camping, DIY, IKEA hack, interior design, Travel, vintage trailer
The weeks of seemingly nonstop tasks are finally at an end. Miss Trilly is snug in her Summer Palace in Oregon. We left her with caring family on April 16th, continuing north without her trailing behind Zuzu. It was sad to be parting without having time to fully enjoy her fresh new look, but she is packed for camping and ready for our return in October. It is our plan to head northeast from Oregon on our first big journey together. We are excitedly looking forward to an extended trip to parts of the country we haven’t yet explored. Miss Trilly has a new lease on life as an able traveling companion, all dressed up with places to go. She (and we) will be waiting patiently until then.
April 8th was the official unveiling of our sweet Trillium’s makeover to family and a couple of special friends. Nina’s mom was invited into Miss Trilly’s bosom as soon as all her new accoutrements were in place. Mom was extremely accommodating and gracious. She was highly aware of all our difficulties, challenges, and the extraordinary amount of time we had put into the project. For three months, we had taken over her garage, set up a worktable in the office, stacked foam and fabric in the sewing room, spread yards of fabrics across the family room floor, cleaned aluminum windows on the side yard picnic table, and even used the expanse of the backyard deck for spray gluing. Mom had earned the privileged position of first viewing. Choking back tears, she managed the words, “It is so beautiful!”
She is beautiful…
Some details… The window shades are what I guess is known as an IKEA Hack (there is a website devoted to projects using IKEA products in unique ways). I used beige Anno Sanela curtain panels, which are made of paper and look like fine grasscloth. Only fifteen dollars apiece, three were more than enough to make shades for all the windows. I sliced up the 23.5″ x 118″ panels with a rotary cutter and glued them back together with the wonderful adhesive from Beacon, Fabri-Tac. The shades roll up by hand and fasten to a large wooden bead attached at the header with a single loop of cord, crocheted out of embroidery floss because it was the only thing I could find that was the right color. The headers are accented with welting made from the seat upholstery fabric. I waterproofed the small shade over the door window with spray silicone. Forty-five dollars, a bottle of glue, some scrap wood cut to size and painted, five beads from an old necklace, and three skeins of embroidery thread at thirty-seven cents… Voilá, lovely window coverings with a definite Zen feel. Peaceful. Simple.
One of the trickier aspects of the new upholstery was a result of our decision to create wrap-around cushions for the front dinette. We assembled the foam shapes from “Q” foam we had left over from our boat cushions. It is very high quality material, expensive too, and we had saved all unused pieces. We glued slabs together to the size and thickness we desired, using spray adhesives. We used both 3M High Strength 90 and Loctite Professional. Each has a web spray pattern, which is easier to control. I found that I prefer the 3M product. We had used that on our boat headliners and it has held up well since 2004. We let the glue cure overnight, then cut wedges out where we wanted the cushion to make a curved right angle. The first set of wedges weren’t deep enough, so we cut them larger and glued again, jamming the folded foam under some furniture to force it into a tight bond. Here is Clark cutting the foam with an electric knife that we found at the thrift store for fifty cents.
And here is a finished corner cushion. This is the starboard one with the back shaped to accommodate the bump next to the door. This allows for a cushion the full width of the seat.
On the Road!
On April 11th, together we hit the pavement, driving north on Highways 70/99 through Yuba City and Chico, joining I-5 at Red Bluff. This is “the scenic route”, more leisurely without the interstate’s many trucks and vehicles whose drivers always seem to be in a hurry. The day was clear and mild, a perfect day to enjoy the passing rows of flowering fruit and nut trees of Northern California’s “fruit basket” agricultural area. We were aiming for Valley of The Rogue State Park, just a bit shy of Grants Pass, Oregon. We wondered how well Zuzu would behave towing the Trillium through the winding passes and steep grades of the Klamath Mountains. This system includes the mighty volcanic Mount Shasta and the somewhat infamous Siskiyous. We were especially curious to see how she towed after we simplified the hitch setup by removing the trunnion weight distribution kit, which we felt was unnecessary for towing our Miss Trilly’s mere 1300 pounds.
The driving proceeded beautifully and we enjoyed the sights along the way–our view of Mount Shasta was glorious. The traffic was remarkably light and our Trooper didn’t flinch with the trailer obediently following. It was much less bumpy and jarring towing without the weight kit on the hitch. We were able to pass the double-rigs as they negotiated the downgrades under low gear and slowed to a crawl on the upgrades. The going was comfortably smooth.
Inside Oregon, we pulled off in Medford to fill the fuel tank at Costco, then drove on to the state park where we found a spot to spend the night beside the Rogue River. Unfortunately, the camping area is also flanked by the freeway on its other side. The trailer seemed to dampen the whoosh of traffic–we were glad not to be sleeping in a tent!
Dinnertime. No propane. Hmmmm, we had tested it before we left. It had to be that the 34-year-old regulator decided to take that moment to give up the ghost. Cold chicken thighs with slices of Irish cheddar and Jarlsberg took the place of a hot chicken and cheese omelet that night. We slept very well on the custom mattress that came with Miss Trilly. I made up the bed with our fleece sheets and a “down alternative” throw (Don’t you just love that? It’s just Dacron, folks.) from Costco. It felt just like our berth on the boat or the bed at our studio in Sacramento–much nicer than sleeping bags. Without propane for the wall heater, we were fortunate to have electricity for the small space heater because it got very chilly. We had to wear earplugs to block out its loud fan and the freeway noise. In the morning, we went into Grants Pass to find a restaurant for hot coffee and breakfast. We admit with some reluctance that we ended up at Denny’s, where we split a Grand Slam with four eggs and four slices of paper-thin bacon.
I looked up RV parts stores and, after a foray into the town’s nicely stocked Fred Meyer store, we pulled into a yard with dozens of new motorhomes for sale. The gal behind the counter told us, after we explained our regulator problem, that they would charge $44 just to “take a look at it.” We were in the wrong place! On the road again, we hadn’t even reached full inertia when we spied a small RV yard on the west side of the freeway. We took the off ramp immediately coming up and pulled into Oregon RV Outlet, where Howard sold us a new regulator for only $17. They were doing work on a very unusual vintage fiberglass trailer, one of only two made in 1969. The name on the side of this beautifully painted unit was “Experimental Grimm-Aero.” We have not been able to discover any more information.
The Exit 99 (Canyonville) off-ramp took us to the only privately owned rest stop on the West Coast, Jordan Creek. It is on the Seven Feathers Casino property. It is very well appointed and it’s BIG. I learned the details about this new rest stop on the internet using 3G on our iPad as we drove away. This rest stop has only been open since autumn of 2012. A sign indicated that a maximum of twelve hours of parking is allowed. We marked it down as a potential overnight location.
Next stop, the Salem Costco for gas. While Clark waited in line, I ran in to use the restroom. On the way, I noticed that they had the 10′ x 20′ carport we had purchased in Sacramento on display. If you are a Costco member, you will have learned to buy what you want the first time you see it in the store, because when you go back the item may be sold out. That is what we did with the shelter for Miss Trilly. Yes, we could have saved paying California sales tax, but we did not want to take the chance of Salem not having any available. Besides, we had to pack all our boat gear around that gigantic box.
We arrived at my aunt’s rural home just after 4:30 p.m. My cousin and her husband were out working in the expansive yard. The weather was now cold and gray, quite a change from sunny, warm California. Rain was in the forecast, so the huge box that held the Summer Palace was immediately unloaded from the Trooper. We had the frame all set up and ready for footings before dinner. Easy.
The guys made a trip into town the next morning for concrete. They set about making forms and digging post holes as anchors. We understand that the area is subject to some strong, unpredictable winds. We certainly don’t want the vinyl-covered tent to be lifted off its legs and blown around, so it is secured every which way. My family is very generous in providing the space for and attention to our trailer, and we want to ensure that having this new object to care for is as simple and uneventful as possible. The shelter must also be attractive and unobtrusive. Terri’s prowess as a gardener is obvious–her landscape is simply lovely, manicured to perfection, with wonderful combinations of textures and colors. The new addition to the yardscape is more than acceptable, she told us, and it is not white! (Believe it or not, this is important.)
The men building forms as Miss Trilly awaits.
The Summer Palace complete with our sweetheart snugly ensconced…
Here we must leave Miss Trilly and you, our dear readers, for we are now back aboard our trimaran, Rikki-tikki-tavi, readying him for a full six months of cruising the Pacific Northwest. Clark and I will pick up where we left off when we return, put Rikki-tikki to bed for the winter, and begin our Great Journey with Miss Trilly. Until then, we wish all of you safe travels and wonderful adventures!
9ah and Clark