We made it to Junction at 2 a.m. We didn't want to take it out to our place in the dark so we pulled into the parking lot of a little cafe on the interstate and waited until daylight. The temp was in the 30's so every so often Rick started the Bronco and ran the heater. Sarah was 7 years old and she slept on the back seat, covered with blankets and stuffed animals. Rick and I reclined our seats and snoozed off and on. There were a few truckers stopped to rest in the big caliche lot and they came and went all night.
Finally, the first weak light of morning appeared. We walked across the parking lot to the cafe and ordered some biscuits and gravy. Then we headed out to our place with our travel trailer!
The camper needed more work than we could ever give it but we started immediately making it something we could stay in. Rick patched the holes in the floor, walls, and ceiling. I painted some of the walls, gave up on that idea, and cleaned the rest of the walls and the ceilings with bleach. The camper had come from a humid environment and there was a lot of mildew.
We pulled the screens out and stapled new ones in. I painted the cabinets, we put in a hot water heater and air conditioning window unit. We furnished it and supplied it. It had some Old West themed curtains in some of the windows. I lined them to help keep out the heat and cold and made curtains for the windows that didn't have any.
We never imagined we would be using the camper as living quarters out here for 15 years but it ended up that way. Over the years Rick probably put 55 gallons of sealant on the roof, or so it seemed! He rewired the whole trailer, did some plumbing work, and we made many a trip to town each time we came out because something always needed fixing. Duck tape became part of our decor.
Some things were never fixed and I kept the bottom kitchen cabinets closed against the scary things I imagined I would find there! But it enabled us to stay at our place where before we had to stay at a motel in town.
We could have campfires, watch the stars for hours, spy on the animals that came up to the water trough after dark, get in out of the weather, snuggle under the blankets as we listened to cassette tapes of Louis L'Amour books, and plan for the day when we would have a little cabin.
And as soon as we had the cabin completed enough to stay in, we gave the little 1968 travel trailer, our refuge for 15 years, to the cabin contractor for his hunting camp.
But the old camper inspired in us a love for tiny travel trailers, ones that could actually be traveled in, that would let us go see some of the wild places we wanted to explore and some places not so wild. A little place we could feel at home in, with some of our own things, a place to make coffee in the morning, and sit by a fire at night. A tiny tiny home on wheels that we could take on adventures.
And so a few weeks ago the tiny 15' Starcraft camper with the off-road package made its way to the tiny ranch with the tiny cabin and the tiny bunkhouse.
We're unsure of a name for the her yet, but for the time being I'm calling her Bernie Ann, a combo of our middle names.
We've cozied her up with some pillows and throws and some old travel postcards from the 1940's and 1970's. I attached some old camping photos of our families to a cane pole Rick brought from Mississippi.
And so we've come full circle; where we once sat in the camper planning the cabin, we now sit in the cabin, planning our first trip in the little camper.
"The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir