The Apple.... 
... does not fall... 
... far from the tree! 
The legend is that Steve Jobs grew up in an Eichler- style California Mid-Century Modern home. 
From the Killing Me Softly files: Death By Flooring Options. 

Yes. I am being "serious". 

I know that the Spartan will have to endure baking in the Texas sun. One of my priorities is not to have chemicals off gassing and making it smell bad, and BE bad for healthy breathing. 

The other logistical considerations: weight, wear, keeping clean and looking clean (2 different things!). 

And... of course: STYLE. 

This is my attempt to choose by ordering samples on-line from Marmoleum. Left sample= Too damn dark. Right sample= better, but not sure I like the "stone" effect... not very vintage, and kinda bland.  

Oh, and one other thing.

Bear in mind that I have 200 square feet to cover, + the recommended 10% overage=  220 sf.  So, this is just not going to be a minor line item on by budget. Ahem. 

I like linoleum. Old school, green, long wearing. Fashion colors, ya'll! Except- for once in my life, I don't want flashy. I want it to look good, but, be neutral enough that I can change things up without, say, a blood red floor. Which would be killer! But... might get on my nerves over time. 

And, at $5 plus/ sf we are talking about a $1,000 minimum. Which means I need to LOVE it. Sigh. Keep looking. 

This is my trip to the decorator floor showroom. They have a crayon box worth of choices, but I have to remember not to fly over to the brightest thing like a magpie. Left/Green- meh, Center/Yellow- too boring, Right/ Red- fussy) 

I also am guessing at how the it will complement my beechwood interior. All samples are photographed up against wood to check how they "work" with it. I am concerned about the trailer being dark- the chocolate brown floor in there now does a helluva job hiding dirt, but, it hardly brightens up the place. 
Here I am at the "Green" showroom, which has lovely things, wonderful vibes- and everything costs the moon and has to be special ordered. 

Left/ Yellow- NO. NO. NO!  Middle/Gray- Actually my favorite of the bunch, but worried it will be too dark. Right/ Blue- Pretty. Very pretty. But... not neutral.

There were also trips to dive-y little flooring closeout places, and big box stores, but they could not really communicate the whole VOC/ toxic status to me.  And, to be honest, at this point I was just exhausted and overwhelmed and sick of thinking about flooring. 

God, it's not even fun to write about the flooring headache. Why? Why are you still reading this?? 

What do you think? Are you an interior decorator person magically reading my blog and dying to advise me? ADVISE ME. Should I bite the bullet and go with the Gray? It's kinda masculine and crisp looking to me. The mottling is prettier in person. Or the Blue? Sky blue, more fun, relaxed, vacation-y. 

Ackkkkkkk!!!!! I. Don't. KNOW. Or really care anymore. Apathy for the win!!

In anticipation of the Big Trip I had some girlfriends over for movie night. We went with the granddaddy of trailer flicks: The Long, Long Trailer. Ahh, the screwball antics of Lucy and Desi, capturing the 1950's in all it's beauty and f'ed up ideals.
Naturally, the whole idea was to capture the fun and glamour of vintage trailers by watching them in their native habitat. Well, much in the way The Nature Channel can remind you that cute little critters are actually wild animals...

Yeah, so the thing about the '50, entertainment-wise, anyway, is the utter predictability of the humor. The gags are not subtle, and the set up for them carefully ensures even the most dim-witted person won't miss it. That is part of what makes it comforting. The clever audience can see that Aunt Anastasia's rose trellissed driveway and landscaping is doomed.  Lucy's rock (boulder) collection and canning obsession are building up to a scene involving a narrow mountain road. 

The problem with all this gay hilarity is that, even with such clearly exaggerated antics, the issues: stopping the trailer, driving in traffic, backing up, parking, and yes, narrow mountain roads, are still alarming to the demographic of women aged 30-45 who are about to embark on a 2,500 mile 10-day trip hauling a Long, Long Trailer.
Our little group's Oohs and Ahhs over the fantastic Trailer Show scene and delight in looking at all the cool housewares in the trailer slowly turned to nervous laughter, then consternation, and finally audible gulps of wine as the ineptness of our poor protagonists makes their trailer trip a slow descent into Hell. 

Aiii Lucy, indeed. 

We turned on all the lights in the house and talked about how silly the monsters were. I mean, really, the New Moon trailer in the movie weighed over three tons! My trailer only weighs 5,200 pounds plus the hitch, say 700 lbs, well, hummmm...crap, we're probably over three tons, too. And the New Moon was 40 feet! Desi says that all the time in the movie!! Except, ahem, the real New Moon was only 32 feet, vs. my Spartan at 33 feet. Double crap. 

Well, we did add up a few obvious pluses in favor of our trip going smoothly. First off, we will not be wearing skirts 3 feet wide with matching high heels. Though we did like the pedal pusher and plaid shirt tied at waist look. 

Second, we won't be trying to make a "wonderful home" to "take care of" any men. A 50's newlywed film is bound to be sexist, but it's still tough to take. He does not even want her to drive, for pete's sake. And the gag is that he is the Nervous Nellie and she is overly confident. Which is crazy funny because, you know, he's the man. Women drivers ha ha ha. Gag me for sure. 

Finally, while our tow vehicle is not a beautiful pale yellow '53 Monterey Mercury convertible, it does have the useful addition of seat belts.  

We got our equilibrium back and we are fabulous again, thanks. And, hey, maybe we'll run into some of those helpful "trailerites" that want to be all up in your business. Or the trailer park owner who wants to back your rig in and get you all hooked up. 

For sure we can find the people who want to have a few cocktails and share snacks. Yeah, we'll be just fine, folks. It's all sunshine, Yosemite and singing out loud again. 

Woo Boy. The thrill of the cake now behind me, I have to say The Trip is looming large. Which is both thrilling and ummm... well, alarming, quite frankly. 

I may have, I dunno, mentioned in passing that I don't know really what I'm doing. Umm. No, really. This is unlikely to be a funny post, for the exact reason that technical ain't funny. Probably why I can't abide much of it. I mean, I'm not a lost cause, but I'm also pretty much outta my comfort zone. 

Deep breath. Let's be positive. Things I have done to prepare include pretty much the obvious and rational. Had new tires put on both trailer and tow vehicle last Summer. Had the wheels checked. Skylights had rotted so got those replaced. Van got a "check up" and had fluid changed and some small issues touched up. Checked frames on both trailer and van for rust or decay- looks good. Van has been garaged so looks great, actually. Will have trailer brakes and lights hooked up and tested before departure. 

Letsee, I also planned the route as carefully as possible- no more than about 400 miles a day, usually less. Got AAA triptic. Double-checked route with Trailer Life Directory's route planner, which assures me "no low bridges, weight restrictions, or hair-pin turns." Whew. Let's hope they freakin' deliver because just typing "hair-pin turn" made me sweat. Made reservations for RV Parks that feature my favorite campground amenity, Pull-Thru Spots.

My real precaution against bad road voodoo was carefully enlisting girlfriends who are known for their tenacity, common-sense, and most importantly, sense of humor. It is critical that all crew members have the ability to think waiting on the side of the road for AAA to show up while planning what exactly to say to AAA, is, in fact, the makings of a good story, and a reason for all involved to eat pie at the very next opportunity

Otherwise, Welcome to Wing-n-Prayer, a time honored way of approaching life's big adventures. 

I really, really did try to be more... thorough. I have been earnestly reading all kinds of web groups on the subject of vintage trailers for months. I am astonished at the knowledge and general coolness of the hard-core trailer folks. The only thing is: I usually can only roughly understand about 1/2 of what they are talking about. I feel like a high school kid at a college lecture- unsure what to take notes on, so write (um, print) out anything you think you might need. The result is a good tree's worth of critical information... which is largely incomprehensible to me. 

I'm holding my head in my hands. I know, I know. It's ridiculous. But really- be honest- do you know what a "grease buddy" is any why "those don't fit (Spartans)"? Or what a cotter pin is? Castle nut? Drum? Studs? Ummm, if you do, what are you doing the first half of June and can I call you? Because I don't exactly know why I think it will make any more sense to me in the throes of an emergency. 

Awww, Hell. Wind, meet Caution. Caution, Wind. 

Let's roll.
Travelin' has changed some. When I was little, my daddy would drive all day and 'round an hour before dinner we would start to look for a place to stop that met with my mama's approval. We'd pull in, make inquiries, look around and then maybe stop, maybe drive on. Vacancy/ No Vacancy signs actually signified something. That was part of the road trip deal back then- part timing, part luck. Spontaneity. 

I guess there are still people who spin the wheel and stop where fate lands them. Honey, I ain't planning to be one of them. 

No, siree. These days the magic words are "pull through spots" and I'm told places that have 'em are not likely to be sporting a Vacancy sign in June.  

Thus informed, I started surfing and dialing a month+ before the trip. (Now, as an aside, there are no such thing as "trailer parks" anymore. They have been made fun of into oblivion. They are now "RV parks" or "Campgrounds".) 

Our first stop is actually scheduled to be a test run night right there in Salem, OR. So, I found an RV park that has high ratings and actually bills itself as an "RV Resort". A little perplexing- I mean, I like resorts, and I like campgrounds. But they are not the same animal, no? Resort= crisp sheets+ spa. But, my best friend, Mr. Pull Thru Spot, is advertised to be there, so off I start. Anyway, I'm kinda nervous. I spread out all my info, AAA card, Good Sam Card, AMX, Visa before I dial. I mean, who knows what kinda questions will come up. 50 amp or 30 amp? Sewer? Pi minus the circumference of the tow vehicle?    

The call started ok, but quickly got... weird. How long is the trailer? How refurbished is it? Inside? Outside? And them some speech about how high falutin' they are blah blah, standards, blah, blah, vehicles older than 12 years.  Whaaat? It's a damn good thing I have Southern manners, because- slowly- it seeps in that me and my junky ass trailer are being turned away. Trailerism! Seriously. (The sages over at Tin Can Tourists can tell you more about this 12 year b.s.) 

We are apparently not Klassy- yes, with a big K- enough to stay at their trailer park. Opps! I mean RV Resort. You might say I took umbrage with this. Or I was disappointed. Or shocked. But it would be more accurate to say I was pissed

Like any self-respecting girl who has been shot down by a boy who, quite frankly, was not good enough for her, I ran to the arms of someone cuter, more understanding and wayyy more fun. I dialed up the fabulous owners of the Starlight Classic Campground and booked that part of the trip.

I'll get back to figuring out the Salem stop later. At the moment, I just need to talk to some cool vintage trailer people who know the difference between Old and Vintage and have some respect and taste. So, next up, more about the geniuses over at the Starlight. Sigh. I (heart) Starlite 4ever!!
Let's jump this plot line ahead. This ole trailer blog needs a change of scenery. So... let's do this thing already. The Beautiful Beast is scheduled to roll outta Salem, Oregon on the morning of June 2.

That's right. No more nail biting. No more damn reasons why this does not make fiscal sense, I can't leave my daughter, etc. Hell, if I'm waiting for the "right time" both the trailer and I will go back to the earth the ugly way. 

I blame/ credit my friend Anjanette. On a trip to the beach she got me all riled up about the trailer trip, peppering me with questions and claiming she would drive the damn thing herself. Now, I know Anj, and seriously: she is triple booked at all times. Nooo wayy that gal was gonna find 10 days to meander across the mountains in a fine land yacht. 

But the fire was lit. So I started called the squad (remember my Chickens with Black Belts?) and demanded, "Well?!". Active recruiting had began. 

About a week later, I woke up in a cold sweat. 2,500+ miles. Through the mountains. With people who TRUST me. When I have no, zilch, nada idea how to pull this off. 

Desperate, hushed phone calls ensued. 

My new recruits were stunningly unimpressed with my attempts to derail this thing. In fact, they all basically told ME to Go to Hell if I thought of changing the plan at this juncture. Git off the phone with them, they said, put on the proverbial Big Girl Panties (that ones for you, Janell) and start mapping the route and booking the campgrounds. Qwit. Yer. Bitchin. 

So, it's On. My darling cousin Tiffany is in for the whole enchilada. Laura will see us off the west coast. Mary will pop over in time for what AAA calls "Indian Country". My girlfriend Roma in Utah has real beds and showers for us when we show up. And Alex R. will fly in to Albuquerque full of enthusiasm and spunk to get us through the Lubbock- Austin- Home piece. 

Wheee.... 10 days, a passel of gals, a vintage trailer, and the open road... this outta be GOOD. 
Yes, I am resurfacing. 

I think 14 months between posts is a refreshing alternative to assuming people want you in their face every other day. I mean, how much of my insouciant charm do you need? 

Ahem. Awkward moment. I'm not really buying it either. 

Ok, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's just that, well, life got way too terrifying. My brave-in-the-face-of-advesity face, well, it melted in the face of the extended-dance-remix nightmare my life became. The long dark night of the soul, blah, blah, blah. Basically, I can deal with anything as long as I can laugh about it. And it turns out, things were very, very unfunny for a long while. 

And, truthfully, it's not all peaches and cream now. But, the peculiar thing that happens mid-disaster is that you finally see the wisdom (or inevitability) of surrendering to it. After barely surviving 2008, I zoned out and endured 2009. And when I woke up in 2010 I was just plain ole sick of feeling oppressed. So, I let it all go. I decided my life was mine to drive, life is short, break the whole thing apart and make something new. And once I stopped being afraid, a lot of clarity came. 

What does all that gobilty gook mean? I have no idea. But I do know I stopped desparately trying to super glue my old life back together. I ceased and desisted in trying to find meaning on why things happen. It does not matter. What was, is gone. What is left I can make a life of, or start over. All I know is I stopped struggling and it got better. (Am I dead? No? Really? Ok, ok, just checking.) 

So, that is my vague explanation for my year plus hiatus. Life is complicated, painful, and often sad. And yet I still feel like I am a joyful person, enjoy the sublime pleasure of a perfect slice of watermelon with a squeeze of lime juice on it, and have the greatest friends in the world.

Now, let's get back to trailer-related fun and off of this maudlin track. Sheesh. Finally. 

Happy Year of the Ox, ya’ll. As a person who is eager to move on from the train wreck that was 2008, I also am glad to say good-riddance to The Year of the Rat. Like Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I simply can’t stand those No Good Dirty Rats.

Year of the Ox. No Bullshit. It started on Jan 26, 2009 and does not end until February 13, 2010. That means it is a long year, so it damn well better be a good one. Thus, it has “eyes” according to the Chinese, and as such is a year much influenced by the past and the future.

Ok, now think about that. I get it how we can all get caught up and influenced by the past- but how do you get influenced by the future? We-lll, maybe it just means you get to pick the tone of the future and set it to something you like. Like, say, Vintage trailers. Liberation from obligations you have outgrown.  Adios to Bad Jobs. Move towards the light. Open the Door to Opportunity…

Doors. I have been thinking a lot about closed doors. I think we have all spent some time in our lives standing in front of a closed door, staring at it in shock, rage or pain. Maybe just stunned. What I am finding is that if you can close your eyes long enough to step back, you may find that a few windows are open, or other doors to wildly different opportunities you might have missed had you locked yourself in the first situation. It is crazy how much we cannot see the variety of sprawling paths this life offers when we are convinced the One True Path has been denied to us.

But… what if our map to that door is out of date, or maybe we just plain got lost?

Yes. This IS trailer related. Basically, the trailer, the road, lay in my subconscious for many years as totally impractical and lost to me, when in fact, I was lost in my “responsibilities”.  I lost the connection to understanding that my “home” mentally, my sense of place and reality is something I can carry. I got landlocked and overwhelmed by my physical world. Lost in a high-paying, high-stress job. Letting fear intensify and deadening myself to the doubt and good common sense I was trying to drown out that kept trying to tell me, “Um, whoa, hold up: you just are not fun anymore, and that IS a problem”.  In short, I climbed a mountain so hell-bent on reaching the top that I forgot the whole point of the adventure in the first place.

Somehow, the tiny kindle of a flame would whisper to me, every so often “Hey, you need a road trip to get some perspective” and “Hey, just keep driving, man. Don’t take the turn home.” And “Why are you so freakin’ trapped???.  And, finally, the whole thing melted down and you know what? It still took  getting hit by a hurricane, 3 months of laying around like a beetle on my back and a random prop airplane ride for me to realize: I am trapped because I walked through a door and then locked myself in. Now, was it always a prison? No. Was it all bad? Absolutely not. But the point at which I could not see how to get out was the point at which the bars clicked shut and I stayed, panicking, more and more convinced that if I just white knuckled it out it would not matter that I had used up all the oxygen in the air.

So, to myself, I am deeply sorry. We were oxygen bankrupt for a few years before I figured it out. Git it- OXygen? Year of the OX. The time, the open road, the air to breathe and to rebuild your life: take it. The trailer, real or symbolically speaking, is about taking it with you. Paring down. Simplifying. Connecting to a better past and a better future.

Happy Year of the Ox, man. I, for one, am breathing better already.  


Hooboy. I think I am in over my head. But come to think of it, that is true with or without a vintage trailer.

So, my new BFFs on the Airstream Forum are like, amazing. These are people who rebuild trailers from the dust of their aluminum skeletons. They resurrect the soul in hulking carcasses that have been Going Back to the Earth for decades. They are brave in the face of rusting chassis, rotten wood and nasty black mold. They use terms like “belly pan” and “steel core #17 tracks” fearlessly and seem to know what the hell they are talking about. And some of them do it places where there is snow on the ground. Gulp.  

So, let me level with you: My tool box consists of a high heel shoe (they really do make excellent hammers), museum nails, duct tape, and thumbtacks. I am the Girliest of Girls. I run/ hit/ scream like a Girl. I am uncoordinated, un mechanical, and lack confidence in my ability to stay awake when reading DIY manuals. Now, lest you fear I have horrible self-esteem, I am also a lot of pretty cool things, but unrealistic is not one of them. I face the truth. I’m pretty much a weenie when it comes to fixin’ anything non-food related.

I’m a little stunned in the wake of my Big Reveal here.

I mean, even I should be talking myself out of this trailer insanity.

Too bad. Things I AM include strong, a visionary, and a person who Makes Things Happen.

But while we are having this chat, I should also take this moment to further clarify my stand on the “camping” thing. I like soft, warm beds. Bugs freak me out. I do NOT think it tastes better if you cook it over a camp stove. I do not like peeing outside, especially at night, you freaks. In short, I never, despite crossing the country in a trailer many times as a child, ever once thought of it as camping. That is why I have a trailer, ya’ll. Bed, kitchen, potty inside.

That is Mrs. Byam to you, you intimidating camper types out there, judging me. In fact, if you were not all so damn nice I would walk. But… since I am about as helpless as a baby kitten, I guess I better suck up and get over myself, huh? This is the part of the After School Special where I need to learn to accept help and camaraderie without fearing other’s judgment.

Sniff. Besides, I am a VERY good cook, loyal friend, and occasionally funny, so I will just have to find other ways to be a valuable member of the Trailer Geek Squad, umm, I mean, Community.



You know how they say, when it really comes down to it, you are all alone? Well BS. In fact no matter how out there you are, no matter how esoteric your hobby is, somewhere there is a group on the internet who will make you feel like an innocent amateur and complete novice. (Ferrets for Dummies, anyone?)

In the process of researching my trailer project, which seemed like a bit of an odd undertaking, if not unheard of, I have discovered that I am really just a small unpolished star, totally naked to the eye, in the galaxy of trailer fanatics.

I mean, seriously. If you are actually reading this and you don’t know me it will NOT be because you are interested in learning more about vintage trailers. It will be because you are trying to sell something to the demographic of people who are fanatics about trailers. I mean, it’s a whole army, ya’ll.

Like any other demographic, they have their ideological splits. Size may not matter, but brand does. There is a certain snobbism and last-big-man-standing posture about the Airstream crowd. You can not join the official Airstream Club, the WBCCI, or go to their parties, harrumph, unless you own the genuine article. No posers, man. On the other hand, they seem a far above decent lot, just well indoctrinated.

 I do not have an Airstream. I have, as perhaps you do not need reminding, a Spartan. But, the trailer crowd will apparently pull their wagons around me even if I am burdened by that they call a SOB (Some Other Brand). From the toe I put in the water at I learned that in addition to being a SOB, I am also almost an “original aluminum owner” which has some cache it seems. I was assured that people with “aluminum affliction” are friendly to what they call “vintage kin” which is the PC way of saying SOB. I spent 10 years in the software industry, so buzzwords and acronyms are not new to me. But even I am a little blown away by the volume of jargon around trailers. Toto, it ain’t Kansas.

In addition, I was sincerely, and very kindly reassured that Airstreamers are really just Campers at Heart. So we are all the same. Kum-bay-yah. Um… except I am not a camper at heart. I am not even a camper on a superficial level. Shit! I never said I was a camper howdidthishappen? Do I like Nature? Yes. Do I like roadtrips? Yes. But the allure of the trailer for me is that I like HOUSES. A trailer is a wonderful expression of a home that you carry with you. My greedy curiosity to see inside other trailers is the same drive that makes people take walks at twilight when they can see inside peoples homes before they pull their shades. (Don’t lie. You’ve done it.)

Maybe this can all work out. After all, the founder of Airstream, Wally Byam, came up with the travel trailer because his bride was not one to go without the comforts of home. Thank you Mrs. Byam.

So, I may be a lying SOB but at least I am having fun.