Last month my wife sent me to look at an old Holiday Rambler she saw in Craigslist. I drove 40 miles into the country to have a look, and it was a basket case. But look what peered through the trees at me on the way home:
I turned around and pulled in the driveway, and knocked on the door to say hello. The nice lady who answered, said the camper had been in her family for the last thirty years, and was used every year for numerous camping trips throughout the southeast until her husband died 8 years ago. Sadly, it had been sitting in her yard ever since. I asked if she'd consider selling it for a restoration project I'd like to do with my grandson, but she said she uses it for storage of her holiday decorations. After thinking for a moment, I asked "what if I were to build you a storage shed?" She thought for a minute and said, "I'd like that.", and we had a deal. So...four weeks and numerous trips back and forth, and Ms. Belle was happy, and so was I!
When I went to pick up the Shasta, this nice lady had tears in her eyes, and said she had many fond memories in that old camper. I promised her I'd keep pictures for her as my grandson and I restored the Shasta, which we will call "Ms. Belle". She smiled and said goodbye to her memories. Very nice lady, and I felt good building her that shed. )
So now the real work begins. I'll post more as we assess the condition of Ms. Belle, and decide what has to be done to bring this very neat old travel trailer back to its original glory! Bye for now!
Absolutely the greatest "find" story I have ever heard. What a great trade off. WIN WIN situation and you got yourself a very nice camper. This is the way I find mine. Off the beaten path and most of the time when I am not even looking.
Congratulations and do keep us all posted. Lots and lots of photos along the way. We are all photo addicts here.
Last Edit: Oct 23, 2013 7:33:04 GMT -8 by mobiltec
God grant me the strength to restore the trailers I can, The courage to strip the parts off the ones I can't, And the wisdom to know the difference...
Awesome trade and best find story I've heard!! She'll feel better when all her neighbors compliment her on her new storage shed and how much better it looks with her house than the eyesore of a camper! LOL I would clear coat the rust lines on the sheet metal of the new garden shed. It looks pretty cool. Has a nice mountain feel. Love your new unit. It looks to be a great starting point for another generation of memories. We name all our vintage cars too. One of them got named after the lady who owned it before us. We owned that car once and our son has recently purchased it back again and he has owned it twice! LOL
How nice it worked out for both of you. Barter King! Love your Vintage Jeep too!!!
I bet she'll be in that garden shed more than the twice a year she was in the Shasta for Christmas stuff.
Thanks all, for the positive comments! Larry, I am always surprised by how these finds "find their way to me"...and my wife isn't always happy! But you're right, this was one of those win-win's, and she was delighted with the shed. I'll be visiting your fantastic video library regularly, because this one's going to be a challenge! And yes, I'll post tons of pictures.
Soup, thanks for the compliment on the shed! I would also clear coat to preserve the rust lines, but she wanted to have her painter paint the metal brown and the trim white--her choice. The old jeep is a tank in disguise...a real behemoth that'll pull anything. Ms. Belle had an easy tow to its new home behind that old jeep!
Bigbill, it was those wings that caught my eye...I was surprised also, but the camper is pretty much complete. There are advantages to living in the country, where neighbors watch out for you rather than steal your stuff!
Post by swirlygirls on Oct 23, 2013 12:29:23 GMT -8
Oh my goodness, now I have a tear in my eye. This is such a sweet story on every level. She will love seeing the restoration and especially that it will now be part of another family. Many more memories to come!
Thanks swirlygirls. I always prefer the human side of my hobbies!
This afternoon I took a closer look at the systems in Ms. Belle, and it looks like everything is original except the fridge. There was even a bonus at the end of my search (see last photo), and the trailer looks pretty good. Let me know what you all think, and does anyone have documentation/instructions on the water heater and furnace? Thanks!
Original Leveling Jacks...
To the Loo...
And here's the bonus shot. Sometime over the last 8 years, a small snake decided Ms Belle was a perfect place to shed its skin!
Next we'lll take a closer look at some of the issues; but at first sight, I'd probably be willing to take a trip in this old girl as soon as all systems can be tested and confirmed. But long-term, she'll need a new roof, new ceiling sections, and whatever else reveals itself when we open the canned ham!
You should keep that snake skin... and thank it's previous owner for undoubtedly evicting one way or another, the family of mice planning to take up residence and using your ham for a wall to wall bathroom, as was what happened in mine. I found two large sheddings and kept the larger; will eventually mount it in a frame to show homage, and keep it tucked away somewhere less visible so I don't freak out human visitors.
Hi Corky. Welcome on the board! Congratulations on the "find"! Your story is a great one. I like the human side of the hobbies as well. I gotta say though that the camper side of your story is pretty nice too. That model has been a fairly rare one amongst finds over years. I like the layout they used in that model. Rearward kitchen and PLENTY of easy sleeping room.
Then again, by now you may have found the sales brochures and original paperwork in the trailer.
I hope you will keep us up with LOTS of photos. The ones you have shown so far are really great...lots of promise in that ole gal...there seems to be some aging but not a lot of neglect and falling apart. That should be a great project for you, to clean up and tweak what needs tweaking, and enjoy camping!
Thanks again for the new comments. I've been busy the last week in a new job, but will try to get back with more pictures then.
In the meantime, does anyone have procedures or instructions for checking out the space heater? I know how to operate the water heater and stove/oven, but if you have suggestions on those too I'm all ears!
We just finished restoring a '60 Deluxe and absolutely DID NOT trust the heater/furnace that was in place, so we removed it and use the space for storage, and take a small ceramic heater to use while camping. You can also use the cooktop/oven as a heater if you wish.
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Thanks for the feedback. There's a lot to be said for your approach. There have been so many advances in burn efficiency for LP appliances over the last fifty years, I may just take that path also. But on the other hand, I also enjoy using tried and true antique technology--as long as its safe. I have a 56 year old Farmall Cub tractor I mechanically restored with friends a few years ago, and its more dependable and safer than new models which cost ten times more--as long as I respect its limitations and known safety issues. But when it comes to CO and LP...gotta be careful!
I welcome other experiences and input, as we ge! to know this neat old travel trailer!