"Hey, did you see that triangle camper over on Helms Trail?"
"Yeah! I've never seen a camper like that...we should go check it out," Zach said.
We had owned a used, rapidly-deteriorating pop-up camper ever since our first year of marriage. The canvases were wearing thin and you never knew what might break next. I always told the kids to make themselves scarce during pop-up set-up, because it was always a tense time with high likelihood of cursing the pop-up and its creators.
So that afternoon we went and checked out that triangle camper, which we learned was called an "A-Liner." This, too, was an aging pop-up camper, but it was SO COOL! No canvas, super compact, very light. We talked to the owner. We went back home.
"What if we sold our pop-up? Would you be interested in getting that camper if he'd work us a deal?" Zach asked.
Craigslist had our camper sold within two days, and we went to pick up our new camper. I remember people asking us, "Oh, so you got rid of the pop-up...Did you upgrade?"
The fact of the matter was that we "upgraded" to a 1996 model A-Liner with half the size, no heat, and only one bed for the kids. But we LOVED it! This thing was so easy to tow, easy to put up, and it still had all the amenities we need for camping. I mean, the idea when camping is to get out, not stay inside, right?
We have enjoyed our triangle camper for four years, taking it to Palo Duro Canyon several times, camping our way across the country on our way to Wisconsin, and this summer, on our way to New Mexico. Zach has made modifications to the camper, adding bunk beds, shelving, hanging racks, and a bike rack. It works perfectly for us.
Here's a picture of her in all her glory at Guadalupe Mountain National Park in far West Texas:
But somewhere in the middle of New Mexico, we had a small disaster; a tire blow out caused the tread of the tire to whip around and destroy the wheel well, blowing a hole in the floor, a cabinet, and ripping the wiring out of the air conditioner and a socket.
When I hopped out of the truck to see what we knew was a flat tire, I saw wires wound around the tire and some contents of the camper hanging out of a hole.
A bit more than an hour on the side of the road and Zach had us on the road again.
(Aside: This trip had several disasters that stemmed from this blowout, including an unidentified devil rodent that used the hole in the camper to terrorize us throughout the week. The first time he weasled in and ate a pound of trail mix and tore through a tupperware container of peanut butter. After the food was safely stored in the truck, he continued to visit us daily to leave poop in the camper and tear open packets of coffee. It was truly disgusting. All that to say that I pointed out to our children that in case of a disaster, there is no other person I'd want around than my husband, who is as handy and clear-headed a person as I've ever met.)
After securing a spare tire in Santa Fe, our lame camper was able to make it safely back home to Austin. Which brings us to our latest home-away-from-home improvement, replacing the floor on our camper. And while we are at it, we decided to go ahead and give the whole thing a face lift, including new flooring, cabinets, siding, and curtains.
This project has quickly morphed from, "Hey, yeah...let's just pull up the floor and replace that bit that's bad," to "Hmm, maybe we need to look at replacing the whole floor," to "OH MY GOSH WHY IS THE TOP OF THE CAMPER SEPARATED FROM THE BOTTOM AND SITTING ON BLOCKS IN MY YARD?" It's been spectacular.
I'll chronicle our adventures here, 'cause I'm guessing this is going to go from bad, to worse, to better, to awesome...and I don't want to miss or forget a thing!
Here's a photo tour of last weekend's work:
Beginning of tear out. This is where our bed and converted table usually are.
Busted cabinet and door removed from camper:
So, apparently, all you have to do to disassemble a camper is detach the floor, jack up the walls, and pull the trailer forward. That's what has happened here. The camper walls and ceiling are quite light; they are made of Styrofoam with aluminum on either side.
Kids surfing on the trailer. You can see that in addition to the hole we found some rot, which is another reason to pursue a brand new floor.
Removing the floor from the trailer:
And removing the paneling...a nasty, splintering job. This isn't going to be a fun part. The paneling on the back side cannot be removed, though, and so we will have to just panel over it.
And that's where we are now! The kids are instructed not to go near our little redneck palace on blocks while it's not attached to its trailer. Last night we went and picked up the new floor, and I emailed a guy on Craigslist about some free counter top that he is trying to get rid of. We also need to decide what to put on the floor. The goal is to have the floor put back on this weekend so we can lower the walls back down ASAP. Excited to see how we pull this thing together! (And by "we," I mostly mean Zach...I'll help where I can, but I'm not afraid to admit he's the brains of this operation.)
Workout of the Day
Isn't this a fitness blog? Oh yes, it is. And we're still fitnessing! I'm doing a hybrid of about a million programs right now. Today I did T25 Speed 1.0, and yesterday we did P90X Plus Upper, and the day before that it was Beast Bulk Legs. Enjoying some variety!