The Green Grape
We purchased our 1974 Trillium in late July 2002. We had decided “all of a sudden” to purchase a trailer and to try the camping experience. We didn’t realize how popular Boler/Trillium trailers were until we set out to find one. One morning, my husband, Nolan, was checking the classified advertisements of our local paper via Internet and came across what was to become our trailer. The trailer was located about 1 hour out of Saskatoon, so Nolan telephoned the owners then hopped in the truck to go take a look. I received a telephone call at work from Nolan telling me that they were not going to budge on the asking price ($1500), another potential buyer was standing behind him, and there were three other interested parties coming down from Saskatoon to take a look. The decision was made - SOLD. Nolan was not back to the city when I got home from work, so I waited anxiously for his return. About ˝ hour later, Nolan drives up with our Trillium. It was a really, really light green color on the outside (with black spots on it…..almost looked like mold?), with rusty “baby moon” hubcaps, green indoor/outdoor carpeting protecting the front, and spare tire on the back. The inside was okay…..extremely dated window coverings and I swear, the original material on all the cushions. Brown indoor/outdoor carpeting adorned the floor. To my husband’s knowledge everything was working….it even came with a porta-potty!
We dove right in on this baby. It is surprising what can be accomplished with a bit of elbow grease. Our first task was to take cut polish and try to remove all the oxidation and the black spots, then apply a couple layers of protective wax. The cut polish worked beautifully as you can tell by this photo. We just had the bottom part to finish working on when this picture was taken. I said to Nolan that the trailer has the hue of a green grape. This name has stuck.
(Just about finished polishing)
Our next tasks were the little stuff. We bought a spare tire cover, re-painted the rims, replaced the hubcaps and all of the covers for the drain, water, electricity, etc. We repaired the indoor/outdoor carpeting on the front figuring it would be more pain than what it’s worth to remove it. We re-caulked the outside, re-stretched the black molding around the body and windows, and took the windows and front awning apart for a thorough cleaning. At this point, I had a telephone call in to my father who does upholstery. “Please dad….if I buy the material, can you make us new covers for our cushions and a cover for the propane tank?” We decided to split the bottom cushion of the bunk bed in the front of the trailer into three. Our reasoning was that Nolan is going to build a table with a drawer underneath which can be moved to the side when not needed. The main goal of this restoration was to try to keep the trailer as original as possible and this is the only modification, other than cosmetic that we have made.
(The finished product – minus the tank cover)
Seeing that we had done all we could for the outside, it was time to concentrate on the inside. I found some fabric at a great price from a store that was no longer going to carry big bolts of upholstery material. This was so ironic…the material I found had the exact same pattern as the original, but in colors more conducive to match the trailer. It was meant to be! I am able to sew a button on a shirt, but anything more complicated than that….I wasn’t sure. I decided to throw caution to the wind and live a little…. I was going to sew my own curtains. My idea was to sew valances out of the material that was going to cover the cushions and perhaps have panels of a nice light green fabric that could be tied back when not in use. To my surprise, I was successful in sewing the valances, and in place of ordinary green material for the panels, I used Martha Stewart fabric placemats and napkins that matched perfectly and took very little sewing. Thank you, Martha! I also made rings of material to hold the curtains back when not in use, which were anchored with dots of Velcro onto the window frame and the ring itself.
For the rest of the interior, we started at the top and cleaned, polished, removed, and replaced. We had been on the Trillium Website and decided to try to straighten and stretch out the plastic seam dividers around the inside of the trailer by tossing them in boiling water. This worked like a charm. The Website also had plans to build adjustable shelves for the inside of the closet. What a space saver those are. Nolan installed another electrical outlet under the closet door, closer to the floor and that is where we plug in our space heater when the nights are chilly or just to take the dampness out of the trailer. He also sanded and re-painted around the fridge door and the original light fixture above the sink/stove area. We replaced the indoor/outdoor carpeting with vinyl flooring and added a matching fabric cover for the fridge door.
We had worked on the trailer for about three weeks by this point. It was time to take it on a test run up to my parent’s home about 1.5 hours away. The test run was a great learning experience. Having never owned a trailer before, it didn’t take us long to realize that you have to anchor things down. Most of my valances and curtains were lying on the floor and a small keg of beer we had purchased to christen our green grape on it’s maiden voyage was almost flying to the moon from the pressure, but all in all, the experience was a good one. We would advise any new trailer owner to do this.
It was time to do the real thing. We booked a campsite at Waskesiu (Prince Albert National Park) on the long weekend in September. One of the last things we did was check and double check that essentials actually worked. There were some minor repairs that had to be done to the sink and the holding tank and we found out the porta potty leaked (yew).. (found one at a garage sale for $15.00 that same day).
We had virtually nothing for camping supplies. The last few days before the trip were spent making lists and going shopping for what we needed. We decided to take our dog, Buddy, with us. This is rare because he does not like to travel (thinks he’s going to the Vet) and is a big baby (tends to cry and whine). We took him with us because he slept in the trailer as we would work on it day after day and found he loved it so much that even the mention of the word “trailer” would cause barks of excitement. Stocked up with food, supplies and doggie we went camping….for real.
(Buddy’s Favorite Place)
As is usually the case in Saskatchewan on a long weekend, rain made an appearance. We were having such a good time, we hardly noticed. We purchased a huge tarp from the local store and suspended it above the trailer and had enough to make a front porch area so we could still sit outside. Buddy, who doesn’t like water at the best of times, decided he was going to repeatedly fetch a stick from the lake. He was soaked when we got back to the trailer. Since I didn’t have the cushions recovered yet, this was no big deal.
Upon return to Saskatoon, we took the cushions out of the trailer to dry (because of wet dog). We discovered that we had a leak in the front part of the trailer somewhere and that the cushion was quite wet underneath. Nolan determined that it was leaking from around the front awning area and proceeded to fix it. We will find out this year if he was correct (it’s great to have a handy guy around).
(After a hard day’s work)
I am writing this in late November 2002. For the winter, we stored the trailer on the north side of our house and I can hardly wait to hook it up and pull it out of there. We just picked up the cushions and propane tank cover from my dad, so basically all is complete. Plans for summer 2003 are to take “the green grape” to British Columbia.....(Continue down for our vacation experience).
2003 found us on many camping trips. We have made it a new tradition to open the camping season on the May long weekend at Prince Albert National Park. The Grape is now complete.
A quick recap of how the storage box was added to the back of the Grape - no welding involved. The mounts were bolted on, a piece of black painted plywood was added then the storage box. We added an extra piece of plywood inside the box for extra stability and a flat surface and bolted the whole thing together. What a space saver.....all your outside stuff (jacks, BBQ, ropes, propane canisters) can go into this and nothing dirty goes in your trailer!
Back to our camping trip................While snooping around the Narrows Campground at Prince Albert National Park, I noticed a Trillium locked up in a compound. It looked like it had been sitting for a while.
I took a few pictures through the chain-link fence and thought that this would be a good project if the owners were willing to part with it for a reasonable price. I glanced at the license plate – it read November 1997. Has this trailer been sitting closed up all this time? I decided to pursue who owned it and contact them. Meanwhile...............
We took our first major trip with the Green Grape. We spent approximately two weeks at the beginning of July touring around the Okanagan/Shuswap region of British Columbia. Note the new tow vehicle....my dream vehicle which I purchased this spring. We had never taken Buddy any long distance with us so this was going to be interesting.
Banff National Park, Alberta Banbury Green Campground, Kaleden, B.C.
Our dog, Buddy Campsite just south of Delia, Alberta
(with his new summer haircut)
Osoyoos, British Columbia Cranbrook, British Columbia
Fortunately for us, we missed all of the wildfires that ravaged the Province of British Columbia this summer. Towards the end of our trip we spent a couple of days in Osoyoos (very close to the BC/Washington border) and noticed one morning our vehicle and trailer misted with a light covering of ash. I can remember traveling through this region as a child, but it is a completely different experience with the trailer. We will definitely be back to this beautiful province. Buddy traveled like a pro and enjoyed all the different sites and sounds. He was always glad at the end of the day to have his familiar trailer to sleep in.
Prior to our last camping trip on the September long weekend, we met the owner of the lonely Trillium at the Narrows compound to take a closer look and see if this Trillium was something that we wanted to pursue. We were well aware that someone had painted this poor egg with house paint and a brush, but were stunned at the interior………wow, this was going to be a lot of work. I caught a whiff of mothballs. Is that mold and mildew over that pumpkin color fiberglass? I guess if I had been covered and closed up since 1997, I would be covered with mold and mildew, have an inch of dead flies in me and smell like mothballs too. We struck a deal....Dewey (as in mildew) was ours! The deal was made on the Friday before the long weekend in September so while we were conveniently camping at Prince Albert National Park, we made arrangements to remove her from the compound. (Go to the Dewey page after this......see what we've done to date)!
2004 began with a few modifications to the Grape. After having the whole winter to think about what else we would like to do, we decided to add a few features.
Mini Blinds Ceramic Heater Outside Light
We also installed an awning and Nolan modified the space under the sink area to accommodate a cutlery drawer. As well, additional counter space was added to the right of the stove.
We started our camping in late May spending a few days at Prince Albert National Park and made another trip back to the park in July. Thinking back on these trips now, I believe the weather was better at the end of May than it was in July. This year I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who had a stretch of warm weather for their vacation (unless they went to beautiful British Columbia).
The highlight of our summer was attending Prairie Bolerama 2004 in White City, Saskatchewan. The weather that weekend was absolutely perfect. We started our trek on the Friday afternoon and stopped at Grasswood Esso for gasoline. There were a few members of the Draggins Rod and Custom Club with their trailers waiting for others to arrive. We joined them as part of an egg convoy to Regina. The string of hot rods and trailers turned a few heads for sure.
Nice looking units! Fred.....your holding tank is leaking.
What a weekend! We were thrilled with all the people we had met, trailers we saw, IDEAS galore! It was great to meet all the fellow fiberglass trailer enthusiasts, talk trailers and see what everyone else has done. We shared a camp site with Cliff and Trudy from Saskatoon, with their new T & B.....wonderful people - couldn't ask for better "site mates". Jack and Val.....that Trill you have should be gleaming when we see you at the next Bolerama. Fred's beater has the markings of everyone who attended the meet (he had everyone sign his trailer in felt pen). I can hardly wait to see what he does with this baby. For those of you reading this, please check out the Prairie Bolerama Website listed here to see more pictures and plan on attending next year's meet in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. Prairie Bolerama Website
This is Jack and Val's Trillium....looks familiar, doesn't it? Daisy and Goliath's mom and dad were touring our trailer...I got to doggy sit!
One of the Boler owners had used a product called Vertglas, made by Lovett Marine, USA to restore the coat on her trailer. Her editorial of how she did this is on the Prairie Bolerama website. We purchased this product and are waiting for a stretch of good weather to try it out on the Grape. Her Boler looks incredible. I'll keep you posted as to how it works for us.
Over the past couple of years, we have made some minor updates to the Green Grape.
Since we put the packer box on the back bumper of the trailer, we had to figure out a way to carry the spare tire. The only place we could mount it was under the front tongue. By the angle that the first picture was taken, it appears to be too close to the ground, but it has plenty of clearance when hooked up to a tow vehicle. The holder was made out of steel and welded together. It is mounted to the trailer by two bolts.
Above I mentioned the Vertglas treatment. We have found that this is the longest lasting shine we are ever going to achieve on this trailer. It is quite the involved process to apply and is not cheap (about $100 CDN), but the results are amazing. We have used this restorer on Stubby and have posted pictures of the before and after.
The picture below is the way the Grape looked in August of this year. Notice the green indoor outdoor carpet is gone off the front and tint added to the windows.
Click on Dewey to continue through our site!!