Camper update #1

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

istopmotion_392730944_56 Cleaning out the roof window/vent

IMG_9910  Mike taking the bathroom wall out



camper_332  The box/insulation the cooler was in


DSC_5617  I looked out of the camper window and saw Melon in a tree




DSC_5082Plumbing under the sink

DSC_5076  Bathroom wall and “refrigerator”









6 thoughts on “Camper update #1

  1. I’m so incredibly proud of you for sticking to this and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Good luck with everything, sending all my positive vibes!

  2. Like my mama use to tell me, Work Hard Now and Play Later! All of this hard work will be worth it in the end!!! 🙂 you’re amazing!

  3. Wow! I’m so glad you’re keeping us updated! Looks like you’ve made great progress already. I hope you don’t get discouraged. What you’re planning is so amazing, I’m really rooting for you! I’m sure you’ve got funds saved up from your projects, but if money starts getting tight maybe you could do a kickstarter program. Just a thought.

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