Monday, December 22, 2014


FYI...not my usual travelogue:

We're ending our own lives!  Either by living them locked in our hated existence or taking them with legalized suicide.  To hell with running with scissors! We now run with explosives!!  Not only do we choose to hurt ourselves but we now choose to hurt others along the way.  We have a history of that and have always found extraordinary ways to accomplish it.  Today, it seems that we've found our way around the law, compassion, morality, and humanity.

Wildlife shows us that living can be cruel but the difference between us is all of those, compassion, empathy, morality, and humanity.  If you watch the news (which I choose not to very often) you don't see much of any of it.  Only at Christmas do you see newscasts of good people doing good deeds.

There is a long history of people hurting people but at what point did it become so indiscriminate? I think it started with class hate, went to race hate, to gay hate, to self hate, to, finally, an overall hate. 

From not acknowledging the AIDS epidemic to expecting Ebola would never cross these US borders.  We've become a world of political agendas, finances, and fame at any cost.

What happened?  I know it was a slow process yet it seems as though it is a new development and we're all suddenly corrupt.  We're liars, cheaters, haters, manipulators.  Our youth expect immediate gratification.  As parents, each generation of us have tried to give our kids the best of everything which has only escalated the problem.  So now it's backfiring because they aren't realistic in their expectations, desires, life goals, or their work ethics.  Violent video games, television, and movies aren't to blame for our kids killing kids!!  We are!!

Too afraid to discipline because our beautiful children can throw our asses in jail for abuse...and they know it!  We no longer seem to have control of our homes, family lives, teachings, or much of anything good and respectable as human beings.

We find ourselves working to live and living to work and everything else is thrown to the wayside then becomes too far gone to rescue.  Working to pay bills for things!  Things we don't need!  Things we accumulate because it's what we do.  Blessed are the people who are loving what they do for a living!!

Does this all mean that the end is near?  I don't think so.  I think that issues similar to what we are experiencing have always been happening but they've expanded exponentially with the population and advances in communications, electronics, technology, etc. There are so many people in the world now.  Happy, sad, lonely, lost.  A large portion of the population have lost themselves in the midst of the masses and constant change.  One has to be strong not to!

One person has so much untapped power if they are unaware!  Aware, we have unparalleled boundaries!  One aware person can change the world!  Few are strong enough to fight the fight.  The ones who choose to are like you or I.  You wouldn't know they had the strength by looking at them but they might save your life.  Why is it that the bad is seen world wide, not the good?

The media controls our untraveled view of the world.  What happens when we travel with no connection (ie. off grid)?  We don't watch nor listen to any broadcast news?  Simply live?  Live simply.  Life simply happens.  What happens?  Experiences, love, memories.

In "normal" society, we're ending our own lives or taking them voluntarily.  I submit change!!  Step away from expectations, amassing "stuff", keeping up with the Jones's.  Live to work?  Work to live?  How about trying to just live??!! Live and love!!

Yea!!  Live and love!!  We have so little time for just that!  Fly...soar while you can!

This gypsy, vintage, winging-it-as-I-go chick's view on now, then, and what could be!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shining Shantilly...Vintage Renewed

As much as I do love my little two man tent and most everything involved in camping in it, there are a couple of drawbacks: 1) Wildlife can rip right through it (true, that's a very rare possibility) and 2) Lillie is old and arthritic.  The latter is the most important as it prevents me from going on the hikes that I want to and it will prevent me from working when I need to.  So I decided the solution was a tiny home.

If you've seen the amazing tiny houses being built by people who prefer a simpler lifestyle, less space, less expense, and more mobility then you likely have considered one yourself.  As cute as they are, I'm a little too mobile for hauling one around.  The alternative, for me, was to go vintage (budget played a huge part too!).  Buying a 14 foot 1968 Shasta camper for $600, after only seeing pictures that a friend, Rodney, texted to me, made perfect sense.  He offered to help me fix it up while I stayed in his home on Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas. "It" became a "Her" and I named her Shantilly. 

After two months on the road tent camping, I arrived back in Texas to get started shining up Shantilly.  As excited as I was to get started, I knew it was going to be work...manual work...down and dirty, power tool driven work.  I had so many ideas in my head for Shantilly so I happily dove right in!  I learned a lot in the two months that it's taken to shine this gem up and can never find a way to repay my friend for all of his help and hospitality!

The entire project was DIY (do it yourself) except for the following:

Cushions recovered at an amazing price and exceptionally done by Chair Care Patio in Dallas, TX!
Pin striping and decals awesomely done by 180 Signs in Mineral Wells, TX!
Tires, bearings, brakes check, safety chains, & trailer wiring done at extremely fair pricing by Shawn's Lake Service in Graford, TX.

Below are 5 of the photos that Rodney texted to me and the ones after it show the "shining" process.



Rodney's dad looks on and offers advice.



Getting the muck off before sanding

Initially sanded all of the way to the aluminum.  Found out we didn't need to so sanded down to the old primer.

Bondo'd the worst of the hail damage

Applied primer to the trim

Reinforced the door

Primed Shantilly

Primed the wheels
Let the painting begin!  I ended up buying a new vent so the hail damaged one you see here is now in the trash.

The paint sprayer wasn't functioning correctly so we ended up with a rough paint layer.  The color wasn't correct either.  It should have been more silver than gray.

I sanded down what I could of the rough exterior but it wasn't sufficient as I would have ended up taking off all of the paint and primer.  I got the correct color of paint and a new sprayer but we were definitely disappointed in the outcome.  It's not horrible though!

Very happy with the diamond plating on the front!

Painted this black then sanded off the raised lettering.

Brand new cone hubcaps and tires
Look what I found!  More counter space!

Time to get busy inside!
Sanding all surfaces.

Sanding/prepping for new stain

I started staining the ceiling first (the hardest part!).

Stained and top coated.

New wood is stained above bed level.  Yes, I did stain below as well.
Rodney expanded the cabinet to allow for a larger refrigerator and small air conditioner.

He also added wiring and a 20 amp breaker box to accommodate the two appliances.  It previously only had a 15 amp breaker.
Counter fronts didn't improve with new stain.

So I painted them.  First, these colors but I didn't like it.
So I painted them this color.

I decided to keep the original doors on the front storage cabinet as well as under the cushions.

Original magazine rack looks better than new!
New cushion supports that are now stained and top coated.
The old cushions
Counter tops painted.  I'll likely do something more to them on down the road as, even though they look good, they easily scratch.
New cushions and table top.  The curtains are temporary $5 flea market ones!

Ceiling splash? ;)

New bed platform

Access to storage under the bed
My first visitor!  My oldest daughter, pregnant with my first grandchild!
Cutting a hole for my AC unit

Old floor

New floor

Old counter tops
New counter tops

I always collected magnets on my travels.
Love seat by day (not sure how long that will last!).
Bed by night
I have 2 of the mirrors to add below that one.  I just need more velcro mounts.

We are done!!  I'm hitting the road tomorrow, headed to Florida for the holidays (with stops in Dallas and Louisiana along the way).  I have a few little things still to do but can take care of them while I'm parked in Florida.  Rodney and I worked hard over the past 2 months and it shows.  We're very proud of the result.