Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Trailer Talk Tuesday: Don't Stop Believing Edition

You know you'll be singing this song ALL DAY.

So, you know things aren't going like you planned when you're wasting time looking up inspirational quotes with the search phrase "Don't quit."  Apparently, it seems like there are a lot of us potential quitters on the web and lots of impossibly positive people cheering us on.

Alrighty, then!

Jolene is in no state to take anybody's man, but I'm pressing on, moving forward, looking up and finishing what I started.  Whew!  These people will wear you out!

We really only have time to work on the camper on the weekends, so, that is slowing down the process a little bit.  For some reason, my family thinks they need clean clothes, food and a passably clean house to live in.  Completely unreasonable.  So, instead of the camper being ready to paint, we are still making progress in stripping the paint off and getting rid of the eternabond tape, plus we're starting to remove the silicone caulking around windows, etc. in order to re-caulk.  That will probably involve removing all the windows.  Yeah.

This is me:

Fortunately, in all of this, Mr. Blue Jeans & Turquoise has remained completely optimistic.

We own a heat exchanger/cooling system parts and repair business and our JOB is repairing old broken down parts, replacing what needs replacing and making things new again.  This little camper project is totally in our wheelhouse and I normally don't get frustrated with projects like this, but I WANT TO PAINT!!  So, without further ado, here is where we've been this week.

Rocking the paint clothes

After using the Citri-Strip paint remover, we've been using the drill and a brush or wheel attachment to get the rest of the paint off.  Most of the white paint came off easily and the blue paint is just taking a little more effort.  Eventually the camper will look like this on all sides and the roof:

Clean galvanized metal!

Once the Mr. gets the Eternabond tape off the J-strips on the seams, it looks like the picture above and I come back and brush off any paint left behind.

This is silicone caulk with a little Citri-Strip left on it, which will sand right off.  With the wire wheel attachment I can get most of the silicone off, but in order to caulk correctly, we will need to remove the windows and get all that cleaned up.  From everything I've read, ALL the silicone needs to come off because RV caulk won't stick to it.  Some people are in the Silicone Is Okay camp and others says it's the devil's own goop.  We're planning on using butyl tape between the skin and the windows and then caulking again when we get the windows screwed back in.  That's the plan for now.  

We definitely will have to take the back window down because the Eternabond tape was hiding this:

We haven't gotten the rest of the tape off yet, so, I don't really know why these two edges couldn't be flush.  Hopefully, it will be an easy fix.  

Besides looking up inspirational quotes while I'm wasting time in the pick-up line at Little Sister's school, I peruse the listings on  They are a clearing house for people selling vintage trailers and have some really lovely campers for sale that have been completely done.  

Has the original Shasta wings!

original Birch paneling

renovated to keep that vintage feel

While Jolene is going to be a (mostly) renovated camper rather than a restored one, I still like seeing the owners who have kept the original details!  

Well, that's it for this week.  I don't know about your facebook feed, but Dolly has been EVERYWHERE on mine.  This video popped up several times and I thought it was just stunning.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sharing a Smile: Edie Wadsworth's "All The Pretty Things"

each chapter title is a classic country song 

I've mentioned on my facebook page and on Instagram that I was part of the launch team for Edie Wadsworth's new book, "All The Pretty Things".  It's published by Tyndale and this is what they have to say about it:  

'This raw and heartbreaking story shines with truth  and light, as Edie struggles with the wound of fatherlessness that has left her untethered and unspoken for.
This is the searing story of Edie’s soul-searching journey out of the rubble of her childhood, through the devastating choices of her adulthood, and into a life of healing and forgiveness that she never dreamed possible.  Against all odds, she finds strength to confront her past and finally encounters the love of her true Father on the long road home."
The thing that most struck me about Edie's book (and in the conversations she had with the launch team) was the tenderness and love she extended to her family in the telling of the neglect and poverty of her childhood.  It's a hard story to read and I know it was a hard story to write.  Yet, never once does it seem that she was bitter or angry towards her father or his family.  The grace she extends to him and the rest of her family is real.  She doesn't gloss over the details--they are just as real as the redemption she found when she turned to her heavenly Father and the abundance of His love.
Being a part of this launch team was truly a blessing.   Edie is a generous soul and shared so much with us about the writing process and the publishing industry as it pertained to her book.  She was incredibly giving of her time in having weekly live book club discussions and even threw a launch party & square dance!  
I've learned in life that I need to surround myself with people who reflect light.  There are those people in the world who are positive and open and make you want to be like that, too.  Even though I don't know Edie personally, her giving spirit and her ability to love and forgive are what draw you to her.  She is a treasure and I'm glad I've gotten to know her a little better.  I hope you'll take to time to read this wonderful memoir and get to know her, and maybe even yourself,  a little better, too.

*Some affiliate links are used in this post at no extra cost to you. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trailer Talk Tuesday: Our Misadventures at Garner State Park

Garner State Park

You know how some vacations just don't quite come together?  All the pieces don't fall into place and you're left feeling like you're just scrambling to make it work?  This is one of those stories.  Buckle your seatbelt; it was a long and bumpy ride.

This past July we decided to finally take to the kids to see one of the most storied Texas state parks, Garner State Park in Concan, Texas.  It's on the beautiful Frio River in the Hill Country and spending the day floating on a tube in 70 degree water sounded lovely since it felt like we had been living on the surface of the sun for most of the summer.  A few months prior to the trip, I made reservations online for a campsite.  I felt like I had made a major score, because these spots fill up a year in advance.  Someone must have just cancelled and we got a primo spot.  Off to a good start!

not our primo spot

A couple of days before we were to head out we brought the Shasta to the house to get her all spiffed up and loaded with goodies.

A photo posted by @bluejeansandturquoise on

I had contacted Garner and told them we would be driving in that Friday night.   The park office closed at 10 pm (the website now says 11, but that still wouldn't have helped...), so, if we were going to make our camping spot for Friday night we would need to check in before 10:00.  Google Maps showed a 6 hour drive and I added an hour for towing speed plus an hour for stopping for dinner, etc.  For you math whizzes, I calculated that we needed to leave no later than 2:00 in order to make it in time.  We're used to setting up a campsite in the dark, since we live 6 hours from just about anywhere we want to visit.  This was going to work out JUST FINE.

We own our own business, which, for the uninitiated, would give you the impression that we can just take off whenever we want.  When your name's on the building, though, you feel responsible for everything going on and you (and by you, I mean my husband) feel like you have to have your hand in everything going on.  This explains why we left at 3:00 instead of 2:00.  Ok.  We'll just have to hustle, I said.  No stopping for dinner--it will be sandwiches from the camper.  But nobody listens to me.

We made a stop at a Wal-Mart on the way to see if they had innertubes for sale.  It's the end of summer in a town on the edge of the oil patch.  They do not have innertubes.  We hop back in the vehicle with our dinner ready to go and head on down the road.  I have the map as a screenshot on my phone at this point, because we are heading into the great unknown.  Our cellular plan is with Verizon and this particular part of Texas might as well be on the moon as far as they're concerned.  There are occasionally small towns where we might have one bar of coverage, but for the most part, there is No Service.  Fun.

I'm checking the time and doing mental math to see how close we are to making or missing the office hours at Garner.  About 20 miles outside of the next small town, we hear something.  And feel something.  And a super-cool little light starts flashing on the dash--we have a flat.  Mr. BJandT pulls over and goes to check it out.  Since we are, according to Verizon, in the middle of nowhere and in the dark, we decided to limp along to the next town.  We finally make it to Mayberry and they have rolled up the streets for the evening.  We go to the first convenience store we find open and go inside to purchase a can of fix-a-flat.  Fortunately, they do have that.  Unfortunately, their air hose machine is jammed and doesn't work.

As we stand there like fools in the dark, trying to will the machine to put air in our tire, a guy drives by in a broken-down pick up truck and says "Hey, that one doesn't work!  I've got an air compressor at my house.  If you'll follow me, I'll get you fixed up."

This was one of those great crossroad moments:  Do I stay here in the parking lot all night in the heat with no electricity until the town wakes back up and someone can fix this tire?  or Do I follow the dude in the sketchy truck down a dirt road to his trailer so he can "help" us?


We're all about adventure around here, so, I ignored the little voice in my head saying, "ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!?" and we followed the stranger in the truck down the dirt road to certain death his air compressor.

"Old Indian", as he asked us to call him, did not steal our stuff, hack us into little pieces and throw us in the ravine.  He was exactly the kind of guy you would hope to find in a small town--helpful, friendly and possessing of many and various tools with which to fix broken down vehicles.  His little air compressor couldn't totally fill up our tire, but it did help and he sent us on our way with a sigh of relief that we didn't die and a renewed confidence in the good will of our fellow man.

At the edge of town, we pulled into another closed filling station which had another broken air hose.  A few blocks down we spotted a Lowe's grocery store, but its air hose was missing a nozzle.  Perhaps these businesses could collaborate and cobble together one good air hose out of all of their parts for their citizenry and out-of-town guests, but I digress.  The grocery store did have a big empty parking lot and good lighting, so, we parked and Big Brother got a lesson in changing tires.  We unhooked the camper and the boys got busy fixing our SUV.

By this time, it was clear that Garner State Park would be closed by the time we got there.  My stress about that was somewhat dissipated by the happy fact that we had not been dismembered by a serial killer on a back road, so, I set about holding my phone up to try to get what little signal I could find.

I managed to find an RV park in Junction and someone actually answered the phone.  God Bless the North Llano River RV Park.  They have what is called an overflow lot with electrical hook-ups that you can pull into after hours.

The boys finished with the tire, we hooked up the camper again and headed to Junction.  We found the RV park with no trouble and got settled in for the night.

The next morning we cooked breakfast and had a walk around the park.  It's a lovely place and we will definitely be staying there again on our next trip to the Hill Country.

We were off to Garner State Park!  (insert all the happy emojis)  I had read on various websites that Garner fills up quickly and that you have to be there early for a day pass or you won't get in.  I wasn't worried about that, though.  We had a reservation!

So, we drive into the park and see ALL the cars.  No problem.  We'll just park and I'll go in and check things out.  We walk into a waiting room of people.  I ask a lady, "Where do you go if you have a reservation?"  She just laughed and pointed at ALL the people and said "We all have reservations."

People of the Great State of Texas, we have camped at many parks--Palo Duro, Copper Breaks, Monahans Sand Hills just to name a few.  NEVER have I seen such a jumbled up mess as this.  We got to the park at 10:00.  In the morning.  At 2:00, in the AFTERNOON, we were finally the next in line to say to the person across the desk, "yes, we have a reservation" and receive our campsite number and a little map.  

By the time we got our camper unhooked and our swimsuits on, it was 2:30 and too late to tube the river.  We made our way to the little camp store and they told us the swimming hole by the dam was fun and nice and might make up for not actually tubing the Frio.  Um, no, but nice try.

Anyway, we did get to the river and it was beautiful and cold and we had fun swimming around and lazing around on the tubes we bought at the store.  We also purchased an underwater camera, but do you know what happens when one of your kids drops it on the concrete steps and doesn't tell you?  Water gets in the camera.  Here are a few of the great pics we took:

We finally made it to the Frio!
These kayaks do not have the chicken pox.

The spots make it vintage-y looking, right?

After swimming, we went back to the campsite, showered and grilled steaks on the fire pit.  One of the big traditions at Garner is the dance at the CCC pavilion built in the 1930s.  I guess the camps around the area bring kids to the dance, because it was crazy crowded with the middle-school/high school set and I don't think they were all camping at the state park.  We had a great time and made the kids dance with us until we all decided it was time to head to the air conditioning.

After a full 7 1/2 hours of fun at Garner, we hit the hay because we had to leave at the crack of dawn to have Little Sis back in time for band camp at the local university.  Yep, you read that right.  Seven-and-a-half-hours at the park.  I put the sausage wraps in the crockpot to be ready in the morning and we were out of there by 7 am Sunday morning. 

Our Go-To Pulling Out of Camp Breakfast
This is the easiest breakfast ever, which is why we have it on the mornings we're pulling out of camp.  I wrap four Opa's sausages in tinfoil and leave them in the crockpot overnight on low.  In the morning, everyone gets their choice of flour or corn tortillas, Rudy's BBQ sauce, mustard or whatever they would like and we are good to go.  No dishes to clean up, not even the crockpot, if you place a layer of tinfoil under the wrapped sausages.  Winning!

We had no problems making it home in time to get her to band camp registration.  Since there was no cell coverage, we had plenty of time to talk about the weekend.  
Lessons learned?

  • Unless we can make it to Garner State Park during a weekday, we should probably leave that park to a fall weekend, when it's not so crazy.  The park itself didn't seem overly crowded, but the process of checking in leaves a whole lot to be desired.
  • We need a little bit more margin in our traveling times when pulling a camper.  
  • Wal-Marts in dry climates do not carry swimming innertubes in late July.
  • Do not schedule camping trips when you have to be back at a certain time on Sunday afternoon.

On the positive side?
  • we were so lucky/blessed/fortunate that the flat tire wasn't as bad as it could have been and that we were able to make it to town.  That was much more preferable to being stranded on the side of a two-lane highway in the dark.  In the middle of nowhere.  
  • we were so lucky/blessed/fortunate to have met "Old Indian" and that he was willing to help us.  He really was a nice guy and it was nice to see someone willing to help out others in distress.  And he didn't rob and/or kill us.
  • we were so lucky/blessed/fortunate that we were able to find a place to camp in Junction.  90 degree weather is no joke when you're sleeping in a tin can and the fans and a.c. made it much more pleasant.
  • we were so lucky/blessed/fortunate to have gotten to camp in one of the prettiest and oldest of Texas' state parks.  Garner really was beautiful and the Frio was absolutely everything I'd heard it was.  People come back here year after year with their families and now I can see why.
  • we were so lucky/blessed/fortunate to have gotten to spend a weekend with our kids and have this string of adventures.  They'll have tales to tell!
If you're still with me at this point, thank you!  We really did have a great time and can't wait to take our next camping trip in Sundance the Shasta!

On the Road Again

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Trailer Talk Tuesday: Third Edition-Paint & Seams (1967 PlayMor)

Beautiful, isn't it?  I know, I know--but you have to see the potential, right?  So, here's what's been going on with Jolene, our 1967 Play-Mor camper that we are restoring.  
  • finished removing the first layer of vinyl flooring--still have another layer (that I know of) on two-thirds of the floor, under the dinette and seating area.
  • started stripping the exterior paint
  • found the logo!
  • started the process of removing the eternabond seal tape from the seams
  • convinced myself that this project was a good idea.  really.  ;-)

So, here are some photos of the paint job on Jolene.  It appears the previous owner used latex paint, bless them, because it's coming off easy with the CitriStrip paint remover I like to use.  I wanted to get the majority of it off and then finish off with the wire wheel or a buffer.

Under this paint was:

the logo from the dealer!
I was excited to find the dealer's logo to the left of the back window.  This one came from Little's Camper Sales & Rentals in Tulsa, OK.  I love that the phone number doesn't have 3 digits for the first part of the exchange.  Instead, it's AD4-3740.  I'm going to try to save that logo or trace on top of it when we do the final paint job.

And under this paint was:

the Play-Mor logo!

I'm glad I went with a milder paint stripper and was able to recover these two logos.  I haven't decided yet how I am going to incorporate them into the exterior paint scheme, but they will both be part of Jolene's final look.  So, the paint issues seem to be fairly easy.  Just a lot of stripper application and scraping.  Now, on to the challenging part:

This lovely stuff is called EternaBond and if you want to seal a seam on a trailer roof, this stuff is AWESOME.  Because it's permanent.  And ugly.  And hard to remove.  And ugly (did I mention ugly?)

The white vinyl part is easy to remove with a heat gun; it just peels right off.  What is left behind is a thick layer of gray goo that is something like tar and whatever that sticky stuff was that attacked Mr. Incredible:

Goo remover and acetone did absolutely nothing.  The only thing that works is the the heat gun and you have to just scrape a little section at a time.  It is definitely an exercise in perseverance.  Or patience.  Or insanity.  Take your pick.

Trusty old heat gun wins again.

If When we get all the seams cleaned up and the paint removed, we're going to remove the metal pieces holding the sides together, apply putty tape and then replace the metal strips.  After that, we'll caulk and it should be like it was meant to be.  You'll see the pretty metal seams again, instead of the white tape, and it will definitely look more original.

The other fun thing we found this week was some water damaged wood that had been covered up by vinyl wallpaper and paint.  Fun times!

This section is the left of the front window.  They apparently used whatever wood they had hanging around to replace the rotten wood.  Behind this is the wiring, so, this is actually a blessing in disguise. The camper only has two lights:  one bulb over the sink and the original propane gas light that looks like this:


 I'm not crazy about a propane light, but I don't want to remove an original appliance.  Since we have to remove the wood anyway and it gives us access to the wiring, we are going to add three undermounted LED lights underneath the bulkhead, which is right over the front window.  This will give the whole trailer more light and especially the dinette area which is where I plan to have my writing table.

The other area we found to be a little bit sketchy is to the left of the door and above the door:

We found a local source for the bendable 1/8" plywood used in these campers and the plan is to cut out the portion that needs to be replaced and fit in the new wood with the old.  That particular plan makes me a wee bit anxious, but Mr. Blue Jeans & Turquoise assures me it's doable.  

I didn't want to leave you on a down note, so here are some inspiration pics from my Pinterest board!




Thanks for traveling along with us on this little adventure!  Hopefully we'll have some prettier pics in next week's edition!  Happy Tuesday, friends!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Trailer Talk Tuesday: Shasta Edition: Our Trip to Red River, New Mexico

Hello, friends!  I hope all of you had a lovely Labor Day vacation.  We took a little break from renovating Jolene, our 1967 PlayMor camper and took our 2015 Shasta Airflyte for an end of summer trip.  This camper's name is Sundance and I'm having a little vinyl decal made of her name to put by the door.  We've had her almost 18 months and she always gets lots of looks and comments when we take her out (because she's so cute!!!)  When Forest River came out with these reissues of their 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16SC Travel Trailer, I got camper fever.  They made 1,941 of these to commemorate their 75th anniversary and they came in three colors:  Matador Red, Seafoam Green and Butternut Yellow.  Ours is the 19 foot version; there's also a smaller 16' edition.  It's not super heavy and we pull it with our Ford Expedition.  Here's the blueprint of our trailer:


Here are some more interior photos.  I grabbed these off the internet, because my photos turned out too dark.  It's hard to get interior photos of these little campers!




This past weekend we went to Red River, New Mexico.  We go to Ruidoso, NM, a couple of times a year and we've been to Santa Fe several times, but we hadn't ever made it to Red River.  It was absolutely delightful!  It's a small village with a population of 477 and the whole town is only a few streets wide.  The ski lifts are right off the main street and there are some really cute shops and restaurants.  There are so many things to do there, that we will definitely be back!

We stayed at the Road Runner RV Resort.

Road Runner RV Resort

There were a lot of campers there for the holiday weekend, but it didn't seem crowded at all.  Our campsite was right next to the river and we fished for trout, walked over the bridges and really just enjoyed the campground.  There was a road rally of some sort at Goose Lake, so, I'm glad we had a quiet place to hang out and enjoy the outdoors.  We cooked over campfires and inside the trailer and built a fire each night to roast marshmallows.  It was the perfect camp site!

On Saturday, we strolled through the town and ate at Anchovies Pizza (with a name like that, it's got to be good, right?)  The food was really good and the people there were very nice. 

After doing some souvenir shopping and exploring Main Street, we went back to the camp to relax and get ready for our evening adventure.  We had tickets for a chuckwagon BBQ dinner and Michael Martin Murphey concert at his Rockin' 3M amphitheater.  He has purchased the historic Bitter Creek Guest Ranch and has concerts up there periodically during the warmer months.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  You drive for what seems forever on  Bitter Creek Trail off of Main Street.  You eventually end up in this beautiful valley on the mountain with a lake and some cabins dating back to the 1930s.  The food was delicious and he played his hits like "Wildfire" and "Carolina in the Pines" during the first half of the concert and then his cowboy music during the last half.  My husband and I really enjoyed it and the kids seemed to, as well.  The scenery was just breathtaking and I can't think of a prettier place to eat and listen to music.

The next day we got up and went to church.  We try to do that in different towns we visit and our children get to see how other Christians worship and do things.  One of the most memorable services we have attended while on vacation was Easter Vigil at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, NM.  Red River only has 3 churches that I could see on the internet, so, we chose one of them and attended their Sunday morning service.  The people there were super friendly--I think half of the people in attendance were visitors!--and really showed wonderful hospitality.  They were from a less liturgical tradition than we come from, but the pastor said "We might worship differently, but we're all the Body of Christ, so, you're stuck with us.  Forever."  That drew a big laugh from the congregation, but it's true and it was a good reminder to celebrate what we have in common and learn from our differences.

After church and lunch, we geared up and headed out for an hour long horseback ride up the mountain.  We chose Red River Stables and were very pleased.  The horses were easy to ride and the wranglers did a great job with helping people from various levels of expertise have a good experience on the ride.  The views we had of the upper pass were spectacular and watching a fast summer storm roll in was beautiful, too.  We got caught in a pretty good rain storm, but it wasn't too cold and it didn't really put a damper on anything.  My husband grew up with horses and we had them when we first got married.  The kids were busy with their activities, so, we haven't had any for several years.  After this ride, they're ready for us to saddle up again!

Red River was a wonderful place to camp and visit. We're already planning our next visit there!  

Thank you for sticking with me through all the photos!  Spending time with the family on a trip like this is precious--thank you for letting me share it with you!