Friday, July 17, 2009

In the beginning...

Well, here it is. This is how she looked when my brother and I arrived as the sun set near Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin. Even in our exhausted-from-driving-14-hours-straight state, we could see that she was worth every penny of the $900 Rick was asking. But wait, already I get ahead of myself, "How is it two Oklahoma boys found themselves in the middle of Wisconsin with $900 in 5's, 20's and 100's from three different ATM machines?" you ask. Well since you're so nosy, I'll tell you. A couple of months ago my wife, Cheryl, and I started talking about camping. We have two kids, ages 2 years and 4 months, so we thought we would crank up the challenge by taking them into the great outdoors. Now, I have always been an avid tent camper, "RV's...Pattooie!", but as I considered both Cheryl and the kids stuffed into tents, I thought to myself, "Maybe a small camper, a pop-up, it is almost a tent” would be a good idea. So that got the ball rolling.

Then Cheryl found her inspiration…a sno cone stand in Kansas City that was made from an old Shasta trailer. See it here. After reading the story about the rescue of this old 50's camper, our search was on. We watched eBay, Craigslist and made random Google searches trying to find the perfect camper. I tried to keep it within reason, 200 miles or so. I didn't want to haul some relic clear across the country. Ahem. But one night I was bored, there were so many cool vintage trailers on the coasts, so I expanded my parameters to a 1,000 mile radius from Oklahoma. It was late, I got tired and finally went to bed. The next afternoon when Cheryl got home from work she got on the computer and started searching where I left off. “This one looks nice; it is too bad it is so far away.” I looked it over, read the description and saw the time stamp. He had only posted it about 30 minutes earlier. Now if you are not familiar with these trailers, here is how it works. If it is a good deal, it is gone in about a day. If not, even if they say it is decent, it is probably a rat-infested piece of junk. So, after about 5 minutes of discussion, saying phrases like “This is crazy” and “Our parents are going to think we are nuts” and two phone calls to Wisconsin, we decided that I would make the 28 hour, 1800 mile round trip to get it. Rick said he would hold it for us, which he may have second-guessed later since he got about 25 phone calls about it while I was on the road, including several sight unseen offers.

Now a little background on me…I am a stay-at-home dad of two, while Cheryl brings home the bacon. I am a Jeremy-of-all-trades. I have been a lumber yard guy, a grill cook, a landscaper/lawnmower, a manager of a plant store chain, a construction manager for a nationwide dental company and now a dad. Let me say my most recent position is the most exciting/rewarding so far. Along with raising children, I have my projects…

Last year I built a biodiesel reactor to make fuel from waste vegetable oil for our vehicles and put a new motor in my old Jeep so I could sell it and get it out of the driveway. So, just as the front of our house begins to look like a home again and is almost free of debris, I see the emptiness and long to fill it with a “project.” Cheryl often refers to our driveway as “the salvage yard.”

So here we are empty driveway longing to be filled, trailer in Wisconsin longing to fill it. Now what? I called my brother who agreed to be my copilot; he’s a teacher so he didn’t have anything to do, right? Then we called Cheryl’s parents and asked them to come watch the yahoos while I was gone. Did I mention this was a Wednesday night? So the next morning I headed to Wisconsin, picking up my brother on the way. The drive was relatively uneventful; we got there at 8 in the evening as the sun was setting.

Here we are back where this tale started. We looked inside, took a few pics, paid Rick, thanked him for holding it and hauled it to a campground in Fon Du Lac where we ate our Wendy’s dinner by flashlight and fell asleep.

Until next time dear readers, shasta la vista...

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