What I’ve been up to Lately- Northern California Photographer turned Vintage Camper Revivalist! Part 1

I am wayyyy behind on posting here to my blog. I thought I could get back up to date today, since the weather is like 102 degrees outside and I don’t have any plans for this weekend (for ONCE!!) I have been SUPER busy working on a big project.


I bought a vintage 1965 Tagalong Trailer (without my husband’s knowledge) for $400 in May. I decided that I wanted to do this without his knowing and surprise him with it when it was done. This would prove to be impossible. (tell you about that later)

I found an ad on Craigslist, and called my mom immediately and saw if she wanted to go take a look at it with me. We drove over 3 hours to a little town called Stagecoach, Nevada to meet a man that had literally acres of land filled with motorcycles, vintage this, vintage that. In that field, was this littler camper. It had been sitting on his property for about 18 years, and for the last few years, apparently, they let cats and chickens nest in it! DISGUSTING, RIGHT??!?!?!? It was totally disgusting, but I was ready to rescue this little tiny 12 foot trailer that was in need of some love.  I’ve got lots of plans to restore this trailer and go on lots of adventures, and use this camper as not only a photo prop, but also, to be able to go on vacations, and offer sessions at really cool places like the beach, and the woods where I will offer sessions (WITHOUT A TRAVEL FEE FOR MY CLIENTS!) It’s going to be sooo awesome. So now, I’ll tell you a little about my trailer adventures and timeline of this little gem.

Wednesday May 10th, 2017

My mom, my parents’ friend Brian, Wesley and I drove all the way up to Stagecoach, NV to see and adorable 1964 – 1965 Tag-A-Long camper trailer that was white, silver and yellow. I found it on Craigslist for $500. After looking inside it, it was used for a ferrel cat house and some chickens had also laid some eggs in it. They had left open the rear hatch door and the door under the bed (the access door) to allow them to get in and out. I offered Doug (the guy with the trailer) $400 since we were going to have to haul it home and make another trip up there. Doug accepted! So I gave him $200 down (my photography cash) and we all took off to come back home. We stopped at Black Bear diner on the way home and I bought dinner with the other $100. We drove home and planned for my mom and stepdad Tom to go pick it up that weekend, but they actually ended up getting it on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017.  I decided to name her Ella Monroe. That name was going to be my first daughter’s name and since we had a boy, I gave this girl our first girl’s name.

Sunday May 14th, 2017 

So for Mother’s day, Brian decided to take me to Doran Beach in Bodega Bay – we had a great day playing at the beach as a family, and I kept my secret to myself. I decided to take a look at some campsites and convince Brian to go on a little camping trip with me there in our Suburu and stay in the back. I had plans to tell him about my little secret purchase.

Wednesday May 17th, 2017 

My mom, Tom and their friend Brian went up to pick up Ella from her spot where they had to move swamp coolers, old washing machines, and a bunch of other stuff to get her pulled out of there. It was apparently quite the ordeal, but they got her out of there.

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Got my cleaning supplies and headed up to see Ella with my cousin Kendall and Wesley. We had to take out piles of straw and newspaper that was matted with cat piss!! SOOOO GROSS!! We made about 6 trips to the burn pile (I still don’t think they have lit that on fire yet – I don’t blame them). The smell was horrific and suffocating.  We had to make a trip to tractor supply and get some masks and then come back to it. We had my mom watch Wesley and got it vacuumed out and then got the weed sprayer and filled it with bleach water and sprayed down the inside of the trailer. We shut up the trailer after we bleached it, and called it a day after about 4 to 5 hours of cleaning.  Taco Tree (an awesome Taco place that is exclusive to Auburn, Ca) happened this day… It was needed.

Sunday May 21st, 2017 

So I told John (my husband’s dad) about Ella, and told him that she is TOP SECRET!  SO we had John come over for dinner tonight and we ended up getting drunk. We told John to just stay over because we had the spare bedroom already set up since my dad and step-mom had just came over to visit from Montana. He agreed. I think this night after Wesley went to bed, we all hung out on the patio and talked. John ALMOST spilled the beans about the trailer to Brian.  He started saying, “hey, if you need help with your oven…” and I’m just saying, “NO, NO, we don’t need help with our stove – what are you talking about?” and then he changed his tune and said, “well,  I think one of your mom’s trailers over there had a fire in it.” I told him that was actually one of my mom’s friend’s trailer that caught on fire, (a couple years ago this actually happened) but I am so glad he caught on and redirected  It was a very OH SNAP kinda moment. My cover was ALMOST blown… but Brian never caught on.


Monday May 22nd, 2017

We all went out to breakfast at this place down the up Auburn- Brian, John, Wesley and I.  Brian was working nights.  After breakfast, I went over to John’s and we had Wesley hang out there with Papa, and I went over to work on Ella. My mom was working on the windows, and I started pulling up the floor and ended up with one hell of a workout.  About 5 to 6 hours of chiseling and scraping is no joke. My mom cleaned one of the front windows and then put lace in the window for a screen. I was ready to pick up Wesley and go home, so I went over to John’s house and took a shower (to clean off the evidence) and Wesley took a shower with me.  After that we had dinner with John, and then Wesley and I drove home. I tried to go to bed, but for some reason, I couldn’t turn off my thoughts.

Tuesday May 23rd, 2017

So my cousin Kendall called me and wanted to go up and help with Ella. So we made a trip up there where we ended up scraping more flooring. We found that putting laundry detergent on the edges of the flooring where we needed to get it to come up really helped to get it to scrape up.  It was a Pinterest find, and it really worked.  After about 5 more hours of work, we realized that there wasn’t much more that we could do, so we ended up going over to John’s where Wesley was, and had dinner with him and took showers. We ended up coming home around 8:30pm.

Thursday May 25th, 2017

Today John went over to my mom’s house to check out Ella – we agreed to take her over to John’s so we could do some work where there is some organization and all the tools we need. So we have to wait after this weekend, because we planned on hanging out over at John’s for Memorial Day, and the trailer DEFINITELY couldn’t be there if we wanted to keep it a secret from Brian.  I’m hoping to keep Ella under wraps until she’s ready roll.


Friday June 2nd, 2017

Today wasn’t the greatest day in recent history for me. So today was the day that I had pulled out $500 from all my money that I had saved up, to go buy materials for Ella. So my mom, John, Wesley and I all went down to this awesome place called RV Doctor George where they have literally EVERYTHING you could ever need to restore a trailer. It’s kind of like the ReStore for trailers! So I went to go pick out things that I needed, and ended up spending $140 in parts. and then we left. I went to put Wesley in the back of the truck and put my wallet with my then remaining $340  on the back of the truck behind the door, so I could get him in his car seat. Then we went to go get some food. I told everyone I would go and take care of lunch. We went down the road to a little taco place and I went to grab my wallet, and it wasn’t there. I ran back to the truck and realized that it wasn’t in there either. I realized what I had done. I had already ordered my food, and my mom came out to to truck and I told her what I had figured out – that my wallet had been left on the back of the truck – she told me to just go back there and that they would stay there. I jumped in the truck and hauled ass back to the trailer place. I called them on the way over and asked if they would check out in front of their shop and see if they could find my wallet. When I showed up there, they were outside looking but hadn’t found anything.  was on the verge of crying and was about to call my bank, when Wells Fargo actually called me. They told me that someone had just stopped by and dropped off all my cards and my journal. I asked them if they had also gotten my wallet with my cash in it. They said no. I went as fast as I could to get to the Wells Fargo about 3 miles away from where I had lost my wallet, and went in. Sure enough, the lady who dropped off all of my cards, receipts, and everything in my wallet, along with my journal, but took my cash and kept my wallet itself. I was pretty traumatized really.  So after crying a little bit and picking up what was left of my belongings, I headed back to pick up my mom, John & Wesley from the taco place that I left them at.  I was extremely sad that my money that I had planned to buy all these materials with was gone. I was completely frazzled. After, we headed up to my mom’s house and then we moved the trailer over to John’s house.  Wesley ended up staying with my mom that night. When Brian got home, I convinced him to go to the bar down the street with me, so we could get a couple of drinks. I couldn’t tell him about that money or the trailer that day… so I just had a couple of drinks – and tried to drown my sorrows…  Definitely the worst day ever… I guess I can be thankful that I at least got all my cards back. Still so sad.


Monday June 5th, 2017

Today my mom, Kendall and I headed over to Johns house to work on Ella. When we got there, John had pulled the kitchen counters out and the camper was basically just a shell inside. It looked so good. So we went to Home Depot and I pulled out another $300 (the last of my material money at the time) and we bought a bunch of flooring and paneling and then I stopped at the Fastenal store to get my 300 stainless steel screws for $43 (that stainless steel is EXPENSIVE). This day, I pulled out the kitchen side window and started scrubbing and cleaning that.


There is so much story to be written about Ella, but I will continue to tell you more about her in some future posts.




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