While sitting at the campground scrolling Facebook, I saw an ad for a 1966 ‘Go Tag Along’ vintage trailer for sale in my town!! They are never in my town!! Until now I could easily pass on the fading stars I saw advertised because I knew it was not realistic to think that I could drive from NJ to Arizona to get it. -ut, this one was literally blocks from my house!! Who would NOT think that was a sign from heaven that you were meant to be together??
I completely overpaid ($2,500) for the moldy, wood rotted, dented, peeling, has-been of a camper, from the original owner. At the time of the sale he was 92 years old. He had purchased it brand new in 1966 and immediately set off on a two week trip to the National Parks out west with his wife and two children. He was now widowed, the kids were grown and he sobbed when signing the the title over. His girlfriend patted his back affectionately.
When I got it home I did something new with this one. I parked it in the driveway and gutted it. Within two hours of its arrival, it was empty and I was looking at all the rotted wood, bad wiring, mouse poop and broken water lines.
Since there was literally nothing salvageable except for the front cabinets, I decided to reinvent it with the salvaged finds I had been saving in my garage for a project just like this. I would use repurposed and loved things and not worry about being period correct. It was a great opportunity to just ‘have at it’ and create a dream space that was full of old and worn items I had bought with no particular purpose in mind.
I worked pretty quickly replacing old wood, rewiring, and figuring out where things would go. When you rebuild a vintage trailer you have to be conscientious of the way weight is being distributed within. I had to make the weight match front to back and left to right. My husband did all the plumbing and electrical boxes and added an air conditioner to the tongue of the trailer. Now, the fun could begin.
I have always loved berth beds and had a Pinterest page with beds that double as a nook. I decided to create a Captains berth that I could hunker down in and shut off the world if I wanted to. I built it all from pine boards from Lowe’s and painted it with a $10 gallon of green paint that someone returned. The counter top was created from salvaged boards that I had been storing in my garage for at least five years. My sweet husband doweled a few together and traced the old table top onto them creating a new table top that matched the counters.
The sink was a $3 aluminum bowl from a garage sale that we drilled a hole in and outfitted with the essential drain plumbing. The refrigerator and microwave would be hidden underneath behind a skirt of old ticking fabric. The upper kitchen cabinets were a new purchase from a box store that I painted black and added crystal hardware to. The storage cabinet by the door was created from a set of old shutters that I had in the garage.
I was so happy with the whole thing when it was done and loved camping in this sweet space which made me feel so relaxed and happy. It was such a simple space and it reminded me, like camping itself does, of simpler times and the value of owning less. There was no room for multiple coats and choices in fry pans. One cast iron skillet, a hot water bottle for cold nights, an electric tea kettle, a good wool blanket. That’s all you need. As much as I loved this camper, I ended up gifting it to my nephew after several years. It will always be my favorite though and I love that Billy and his little family enjoy using it at the campground and in their backyard. It is still in the family and still treasured!