Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Living in a van (camper) down by the river

I swear I'm not going to live in this camper. At least not right now. But still, I'm pretty psyched to start fixing it up and getting it ready for some shred-ventures. But alright, how did I come to acquire such a fine specimen of Americana?

I got a text from Will a couple weeks ago: "Do you want my sister's camper? It needs a lot of work."

I was driving up to Marji Gesick at the time, but I immediately told him I wanted it, pending a space to store it. Turns out my mom is not a fan (at all) of campers in the yard, so my house was out.

For a while I thought I was going to have to pass on it, but some things transpired and let's just say the 'ol girl has a place to stay for now while I fix it up. Huge thanks to Sally and Craig for the camper and thanks to their family for a place to keep it while I restore it. I must say, Will has surprisingly good camper-driving and backing-up abilities.

Name still pending. It needs to be sexy, but not that sexy. 

I'm not gonna lie to you and say the camper is in immaculate condition. She needs some work. But that's part of the fun. My buddy Joe actually just restored this exact same model camper a couple years ago, so I have someone to talk to during the process. Plus, I have no shortage of willing hands and friends with lots of knowledge.

First up is going to be sealing the roof. It has a couple small leaks, so I'm going to use some Dicor to seal it up. Once it's sealed, I'll put new ceiling joists in, add in some insulation, and then put a new ceiling on. I'll probably use some sort of thin vinyl panel for the ceiling.

For the walls, I'm going to probably tear off the old walls and put some new vinyl panels on. Hopefully, the frame structure in the walls is still solid, so I won't replace that.

The framing for the sink and cabinet needs replaced, so I'll do that after then roof gets fixed. After that, I'll focus on smaller things and pretty-ing it up.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I think for the most part, this restoration is going to require wood and man-hours. I don't think it's going to get super expensive. But, once I have the interior and framework done, I expect I'll have to spend a little money on things like tires and checking the safety of the trailer for driving. I'm going to pace the project with how my finances are, but I'm hoping it's fully ready for travel by next spring.

Yeth, I know the pictures don't make it look great. But I assure you, it's just clutter and easily fixable things.

My plan for towing it is a whole other ordeal, since my Subaru Outback can't handle this beast. I'm going to borrow my family's SUV for some trips and figure it out from there. I'll graduate and get a job (hopefully teaching somewhere) relatively soon, so then I'm looking to replace my Outback with a small pickup like a Chevy Colorado.

I don't really know what I got myself into, but I'm confident that with some hard work, I'll have a sweet camper to use for years to come.

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