It all started when we pulled into the Manatee State Park Thursday night located outside of Bradenton Florida. Arriving the gate for check in we notice a 1949 Spartan camper trailer in front of us checking in. My mind wanders and it made me smile thinking about what comes in our “path” and how we never know what’s ahead of us. The Spartan took my breath away.
Located at on the back rear fender of this vintage trailer was a big dent and covering it was a big red bandaid with the words “That was a Tree”. We immediately giggled and knew what that was about as we too have the same dent on our trailer. Yep, backing these trailers up into small, wooded lots can sometimes be challenging.
Once checked in, we drove into the park in search of #57 campsite. While making our scoop around the park we counted four more Airstream trailers. We felt we were off to a good start with our weekend of finding fun.
The First night making pizza is always a hit and good game of cards always makes for more fun! Part of our camping experiences centers around our menus. Everyone has to eat right?
Soon we start exploring our campsite seeing what was around us. We met our new “Rangers”. 😉 We located the bath house and bike trails. First things first.
Outside our campsite front door was fun tree hugging another tree. It felt like playing that hidden picture game that you find certain objects. Soon after noticing the embraced tree we notice we have a special guest out our back door.
The next morning I set out for a walk and sure enough, I find the Spartan trailer and it’s owner at the picnic table. Knock knock, as I approach outside the camp site. Immediately this big smile appears, welcomes us in and we are off and chatting about what we all had in common, vintage trailers.
Nicki’s diamond in the rough was full of character and oozed with love. Nineteen fifty’s barkcloth fabric was “tucked” throughout the trailer. The bench seat in the dining area was beautifully tucked with the same fabric that Nicki nabbed at an estate sale for whopping $8. Being a fabric hound myself, my eyes went right to it!
Nicki’s creative personality spoke all through the trailer with her special touches. Besides her yards of barkcloth, Swan facets used in both the kitchen and shower, oil painting tacked on the ceiling so when she laid down she could appreciate them, two stain glass panels enclosed her shower, an old refrigerator used as her pantry and an old collection of dishes. You see Nicki only travels with the best dish-ware, no paper plates for this gal. A girl after my own heart! Even crystal stemmed compotes were selected for her two cats when dining.
Previously owning a Bed and Breakfast in Colorado for over a decade she kept asking for a sign to move on. Covid hit and the sign showed up when she least expected it. A buyer stepped forward to purchase her B and B and it was time to oil the wheels on the vintage 1949 Spartan and hit the road.
Nicki had purchased the trailer several years from an ad on Craigs list. The Spartan was parked with hopes of someday hitting the road to find greener pastures. Nicki knew warmer weather was a must and so Florida bound it was!
I was amazed Nicki could manipulate this trailer as well as she did. Only have trailered and parked this rig less than a dozen times, she proved we can all do what we set out to accomplish. Another inspiring young woman calling her own shots.
Our path crossing with Nicki had another layer that was special. The Spartan trailer was manufactured by Spartan Aircraft Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is the school Brian attended back in to the70’s and received his Aviation Maintenance Technology degree. The logo is still present today.
Next I was on the hunt to find who owned the beautiful 1963 Vintage Airstream. Another path I was excited to learn about.
I was so excited to meet the couple that owned the immaculate, shinny Airstream that shouted out from across the park. Again my “knock knock” approach worked and another beautiful friendship was created.
Sam and Ann coming from Georgia had a trailer that was so put together with every little detail of home life fitting into place. I was jealous of the organized cabinets, beds and new kitchen look. Ann also had chosen a barkcloth in her decor for window treatments. WOW did the windows dance with beauty!
Sam and Ann, one might say that this was not their first rodeo in camping. They also own two other vintage trailers. One that held our interest was a small Teardrop trailer they spoke of that they camped in from time to time. Another beauty if you haven’t seen one in your travels it’s fun to pull up on Google to take a look at. We could only imagine the fun they must have with that trailer as well.
A very adventurous couple living life to the fullest. They retired in their late 40’s and they have been having fun ever since. This is what everyone dreams about in life and they are living proof of doing such. Living simple with less we’re both their comments.
As we continued our walk around the park we stumbled upon the hammock camper. All things tidy inside this hammock with a dirty pair of socks at the foot of the hammock told us people find interesting ways to get away from it.
The caution sign on the lake with lined up canoes to paddle around the lake had our most respect. No canoes, no alligators for me!
With our new friends I couldn’t help but think back at book I recently read for a book club. The story is about two girls that meet and develop a strong relationship. They move apart from each other and struggle keeping their friendship with each other even though they lived in different cities.
I wondered if Nicki, Sam and Ann would come back on our path once we parted our ways. After all, we have a common ground with vintage trailers. In our chats we discussed the latest campsites they had stayed and shared their tricks to camping. As my book reminded me that it takes time to stay connected.
We had beautiful sunsets, met some wonderful friends from all over. Our fires were mesmerizing and many memories made.
We learn people come from all aspects of life. We all need time out to smell the campfire. But most of all, Covid has brought us several positive things as we tuck away out of site with social distance. Friends come in your path when you least expect it!