One crazy week since my last update. It feels as if I haven’t stopped moving. A couple times a day I break for food and watch an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and then get right back to work. I’d like to be on the road by the end of April and there’s so much that needs to be done between then and now. I’m in a much better mind set now than when I was writing my last update. I’m extremely excited by our plans and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of working to make everything come together.
We continued to gut the inside. Nothing comes out easy. Blake and I managed to get the kitchenette out and then Blake and my brother got the benches and shelves out. I harvested the stove and the sink. I won’t be using them for this project but they’re too dang cute to toss. And even though the “refrigerator” had a cute door it was worthless and so it had to be thrown out. I also kept some of the hardware. We filled my dad’s entire truck bed with camper guts. My dad, Randy, had handyman Randy come over and take the floor out. I wish I could do all these steps myself but when I tell my dad I want to he just tells me I’m being hard headed and why not let someone do it who knows what they’re doing. And he’s right but I just want to make sure that I’m taking note and learning so in the future I could do these things myself. It was better for Randy to take the floor out because we needed to keep the stringers (2x4s supporting the floor) intact and he knew about where they’d be placed and cut around them. I bought a couple wire brush drill attachments to get some of the rust off the outside and make the aluminum look better. The bits work well but it’s going to be a long day doing all the trim. We only practiced on a small section but I’ll get out there and do the whole thing in a couple days. I thought that I was going to sand the curved walls and ceiling and paint them but when I started sanding I noticed that there was damage on every panel so we may as well replace all of them. We found wood at home depot that’s flexible enough to use in it’s place. So in order to replace the walls that meant the existing walls had to come out. I under estimated how difficult it would be, not realizing these walls were tucked behind the adjacent walls, and I went out there sort of unprepared but determined. Even though it was hot out I should have worn sleeves because my skin did not like the insulation that was hiding behind those walls. There were a couple times that big sheets of the insulation would fall on top of me after ripping a wood panel from the ceiling. And I wore a dust mask but I should have coughed up the money for a better quality one because after getting those walls out my throat was itchy and sore. But ripping all that out was extremely satisfying. And the biggest plus to taking those walls out is now we know where our support boards are so we won’t have any problems making sure the new furniture is secured in place. We also have to take the other two walls out which I’ll probably do tomorrow. This also gives us access to the electric which allows us to move any light fixtures if I want to. I have to have all the walls and any lingering debris out of the way by Tuesday because Randy is coming back over to put in the new walls. Hopefully he won’t mind if I assist him and learn. The two walls that have rounded corners but don’t actually curve, those are going to become reclaimed wood walls! After Randy puts new wood on I’ll paint them a dark color to prep them for pallet wood. Yesterday my brother and I spent a couple hours tearing apart some pallets. It was so much harder than I thought it would be. All the nails are threaded and rusty which makes them extremely difficult to pry out without splitting the wood. We were able to salvage about 60 boards. We figure I’ll need about 100 but I’ll fill in the rest with wood from Home Depot and I think I’ll still get the same effect, if not we can salvage some more boards. Before working on the pallets with my brother, my dad and I dropped the trailer off at David’s Trailers to get a new axle and electric brakes installed. It was hopefully my biggest expense (besides the trailer) but one that wasn’t optional and I’ll feel so much better towing the camper knowing we have that. I just noticed I spelled brakes wrong 5 times in my previous post?! Breaks!? Ugh. Anyway, we were able to pick the camper up today and so it’s back in my driveway ready for more work.
I’ve also spent a ton of time this week shopping for supplies. Even though I’m not leaving for 6-8 weeks I want to have everything ready to go as soon as possible. In order for me to be able to really focus on art for the camper I need everything else out of the way otherwise it’s going to clutter my mind and distract me. I think I’ll be able to store a majority of my supplies in my Outback which is exciting because that means the camper will be able to have a more open floor plan. I’ve been buying different storage containers and testing them out to see which ones are the best fit. I referenced an RV packing list online and I’ve been buying everything from tissues to lighters to pots and pans. I’ve still got quite a bit more to pick up but it’s a good start. My to-do list for this weekend includes ripping out the final two walls, sanding and staining all the pallet wood and buying the rest of my packing list and organizing it. I’m going to hold off on packing clothes and toiletries until the end but it’s not too early to have everything else organized and ready to load into the car and camper.
I’ve got plans for the layout of the inside but I’m going to hold off on sharing those since my sketches are sloppy and there are some elements that I want to keep a surprise. I’ll still be posting plenty though 🙂
Walking through the garden department for inspiration is a must.
Organizing/packing all my art supplies for craft meet ups!
Thanks for reading these update posts. I know they don’t flow very well, it’s not very easy for me to explain and recap everything. Hopefully these posts will get more interesting as the renovations continue.
March 5, 2015 I got home last week after spending a month in Philadelphia with Sam. I had planned on doing a lot of art and camper sketches while I was there but surprise surprise, I didn’t -_-. I did one drawing and a lot of brainstorming, better than nothing I suppose. As soon as I got home I started working on filling beanie orders and I just finished up yesterday so I was finally able to get out and work on the camper. I’m slightly bummed about how today went so it’s hard to write this but I know I need to. First thing I did was take out all the curtains and cushions and open all the windows. It currently smells pretty stale so I need to work on getting rid of the stinky. All but one of the windows open. I ripped the carpet out and since I couldn’t get the rusted screws to budge on the toilet I ripped that out too. If this camper was solely for traveling/camping then I’d leave all the amenities in but since it needs to have a little shop in it some things have to go to make room. This also means taking out the wall for the bathroom. My Uncle Mike came over today, he’s a carpenter/handyman (can answer all my obnoxious questions), to look at it and advise me on changes I want to make. I told him I wanted to take the bathroom wall out and he just attacked it and had it out within an hour. I didn’t realize that the wall was so flimsy. I told him I wanted to save it in case I ever wanted to put it back in but now that it’s out and I realize how unstable it is I’ll probably toss it. Before I throw it out I’m going to trace it so that we have the curvature of the wall in case we need anything else to fit that curve. Mike also helped me get the propane hooked up and the gas stove works perfectly. After Mike left, my dad and I went to the tag office downtown and we were able to get a tag for the camper! Ahhh, it’s so exciting to leave the DMV and have accomplished what you went there for. After that we went to Napa auto parts with some trailer questions. My subaru is able to tow up to 1,100 lbs without trailer brakes and up to 2,700 with trailer brakess. The camper is probably close to 1,000 lbs now so having brakes installed is a must. Napa couldn’t help us so we went to Northern Tool and they carry all the supplies we will need to add brakes. Parts plus labor will probably come to about $600. I didn’t make any purchases today, just scoped it out. We continued to work for a couple hours after we got home. We were told that the refrigerator was a propane refrigerator so we left the propane on for a couple hours waiting to see if it was in working condition. We were careful and didn’t smell any leaking gas. A couple hours passed and it wasn’t cooling so I turned the propane off and lit one of the gas burners to burn off whatever was left. Part of why I loved this camper was the charm of the kitchenette, all of the original appliances are in it and they’re teal and adorable. I was under the impression it was all working, I think the guy who sold it to us was too. So when I continued my refrigerator investigation to discover it’s not a refrigerator at all I was quite disappointed! It’s just a cooler, it connects to absolutely nothing. It has a small condensation drain and that’s it. That was bummer #1, bummer #2 was when we tried to fill the water tank and the inside of the camper flooded quite a bit. We went through a bit of trouble to disconnect the water tank, we wanted to see if the leak was on the bottom of the tank. We get it out and there’s no leak which means the leak must be somewhere on the copper piping. When we tried to get the copper pipe out the nut would not budge, everything is so old and rusted into place. All of today’s discoveries/learning curves are part of the project and overall nothing was too terrible but just the combination of things not working, a couple minor injuries (both Mike and my dad cut themselves and there’s little bits of blood splatter in the camper which is a bit unsettling haha and I whacked my head real good on the corner of the cabinet) and the current state of the camper was enough to discourage me a bit. This morning the camper was cute and now it looks like a total wreck. I’m actually going to wait and post this tomorrow so I can get a photo of the inside in the daylight. I think the biggest bummer at the moment is it’s seeming like we’re going to end up gutting the whole thing and the reason we didn’t get the cuter Shasta camper in Hampton, Georgia was because it was gutted and I was too intimidated to take on a totally blank canvas. But the tear drop shape of the one we ended up not getting was significantly cuter! I love the old shastas. I like the one I have now too but I don’t think the outside is as charming but I’ll work on it! I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take the kitchen out but it’s looking like I probably will. March 6, 2015: I got up this morning and went straight to work in the camper. It needed to be cleaned and organized before anything else could be done. I forgot to mention it in yesterday’s post but when we were investigating the plumbing we found a rat’s nest in the cabinet below the sink. It was only visible once we had pulled out the drawer so that’s why we hadn’t seen it before. I’m not very squeamish but the smell was repulsive to me. I just used a shop vac to clean it up. After I cleaned up the camper a bit I attempted to take the kitchen out. I decided last night that it wasn’t worth keeping in. I started with the connecting wall that was the bathroom wall. I took out all the screws but wasn’t able to get the wall to move because of the raised flooring for the bathroom. I’m too intimidated to tackle that by myself. It’s where the black water tank is stored and I just want to make sure I do everything correctly. I removed the wooden box that was covering the wheel well. I originally thought that I wouldn’t be replacing a lot of the interior wood but I think I will, even the parts that are in good condition like this box still smell old and stale. I spent a long time trying to get all the screws out of the kitchenette, they were hard to get to since they are inside of the cabinets. A couple days ago when I first started working on the camper I realized I had to make a trip to Ace Hardware for a drill bit. Almost the entire camper is built using 5/32 clutch screws. I wasn’t able to reach the screws behind the propane stove and I’m not sure how to properly disconnect the propane (I think I know but it’s too risky to not be 100% sure) so I’m going to wait and be shown how to disconnect the propane then I’ll have to remove the stove to be able to get the last couple screws out. After my failed attempt to single-handedly remove the kitchenette I just sat on the bench near the door and stared at the camper trying to figure out what I’m going to do to it. It’s nearly a blank canvas! It’s intimidating but exciting. It’s important to me to have at least two bunks, three if I can figure out a way, as well as quite a bit of counter space. One of the most important parts of this journey is documenting so I need to be able to easily set up my computer and scrapbook and work without feeling crammed. The rest of my evening will be spent brainstorming, sketching and looking at other campers trying to get ideas of what I want to build. Expenses: Camper: $2,000.00 Gas to and from Georgia: $143.25 Drill bits & face masks: $9.14 Tag and registration: $312.00 Running total: $2,464.39
Cleaning out the roof window/vent
Mike taking the bathroom wall out
The box/insulation the cooler was in
I looked out of the camper window and saw Melon in a tree
Plumbing under the sink
Bathroom wall and “refrigerator”