1963 Aladdin Travel Trailer - 1963aladdintraveltrailer

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Welcome to Our Magic Carpet Adventure!

I'm Ashley and my husband is Gooch. We have put our house up for sale in Seattle and are planning to move back east to Richmond, VA. Our goal is to take our time traveling back east stopping at as many National Parks, Mom 'n Pop shops, and Curiosities along the way as possible. So what better way to make our journey than to travel in prime American style in a vintage travel trailer. After a long search, today we found our 1963 15' Aladdin "Magic Carpet" Travel Trailer. His name is Gene (as in a genie)! We'll document his progress from a genie stuck in a dull bottle with a shabby rug to a strong powerful Gene in a gleaming bright lantern with a Magical Carpet. Come join us in our adventure!

Photo journal

Progress Galore!

Wow- so much happened in the last 6 days that I've lost track. Ok, so we brought Gene home (to VK's) Saturday a week ago. On Sunday we arrived at workshop with our tools and lunch and we began taking the right rotten skirt board off and the door frame apart (rotten also). While Gooch and VK worked on those items I became an expert in the art of pulling staples our of the metal skin. Ever wonder what holds the metal skin on a vintage trailer? The trim? Nope. The 1000's and 1000's of staples! Know how you get them out? A special expensive tool called a tiny little flat head screw driver, a small awl, a hammer, and a pair of small pliers or wire snips. Yep- first class high industrial tools! Ha! I actually enjoyed it as with ever 10 or so staples removed you could pull back the skin and see what was behind it- rot or good wood. While there was more rot than expected, especially since there was virtually NO water damage in the interior, it was repaired without too much trouble. Of course we had VK! Had we not had her, goodness knows what missteps would have been taken and I'm quite positive we wouldn't be nearly as far along now! So rather than play catch up over each little detail, here is what has been repaired or replaced last week: all skirt boards around the bottom perimeter with the exception of the front left which was solid, the door frame, left wheel well, right wheel well, additional braces added to wall support structure above both wheel wells, all trim wood that skin attaches to removed and replaced with new curf (sp?) boards, new supports on the front and the rear face, new 12 volt system, all lights work interior and exterior, new exterior outlet, new cigarette lighter outlet under dining area for computer or cell phone, ceiling vent removed, roof scrubbed of moss and silicone debris... I know I'm forgetting a bunch of things- but you get the point we've been busy- and leading us every step of the way has been VK! We took the weekend off and went to a cool trailer rally on Saturday and then hit some thrift stores to look for parts and nic nacs. Then Sunday we had to stay at home for an all day open house. So today it's back to work. One of the highlights for me was taking the roof off to replace the rotten edge trim on the roof line- so cool to realize that you can take off the roof, then put it back on and with that ALL of the rotten trim was gone! Gene is now rot free! We didn't plan to take him apart like this- but how could we not once we knew he had rot in him. Now he'll be in good shape for another 47 years! And we'll be long gone by the time our kids or grandkids have to pull those staples out again! ha ha!

Gene Comes Home... almost.

So we headed out EARLY on Saturday, June 10, 2010 to pick up Gene. We had a heavy schedule for the morning. We packed up tools, misc trailer supplies, and a cooler with snacks the night before and left the house at 5am... yes- left the house at 5 am. First stop was Ferndale to put Gene's new tires on and hitch him to the 4Runner. Second stop was Bow, WA. I found a woman on Craigslist selling vintage linoleum and she thought she had a good selection of colors that would match Gene. Third stop, Mt. Vernon, WA to visit with VK, our new lovely friend who is teaching us and guiding our restoration of Gene.

The tires went on with minimal fuss although Gooch did have to dig a small trench under each well to slide the tires under the decorative wheel well trim. However, because we had an extender on the hitch to prevent jack-knifing, we didn't think to get longer safety chains- so they were too short. So after 30 minutes of messing with them, we got them connected- oddly- but they were connected. We hitched him up, I got in the driver's seat and started off. He glided smoothly down the driveway onto the street. I stopped and parked so Gooch could tighten the lugs. I got out to take photos- it was the first time we'd actually been able to walk around Gene and see his right side since he had been parked tightly beside bushes and a car. It was quite exciting! Then I got back in and started slowly up the hill so Gooch could see if all looked ok- then CUCHING-POP. Something made a loud sound that wasn't good. I stopped thinking the hitch had come undone. Nope, the chains had snapped tight and got stuck on the hitch lock- they were pulling the weight now of the trailer- not the hitch. I drove up to level surface and we then proceeded to work on unsticking the chains for about 25 minutes. We finally got them unstuck and a nice man came out of this house to help- we had finished- but I always like to mention the kindness of strangers does still exist today.

We headed out to the linoleum lady, we were now an hour late. I had called and she said to come on out. Interesting note- the linoleum lady is Sheila Klein. An international artist who happened to be selling vintage tile and sheet linoleum she had used for an installation- pretty darn cool. Visit her website. So we drove Gene to her farm/ compound. Sheila was very cool and we found the perfect coral 12" tile for Gene. It was great having him with us as we took the tile in the trailer with the fabric. I could see him in my mind- clean and vibrant and happy. Sheila insisted we visit her friends in Edison to grab a coffee. We were exhausted- so coffee sounded great. We drove into Edison, only 2 miles from her house. To our great surprise this charming town was the same one that Gooch and I stumbled on 7 1/2 years ago on a side trip that we could never find again!! And here we were 7+ years later buying vintage linoleum from an Internationally Acclaimed Artist for our 1963 travel trailer and we find our charming little mystery town. Pretty darn cool. So we grabbed a coffee and a blueberry loaf and quickly walked around the town. It's an old little village with cool independently owned shops and a big arts community.

We left and headed to VK's house who was waiting to meet Gene. Gooch first met our friend VK on a travel trailer restoration internet site. She is an expert at travel trailer restoration and has a fine collection of trailers currently in various forms of progress. From the very first email she was guiding us what to look out for when purchasing a trailer. We became quite friendly via email and she invited us to come for a visit to meet her "pets" (travel trailers) that she was working on. She is only an hour north of us (and an hour south of Gene's previous owners), so the day we purchased Gene we stopped in to say hello. She was so kind and informative, we fell in love with her on the first visit. Her trailers were amazing- absolute pure talent- and lovely as well! She offered to check Gene out with a little meet and greet when we towed him to Seattle. So a few days before driving back up to Ferndale to get Gene, we made plans with VK to come for a visit and then leave Gene at VK's overnight so we wouldn't have to rush to get home before dark since we had no lights. We did a once over of Gene with VK and got a good thumbs up on our purchase. He had rot in the skirt boards which we knew ahead of time and were prepared to replace. We made a list of "quick" projects to do on Sunday under Vk's guidance, made a shopping list, said goodnight and headed back to Seattle leaving Gene with his new trailer friends (VK's pets). Sunday morning we returned to work on Gene with VK... and discovered a few of his surprises.

Mr. Ted and his 1969 Aladdin Camper

Oh how I love meeting people and exploring the state of Washington in our Magic Carpet ride travel trailer adventure. Today we met Mr. Ted, a lovely man who was parting out his 1969 Aladdin Camper. I had heard Aladdin made campers- but had never seen one before. Very cute camper, and it had several items that we can use in our Gene. We drove the almost 2 hours south of Seattle to Lewis County because the camper had a turquoise icebox that matched our trailer. We have a brown icebox, but ours has a cosmetic crack on one edge. Some models in our '63 year have brown appliances and some have the turquoise... both match our table top and kitchen counter. Anyway, we after the icebox was too narrow, I looked up and saw the cool 60's wall lights. We were in need of 2 more- and there were 2! Perfect. We also needed to replace or repair a wall cabinet and a drawer in Gene and so we purchased 2 of those as well as a big cupboard door to use in case we needed to cut a door down to size. The '69 paneling is lighter pink and has a shinier finish than our '63, but I'm confident we can sand it down and stain it to match. We also purchased a door pull up handle for the outside of the trailer (to help yourself up the outside step), an exterior teardrop shaped signal light, a gas propane turquoise lamp that was too cool to pass up, a table w/ drop down leg, and 4 foam cushions. We have our cushions, but some aren't in good shape so I'll just choose the best 4 out of the 8 we now own. Mr. Ted made us a fair offer and so we removed the items ourselves. It was SUPER HOT in the camper. It was the first day above 80 for us... it was 90 in Lewis County where the trailer was. Besides the sweat, it was a lovely experience and had a great time chatting with Mr. Ted about his family history and how they ended up in WA. On our way home we went to a junkyard and several rv shops... we are still in search of vintage half moon hub caps for Gene. It was a great day.

Funny Story about the Title

I don't know how I forgot to write an entry on the title! Long, but funny crazy story on how we got the title. The person we bought the trailer from had been given the trailer in trade for work he provided via his landscaping company. The person who had paid him via the trailer had received the trailer because she was the camp director for the Lion's Club and needed housing at the camp facility. The person who owned the trailer before her was a Lion's Club member and had basically just given the trailer to the Lion's Club to use at their camp for disabled kids. This man who we'll call the "original owner" had LOST the title. So the woman had received from the Lion's Club man all of the correct DMV paperwork for a Lost Title and a document relinquishing all of his rights to the trailer so that she could get a new clear title. She NEVER turned in that paperwork. When she gave the fellow we purchased the trailer from the trailer- she just passed on the paperwork to him. He NEVER turned in the paperwork. So when we purchased the trailer from him, he passed on the paperwork to us.

So here goes Ashley and Gooch la-dee-da-dee-da into DMV to get our clear title. Stage setting: peroxide bleach bottle blond w/ dark roots, overweight, sweaty, 20 something year old boy with a lisp at the window looks down at me through his too small wire rimmed glasses when I handed him the paperwork and snorts. He then looks at his computer, looks back at me and says, "someone else is on this title". Who- I ask? Can't tell you- he says. How the heck can I fix the problem if I don't know who it is- I ask... bitterly. Can't tell you- he says. Losing my patience now... I then through a GREAT deal of restraint and quite positive divine intervention made friends with the guy and he very quietly said- It's his wife. What is her name- I ask? Can't tell you- he says. Now remember- "his" refers not to the guy we purchased the trailer from, nor the woman he was given the trailer from, but the man who gave the Lion's Club the trailer who gave her the trailer. Confused yet- so were we! I'm sure Kevin Bacon would show up somewhere in this 6 degrees of separation if I dug a little deeper.

We'll fast forward past the small panic attack I had on the way back to our car. I called the lovely fellow we purchased the trailer from and told him the situation. He was very helpful and responsive and said he would track down the woman who gave him the trailer to help us find the original owner. Meantime my husband had the great idea to Google the original owner's name although I was skeptical. I figured the guy was dead as through this tangled grapevine story we had been told the man's wife was dead and he probably was too. If she was dead- or he was dead it would take 3 years to get a clear title in WA. Glory Be- his name was in the Bellingham white pages via Google- got to love modern day technology!

Reminding my husband and he started dialing the number that this was at least a 70+ year old man on the other end of the phone- I began thinking how crazy this conversation would sound and that he make think we were scammers. Gooch reached the man and began explaining that we had purchased the trailer from 2 owners past him, and that the paperwork had never been turned in until today, and his wife's name was still on the title and that she too would need to sign a release for the trailer... then there were a few moments of silence and then Gooch said, "Oh, well I'm so sorry to hear that sir... Or maybe it isn't such a bad thing!". OK- MY HUSBAND JUST SAID MAYBE IT WASN'T A BAD THING THE WOMAN WAS DEAD?? Could this really be? Could he have said that? I started making crazy faces at him and motioning for him to get off of the phone right now- and then he covered the phone with his hand and said, "they are divorced! He's not old!". After getting the ex-wife's phone number and name from the man, Gooch hung up and explained to me this man wasn't in his 70s- more like 50's! They had divorced after the trailer sold. He didn't know she was even on the trailer title! Good grief.

So now it was my turn. I figured the woman would be more apt to believe me than a strange man calling, so I called her. I explained what had happened and that if she wanted to call her ex-husband to verify my story I understood. She was shocked and asked several times if I was sure- yes, I was sure. She said she believed me and I could meet her the next day at her office (2 hours north of Seattle). So the next day we drove up, had her sign all the papers and thanked her.

Fast forward back to DMV. I got the SAME boy again! Out of 4 tellers- I got him again. Now, since this is a public blog, I won't say what may have been missing from my paperwork- but the paper she signed were old and if DMV had wanted to be difficult- there was room for them to be based on the lack of an item or two on my part. So the sweaty, bleached headed boy sat in front of me again- he made some grunts and groans under his voice about needing another form or verification, made a phone call to somebody behind a double mirror, then looked at me and said- do you need tags and a license plate? YES I DO! I happily paid the fees, got my tabs, title, registration, and license plates and practically ran out. On the way to the car I looked down at our new plates and do you know what? The license plate is my birthday! No joke- 0573... it was meant to be!

Gene's Personal Parking Space

After a LOT of searching, we found a space to park and work on Gene for a minimal monthly fee. It's in Ballard about 10 minutes from our house right on the water adjacent from the Locks. We have access to water and electricity to run tools etc and have 24 hour access. It's locked and has security video plus several other travel trailer owners work on their trailers there. We are so happy and thankful to find this place since we can't exactly have the trailer parked out on the street in front of our house! I'll take photos of Gene in his VIP parking space once he's in place.

Fabric Finally Chosen!

Wow! There is nothing like pushing up decisions as that of a limited time only 60% off fabric sale! We certainly were not expecting to purchase fabric this soon, as we have several other items ahead on the priority list, but Joanns was having a 50% off sale on all of their 54" home decor fabric and then an additional 10% off on the entire purchase that was ending on 7/6/10. So we HAD to jump while the iron was hot! After literally spending hours deciding we narrowed it down to 1 print for the back cushion and 2 prints for the bottom cushions in the dinette area. We then decided to sleep on it. The next day we went to every fabric store we knew of, including Wal-Mart to look at other fabric options. 10 minutes before closing we stumbled in to Hancock Fabrics and on the remnant table was the perfect striped vintage camp style fabric. Retro but with modern colors of lapis blue, citrine, and coral on an off white back ground. AND it was 50% off the low remnant price making our 4 yards a whopping $16 for the entire total! So back to Joanns the next day to choose a solid bottom to go with it. We found a good blue that helped pop the citrin and coral and by chance also found a good heavy tweed that will be great to cover the sofa in at some point. Recovering the sofa may be beyond my skill set right now as it has three sections that bend and zipper and welting and too much work for my brain at the moment. We also found a really handsome modern print in citrine that we fell in love with for the curtains- but alas no extra money and it seemed wasteful to purchase as the fabric even at 60% off was ridiculous in price for curtains.

HOWEVER, when we got home that night, I googled the print just to get a photo of it to print and keep with me when shopping and instead I found it on a website called www.fabric.com. Let me tell you- I LOVE this site! They had the fabric for 1/2 off of what Joann's 1/2 off price was! So I ordered it as they only had a handful of yards left. So now all we have to do is keep an eye out for coral modern print pillows!

Patience...

We've technically owned Gene two full days and yet we've had so many errands and previous engagements planned that we haven't been able to spend much time planning Gene's transformation. It's driving me nuts! I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I can go to DMV and make Gene "legal". A busy week... title, registration, tires, tow bar, hitch, rims... Can't Wait!!!

Our Search is Over!

After a literally 100s of hours pouring over Craigslist, Ebay, Tin Can Tourists, and any other "for sale" site I could find, as well as knocking on people's doors asking if they wanted to sell their trailer AND double backing on interstates because we "saw" something silver out of the corner of our eye shaped like a bread box or canned ham... we have found our Gene! I searched twice a day (at least) on Craigslist using the key words travel trailer, trailer, camper for each city within 8 hours driving of Seattle. And where did we find Gene? 2 hours north of us in Ferndale. We've seen some wonderful places in Washington that I don't think we would have ever visited in our search. So we are thankful for the experience. But now it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

By the way, if you ever have ANY restoration question... we have made a wonderful new friend, Vk in Mt. Vernon, WA. A lovely person and incredibly talented restorer. We are so fortunate to have met her and look forward to many more visits and emails to come. Thanks VK!

Favorite sites

Repairing Yesterday's Trailers
VK's Shutterfly Photos of Restored Trailers
Interested in Travel Trailer Restoration? VK is your woman to ask questions from!
Aladdin Travel Trailer Yahoo Group
Tin Can Tourists
Facebook Page for America Jane Mercantile
Etsy Shop for America Jane Mercantile

All Places Related to Gene

What a basket case of a trailer- the walls weren't even connected, the thing felt as though you'd go through the floor- and the guy wanted $600! Crazy
We met Sheila Klein, an International Artist who was selling vintage linoleum she had left over from an installation. We bought a vintage coral 12" square tile to replace Gene's pebble flooring which is chipped badly at the entrance.
Oh how I wanted this trailer. It was $400 and the guy said "little water damage". He didn't know the manufacturer- but he said the title listed DLTN... which I researched was Dalton. I found a photo of a restored 1956 Dalton online the night before driving out there and fell in love with the rounded art deco cabinets. In person- another dump. Major dents, water damage to the interior so bad that it was a frame up- needed to be completely taken apart. Plus some one had put snow crap on the roof which is never a good thing- can't get it off.
Answered an ad on Craigslist for a 1963 Aladdin travel trailer. Knew within minutes of seeing Gene that he was the one!
Home to our new BFF, VK. Her knowledge and insight to the world of vintage travel trailer restoration is amazing!
Don't know how to make this short. Strange little troll woman that led us behind a locked gate, disappeared on us, then we heard a loud whinny from a mule- then she reappeared cursing under her breath... and it was foggy and raining... and the trailer smelled like pee and was HUGE- not the 16' listed in the ad. Got out of there as fast as possible.
Small cute trailer that had sat too long and needed too much interior work. Nice lady- but kind of cooky.
Beautiful 1967 15' Aladdin. It was priced well and had every light interior and out, original cushions, new tires... but it sold right out from under us. I DO love our Gene more! But at the time it was sad.
Really cute 13' Lil Loafer. The man who owned it found it on his property when he recently purchased the land. It had been sitting for who knows how long but looked "preserved"... even had the coffee pot sitting on the burner. But we decided it was too small for us... would have to make the dining table into a bed every night.
Such a nice man. He was parting out his 1967 Aladdin Camper (the type that sits in a truck bed) and he was just so nice and interesting. We pulled 2 wall lights, a dining table, exterior light, paneling, gas lamp, and a few other items for Gene. Great guy.
What a lovely lady Sandra is. She saw an ad I placed on Tin Can Tourists where I was looking for interior wall lights. I just paid shipping and she sent me a really cool wall sconce that coordinates with the two I pulled from Mr. Ted's Aladdin Camper.
It's VERY RARE to find someone else that has the same year, size, and make of your trailer. And I found someone... just down the road an hour in Puyallup, WA! We even have the same counter tops and appliance colors. Crazy.
First trailer rally we ever attended. It gave us a really good idea of the size of trailer we wanted and some of the styles we liked. Everyone was so incredibly nice to us! We went into all of the trailers and were able to see photos of their restorations.
Our second trailer rally- we went with VK and Victor and met many nice people and got VK's perspective on each trailer's physical condition- which was very helpful.
Hillsboro, OR is the home of the original Aladdin Trailer Company. They made travel trailers and campers from the early 60s- mid 70s. They are primarily found in the northwest today. There is very little information on the internet about these trailers. They tend to leak only at the seams- so usually unless something odd happened, there isn't too much interior damage. But boy- watch out when you open them up and be prepared to replace the skirt boards and the edge trim boards!

Guestbook

1/2/2014 4:22:24 AM - fb:1456285437
we have a 1965 aladdin that we are going to start restoring. any advice as to where to start. any advice on good places to get part would be very helpful as well.. ours is a 13 foot rear door with a bathroom very very cute

5/17/2013 5:07:05 PM - fb:100005109665593
We are trying to licience an Aladdin trailer....where can we locate the model number??
2/22/2011 8:19:30 PM - 001015653083
Wow... Déjà vu all over again! :-)

My wife found a 1963 Aladdin in June 2005, and it looked almost exactly like yours! I had to replace an interior section of the roof in the back because of rot, and she painted the interior because it was so rough looking.

You can see some photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tericson/sets/483284/

And I don't know if it's still there, but Singletons RV Salvage & Sales at 383 Nelson Rd. in Rochester, WA (360-273-9566) - a few miles west of I-5 exit 88 - was a lot of fun to shop at!

It's nice to see another one being fixed up.

Tim Ericson,
tericson@yahoo.com
8/23/2010 6:26:52 PM - 003050905214
How much longer till you hit the road?!!!!
6/28/2010 7:20:48 PM - 003007738320
wow!!! how amazing and inspiring! this will be such a fun project with an unbelievable reward at the end--how fulfilling! can't wait to see the progress--let me know if i can help :) btw, pick up the book "road trip USA" for your trek across the country if you don't already own it--it's a great tool and reference for the type of journey you want to make :)
6/28/2010 4:02:53 PM - 003040637146
Fabulous! Reminds me of the 65 Arrow we had when I was a kid. Can't wait to meet you at the Grand Canyon!
6/28/2010 3:58:02 PM - 003040337038
This is fantastic...and done with your usual style and flair. I love it! Genie is fabulous and I know the transformation will be spectacular! Make sure there is plenty of room for sketch books, lap tops to send postings and room for the goodies found along the way. Can't wait for the video!!!! Lots of love,
Kate

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