As with so many said things, it is how you say ‘it’. ((*Notice emphasis on the word ‘with’)) When we speak, we add audible emphasis where it is needed … and, probably, fitting facial expressions and hand movement. There is a new book out now, Glamping With MaryJane. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? When you see the title, you think-say in your head, rather plainly, Glamping with MaryJane. Right? No inner emphasis or bolding or caps lock. Ok, so to make my point, perceptions are based on how a thing is said. This blog post wears the same title as MaryJane’s new book, but, one little word made a huge difference for some glamping inclined farmgirls a couple of weeks ago. ‘With’ is the magic word. How so, you might ask? Here’z the big difference:
Glamping With MaryJane. No really, I mean WITH.
The back story must come first.
I was sitting at my desk a couple of months ago, checking email (and an eBay auction item … a vintage plaid cooler. Coincidence, I later wondered?) In came an email from MaryJane. Sometimes, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She asked what I thought about a get-together for farmgirl glampers. The question was specific enough, I just didn’t get it. Her query followed something that I had told her about … … my farmgirl pal, Jennie, and I had cruised through a nearby national convention of Women RV-ers just days before. We thought there might be some Sisters On The Fly in their ranks. We were lookyloos on the lookout for vintage campers.
Ok, so, MaryJane asks me about putting together a gathering of farmgirl glampers and I’m thinking she’s proposing some kind of convention. She also posed the question about what location might be good. Soooo, I’m percolating on all of this. Great idea – sooooo, I’m thinking somewhere ‘center of the nation’ kind of place. An equal distance traveling sort of locale. Boy, that would be seventeen kinds of fun to gather a frolicsome flock of glampy farmgirls all in one place! But, wait. You see, that was not what she was asking. It took a second email for me to catch the vision she was trying to convey.
She meant, ‘would I like to get together with her to go glamping and where might be a good place for us to meet?’ There is that little word again … with … and, it changed the whole conversation. It changed my whole summer! Honest, after our next email exchange, in which my fearless leaderette clarified the matter, I jerked myself up from my chair and exclaimed “Holey Moley!” … exactly like when Walter Matthau first laid his eyes on Sophia Loren in the movie, Grumpy Old Men. Now you have the frame for everything else that followed.
I called my farmgirl sisters. I was in a frenzied panic of the most wonderful kind. It was contagious. A glamporous disease took hold. It infected us like a speed event! We had the worst case of Glamperitis you ever saw. First, one farmgirl bought a camper, then another … and another. One glamper was fully restored and road ready, two others just needed a good cleaning and ‘girling up’. The last one was a true ‘Flip This Camper’ project (which you might have already read about in a previous posting). I had purchased my camper last winter. But, I’d dawdled on repainting it and getting serious about road-readiness. Reason being: well, I was lonesome for company. Who was I gonna go glamping with? Seeeee, the word with is everything sometimes. You can camp alone, but, glamping alone? … one big fat No. The word caravan is plural mostly, the first definition listed is: A company of travelers journeying together. Second: A single file of vehicles or pack animals. Third: a covered vehicle. I was lonely little ole 3 longing for 1 & 2. And, then, whuddya know it came to pass.
One sunny wednesday morning a couple’a weeks ago, after a lot of intense preparation, my farmgirl posse and I headed down the highway to meet up with MaryJane and her farmgirl posse. OyVay, you cannot believe the sweaty fervor involved with getting ready for the trip. All my farmgirl sisters bought and glammed up their campers in a month or less! I’m talking neccessities, decor, awnings, etc etc. Donna even bought a 1973 banana yellow Buick Electra to pull her 1961 Shasta. Finally, departure day came. We gathered at Jennie’s house and were to meet Michele and her momma, Barb, on the way. Reserved campsites awaited eight glampers. We chose a secluded campground near Sylvan Lake in the heart of the Black Hills, Horse Thief Campground www.horsethief.com . The trip for us is about a 2 hour drive at the most. MaryJane & Co. had left a few days prior and were vacationing whilst making their way out here. If you didn’t follow their journey to & fro, you can catch up by going to MaryJane’s daily blog at Raising Jane.
Ok, you know enough now to go with us!
Sing it Willy … “On The Road Again … just can’t wait to get on the road again …”
It was only 103 degrees in camp while we were setting up & securing our campers in their designated spots. Narry a breeze. It only looks cool there in the shade. We were a sweaty swarm of busy farmgirls! The shower house never looked so good at the end of “staging” our glampsites. We wanted to get everything done before MaryJane, Kim and Ace were to arrive later that evening. Here is the glamper tour. First, Jennie’s “Little Black Dress”. I must tell you, too, that Jennie was exactly one week out from having a hysterectomy. She was determined to go … and she did!
If you follow MaryJane’s daily “Raising Jane” blog, you might recognize this image that appeared as one of the daily photos that always wear the lacey label, Farmgirl Romance. Again, Jennie’s glamper.
Now, for a decidedly different glamper flavor: Anita’s “Itty Bitty Bunkhouse”.
Anita’s glamper birdhouse also made it as a ‘farmgirl romance’ photo. Anita made the boot birdhouse; being ‘home-made’ is true of many of the decorative glamper goodies you’ll see on the tour. We made things for ourselves and for our farmgirl pals in this whole process. We also vigorously gave back & forth from our store of “stuff” so that each farmgirl wouldn’t be short of glammy details! Perish the thought.
Now, let us take a trip back to 1962 when Donna’s glamper was fresh off the assembly line and when these songs were the NEW hits on the music charts: Johnny Angel, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Duke Of Earl, Roses Are Red (My Love), Ramblin’ Rose, and Sealed With A Kiss. Meet Donna’s glamper, the “Holy Roller” and her car, the “Donnaville”. We joked that she could double for Cruella DeVille in that Re-Dic-U-Lously long banana-boat if only she had a messy Do, a fur coat and a cigarette holder. Then, the 21 foot long car was said to look like a Bonneville sedan, and before we knew it, “she” had a fitting name … The Donnaville! A gal in our hometown makes custom decals and she made several for us that fit the theme of each of our glampers. If you would like custom decals for your glamper, email Alice at: alice_savage_2 @ hotmail.com (*sidenote – Anita did not have her decals picked out yet, but she’s going to get some ranchy flavored decals here soon.)
I have to mention husbands here. Each and every one our DHs was supportive in several ways. Donna’s dear Kelvin worked allllll day to build and weld a custom hitch for the Donnaville. The car was purchased just a few days before we were to leave. Anita’s husband, Jerry, painted most of the exterior of her glamper … even the very detailed logo on the back. He also checked the plumbing and propane fixtures. Jennie’s husband, Lee, helped her immensely to get ready to go since she had a total hysterectomy 7 days before we left. He, then, drove her all the way over to the campground, got her glamper settled … and then proceeded to help the rest of us. Then, he went on home and planned to come back to fetch his wife & glamper on the last day. Michele’s husband, Darren, re-packed the barings on her glamper (no small task) and worked on the electrical wiring so that it was safe and working – completely road ready. Brenda’s husband fixed a BAD plumbing leak in her camper the night before. Then, he did something very thoughtful for a fellow farmgirl glamper. He’s an EMT/fireman and he drove alllll the way over to our camp to deliver an epi-pen for Michele. She is deathly allergic to bee stings and the camp was lousy with them. Her momma and the rest of us were worried sick about it. My DH checked my trailer lights one last time, aired up the tires and he removed all traces of propane and the tanks. I don’t need or want a kitchen or plumbing in my glamper. And, while I was gone, he continued to work full-time, take over my daily routine of hauling water to our cattle, watch over my chickens and our small pets. He also watered my flower bed in front of the house. The latter chores rarely fall to him. He’s a hard-chargin’ cowboy type. I giggle when envisioning him carrying an egg basket. :o) So, THANK YOU to our wonderful husbands for helping us GO. Mine said he got along just fine and ate whatever he wanted! ;o)
Below: Nighty-night at donna’s glampsite. Another Farmgirl Romance photo from Raising Jane.
Ok, now we go from the high-gloss polish of fresh paint to a Pre-restoration exterior. Michele adores old things that really show their age. Rust, wrinkles, grungey goodies, dents & damage are right up her alley. She likes going junkin’ and she also loves early American primitive style. Her glamper decor is an extension of her home – a whimsical mix of precious prims & rusty relics. The inside of her glamper is freshly restored – and I mean to tell you that it came back from a grizzly grimey mess to what you see now – in 2 weeks! The outside will evenutally wear some fresh turquoise paint, but the wings that are missing on this 1961 Shasta are not going to be replaced with shiny new metal. Oh no, the ‘new’ wings are going to be made by Michele out of rust embellished corrugated tin and wood. I bet the turquoise finish will also be faux aged somehow too. She pulls her glamper with a vintage Land Cruiser. Her glamper’s name is “Prim To The Brim”.
Note to self: Actually, I already did this. One of the bench seats was MIA in Michele’s camper, but she didn’t rebuild it. Instead, she used a small antique table & chairs. I liked the extra room it offered so much that I removed the table from my glamper and copy-catted this idea. Below: Michele proudly taped her MaryJanesFarm sisterhood certificate on the wall.
This is the place where I would have intro’d you to Brenda and her pickup camper, however, our computers or the internet or something else prevented me from getting most of the photos that she took, including those of her camper. So, what I will do is feature what she did to ‘glamp up’ her new slide-in pickup camper in a future blog article. You don’t have to have an old camper-trailer to be glamperous! All you need is a romantic imagination. A pick-up camper will do nicely, so will a tent, a motor home, a van or a sheepwagon! It matters not. Being a glampy farmgirl is a state of mind. Whatever it takes to get out … git-r-done! Just a little time away … in the clean fresh air of the country is better therapy than all the chocolate & chick flicks in the world. Even if the ‘out in the country’ is your own backyard.
Ok, so, now I’m going to switch gears a little. After, we got our glampsites set up in the intense heat of the day, and after we enjoyed a shower in a very clean shower house … we relaxed and waited. We drank sun tea and then broke out some of Anita’s home brewed wine. We were waiting for “Lily” … MaryJane’s beautifully restored Airstream (see the details in her new book). We sat back and savored the view of all of our glampers sitting pretty as a picture in our wooded campground … now cooling off nicely. There was a unanimous feeling, a gloriously victorious feeling of We Did It. We did it. And, there we were sitting and enjoying the first fruits of all our hard work. We had finally arrived, we graduated. We Are Glampers!
We were also restless … after we’d recovered from the day’s labor. We were getting anxious to see glampers from Idaho arrive! At any sign of movement, we glanced back toward the campground entrance in expectation (many times). We were really wanting to see a gleaming silver bullet headed up our little two-track dirt road … … Oh where oh where might The Lily be? … and her posse of one? Bringing up the rear would be an olive green Jeep and a darling little teardrop glamper. The gals were not late, it’s just that we were feeling like horses on a diet of ‘hot’ grain — we were a little ‘up in the bridle’ – to use horseman’s terms. But, after a few glasses of wine, we simmered down and had supper – fried chicken, Barb’s fabulous potato salad and other fixins we’d prepared earlier so that we wouldn’t have to cook that evening.
Then, finally, finally …
Ok, Now we’re GLAMPING! The “Queen Bee” herself had arrived.
Before I go any further, notice the embellishments on Lily. The “goodies” are vintage aluminum service pieces … fancy old platters, gelatin molds etc. Brilliantly perfect!
Introductions were made, hugs exchanged, smiles all around. I don’t know as I’ve ever seen Anita wear an expression of pure glee. She was happier than a baby pig in a fresh waller. MaryJane, Kim and Ace had been on the road for a few days and they were eager to get their own campsites settled since it was early evening. So, we left them be to take care of the business end of getting set up. Ace & Kim had a cabin for this leg of their journey. They had slept in the teardrop on the way.
After we met and visited for the remainder of the evening, all of us slid into weary relaxation, and soon it was time for bed. For most of us, it would be the first time we slept in our glampers. I laid there in my little glampy nest and drowsily contemplated my maiden journey to Glamperville. Between cool sheets and cozy vintage bedding, I laid there with the window vent right above my head that let in the cool night air. I could hear the night sounds of nature. The faint light of the full moon gently reflected off of the old maple of my camper’s ceiling. That is what I remember seing last. I’m sure I fell asleep with a smile on my face.
In the days and hours that followed, we were all busy and/or not busy. There was time to relax and to gadabout … seeing the sights, eating out, shopping for antiques, visiting and just ‘chilling out’. We ate well, we drank tea by the buckets, we bought ice by the barge full – so it seemed. We came armed with plenty of food, several coolers and itybity fridges or ice-boxes in our glampers. So, we had to ice-up frequently. We laughed and we laughed and we laughed s’more.
And, then, we dined the second evening. Dined. We dressed for dinner in farmgirl attire. We dressed the table in lace and antique china. We dined by lamp light, we played vintage easy-listening music that wafted through the campground. Not one complaint. Evergreen trees in a canyon meadow offer the most wonderous acoustics. It was called to my attention, that while the music played, a father danced with his young daughters at their campsite. Sweeeeet. We also played a rowdy game of Bingo. Each farmgirl brought prizes for the winners. MaryJane won a string of little silver Airstream look-alike party lights that she promptly hung on Lily. Kim won a black fox wrap. Ace won a birdhouse and potholders. Brenda won a vintage thermos and a string of real pearls. Jennie didn’t win a darn thing, but she was the life of the party! I didn’t win either since I was the caller. I could only concentrate on one thing. I knew from experience that trying to keep this flock orderly (and do my job as Bingo boss) would be like herding feral cats.
Ace and Kim work at MaryJanesFarm. Ace is one of MaryJane’s photographers. She also handles most of the online social media. Kim is one of the “farmhands”. She takes care of all of the farm’s animals and the bees too. She also helps MaryJane’s daughter, Megan, manage the farm’s famous Wall Tent bed & breakfast inn. (Doing that is next on my bucket list)
After the fun & games, we made a feeble attempt to clean up some of the party carnage. But, much of it would wait until morning. We said our goodnights and headed for glamper beddy-bye.
During the daylight hours of our time together, we got to know one another. Even good friends get to know each other better when you ‘get away from it all’. MaryJane thrilled us all when she gifted us with signed copies of her new book. We also received copies of the new issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine and darling pieces of personalized jewelry. MaryJane insisted on a glamper tour to see everyone’s glamper. So, we made our tussled up beds and gussied up our glampers. She signed my trailer and my guest log; she did the same or something similar in all the other girl’s glampers. For example, Michele and Anita painted the inside of their door with blackboard paint (going with the idea provided by MaryJane). We also signed each other’s logs and doors with permanent markers.
I took very few photos. Initially, I felt guilty, like I was dropping the ball. But, when I take photos of an ‘event’, even an everyday sort of thing, I feel like an observer. I’ve been sooo looking forward to one day meeting my farmgirl mentor and employer of these past three years. I didn’t want to be on the outside looking at the goings on through a lens. I wanted to fully participate in every moment. I wanted to be IN it. Thank goodness the other farmgirls stepped up to the plate – especially Jennie, Brenda too. Most of the social photos are courtesy of Jennie.
MaryJane, you are more than what I expected … and less. You are as gracious and kind and genuinely lovely as I imagined. You are not tall and willowy as I imagined. You’re petite and willowy. A mighty, yet gentle rivulet of forward energy and quiet determination. A lady in the old and genteel sense of the word. You’re that wonderful hatted farmgirl image inside & out. You’re worthy of becoming an icon. And more. I can’t describe how I felt seeing you sit smiling on my glamper bed … pleased with what you saw. I can honestly say I don’t remember what you said to me, but I will never forget how you made me feel throughout your stay … and that is the true measure of meaningful. Emphasis on full. Ok, I’m gonna need a hanky if I don’t stop here and finish the tour. Ahem, sniff, sniff. Moving along now …
I’m the last stop on the glamper tour. Some of you have seen photos of my glamper before, but it’d be totally out of character for me not to sieze the opportunity to share fresh views … and this time my “Cabin In A Can” is IN CAMP instead of parked in my driveway! Here she is …
I made a set of fishing themed glamping jewelry for the trip … and for the new issue of the monthly farmgirl sisterhood newsletter (The Cluck). The dog is Kim’s border collie, Riley. My rat terrier, Dotty, came with me also – mostly because she needs daily heart meds and she’s an easy traveler.
I think Ace must have taken this photo and it, too, showed up as the daily photo on Raising Jane. Michele gave me the cute little apron.
Below: See that DARling little owl pillow? Custom-made … and you can have one of your own by going to the BWinks shop at Etsy. Same is true of my tent and glamper potholders, made my Beth Springer. You can see good photos of them both in MaryJanes new book (in the crafty glamper section).
All good things must come to an end and so it was with our very first adventure to Glamper Land. Now, we’re home again, dreaming about other places off the beaten path. I speed-gobbled MaryJane’s book. Now that the dust has settled, I’m savoring the pages, one by one. I’m laughing out loud at the pithy wit, feasting my eyes on the lucious mix of vintage imagery, marveling at the idea that so much great educational information is so delightful. Really?? You can make hitching a camper pretty and fun?? Darn-tootin! Honest? There is a picture of a farmgirl going tinkle under the cover of a victorian umbrella?! Gasp. What glamporous nerve! This book gives new meaning to the old saying, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Thanks MaryJane from the core of my outdoor-luvin’ being for showing me a new way to enjoy being outside.
Until we meet on the road again or until we meet here again, Happy Trails to all my fellow farmgirl friends out there.