.....talk about a bucket list, I think it's two buckets worth!
My mom had a bit of a setback so that was thrown into the mix also, but she's doing ok now....88 and tooting along.
Not too much else going on, just wanted to see in writing that I'm still alive! LOL