Boler Reno’s Don’t Come Easy: Axle Replacement Update

A quick update on our axle and frame replacement.

The frame was touched up and the connections to the vehicle have been replaced.

The axle has also been replaced, but not without a few headaches.  As with everything Boler related, nothing seems to go to plan.  There was an issue with placing the order which caused a delay.  Then, it turned out they ordered the wrong axle, which lifted the Boler up by at least 6 inches.  It looked rather odd and it would no longer fit in our garage for winter storage. So, the company had to remove the new axle and replace it with another one which was smaller and allowed the Boler to return to it’s original ride height and fit into our garage for storage.  Thankfully the company was good about it as it was noted our original word order that the new axle must ensure the original ride height was maintained.

Unfortunately, the issues resulted in multiple missed Bolering trips. But, since the axle is clearly important to the functioning of the Boler, all we could do was wait it out.

So, in good news, August long was our first Bolering trip of the season, and I’m happy to report that everything went perfectly!

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

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.

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

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.

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!

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!