Camping 2017

It feels like a century since we put our 1974 Dodge Travco “Lucky Seven” into winter storage. We’ve thought about and planned for the 2017 camping season virtually since we put the RV away for the cold months.

Today, Lucky Seven arises from her hibernation. In  few short hours we will be pulling her into our driveway and hooking her up to hydro and water, checking everything over and preparing for this summer’s adventures.

Day Tripping

The first several weeks we will  limit ourselves to short day-trips. We have an annual day pass for Ontario’s provincial parks, and I believe one of the best parks in the province is less than a half hour’s drive from our house: Sandbanks Provincial Park has kilometres of sand beaches and trails to hike and enjoy on the shores of Lake Ontario.

We’ll be packing a picnic lunch or bringing along BBQ treats, and while my husband is walking the dog I’ll be collecting driftwood for my new venture Catch My Drift? my one of a kind driftwood art creations.

Gotta go get the Travco now. Going on an adventure soon!Craft shows image3

One of my art pieces 🙂

 

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Camping like a Girl

There’s no other way to describe it – a perfect weekend of camping and camaraderie.

Girl Camp Canada’s vintage trailer and RV show and shine August 21 in Warkworth, Ontario was the best event we’ve attended this year. The fun started the day before in a grassy field on the farm of Raquilda and Lion Van Zoeren. We parked the Travco in the shade with a Boler, Scottie, Shasta, Argosy and even an Airstream.

For dinner everyone chipped in on crusts and ingredients. We laid out the bounty on an empty hay trailer and one of the ladies with a propane fired pizza cooker created stone-baked pizza for everyone. Delicious!

After dinner everyone got dressed up in gypsy style and we went around taking photos of ourselves all over the farm. We ended up at our Travco for a group shot.

The day ended with a social time around the campfire. This was special for us, as the community has had an outdoor burning ban in place since July 2 and it had been lifted earlier that day, as if just for our event.

The next morning everyone hitched up their trailers and drove them to Warkworth’s Main Street for the show and shine. We lined them up on either side of the road, and many of the ladies brought out vintage collectables to sell. The public marveled at the tiny treasured trailers decorated in many different themes from ultra modern to Boho to the Wild West.

In past years an event called The Long Lunch would have been in the middle of the street, but due to a morning shower, the luncheon moved to the local arena. We took a break and attended the meal. Ham, roast beef, salads, home baked beans, buns and a slice of homemade fruit pie. Yummy! I felt like closing the door on Lucky Seven and having a nap after that feast.

At the end of the day we had around 100 people tour Lucky Seven. Not one of them had ever heard of the Travco brand before, and we enlightened them all on our special RV.

We made some wonderful new friends and the time of our lives at this event. The tranquil beauty camping at the farm was the perfect venue to lead into Sunday’s show. At the end of the day we all exchanged email addresses and followed each other on Facebook to make sure we meet up again same time next year.

Who knows? We may get together for another campout before this season ends.

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The Girl Camp Gang with Lucky Seven at the Van Zoeren Farm.

Wonderful hosts!

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Children loved touring the Travco.

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The Van Zoeren girls got in on the show with their own tiny trailer vintage shoppe

More of the awesome GCC ladies’ custom trailers.

We made it!!

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Martin and Girly Girl at Lake Consecon

Our first weekend camping in Lucky Seven was a great success.

We discovered a lakefront campsite at a small local campground on Lake Consecon, about 20 minutes from Picton, Ontario in Prince Edward County. The weather was perfect, the location comfortable and the people friendly without being nosy pests. Even our dog GirlyGirl made new friends.

Only one negative thing: The County is under a burn ban due to drought, so no campfires. We haven’t had a good rain here in weeks. Everything is tinder dry.

After missing camping last year during our search for a Travco, this weekend felt like paradise. A stiff breeze kept the stifling heat at bay both day and night. A little boy and girl followed their dad up from the dock with the catch of the day – a walleye and a grass pike. As dusk settled on the still water, a loon floated by, calling eerily between diving for minnows.

There’s nothing like camping in the summer, and camping in our beautifully restored Travco made it even better. We’ve reserved this site for the rest of the season, and will probably go back for burgers on the barbecue and a swim later today.

Life’s good at the campsite.

Another try

Here I go again, questing for my ideal Travco.

At this point “ideal” is a very loose term. Able to drive from Point A to Point B without collapsing in a heap of rust or the engine dying 500 miles from home is the new “ideal”..

It’s been quite a journey. We started in the spring of 2015 very naively purchasing a Travco 270 that sat in the bush for years. We started restoration without getting a mechanical safety first. Big mistake. After sinking several thousand dollars into parts, we found out the frame was a Swiss cheese of rust punctures, and unable to certify for road travel. The 270 was tow to a wrecking yard and we took a huge loss.

Since then we’ve been very gun shy. We’ve investigated many Travcos on Kijiji, through word of mouth and on Craigslist. We’ve had at least four deals fall through. The first two were unable to pass certification. One had been beautifully restored, but unsuitable for our needs. The last one proved to be a major disappointment. We made a deal for a 1969 270 and a few days before we were to pick it up, the seller pulled out.

We’d about had it with Travco shopping at that point. My husband wanted “any used RV, as long as we can camp in it.” I begged him to let me persevere a little longer.

A few months ago I answered a Craigslist ad from South Carolina. A two-line message for a yard sale, “and my Dad’s Travco”. No photos. No other information. I had phoned the owner and discussed a deal, but with the low US exchange on the Canadian dollar and the cost of travelling to Charleston to pick it up, I felt it wasn’t a good deal.

After striking out so many times I emailed the owner of this southern belle again. He said he still had the Travco and still wanted to sell. He assured me Old Blue was in good, drivable condition and could make the trip from Charleston to the Ontario border without a hiccup. And after comparing his sale price with what we’d been looking at in Canada lately, this Travco was affordable after all.

We worked out a deal and I purchased one-way tickets for myself, my husband and our 12 year old son for Charleston. Then the owner sent me a cryptic e-mail. We had settled on a fee of $6,000 US for the 1977 Travco. Now he was very interested in what prices I’d been quoted on other Travcos I’d been looking at.

Concerned he was going to hike his asking price, nevertheless I told him the truth. An hour later I received his answer:

“Me and Old Blue had a long conversation, and I’ve decided to let her go for $3,000. You have to promise to look after her. She’s a southern lady.”

Stunned, I re-read the message a few times. He included his phone number so I called.

“Are you sure about this? It’s half what we agreed on.”

“Old Blue’s going to a good home. That’s the important part,” he said. “By the way, did I tell you Old Blue is a 320?”

This week we are getting everything in order for our latest Travco adventure. It’s our last chance at a Travco, as funds are stretching pretty thin. We hired an importer to handle the paperwork at the border. And we’re very excited to visit a part of the US we’ve never been to before.

I’ll keep you posted on our latest Travco adventure. We fly from Toronto to Charleston, SC on May 7.

I just realized. I still don’t have a photo of Old Blue to post!

Wish us luck.

No more Travco… for now

We are Travco-less.

After spending a year in time and several thousand dollars in upgrades, the Ministry of Transportation deemed the RV’s frame too rusted out to pass a safety. We had to give her away to a junkyard last Friday.

It’s disappointing to say the least. We were so excited to find this vehicle then begin the long, slow process of customizing it to our taste and needs. We’d imagined all kinds of fun excursions we would take the Travco on – group meets, glamping, boondocking – we were going to do it all.

Now, we start over. We’ve learned a painful lesson about purchasing used RVs, and the dishonesty and/or lack of knowledge of some “professional” service persons. In short, we got screwed by our naiveté. We assumed we were dealing with trustworthy businesses.

We’re not giving up. Older, wiser and with almost empty pockets, we are again perusing Craigslist, eBay, Kijiji and the local classifieds for another Travco. We will get one. We may not be able to afford to put a tank of fuel in it for awhile, but we will find one, even if we camp in our yard with it.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the standards a vehicle has to pass to be deemed roadworthy in Ontario, Canada, click here for the link. Very extensive list.

 

Thinking spring

Last weekend Girl Camp Canada held their annual winter camp-out. Members from across the country spent the night in their trailers. Some went all out and parked their trailers outdoors, others visited their campers in storage, staying overnight while the camper was still under a tarp.

I wish I could have participated. The Travco is still in for mechanical repairs. What’s worse, the window of free time the RV centre gave us for electrical and water system work is closing fast. If the Travco isn’t delivered to them soon, they will be prepping for the 2016 RV shows and it will be many months before they will have the time needed to give this old bus a proper going over.

I’ve already had a couple disappointments before the 2016 camping season even starts. Every summer, Travco owners go to a meet in Brown City, Michigan, where the vehicle was manufactured. I was so looking forward to meeting fellow fans and learning about our vintage 1975 Travco 270. But the event has been cancelled.

Another big car show event is planned in London, Ontario, and some Travco owners are attending. It’s June 4-5. That’s the only weekend this year I have a commitment to work. And there’s no way I can get out of it.

I’m hoping we will get our Travco on the road this summer. And, we will attend an event some time soon. Camping is too much fun to miss another whole season.