I want to introduce y’all to the newest resident of my driveway…much to the chagrin of my neighbors, I’m sure.
This is Mabel Leigh. She was made in Bristow, Oklahoma 40-some years ago. A lady doesn’t reveal her actual age, you know.
Mabel Leigh is a 15 foot long Serro Scotty. A Gaucho model to be exact. And just like this 40-something writer, she is a hot mess. But we’re gonna fix her up nice, maybe make her into a guest cottage or actually travel a bit with her (even though you know I love a snazzy hotel).
Do you remember when Pinterest was new? I didn’t really know how to use it or what it would evolve into. Nowadays I’m supposed to use it to promote my recipes, my food and travel recommendations. I rarely use it anymore to pin ideas that strike my interest in home decorating or backyard decorating. In the beginning, I sure did. I was all about pinning fun stuff I enjoyed. I should get back to that. You see, the very first thing I pinned was a vintage travel trailer. I’ve wanted one for years. The second thing I pinned was a nifty little hack to keep zippers that refuse to stay up on jeans in place. But anyway…
I’ve been looking and looking for a trailer. A cute little bubble of a trailer. A canned ham, they call them. I had this vision of finding one for a real steal. Or crossing paths with someone who wanted to pay me to haul one away. And then they became trendy. See Miranda Lambert’s Facebook post from last week.
Vintage trailers were often more expensive to buy than a new travel trailer with all of the modern amenities. When I would find one for sale, often by the time I contacted the seller it was long gone, on the road to its new home. I was starting to get discouraged.
So I joined a Facebook group dedicated to vintage trailers for sale. It is a bit of a compilation page, folks from across the country share for sale ads found on Craigslist and other sources. Well, I got thrown out of that group a month ago for defending a newbie who had the nerve to ask a question. You see, the group isn’t for chat, it’s for ads only. The moderator got cranky with the poor fella and I suggested she could maybe try to be nice. She kicked me out of the group!
On Easter Sunday, I decided I would try to re-join that group. Lo and behold, they approved my request. And just like that, this fella Ray shared a Craigslist ad for a trailer that looked interesting to me, fit my budget and was an easy daytrip from home. I sent an email to the seller. By sunset the owner had called me back. And by sunrise, we had concocted a plan to drive 3 hours away to take a look.
On the relatively quick interstate trip to see the trailer (75 MPH speed limit!), we had all sorts of discussions. Most of them were centered on me agreeing to not fall in love with the trailer if it was an absolute mess, not salvageable. Then I would interject things like, “I wonder how we can color match the original Serro aqua paint?” And the conversation would be redirected to, “Remember, there are other trailers out there. It’s okay if this isn’t THE ONE.” But what about the aqua paint?!?
At exactly 2:22, we pulled off a country road onto a dirt driveway. And there she was, nestled against a barn and a pile of stuff. You know the kind of stuff, treasures buried in it surely.
It didn’t take long for me to know this trailer, this 40+ year old hot mess of a trailer, was indeed THE ONE. Three feet longer than my dream trailer, but yet the size seemed just right to me. All original inside, even though that didn’t matter to me. Air in the tires, so surely we could get her home.
And then I did it, I named her Mabel Leigh. She was coming home with us.
While my favorite fella and the gentleman who sold us his uncle’s trailer got her hooked up and ready to roll, I took our pooch Kohl for a walk around the property and took a few photos. Isn’t he handsome?
The drive home was s..l..o..w. It took six hours on the backroads. SIX hours to go about 200 miles. You see, Mabel Leigh hasn’t been on the highway in many years. She moves slow, like less than 50 MPH. A trip to Tractor Supply was necessary, it took lots of duct tape to hold her together. (I have days where I feel similarly…)
Plus we had to stop at a groovy donut shop.
And then a Casey’s General Store to refuel and catch the sunset.
Well past bedtime, Mabel Leigh found her spot in our driveway. My fella has already threatened to stand in the driveway in the morning, wearing a bathrobe and trooper hat, ala Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation.
I’ll pop in once in awhile to keep you posted on Mabel Leigh’s progress. I’m sure excited to have this fun, new project!
This whole story makes me giddy happy – I want one (will you please share the link to that facebook group? Although I don’t think my stinky home owners association would take too kindly to a beautiful vintage trailer in our driveway).
I want to come to Mable Leigh’s warming party – because surely you are going to have one, right? With white lights and doughnuts!
I am for sure going to have a Mabel Leigh-warming party. I love your vision of white lights and doughnuts, Kristen!
The Facebook group is “Vintage Trailers for Sale.” It will say “closed group” and have about 16,000 members. Even if not ready to buy, it’s fun to look at what is for sale across the country.
Jill Schmidt says
Amazing story. I hope to meet Mabel Leigh.
I hope you get to meet her, too, Jill. The plan is to make her into a fun little guest cottage!
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts says
Mabel Leigh! How very, very exciting! What an adventure you all are going to have with her! I agree with Kristen. We want to be invited to her warming party as well. 🙂
Kohl is the bomb! Love his blue vehicle backdrop. I want that vehicle to restore. 😉
Happy, happy all with Mabel Leigh! I’m so glad you are going to keep us posted on her.
Thanks, Shirley! I’ll definitely send an invitation for the Mabel Leigh-warming party!
That big ol’ blue truck would make a fun restoration project. I closed my eyes and thought about what the engine would have sounded like. I could almost hear it roaring through my hometown, a little backfire as it got moving again after stopping at the four-way blinker light. If only that old truck could talk…
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts says
Yay! And LOL on the truck backfiring–perfect visualization! I couldn’t tell for sure from the photos that it was a truck, but I thought so. 😉
Megan | Allergy Free Alaska says
This post makes me so happy – and happy for you, Johnna!! I look forward to seeing your upcoming Mabel Leigh posts; she’s going to be SO pretty when she’s done! And I too, LOVE the picture of Kohl… he is a very handsome guy!
Thanks, Megan. I’m excited for a fun, new project. And thanks for your kind words about Kohl. We kinda like him. 😉
Ohhh, how exciting! I hope I get to meet her someday! Mabel Leigh reminds me of the one my mom and step-dad owned in the late ’70s. Maybe they are related!
Thanks, Mona! You can most definitely meet Mabel Leigh. I would love to hear more about the one your mom and step-dad owned.
robert ballard says
MABEL LEIGH…? Yup that’s what you need, another project. 😉
I’m pretty excited about this project. It’s a good chance for me to learn some new skills. My favorite fella, however, may be leery of sharing his power tools with me. 😉