Happy Trails to You

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
I have been hearing Roy Rogers sing that snappy little tune for days now. If I knew how to whistle, I would be whistling it while I work. I have always been a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans fan, though I probably could not come up with any brilliant reasons why. Maybe it was their unassuming way of being humble in the midst of their success, or their fun and flirty style when talking to each other while on camera. I could never image one without the other.

To me Dale was a “girls’ girl.” I loved many of the starlets of the era—Jane Russell and others—but I could not relate to them. I was and am more of a “ride ‘em cowgirl and get your hands dirty”, kind of girl and less of a “Daisy Duke.” Not that I do not have an appreciation for the Daisy Duke types; many of my friends fall easily into those roles, but for me Dale was the best of the best. Stylish, but not too fussy, sophisticated yet approachable. In addition, could there be a better “send off” to give anyone other than to wish them “happy trails?”
I have always wanted a little travel trailer. I have great memories of my grandparents’ travel trailer and their little group of travelers. Every summer they would set off to the coast or some such destination. If I were lucky, I would get to go. My grandma made the art of “camping” look easy, and I loved sitting around the campfire listening to the stories and laughter as everyone recounted the day’s events. On those trips, I watched my grandma as she sat, listening to the “fish tales” with some sort of handwork in her hand. When we were not camping, I loved to hide away in the camper as it sat back behind my grandparents’ house, using it as a hideaway where I could read or write.
I married into a family that has a family cabin in the mountains. It has been in the family for 125 years or more, and it is very much their heritage. Seldom is there a weekend during spring, summer or fall that something is not going on up there, we now have taken to having Christmas there. I know that we are so honored to have it and use it, but I always missed the wandering part of the adventure that goes with having a trailer. Hooking up the trailer, loading up the truck and heading down the road…and while we knew our destination, it was always a little exciting to hear grandpa say, “We will go as far as we like and then pull over somewhere.” The word “somewhere” was such a thrill…we did not know exactly where, but somewhere…
My grandparents usually traveled with their friends Sam, Betty, and their kids, who were older than I was but everyone always made me feel welcome on the adventure. There were always campers, boats, fishing, and stories around the fire. Traveling with friends made the adventure more fun for me. It was like having witnesses to the memories, and I loved hearing them talk about all the trips that they had taken over the years, all the snapshots and mishaps with the fish tales that seemed to be improved with every adventure.
Two years ago, the camping bug was once again ignited in me—what I had been able to keep as a slow ember was now in full flames. I WANTED A TRAILER. And not just any trailer of course, but a vintage trailer that I could fix up and pull down the road with my other Farmgirl sisters. And just as true friends do, I had “sisters” Grace and Heather fanning the flames. See, they both already HAD their trailers. Then adding insult to injury, my college friend and my hubby’s high school friends Thane and Gail got their vintage Cutie.
So not that there was whining involved (okay, there was whining involved), but to mark our recent 25th wedding anniversary (September 1), I finally got my own trailer. She is a 1967 16’ Aladdin and is in perfect condition. Oh sure, she needs a little dolling up, but I am looking forward to that. I have already named her “The Back Forty.” I thought it would be a lot of fun that when anyone asked, “Hey, where is Rene this weekend?” my friends and family could answer, “Oh, she’s in the back forty.” Of course, she will be decorated with all kinds of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans memorabilia. And since I have been coveting the new bedding at the MaryJane Store called Moonlit Serenade, I know what will be going on the two beds in the trailer. I have already begun to stitch pillows that have Roy and Dale quotes and movie titles on them, and cannot wait to own some of Miss Wilma’s yummy vintage lace pillows to go in there as well.
Her maiden voyage as “The Back Forty” will happen at the end of September, when I take her out to an outdoor school that my dad has asked me to come help with—a group of fifth graders learning to love the great outdoors. I hope that my little trailer will ignite in one of them what my grandparents’ trailer ignited in me so very long ago.
For a girl like me, who thinks that every country road has a story to tell, it seems that having a trailer just makes telling those stories that much sweeter. Happy Trails.

  1. Miriam says:

    Congratulations on the purchase of your new adventure home! I miss having our Winnabago. It was always packed and ready to hit the trail at a moments notice. I can’t wait to hear about your explorations.

  2. karen bates (kpaints) says:

    Oh, Rene’ how wonderful! Yeah! She is a cutie! What brand? Once I get Trailer Trash (temp name) fixed this spring we all need to hit the winding roads of Washington. I love the name you chose, maybe you could help me with one. Happy trails to you!!! Until we meet again!

  3. Gary says:

    Cool trailer Rene’…!
    I’m certain you will Cozy-It-Up inside, and Y’all will have many Swell times in the Great Outdoors.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  4. Grace~katmom says:

    Oh Rene’
    I am soooo excited for you to go on your 1st-maiden voyage……and then when the 5 of us meet up for one last round up of the season….Is it October yet? LOL!
    I luv the Roy & Dale theme….

    Yep, when Karen get’s T.T. done & road ready, the 6 of us Trailer Princess’ will hit then road..’cuz like you said, every road has a story & we have cameras to prove it!
    hug & Happy Trails to you, until we meet again….

  5. Brenda says:

    Oh my yeah for you!!! I would be so excited I do not think I could wait past the next weekend. We had an old vintage pop-up camper when our girls were younger. Afraid it was not in the best of shape when I bought it and no matter how much repair we did it would only hold up for about 4 or 5 more years. But we had great time in that camper. I have been eyeing all the vintage campers in the MaryJanes magazines when I get them and on some other blog sites. I also enjoyed making curtains and cushions for our camper as I am sure you are doing. Loved Roy and Dale when I was growing up also, what an awesome idea for your decor. Have fun!

  6. CC says:

    I grew up with Dale & Roy singing on red and yellow colored 78’s or 45 records that my parents gave us … I remember watching them in black & white on Saturday mornings along with the cartoons … I remember our family going to Apple Valley, CA on a vacation & going to see their museum where my sister broke into inconsolable tears at seeing Trigger stuffed in the museum – – that was it for her, she never watched Roy again …

    Congrats on the trailer & your new happy trails ahead!

  7. Grace says:

    Having been richly blessed with meeting both Dale and Roy as a young woman I can attest to the fact they were real honest hard working hard playing folks. I enjoyed many days swimming in their pool and laughing with them and learning from them with their true gift in sharing stories. I even played with the dog,"Bullet" I loved that the dog could undo invisible ropes that tied my hands. What a gift their presence was to me in my life from that point on. I loved that they adored one another and made such a lovely couple. I appreciated their ability to give to those less fortunate than they themselves were. You can take the people out of the country but the country (farm girl) is always right there within.


    Thank you for sharing that with me. How special to know that there is a connection.

  8. Marilyn Freerksen says:

    I was in love with Roy Rogers. I even got his comic book, took it to school and hid it in one of my textbooks and wouldn’t you know I got caught. And I was the "perfect student" who ever did anything wrong! I too would love to have one of the small trailers for camping, Good for you!

  9. Susan says:

    I to have acquired a little trailer. Wasn’t road worthy but it’s in our backyard ready for a night’s camping. As Dorthy said, you don’t have to look further than your own backyard for adventure!

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