Ever since we started dating, my husband, Tim, has told me about his love for camping. As a child, he and his family spent many weekends camping with their pop up camper. He recounts these stories with so much love and appreciation for his childhood and the gift that his parents gave him extends well beyond those years.
The first time Tim mentioned his desire to buy a camper was shortly after our first daughter was born. Tim wanted to be able to take his daughter camping and create a childhood for her that was filled with all the joy and happiness of his own. He mentioned it only fleetingly because it was an unrealistic goal because at the time we lived in a bungalow in the West End of Long Beach without a driveway and your home was about to go through massive renovations post Hurricane Sandy.
After the birth of my second daughter and after our house finally was renovated and completed, Tim started to talk of his desire to purchase a vintage "canned ham" style camper with increased frequency and fervor. He was scouring Craigslist daily looking for campers. I love all things vintage and shared in his passion to renovate and restore a vintage camper, but I was not sure that we would be able to fit the camper into our tiny driveway; nor, as any resident of Long Beach can relate to, did I want to give up a parking space in my driveway. However, as weeks went by and we looked at a multitude of Shastas, Airstreams, Sunlines, and Roadmasters on eBay and Craig'slist, I became more and more excited about tackling this project and the freedom to travel it would provide for our family.
The day before Father's Day, Tim finally found what he was looking for; a small 1969 Playmor canned ham style trailer that was low enough to fit under our carport and would still allow room for parking. Best of all, the camper was used only a handful of times and was stored in a barn until a few years ago, when the second owner purchased it with the intention of renovating it. We looked at the pictures online and decided that it was worth the three hour drive to Connecticut to check it out.
As soon as we pulled up to the house at which it was stored, the camper almost appeared to be sparkling in the mid day sun. As we approached the camper we were apprehensive about opening the door and expected to be greeted with cobwebs, rotting walls, and an array of other flaws. On the contrary, once we stepped into the very tiny mobile home, we were pleasantly surprised at the pristine condition of the vehicle. As we looked around the camper, which took about ten seconds, it was like we were time warped into the 1960's. The interior was preserved perfectly from the green and orange cushions to the cabinetry to the shiny and immaculate orange stove and fridge combo, which was filled with original unused 1960's Tupperware. Instantly, I could envision how we would transform this beauty into something more current and in line with our style and use it to create countless memories with our children. The camper was, in fact, "the one." It felt too good to be true and I was skeptical. I simply wouldn't believe that the camper was ours until it was actually sitting in our driveway. A few days later, that skepticism was quelled at 11:00pm at night when I watched Tim drive down our block with the camper in tow. Although, it took about an hour until he figured out how to get it into our driveway, it was finally home with is and she is sitting there patiently awaiting for us to breathe new life into her.
My children fell in love with the camper right away. In fact, they wouldn't allow us inside because they insisted on having "privacy" in their new playhouse. They want to spend every second in there and have moved many of their toys in already and have claimed the vintage Tupperware as part of their collection of toys. I can just imagine how many awesome memories we are going to build with them on our future adventures.
It took me a while to get on board with this project. I tend to be reserved, practical and cautious and I like to always budget my time carefully. Thankfully, my husband is more free spirited than I and is always able to subside some of my regimented qualities. Even though I am still not quite sure how we will find the time to tackle this crazy project, I know that once we do so, it will give our family the freedom to celebrate life, unplug, and spend quality uninterrupted time with each other.
Here are a few images of the camper. The first image is a photo of the camper in her glory days. Stay tuned for the progression of her restoration.