I first learned about fiberglass travel trailers, knicknamed “Eggs,” from one of my favorite bloggers, a smart, hip artist named Lily Stockman. On her blog, BigBangStudio, Lily chronicled the renovation of one of these Eggs, a 13-foot-long camper called the Scamp. Before reading about Lily’s adventures with her Scamp, I had always despised RVs. They held up traffic, were gas hogs and it never made sense why the owners even went camping when they brought their tvs, kitchens and flush toilets along with them. We were tent people. But when I took one look at these adorable vintage campers, which happen to be lightweight and relatively affordable, I was smitten. For the last three years, I have had lust in my heart.
If you are young and resourceful like Lily, you find one of these used, and then fix it up. Then you set off for your dream road trip. That’s what she did. So why couldn’t we, I thought? We’ve been moping around home for the last year in our empty nest (our two kids are away in college). In the past, we have gone backpacking and car camped with the kids. We both love hiking, and more recently going bird watching, but haven’t hit the woods or mountains in months. The idea of sleeping on the ground in tents has zero appeal. I think this is the main reason these little trailers speak to me–you sleep off the ground on thick pads. And they don’t flap all night if it’s windy, and you can sit up in them without crouching. Plus, we could use a new project.
As you can see, I easily talked myself into buying one of these. There was just one obstacle. My husband. As much as I disdained RVs in the past, I believe my husband made some kind of personal pact with himself to never, ever, in a million years, own one these revolting rooms on wheels. At the same time, he’s a reasonable guy, and over time, and with persistent, logical and impassioned explanations of why these made perfect sense and would help bring us marital bliss, he saw the light, too.
As far as projects, this one is relatively manageable because the actual trailer is only ten feet long and about seven feet wide. Everything is small scale. My husband calculated we spent about 14 hours driving around Southern CA to check out trailers. I had done a lot of research, looked at countless photos and followed other renovations, but it made all the difference to see them in person. The first one was a good deal, but the integrity of the shell was damaged. The second one had also been sitting outside too long, and was too tall for our garage. The third one, well, here it is: A Perris Pacer, made off the old 395 in the desert town of Perris, California between 1980 and 1990. Ours is a 1988. Hard to think of the late ’80s as vintage, but since they use the same mold style as the original styles from the 60s and 70s, it looks just like the older models. Other “Egg” models out there are called Boler, Love Bug, Burro, Casita, The Egg, Minit, Cloud, Gypsy, Trillium, etc. They all have subtle differences in features, but I liked the Perris Pacer because it has a larger side window. (This bed set-up transforms into a nifty dinette area.)
Now that we have a new Egg in our nest, we are plotting our renovation strategy. How about those curtains…and upholstery…and faux panelling? And yes, that’s carpet, dubbed “rat fur” by other owners, on the walls. Most of this camper is original, although pretty beat up, and on the stinky side. Some people believe in retaining the authenticity. To us, 1988 isn’t that precious, yet. So our goal is to make upgrades that help us enjoy our time inside this egg, and our overall camping experience. In other words, we’ve got ourselves a little project. We don’t plan to strip it to its fiberglass bones, but replace everything that is rotten, smelly and/or ugly. That’s no small task. Click HERE to see how one talented owner transformed a Perris Pacer.
The cool thing is that there is an entire community of fiberglass travel trailer owners and fans, and they gather on a dynamic web site called FiberglassRV.com. If you share my interest in these campers, check it out. You can learn about all the different types of “eggs,” and there are tons of forums and friendly egg owners eager to share their knowledge. What I like is that these egg owners all share an interest in enjoying the great outdoors, but also take the responsibility of experiencing it in campers that have low environmental impact. You can plug these into the parking lot type of campgrounds, but most owners like to go un plugged, called “boondocking,” and get as close to nature as possible. Many also enjoy the DIY and scrappy approach to renovation. Our people!
I will share some of our renovation projects on Laguna Dirt, in case you are interested. For starters, these blue wavy decals have got to go. HERE are some ideas for the outside paint options. Decisions, decisions. I also hope to chronicle some of our planned road trips and adventures, visiting cool parks, gardens and other outdoor-related attractions along the way. Several years ago, I wrote about Searching for The Perfect Wanderlust Vehicle.
Now it’s time to see where this one takes us. Hope you want to come along for the ride!