Well, here we are together for the last post of this series. Fear not my friends, fixing up the Boler is a never ending process and there will be many more Boler themed posts to come. If you have missed the earlier parts of this story feel free to catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
In the beginning of the 2018 camping season the Boler was still at FIB-R-F/X getting the fibreglass fixed up but we weren’t going to let that stop us from camping! We still had our tent :).
We spent the May long weekend in Kananaskis (very very chilly nights!), stayed in Little Bow Provincial Park campground in the beginning of June and Canada Day in Montana.
The weekend after we got back from Montana we had planned a big camping trip for ten days at Dinosaur Provincial Park with another family. We were expecting to use the tent but right before we left for Montana Dieter called to let me know that the Boler was ready to go. I wasn’t planning on taking the Boler camping because it still needed work for it to be useable. And not just a little work. It needed new tires, paint inside and out, there was a big hole where the stove used to be as well as the furnace, the floor needed to be installed, shelves were needed in the closet, the bunkbeds weren’t set up, the curtains had to be hung and the fan and lights weren’t hooked up. Not to mention all the other little things like the drawer pulls and hooks for the wall. I had been planning on doing all this over summer and I wasn’t really expecting to use the Boler until the next camping season. But boy were we getting tired of sleeping on air mattresses and our tent had seen better days as well. I remember my friend’s husband saying that there was no way I would get it all done in time when I mentioned that I might try and his wife who knows me quite well laughed and said “You’ve done it now!”.
That’s right my friends.
We got back from Montana on Monday and from that moment until when we left on Saturday morning I worked on the Boler. I barely slept and only stopped to eat. Jonathan cooked all the meals and the boys spent time at friends and their grandparents.
I sanded the exterior and then painted it with two coats of Interlux Marine Primer and then two coats of Interlux Marine Paint. I wanted teal but they only have ten shades and five of them are some form of white so I went with white on the top half and navy on the bottom. This was the most time consuming job of all but it made such a big difference! I had to remove the belly band to paint and I swear to you there was compost in there. Here’s the before:
and here’s the after:
Oooohhhh yeah! Pretty amazing if I do say so myself!
While coats of exterior paint were drying I worked on everything else. I painted the tongue and bumper with special rust blocking paint.
I painted most of the interior with two coats of latex primer and two coats of white latex paint. I had tested a section of the ensolite with some of this paint before the Boler went out for repairs and it was holding up great. The lower cabinets I painted black. I installed an electric bar fridge to replace the broken gas one, attached a cutting board to the counter to cover the hole from the stove, hung the curtains, put in the new cabinet pulls, hooked up the lights and fan to the battery and installed the vinyl flooring.
I installed the bunkbeds and then whipped up a rail to keep anyone from falling out.
Here are the bunkbeds as a sofa. The poles and rail fit behind the back.
Jonathan took the Boler to get new tires on Friday morning and I started packing for our ten day camping trip. When he got back I installed the shelves I had cut with my mitre saw for the closet.
I also installed some dragonfly hooks on the side on the closet so we could hang our sweaters and hats.
We were as ready as we could be! Unfortunately there were a few things I didn’t have time to do like build a door to cover the hole from the furnace, but for the most part we were set. We packed up and headed out to Dinosaur Provincial Park campground.
They’re so cute when they’re sleeping!
Induction stovetops are so great for small trailers! The only heat they put out is from the food you’re cooking.
We had a wonderful trip and even though it was an intense five days of Boler repair work I would absolutely do it again.
Since then we have been on many camping trips, all with the Boler, and we love it! In 2019 we took the Boler on a two week trip across British Columbia and back and it was amazing.
If you would like more details on the work I did please feel free to leave questions in the comments. There was so much that I did during that time that if I included all the details this post would be much too long.
I hope you have enjoyed my epic Boler journey and like I said, there will be many more posts to come!
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Hello and welcome back to my tale of Boler rebirth! If you have missed the earlier parts of this story feel free to catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
We left off with the Boler coming back after getting some fibreglass work done in late June 2018. We’re going to pause our story here and and fill in some blanks from the previous winter. I mean, just because I didn’t have the Boler with me didn’t mean I couldn’t keep working on it! Believe me, there were still many things to keep me busy.
For instance, do you remember me telling you about the cushions? The rotten worm-filled cushions? The ones with the covers that disintegrated when I tried to vacuum them? Here they are with the covers removed.
Pretty gross right? I needed to keep them to use as templates for some new foam. I soon found out that foam is really pricey! But luckily my parents had a foam mattress from Ikea that they weren’t using and they let us have it. I traced out the old ones and cut out the new pieces with my bread knife.
I did end up keeping the two cushions that are used on the bunkbeds. They were still in really great shape since their old covers weren’t made of vinyl. Any water that leaked on them ran right through instead of pooling in the cover and creating the perfect place for rot. I washed them in my bathtub and let them air dry in my basement.
Once I had cushions I needed new covers. I looked up as much reupholstery information as I could find, dusted off my old sewing machine, bought some fabric, zippers and upholstery thread and got to work. Here’s the first cushion I completed:
There are nine cushions in a Boler. It was pretty time consuming but I worked my way through it over about a month. Halfway there!
All nine done! The most difficult ones were the two that fit along the Boler walls because of their unusual shape.
The boys wanted to try them out. Quality check? I think they approved.
While I was working on the cushions / covers I was also thinking about curtains. There are six windows in the Boler which is great for light but not so great for changing your clothes without the entire campground seeing you. I was looking at buying fabric but I hadn’t seen any that caught my eye yet. Then one day while getting groceries at Superstore I happened to see some over-sized tea towels on sale!
They were perfect! They were nice and dark (not see-through!) and they were big enough for the largest window. I bought everything they had and then went to a different Superstore and bought a bunch there as well. Then I went to Ikea and bought some curtain rings with clips and that was that! I was also pretty happy to not have to add more sewing to my list.
I needed some new pulls for the cabinet draws and doors for the kitchen area and the closet. I bought these from Amazon which I love.
There were also a few more unnecessary but fun items I picked up as well. For instance I found some great pillows at a thrift store:
And some dragonfly LED string lights at Michaels (I might have had a dragonfly theme going on):
And I machine embroidered some dishtowels:
It was a little difficult for me during that winter and spring to have to wait to be able to work on the Boler. Having these projects to do really helped. If fact, there’s an arm chair in our master bedroom and I piled a bunch of the items for the Boler on it once they were completed so I could look at them everyday and feel excited about camping in the Boler that summer. Like a Boler mood board!
One of my favourite things to eat in winter is soup. I can’t get enough of the stuff. A few years ago my sister told me that her mother-in-law made the greatest soup broth using only a few ingredients. She does hers on the stove for about 4 hours which doesn’t work for me. I needed something that I could make and walk away from, so I adapted the recipe for my slow cooker. I have used this recipe over and over again and it never fails to be amazing.
Hello again! I’m very happy to you’re here and ready to learn more about the amazing, some call magical, transformation of my Boler. If you have missed the earlier parts of this story feel free to catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2.
When we last left off, I had stripped the Boler of everything that was rotten, grimy, or broken. The problem was that there were parts of it I couldn’t see and they were pretty important parts. Like the frame.
Bolers have a simple A-frame with the fibreglass body bolted to it. If the frame cracks or is rusted right through it could break and that would mean some very serious damage to the Boler as well as the tow vehicle. Not to mention the driver and passengers. So we decided it would be a good idea to get it inspected.
I asked for opinions on the vintage trailer forums for a good place to bring the Boler and many people recommended Rock Alta Trailers. It’s owned by a wonderful couple who have been repairing trailers for years. In fact, Kevin’s dad ran the business before he took it over. It is on the absolute other side of Calgary from where we live, but after speaking to Kevin on the phone I was convinced that this was where we should take the Boler. This was in December, it wasn’t too snowy yet and we wanted to get the Boler in before the roads got icy.
We called James in for some help; remember, we hadn’t yet pulled the Boler with our vehicle. We were pretty nervous. We weren’t even sure how to hook it up! James came and showed us the ropes and off we went for our very first time!
It was terrifying.
We didn’t know if something was going to break off at any second. The worst part was as we were stopped at a light a guy in a truck pulled up beside us and yelled out “If you take that on the highway you’re gonna have problems!”. Not very helpful. We asked him what he meant by “problems” and he answered back “your wheels are going to fall off!” and then he drove away. Yep. Terrifying.
Despite all that we drove slowly and carefully and made it to Kevin’s place with all our wheels intact (take that super unhelpful dude!) and left it there to get the axel, wheel bearings, and frame inspected and replaced or fixed if need be.
It turned out the frame was in great shape! There were a few Bolers made with a weak point in the frame but not ours! Ours was solid (knock on wood). The wheel bearings needed to be replaced but everything else was pretty good.
During the time the Boler was at Kevin’s I was looking into where we could take it to get the fibreglass repaired. The large cracks in the back (and a few more small ones on the rest of the body) needed to be fixed up before we could use it and to be honest, I didn’t want to mess them up by trying to fix them myself. The biggest crack had started folding in on itself and was changing the shape of the body. That was going to require tools and equipment I didn’t have.
It wasn’t easy finding someone who was willing to work on it. But luckily there was a company called FIB-R-F/X in Airdrie (a small town north of Calgary) who had worked on Bolers previously and was more than happy to do it. In fact, Dieter, the very nice man who we met there, told us he already has another Boler that was missing its door and if we let him use our door as a mold he would repair all the small cracks for free and only charge us for the two large ones. Sounded good to us! We made plans to pick up the Boler from Kevin’s and drop it off at Dieter’s to avoid putting it back in the garage.
When we went out to pick up the Boler it started to blizzard. No joke, it was snowing like crazy. We got to Kevin’s and hooked up the Boler but as we were driving down his very long driveway Jonathan remembered that we hadn’t done a light check (rookie mistake). James and I had made sure the electrical was working properly before we had dropped it off but something must have been knocked loose (the wiring was very old, I was planning on replacing it myself when we got it back from Dieter) and the lights weren’t working. At this point it was snowing very heavily and visibility wasn’t great. Pulling the Boler without lights would be dangerous (not to mention illegal) under normal circumstances but in this snow no one would see us until it was too late. There was no room on the driveway so we pulled out onto the road and as soon as we could we turned around and went straight back to Kevin’s. He tried to get the lights working but there was a connection broken that he just couldn’t figure out at the time, so we asked him if he could replace all of the electrical, he said sure and we called Dieter and let him know what happened. Off we went home a little disappointed but mostly relieved.
Fast forward to the end of March. Kevin finished the electrical system and boy am I glad we let him do it! He replaced all the old wiring, put in new LEDs and set it up for us to hook up a 12 volt battery to power the lights and the fan I had installed.
Jon and I had a lovely drive to Dieter’s. No one yelling at us that our wheels were going to fall off, no blizzards, the lights were working… really, what more can you ask for?
Dieter unfortunately was down a man and he didn’t think he would be finished until July. We were ok with that and figured the long wait would be worth it.
It was! Here’s the Boler when we got it back at the end of June (a little early!):
It doesn’t look like much but all the parts that are yellow are where he did fibreglass work. It was amazing! We also purchased a new tongue jack with a wheel from Dieter.
Because of this wheel, Jonathan and I could now easily push the Boler! We have done this so many times to get it into campsites. Bolers really are a wonder.