Boler Axel & Frame

It’s a new year and we have lots of camping planned this year!  Which means, it’s time to get the Boler ready for the season.

We’ve debated a few Boler projects this year:

  • upgrading the ice-box to a real fridge, a nice luxury.  But depending on which fridge option we go with, it could be rather expensive.
  • a heater to extend our camping season.
  • a new axel, because I’m told it’s time for a new one.
  • a new roof vent with a fan.  This one is risky as we currently park the Boler in our garage and only have a few millimeters of clearance, so we don’t want to replace the fan and not be able to park in the garage.

Ultimately, we decided to focus on road safety, and replace the Boler axel.  Now, let me start by saying, I have no idea how to replace a Boler axel (or any axel for that matter), nor does G.  But, we do know that Standen’s knows how to replace a Boler axel, and in fact they have done many Boler axels over the years.  So, this upgrade is being outsources to qualified professionals at Standen’s Calgary.

We took the Boler in last week to have everything measured up, and the replacement is scheduled for next week.  We debated upgrading the axel to include breaks, which would have necessitated upgrading the connections to the 4Runner.  Ultimately we have decided considering how light the Boler is, there really is no need for breaks on the Boler.

But, like all Boler related projects, this has already turned into a larger project.  When Standen’s lifted the trailer to measure for the new axel, three additional projects were added to our list:

  • They discovered two cracks in the frame.  So, those cracks are going to be fixed – which is a good thing, because we really do not want the frame break while driving down the highway!
  • They also informed us that the connection to the vehicle also needs to be re-done to meet modern specifications.  So, that’s also being done.
  • The tire rims are also being replaced because they said it’s time.

Considering the basic safety of these items, we decided just to do it all.  Which of course means our costs are going up, but they really are necessary costs considering how important the frame is.  I’ll try to do another update in a few weeks sharing how everything went when the axel and frame modification are complete.

And, the good news is that in a few weeks our Boler will be road ready and summer camping can begin!

We may do a few more reno’s/upgrades this year, or we may wait until next year. I feel like we may just spend our summer focusing on having fun camping rather then spending our time working the Boler.

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Our Boler Pre-Reno

When we got home, we quickly got to work.

First up, seeing if it fits in our garage. We knew it would be close, and we need it to fit inside the garage door so that we could lift it and work on it rain or shine. Thankfully, it fits, with about 3 millimetres to spare!

The downside of this means my Subaru is now parked on the street.  Well, until winter when I fully intend to claim the other garage space and kick G and his 4Runner outside.

Here are the pre-reno photos:

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Our Saskatchewan Road Trip

After a few weeks of searching and finally deciding, we hit the road to pick up our vertually untouched 1975 boler. We figured it would be 7 to 8 hours driving each way – or 14-16 hours round trip.

So, we hoped to spend our very first night with our boler sleeping in it. However, considering we had not actually seen the boler in person, this was a bit of a gamble. So we packed our trusty old tent just in case. Along with all the standard camping gear – a change of clothes, campfire food, sleeping bags, ax, etc. And of course, we couldn’t forget the dog and all of her stuff (sometimes I feel like I bring more stuff for her, then for us).

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip1We left at about 7am and started driving east – away from the mountains. I figure it has been at least 20 years since I’ve been in Saskatchewan. And, it turns out, this was the first time G ever stepped foot in Saskatchewan – he had flown over it before, but he had never actually been in it. So, it was a trip of firsts for him.

I think we both expected the super flat topography that we came accustomed to seeing in Corner Gas. You know, the kind where you can see your dog run away for 3 days. It turns out where we were it was definitely predominantly agriculture, but we saw more small rolling hills then we expected.  It was beautiful!

As we drove G and I chatted; I sang horribly to good songs; we stopped for doggy pee breaks and even stopped for lunch in a small town somewhere along the road.

We arrived at the boler seller’s hamlet just outside of Moose Jaw around 3 in the afternoon. We knew we were in the right place because we could see the boler sitting in the driveway. It was exactly as the pictures showed, inside and out.  And the seller and his wife were just as nice as they seemed on the phone and via email.  We had a wonderful time chatting with them and exploring our new boler (and theirs too).

We ended up having a few technical difficulties with the electrical when we hooked the boler up to our 4Runner.  A quick trip into the nearby city, a few parts, and we were on our way home.  The problems weren’t fixed, but we were able to hit the road safely to deal with them when we got home.

After we hit the road, we stopped a few miles later to make sure everything was still hooked up safely.  Everything looked good, and I took the first picture of our boler.

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip3It had been a long day of driving, so we decided to set up camp for our first ever night in our boler at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.  I cannot say too much about the amenities of the campsite – we rolled in late around 7 or 8 pm, and the campsite was packed with tonnes of families having fun.

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip4G took the challenge of starting the campfire -the campsite wood has soaking wet from days of pouring rain, and it was insanely windy.  He eventually got the fire going, just for the rain to start again.  We quickly cooked our gourmet hotdogs over the fire, split a bottle of wine to toast our new adventure, and were thankful for our shelter from the elements – our boler!  And as an added bonus the rain made for a good test to see if there were leaks anywhere – I’m happy to report we stayed dry.

I’m pretty sure our dog was not over impressed at her first night in the boler.  She did eventually settle onto her blanket, when we settled in for the night. None of us slept particularly well, but at least we stayed dry!

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip5We got up bright and early the next morning and finished our drive home.

Up next – we start the renovation/restoration!

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We Bought a Boler

After years of sleeping in a tent, we finally broke down and bought a Boler.

Our breaking point – a weekend in the pouring rain in our little tent. We forgot a tarp so we 20140917 - We Bought A Bolercould not even make a shelter near the campfire to stay dry. Our dog, Sadie, was sick and managed to vomit inside the tent on G’s sleeping pad while he was still using it.   So, after 24 straight hours of rain and some dog vomit, we packed up and went home early. This was a first for us. And evidently a last.

We turned to the classifieds (Kijiji of course) to find out new camping home. We went to a few that were located close to us, and quickly discovered they come in all sorts of different conditions varying from complete and utter disrepair to virtually untouched to fully renovated. When we were looking prices varied from $500 to $9000 depending on the condition, and we quickly learned you get what you pay for. We thought about buying a lovely fully renovated one that was only a few hours from our house. But alas, we are too practical to pay for someone else’s hard work. And where is the fun in buying one that’s already completely re-done? Ultimately, we knew we would customize it ourselves, so it made more sense to spend the right amount of money to buy one with good bones and renovate it to fit our tastes.

So, after a few weeks of searching, we finally found “our boler.” The only problem, we live in Alberta and it was located in Saskatchewan – about a 7.5 hour drive apart. We were able to see the pictures posted with the advertisement and my husband spent a lot of time emailing and talking with the seller.  He seemed really nice and very knowledgeable. So, we took the plunge and agreed to buy it sight-unseen.

The very next weekend we packed up our Toyota 4-Runner with the dog, some food, our trusty little tent and our best guess at a Boler emergency repair supplies (in case there was a flat tire or some unforeseen problem). And off we went for our first ever boler adventure!