Boler Bonanza

You’ve seen them right?? Those beautifully shaped tiny eggs on wheels that have inspired an almost cult-like following (I can say this as I was firmly in the Eggers Club, even attended a Rally with several hundred people, all camped out in their vintage Bolers on beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada.) But have you stepped inside one? Have you camped in it with 5 people? Bolers are a camper almost unlike any other. Made almost completely of a fibreglass shell that is shaped in molds, then put together in a sort of wonderful squish to become what might be the most beautiful, cute and fun little trailer that was ever put on the market! These vintage beauties are popping up everywhere these days; original glory, gorgeous glampers and retro getaways. You can even rent them through AirBnB and similar sites! Finding them is a game we often play in our vehicle… almost like “punch buggy” Tell me I’m not the only one who secretly giggles when I see one now, even if I don’t yell “punch buggy” at the top of my lungs while simultaneously punching the closest person in the upper arm.. okay if I’m being honest I haven’t actually carried out the full act since my teen years. When we’re out on the road (especially those out of the way back roads) the kids are quick to yell out “Boler” as soon as they see one and we all crane our necks. Is it a parked beauty in an old farm yard that just needs a little TLC and a price tag to reflect? Or are we talking fully loved, fully restored gem just cruising down the highway? The amazing thing about these campers is their weight. A camper that sleeps 4 (a little squishy, but you give a little comfort to be part of the Bolerama movement) weighs as little as 1000lbs and can be pulled by almost any vehicle! In fact this story is about our own Little Green Machine, or Eleanor as we referred to her. Eleanor was purchased after a whirlwind trip several hundred miles away. To be honest, hubby was not a fan.. at first. In fact- HE THOUGHT I WAS ABSOLUTELY BONKERS! Not having much background knowledge about them, all he saw was a THIRTEEN FOOT camper, older than we were (by a lot) and a price tag closer to a brand new camper. I was ecstatic! I had found a GEM! A fully glamped up 1972 Boler on a brand new frame with new exterior paint, fully custom interior cabinets with TONS of storage and new upholstery. READY TO GLAMP AWAY!!!! When purchasing a camper that has seen over 40 years, one has to expect that even a “restored” or “renovated” camper would have some issues, right? Well not me. I was laughingly and shockingly naive and thought okay, money down now lets just camp away! We realized quickly that Eleanor didn’t like rain by her backside… she let it in (shh, she got upset when we talked about her negatively) Yes, okay I became one of those fanatics. My vintage Boler had a name, a personality and I treated her kindly. Thank goodness for hubbies that are are amazing and can pretty much make happen anything that I dream. In this case it was just a simple matter of removing the old window, tape and then putting new tape in and resetting the window. Easy peasy… er I think it was, I kind of didn’t even go in the garage for a few weeks while hubby stewed about my “junk” purchase, but still lovingly fixed it up. Maiden voyage, picture this; Eleanor in all her Lime Green splendor (yes that’s an actual painted on picture of a parrot sipping a drink on the front, we removed the limes, margaritas and flower decals though… a wife has to give in a little- come on now, we had to get hubby to agree to sleep in it!). Minivan- CHECK Hubby, Wife- CHECK CHECK Children (2 school age) CHECK Six month old baby and playpen for sleeping????? Say what???????? So I measured, and measured and finally found a playpen that would fit set up for sleeping in the floor space area, hubby and I would sleep on the double bed that also transformed to be our kitchen table by day and the 2 boys would sleep on the magic couch that turned into a bunkbed! No prob, we liked each other fine- and it was just for sleeping! Hubby thinks 5 people, 13′ trailer, camping- not going to be a great weekend, but I stay irritatingly optimistic. Hubby stays quiet but we’ve been married long enough to read each other’s body language like a book. I notice those lips firmly pressed in a straight line. He is NOT HAPPY. Oh well, kids are excited and besides, Eleanor wants to go camping! Minivan hooks up easily as the trailer is so light we can actually lift it by hand and put it on the hitch, phew at least one crisis adverted on our maiden mission. We head off down the highway, headed for a campground several hours away. About 1 1/2 hours into our trip the kids are cooped up and going stir-crazy, baby needs to nurse and the minivan is thirsty for a little gas. While stopped at a good sized gas station/rest area I decide that we should just go in and have fast food for supper, thinking that a little greasy treat might make the backseat monsters, errr lovable offspring, happy for the last hour of our trip. We head in and make sure to lock up everything tight. Hubby was already inside the gas station with the keys in his pocket, so I just pressed lock on the van door and shut then and locked the Boler door by flicking the lock on the interior and shutting. So remember when I said Eleanor was over 40 years old… well in all her renovations, she had maintained the original lock. The lock that like Eleanor, had a personality of its own- and it did not like to be locked from the inside latch, so much in fact that it refused to open by key, by screwdriver or even by the curses that were thrown at it. And believe me, a sailor might of blushed hearing those curses.. but I’ll never admit who it was.. but for sure it wasn’t the kids, and maybe not me either! The tension was thick, that’s for sure! No prob I thought- its a gas station, they’ll have tools to help- NOPE. Well one of the people gassing up with their big trucks, they surely carry a toolbox right? No, wrong again. A local locksmith- no, none for hours. And you ask, with such a handy hubby, how was he not prepared with tools when going camping with a 40+ year old camper- well matey, he was… except he put his toolbox.. DRUMROLLL>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> In Eleanor Inside the LOCKED ELEANOR SH*T SH*T SH*T After a little discussion with staff in the gas station about the best place to purchase B&E tools, off we went to pretty much our only option. DOLLERAMA The plan was, since the hinges on Bolers are on the exterior, hubby would just buy some tools, remove the door right off the trailer, unlock it and then reinstall the door- NEVER TO BE LOCKED AGAIN FROM THE INSIDE!!! I might of heard that a few times or was that a hundred? So armed with finest made tools ever sold by Dollerama, hubby successfully removes the door with just 2 sets of dollar store vicegrips. The looks he received though- I’m sure more than one Dollerama customer driving through the parking lot assumed we were stealing the Boler, at least hubby is pretty quick at B&E of his own trailer. We (okay just him, but we’re married so that means I get credit too right?) had the door off, unlocked and back on in less than 10 minutes and back on the road. Off to what was one of many quite successful glamping adventures. Eleanor went to a new home a few years later after a strict screening process but in our hearts a vintage trailer is calling again. Maybe an Airstream next though? I’d like a bathroom, and maybe a little bit more than 13′. Written and edited by Melissa Scheltgen of

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