So, back to the drawing board for me. Perhaps this was the end of my dream? I continued to look on Craig’s List but each ‘possibility’ I looked at was too far or in pretty basic condition, and then you didn’t really know how bad or good it was by pictures. After all, I knew absolutely nothing about these campers, let alone repairing one to the point of beauty and safety! Big SIGH. I even started looking on Ebay and found many ‘vintage campers’… some really cute and some pretty remote. None close and from what I did know is that you never buy sight unseen. I continued to look nonetheless and learn. There were a couple of Facebook groups that I found and joined to gain information from people that actually DID have a camper and actually DID camp! More about those groups later…but let me just say that it’s a lot better to have real people answering your questions (no matter how stupid they may be) than reading in a book or googling information!
One day, in my boredom, I decided to look on ebay again and dream. Heck, it was just plain fun to see the pictures of these vintage campers and especially the insides! Some were like little doll houses with matching little things to decorate…and some had themes as well. Anyway, as I was looking I came across a 1961 Shasta Re-issue. HUH??? Re-Issue??? I read more about this. Apparently the company (Shasta) was celebrating it’s 75th anniversary by rebuilding one of their classic models in two sizes – a 16′ and a 19’. There would only be 1,941 of them built as that was the year the company began so they would be a limited edition. And the best part is that they would be new (and yet look OLD) so there would be no worries of anything falling apart or getting ripped off or spending a lot of money fixing a camper up. Hmmmm. I had really wanted a vintage one because I just appreciate the older ones that have a hidden story to tell. In fact I appreciate all vintage things (maybe because I am ‘vintage’ too?) and have always liked to shop for antiques that are different and unusual. But, this seemed to be a real possibility for this novice camper who knew little to nothing about the vagabond life style!
I think I waited exactly 10 minutes before I picked up the number and called this dealership located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The man, named Joe, told me all about these and how they were very popular. They would only be taking orders for about another month and then production would begin once all 1,941 were ordered. Some were ordered by dealerships all over the country and others were ordered individually. But the thing was that if a person waited and bought from a dealership later the price would certainly go up. Well, this was something to think about. 16K with a 1k deposit. Vintage campers certainly didn’t cost this much unless they were completely re-vamped from inside out. 16k is a lot of money! But, I wouldn’t have to worry about anything breaking and they did have a warranty. But still, it seemed a lot like cheating. I could not help but feel that there was a poor old soul out there wanting to be loved again. Another big SIGH.
I told my dear friend, Jack (name changed so he won’t flip out that i’m writing about him), about it. I had been talking about this whole vintage trailer thing to him for weeks now….maybe longer, who knows. He knows me pretty well as we have been friends since we were in college and can read each other without even trying to. In short, he confirmed that I was officially crazy but also that he knew I was going to do it anyway no matter what he or anyone would say to me (because when I get something in my head that is the end of it!). So, in essence, he half heartedly gave his blessing on getting the new one because he felt it would be safer for me. I know that he was rolling his eyes and shaking his head over the phone…but I think there is just a point with Jack where he just simply gives up on me because, as he says, I can rationalize anything to get my way! Hmmm…maybe that’s true? He knows, that I am capable of arguing my point until he just gives up. That’s one of the qualities I like about him!
I waited exactly one day (just so I could say I thought about it) and called Joe in Michigan back. I ordered the Red 16′ and paid my 1k deposit. My hands were shaking when I put the phone down. Oh my gosh…i’m going to own a camper!!!! I’m going to CAMP and possibly fish!! I immediately went to the facebook groups and asked what I needed to purchase as far as essentials. And in my mind I was already devising a decorating plan and theme to go with the red. Gosh, this was going to be so much fun!!!
When I talked to my daughters and told them my good news…. let’s just say that they were a little stunned. “But Mom, you’ve never done anything like this before! Where will you go? What will you do…and how will you do it? You don’t know anything about this kind of stuff!” Well, I did kind of. I had been reading and researching after all. Doesn’t that count? Actually, I felt a little panic because after all I had never even stepped foot inside a REAL camper in my entire life! But, that feeling only lasted a short while because my next plan was to join the fun group of women that would help me through this and also so that I would not be alone in my venture. Sisters On The Fly, get ready for ME!!!
Joining the Sisters is as easy as logging onto their website, paying a fee of $60 to join for one year, and submitting information. Then you wait to be contacted with your official number and are given links to some private sites. Once I got this, I was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from one of the gals who is in charge of the mid-west region. Since this is a world wide organization with nearly 5k women, the different regions of the USA are broken up and have ‘leaders’ called wranglers. Now each region organizes events within but if you want to travel far away you are welcome to participate anywhere and in any event. Since I joined so late in the season, only a couple of events were coming up…but I was welcomed and encouraged to go even though I had no camper. The beauty of this group is that you do not have to have a camper to go to these events. Some sisters tent camp and some just sleep in their vehicles. And although a really fun event was coming up in October, neither of those two options sounded great to me no matter how much fun was involved. Mind you, I do not even own a sleeping bag, let alone a tent!! Still though, I was encouraged. The sisters would loan me a tent and even an air mattress! Well….let me think about this for like two seconds. Ummmm NO! But thank you, not forgetting my manners.
So, it’s official. I am Sister 5139 and ready to earn badges! I wonder if there is some kind of official handshake or song. My daughter is in a sorority at Ball State University and i’m wondering if it’s going to be like that maybe?? Hmmmm. Well, I shall find out. That is, once I get my camper!
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
To be continued….. (there’s a lot more!)