Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Living the Full Time Vintage Camping Life. 1.

This here's the first in a long long series of posts about living full-time in a 1973 Vintage Winnebago Brave. To see more, when we first bought it and some of our trips for the first 3 years we had it while living in a real House... just click over there on the right side,  the Winnie posts, and you'll see them all line up.

(don't know where that pic came from, but it is so cool)
On Pinterest, and all over the interwebs you see lots of trailers and rvs, those cute vintage ones, with pretty pretty adorably accessorized staged sets. Glamping is what the kids call it.
All those pots of geraniums, those tables and chairs, those teapots, saddles, vintage crinolines, umbrellas, coolers, lounge chairs, rugs, banners and so on, have to be packed in the trailer, and then set up for the pretty pictures.

Here's a cute Sisters on the Fly photo:

So for a 3 day camping trip, you would spend a half-day just loading that stuff in ... never mind the food! and then at least 2 or 3 hours packing it outside, setting it up and then you do it again before you head home. Inside a vintage camper (I'm gonna call all RVs, 5th wheels, tiny houses built on towing frames, and trailers, just campers, for brevity), it is small. That's half the charm!

 Here's a pic of the 73 Winnebago Brave, in the kitchen.

That refrigerator is 1/3 the size of a normal home refrigerator and holds about 1/3 of a weeks food. The cute stove/oven is darling and boy does it work, but it is hard to cook for a lot of people, or to bake or boil a large pan of anything. and. Counterspace!

See that  7" space between the stovetop and the tiny sink? yup. That and the cover over the sink is your counter space.  The sink in most small campers is exactly the size of a little bar sink you might have in the basement rumpus room. Small. 10" x 13" is the inside measurement. Just large enough for a dinner plate.

Yes, you can use the table but if anyone is doing anything there..... it becomes difficult. They have to move, or you have to use another space. So...
Doing anything in a camper that resembles doing something in a real bricks and sticks house, requires thought, cleverness, skill and a different way of thinking about routine chores.

Not to say you can't have the perfect life (We do), and super-excellent delicious meals...
because you can. And do. It just changes. And part of the point of going camping.... in a teeny tiny house, is to change your life, at least for a few days.
It's Great! it refreshes the mind, and hopefully, you get to relax and just sit. Or hike, or fish, or just sleep ;-)

The first change you have to make if you are gonna live in a camper full time, is to get rid of Stuff!  Campers have a small amount of storage (at least vintage ones do!).
This is actually a very good thing. I mean really, what do you need? Why do you have thousands of place settings? Do you entertain all the time? Have a large family? Well, then full-time living in a smallll space may not work for you.
Just things to think about.

We entertain outside in the patio, and use paper plates and real silverware. We keep service for 6 in the Winnie. That's too much really, but we do want to have a few friends and family over, so that seems the right amount. We ended up using all the damn dishes just for ourselves, and then have to wash service for 6. That's stupid! We decided we need to be washing dishes more often.... and using them again and again during the day, rather than reaching for a new dish or glass or spoon all day long.

Here's the arrangement for washing dishes we worked out. Once a day! And getting in the habit of washing as you use a dish or glass, is getting easier.
And even this arrangement  is different now. Trial and Error, my friends! here's the current look.....

We bought the smallest drain tray that Rubbermaid makes.... made in the USA! and set our vintage wire dish rack on it, and clipped it securely with clothespins. We use clothes pins a lot.... so handy!

We added a white wire rack to get things off the counter, and we hang the dish brushes up on the curtain rack.  Gosh, we've moved the fire extinguisher too!

Mostly we wash with a soapy sponge after letting them sit in some soapy water for a few minutes to loosen whatever.... and then drain the sink, wash 'em and stack 'em. On a hot day, they'll be dry in an hour, but sometimes we'll just dry them with a dishtowel and put them away immediately. Then just hang the rack on the wall. Works for us! We do have a small plastic bin that sits in the sink perfectly, but we don't use it often (it lives outside under the Winnie in the "basement" aka, under the Winnie).

A note about the coffee pot maker. Yes, that's a 4 cup machine that's missing its glass coffeepot. When we were driving around before we "landed" we stopped for lunch, and someone forgot to secure the coffee maker. That meant, putting it inside the sink so it wouldn't roll around. And fall. And break.
Well, as Mark was driving the Winnie, and I was following in the car, the pot went flying, crashed on the floor, busting the glass pot into a million pieces of tiny sharp shards of glass.
Going around a corner, trying to not get caught by the Red Light Camera (grrrrr) to have the pot Smash on the Floor and KaBoom! was frightful.
I spent a half hour cleaning up that mess. It was my fault, because as navigator and security agent, I didn't do all I needed to. Lesson Learned. Now we have a perfect use for this sweet little vintage pot. So, it turned out OK.
Let's start in the beginning when we first arrived at our sweet little trailer park. First we just set up our folding table and chairs outside for breaky in the sun! I think it's really important to use tablecloths or placemats, and to set a lovely table, because Art adds to Life!

So this is where our full time life started. The spot in our trailer park, the Winnie, and one vintage Volvo.
We drove the Winnie down to Cali, then took a rental car home. Loaded up a big U-Haul, and towed this vintage Volvo. When we arrived a month later, we put a lot of stuff in a storage space, and moved into the Winnie.

A friend drove our Vintage Volvo wagon down the next week, and so we entertained and put up our friend in the upstairs bunk.  
Like this.......  Guest quarters.

We've added a lot of important stuff to our life..... a pop-up patio, a metal shed for my sewing room, and lots of pots of vegetables and flowers. You can take the girl out of the country garden, but you can't take the country garden out of the girl...... oh, yes, we live in the perfect neighborhood. A nursery is One block away!

What did we do for the first month? We arranged and rearranged the inside and outside.
We had to get rid of more stuff, and maximize our room and our lot.  There was the buying of a million things...... the right size poop hose, shower curtains, water hose, pots and potting soil, plants plants plants, and tomatoes, hooks, nails, screws, finding of pallets for steps and other stuff, we moved and removed, we bought lots of small stuff a person usually keeps in the junk drawer and out in the garage.
We found we got rid of the right stuff and the wrong stuff when we were packing to move. Oh well, and more details on that in a later post, if you are interested.

We miss only our family and friends. We don't miss Washington at all, ever.
See ya next post about Living the Full Time Camping Life. 2.