Epic Fail

After finishing up the cabinet door upgrade (see the posts here and here), we took the Boler out for a weekend of fun.

Of course, we headed the mountains.  And in order to get to the mountains we had to drive over standard city roads and some highways.  Nothing extreme, or so we thought.

About 3 hours later we arrived at our destination.  And we discovered that multiple doors did not stay shut for the maiden voyage and the closet door did not survive.  I forgot to take photos of the complete disaster that awaited us when we opened the Boler door upon arrival, but from the photo I did take you can see that the closet door trip is mostly still hanging and the inside of the door is resting on the floor.  You will notice the closet is nearly empty because everything was relocated to the floor during travel.


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The Cabinet Door Reveal

As I mentioned the other day, we spent a lot of time this summer making new cabinet doors for our Boler.

Our neighbour offered to help us with finishing up the doors, as he’s skilled in cabinetry making.  So, a few days after we gave him all the pieces, they came back fully assembled and absolutely beautiful!

20150723 - A Significant15We were so excited to get to work that we skipped our evening run and spent night in the garage prepping and painting the doors.

First, we sanded.  And then we sanded some more.

Then we used a pre-stain wood condition.  (I have no idea why this step is necessary, but the friendly people at Home Depot said to do it and for the minimal extra cost and time we did).

20150724 - The Cabinet Door Reveal_IMGP5854After lots of thought we decided to use a simple wood stain.

And once again I laid out everything on the deck to admire the final product before we installed them.

20150724 - The Cabinet Door Reveal_IMGP6314The latches were a bit of a pain in the butt as we used a different style then previous. We changed the style in part because it was hard to find pieces similar to the original ones, and the trim didn’t lend itself easy to the old style. We ultimately chose to use a style common in modern day trailers, which meant we had to figure out how to make it work with our old fiberglass Boler. We eventually got it, and now the doors lock securely when closed. Hopefully they also stay secure while we are driving!

It was the first, and hopefully last time we will build cupboard doors, and we think they turned out rather well. And honestly, it has completely changed the look of the inside of the Boler.

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A Significant Upgrade: New Cabinet Doors

If you remember from our initial Boler photos, the cupboards were still original and had seen better days. We didn’t spend the time on this last year as new cupboards were not required for us to go camping, but now that we had some time it only made sense to tackle this cosmetic upgrade.

We wondered around Home Depot trying to figure out what type of design we wanted for our cupboards. In the end, being economic and ever practical we chose to use pine for the doors. We did use one side finished pine and pine trim pieces.

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Then, we cut all the pine back pieces to size. This was easy as we used the original doors as templates.

Next was the trim pieces. First we cut the trim to the right size, this was pretty easy and even I had a turn playing with the compound mitre saw.

20150723 - A Significant6The trim pieces also had to be cut with the table saw to trim them to the right size. This task was took a bit of precision, so G was in charge of the cutting.

20150723 - A Significant14 Once everything was cut, I laid out all the pieces to admire our handy work.

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Then we moved onto assembly. I set up a pocket-hole jig to drill in pocket holes that would allow G to assembly the frame and ultimately hide the screws. This took a bit of time, but only because there are so many doors. In fact, once we got going we were pretty quick.

Once again, I laid everything out to admire our handywork.  Of course, G rolled his eyes at me.

20150723 - A Significant15Up next, we had to router everything to make the actual doors. This is where we got a bit lucky.  Rather than learning how to router we handed everything over to our neighbour who happens to be a retired teacher and cabinet maker.

While our neighbour had the pieces, we decided to find new cabinet door hardware to hang everything. We picked up the door closing apparatus’/latches and hinges at a RV Parts store – in fact, we bought so many we cleared out there stock and had to go to about 5 RV stores to find enough matching ones. We picked up the handles at Home Depot.

Coming soon, the finished product!

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A Boler Bedside Table

One thing that drives me slightly mad while camping is having somewhere to put my glasses. At home I have a nightstand to put my glasses on, while camping this is missing. The end result is that while camping my glasses are not in a safe and predictable location. And for someone as blind as me, that predictable location is almost a necessity.

Last summer while using our Boler for its inaugural summer we discovered we were throwing a lot of things haphazardly on the counter at night – car keys, Boler keys, glasses, flashlights, etc. I like to be able to quickly reach my glasses in the morning (or the middle of the night if nature calls) to ensure I can see before attempting to stand up, and I was left unsure of where they were. The disorganized approach to last summer was not working for either G or I, so we came up with a quick fix that was relatively cheap, looks pretty good, matches our kitchen interior perfectly and was decently easy to install.

20141027 - Prettying Up The Kitchen_1I went back to Ikea without G because he’s just not a fan of the Ikea shopping experience. I bought a few more of the avocado green containers and another bar (the FINTORP line of products) to hang from the side of the closet. Before we hung the bar we made sure that it was high enough that neither one of us will hit our heads on it when we go to sit down at the kitchen table, but yet not too high as we need to reach it while sitting on the bed.

For the kitchen we cut the bar to the exact size wanted using an angle grinder with a metal cutting disk.  This time we smartened up and used a pipe cutter. The cut edge is much cleaner, and so it was much easier to insert the end covers at the end.

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We attached the hanging pieces to the closet wall with simple screws and used the newly added closet wood support structure to screw into.

20150605 - A Boler Bedside Table_1It was a bit of pain to get the support structures to fit snugly, but with a few minutes of finagling and a couple taps of a hammer we made it work.

20150605 - A Boler Bedside Table_2So after one trip to Ikea and about 15 minutes of effort, we have a cute place to hang a reading lamp and a great place to securely put my glasses.

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20150605 - A Boler Bedside Table_5If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to www.ourboleradventures.wordpress.com to follow our adventures.

Back at It (With Closet Organization)

We had all kinds of ambitious winter plans for our Boler renovation and modernization. Not a single one happened, instead we completed a few renovations in our house and generally just hid from winter.

But, it’s spring. And, now it’s finally nice out again.

Which of course means its bolering season!

Before we hit the road to enjoy another summer filled with hiking, fishing, hotdogs cooked over the campfire and smores, we decided to do a few more modern upgrades in our Boler.

First up, closet shelving and new cupboard doors.

On the Victoria Day long weekend we managed to spend a solid day working on our Boler.

We easily finished the shelving in the closet. And, we’ve done a tonne of work on building new cupboard fronts.

Today, I’ll share the closet shelving. (The cupboard fronts will wait until they are finished – hopefully next weekend).

When we bought our Boler the closet was an empty space.

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Last summer camping it was my pet-peeve because we simply stacked things in it and hoped that they didn’t fall out on us when we opened the door.

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In deciding to tackle the shelving we made a few simple decisions to direct the project.

First, the closet shelving could not damage the existing fiberglass closet exterior more than absolutely necessary. So, G designed a closet system that only required 4 screws through the fiberglass.

Second, the closet interior has to be functional, not fancy. Virtually no-one other than G and I will see the inside of the closet, so we really didn’t need it to be fancy. We decided to use affordable materials that would also be durable. We talked about fancier woods like oak and maple, but ultimately went with the ever practical plywood and pine. The shelves are made of one-side sanded plywood. And the side supports are made of two inch, 3/4inch thick pine boards. Both of which are easy to get at Home Depot/Rona.

Third, the shelves have to be spaced appropriately to fit Tupperware containers we already own, as I did not want to waste something we already have. I love things to be organized and I think having things sorted into Tupperware will help us keep the Boler organized while we are traveling. And well G may not have cared deeply about this shelf building criteria, he did humor me.

So, we got to work measuring and cutting. (Okay, G got to work. I sat on the couch in the Boler and took photos of the progress). In all honesty, working inside a tiny closet is a one person job so my help wasn’t really required and was actually more of a pain in the butt.

20150525 - BackAtIt4Once the vertical side supports were screwed in place, we screwed in horizontal pieces of pine to create supports for the plywood shelves.

And then, we cut the plywood shelves. Due to the egg shape of the Boler each shelf is a different size, but with accurate measuring and a couple of extra cuts we made everything fit snugly.

20150525 - BackAtIt1Then we screwed the boards down to make sure they don’t move while we are driving.

We often find that working in the Boler can be challenging due to the egg shape, but ultimately because we focused on functionality the shelves were pretty darn easy to install, which made both of us happy!

20150525 - BackAtIt8.

And, now that I’m thinking of our Boler again, I realized that I wasted multiple winter months and fell behind on this blog. I had intended to share about our adventures last summer in redoing the plumbing and gas line inside our Boler. And, I also wanted to share about our really awesome exterior rejuvenation. I still have the photos from our work last summer, which means I just need to set some time aside to write about all of these things. Honestly, I’ve procrastinated away the winter because writing about plumbing and gas lines is not my idea of fun. But, I still plan to do it and hope to do it really soon as I really want to spend our summer outside enjoying the Boler, not writing about it!

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The Cushions & Curtains

As a child, I was forced to take sewing lessons, so I do have very basic sewing skills and I do own a sewing machine. However, basic may even be an overstatement of my skills. And I really don’t enjoy sewing – in fact G has learned to sew his own clothes because I am notorious for not getting around to do it myself.

So, when we determined that we needed to recover the old original cushions (see below), this meant we had to find someone who could recover the cushions. And ideally at a decent price.

Original Cushions and Curtains

Original Cushions and Curtains

We drove past a local Fabricland one day, and noticed that the outdoor fabrics were on sale. The sale was rather substantial. So, we decided to buy our favourite fabrics for the cushions. We figured we needed to get the fabric even though we had no idea how to actually sew the new covers ourselves.

So, G calculated how much material we would need and we set out to pick out our favourite materials. As we weren’t positive about the long term color of the Boler, we decided to play up the original avocado green. I picked the solid and boring green for the seats. G picked the patterned and vibrant print for the seat backs.

Coincidentally, a wonderful lady shopping in the store happened to over-hear my husband and I talking. She offered to do the sewing for us for an amazing price – $220 + materials (i.e. thread, zippers, and fabric. Yes you read that correctly, she only charged us $220!!! The materials were more expensive! Anyone who knows about sewing this amount of cushion covers, will tell you this was a steal of a deal. We expected this part of our reno to cost us about $1000, so we were thrilled to be able to have this done for such an affordable price.  And, as an added bonus she made us a few extra pillows out of the extra material.  She was such a sweet heart, and we are so thankful for her!

At the same time, I decided to take on the task of sewing the curtains myself. I figured, how had can it be to sew straight lines? Even I should be able to make rectangular shapes. So I measured the old ones, picked out a black-out material that matched the materials we already picked and set myself up at the kitchen table for a week.

So, with relatively little expense and only a bit of frustration on my behalf, here is the end product that we absolutely love:


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Our Ambitious Winter Plans

We had a wonderfully long list of ambitious Boler renovation activities to complete this winter:

  • Fixing/replacing the ceiling vent
  • New seals for the side windows
  • New seals for the front and rear Plexiglas windows
  • Closet shelving
  • New Cabinet doors and closet door
  • 3 way fridge rather than ice box
  • Spare tire cover
  • New tires
  • Small containers on the side of the closet to hold glasses and flashlights at night – like a Boler sized night table.

I hate to admit it, but we have done absolutely nothing since we pulled the Boler into the garage for the winter. Now that it’s almost the end of January, we should really get started if we want to get anything done before spring!!

My most critical items are the closet shelving and the small containers on the side of the closet.

I suspect G’s most critical items are much more practical. He would like to get the window’s resealed and maybe look into new tires.

Either way, I think it’s time to get busy as we would like to spend our warm summer days playing in the mountains rather than hanging out in our garage tinkering with the Boler.

Hopefully this means I’ll get around to posting about the renovations we have already completed, so I can do more real time updates on new activities soon enough.


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Our First Boler Camping Adventure – Waterton Lakes National Park

I still have lots to stay about the renovation, but writing about things like plumbing and gas fitting is not always the most enjoyable.  So, in the interest of my sanity, I decided to share our first Boler adventure!

We were pretty motivated to get our new Boler ready for use, and in fact went out on our first weekend trip about 5 weeks after purchase (we bought it on June 28 and our very first trip out was on the August long weekend (August 2-4)).

We went with some friends to Waterton Lakes National Park. Waterton Lakes National Park is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park which includes Waterton Lakes National Park on the Canadian side and Glacier National Park on the USA side. It was designated a Word Heritage Site in 1995.

We planned to camp on the Canadian side, as we did not have our dog’s paperwork in order to cross the border. And, we did not have a campsite booked so we knew there was a pretty good chance we’d be sleeping on the side of the road somewhere due to the reservation system which makes it virtually impossible to find a last minute camping spot anywhere in Alberta and/or B.C.

G and I left our house on Friday at about 1pm. We simply couldn’t get away earlier due to G’s work commitments.

Hooked-up and leaving the City!

Hooked-up and leaving the City!

After driving for 3 hours, we discovered that we were right – Finding a camping spot was nearly impossible. Every single spot in and around the park was booked or already taken.

We were desperate, and Waterton Springs Campground just outside the national park, helped us out. I explained our situation, including G’s broken ankle (I was hoping for sympathy). It is a family run campground and were awesome. They gave us a spot in an overflow area that was close to the washrooms so my husband could walk to them. And, when another site came available due to a last minute cancelation, they even moved us to a slightly better site. The campground had full amenities – running water, bathrooms, pay-showers, play structures for kids, fire-wood, a small store, etc. Some sites have significantly more tree coverage and therefore privacy, so if you pre-book definitely make sure to get one of the better sites.

We had such a great time with our friends.  We all spent some time wondering around the townsite enjoying the odd meal and wondering into the touristy stores.

Our friends spent some time mountain biking and hiking.  And we spent some time touring around in our 4Runner and enjoying the quaint townsite as G was wearing an airboot and had very limited mobility.  We stopped by the Buffalo Paddock to see the buffalo roaming, and we also saw 2 different bears on the side of the road.

Each night we enjoyed campfire food, and a few glasses of wine. We had a great time, and even hung out inside the Boler one evening as we waited through a rain storm.

Our friends bought us a Bolerwarming gift (i.e. a housewarming gift), which was just so thoughtful (and necessary as it was something all 4 of us forgot to bring).

Locally Handcrafted Spatula

Locally Handcrafted Spatula

And, on the way home, I made G stop on the side of the highway so that I could take this photo.  I just love the foothills, and wanted to capture this picturesque landscape.

Foothills on Our Way Back to Calgary

Foothills on Our Way Back to Calgary

As for the Boler, she performed admirably on her first weekend out.  We stayed warm and dry (and there was lots of rain, so it was a really good test).  Which meant, we all stayed nice and happy!  After our first weekend away, we were happy we bought our Boler and anticipate many more memorable trips in our future!

If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to www.ourboleradventures.wordpress.com to follow our adventures.

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!