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Posts Tagged ‘camper’

  Spring is here.  The bees are buzzing, the pastures are full of new calves and the trees are blooming.  Spring also means it will soon be time to get my campers hitched up and out on the road again and I can’t wait.  If you’ve read my previous post (Sept 2016 – yes, it’s been awhile) you will have seen photos of the major parts of the ’72 Nomad (Nadine’s) overhaul.  But since there are always lots of ‘little things’ to finish I have been working on her most of last winter – whenever the weather was nice enough to be outside.

I have added additional cabinets, hooked up the water tank which is now mounted on the trailer hitch, found her an adorable kitchen sink, finished the cabinet front under the bed and added shelves and storage everywhere I could.  Just when I feel like I’m getting close to finishing I come up with something new to add.

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A home for the fly fishing rods and reels.

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A galvanized sink.

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And the storage space under the bed.

But all of that will come to a screeching halt soon, because in one short month I will be hitting the road to join the Sisters On The Fly for the biggest camping trip I have ever done.  We will be following the Lewis and Clark Trail from St Louis, MO to Astoria, OR.  The trip will take us about 4 weeks to complete and it will take me an additional 3 days to get to St. Louis and probably 4 days to return home from Astoria.  Round trip, I will travel over 4,400 miles but some of the Sisters will have many mores miles than that.  There are 59 Sisters planning on doing the whole trip with more joining for parts of it so it should be quite an adventure.

It’s freaking me out a little bit that there is so much to do before I leave – the work on the camper & the planning and packing.  And of course sometimes I have to wake up in the middle of the night to worry and wonder “What the hell was I thinking?”  But the sun rises and my worries evaporate in the daylight and I remind myself to take it one day at a time.   The important stuff will get done and if I forget something it can be replaced.

There are 13 stops along the way where we will spend 1 to 3 days & nights before moving on and our biggest day of travel is still under 400 miles so I know I can do that.   And if the worst happens and I have to pull out the trip part way I will find my way home with wonderful memories of the part I did see.

We have an amazing lady in charge of the trip and she has lined up hostesses for each of the stops.  These gals have been hard at work setting up fun and interesting things for us to see and do such as a paddle wheel cruise at St Louis, campfire entertainment, social events, catered meals, museums and historic sites, a chance to see the original journals of Lewis & Clark and lots of fun (and sometimes unusual sites along the way) such as Ladies night at the Sip & Dip Lounge in Great Falls, MT where mermaids and mermen swim in the pool behind the bar.  OK, I admit I am really looking forward to this stop not only for the mermen but also for their signature drink – ‘The Fish Bowl’.  I’m not sure what’s in it but I’ll let you know how it is, if I can remember.  Ha!

For now, it’s back to the camper to see what else I can work on.

Happy Trails!

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Spring is in the air and of course my thoughts turn to gardening.  But since I always start my garden seeds way too early I have decided to work on one of my campers instead.

Nadine was the first camper I bought.  She is a 20 foot 1973 Nomad and was a true love child of the 70’s with Avocado Green and Harvest Gold reigning supreme in her décor.

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Can I just say – Wow?  No wonder so many people did drugs in those days.

Yes, she was a vision of loveliness right down to the torn linoleum.

Nadine wasn’t the camper I had always dreamed of (I was really hoping for a ’50 or ’60 model) but when I was able to talk the owner down to $250 she followed me home anyway.

I had done some work to her right after I bought her but I was never thrilled with how she had turned out so last fall I decided it was time for a major overhaul.

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I saw her shutter as I approached with the crow bar.

First item – the shower – which I had never used because it leaked like a sieve and was like trying to shower in an upturned coffin.  It was so small I had to step outside to change my mind.  10 minutes and it was gone.

The stove went next.  It still works but frankly, propane has always scared the ‘pee-wadding’ out of me especially when it is confined in a small ‘tin can’.  I’m sure it was perfectly safe but did Nadine really need propane?  Could she be all electric?  It wasn’t like I went camping just to bake cakes and scones in her cute little oven, right?

And her Avocado fridge (that never worked) had been removed and was now serving a life sentence in the greenhouse as mouse-free storage for all my garden seeds.  Have you priced a camper fridge?  I have and that’s why the replacement one was all electric.

It would be so much easier to pull into the campsite, plug her in and have everything work without any pilot lights to contend with.  And of course there would still be a battery backup complete with a solar charger for lights if I didn’t have hookups.

Why not?

So out came the stove, gas lines, propane bottles and everything that was hooked to them.

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And why stop there?  The cabinets were cheap, falling apart and trashy.  The drawers didn’t slide right and were open on the inside of the cabinet so that any mouse that came through the wall had access to the silverware, dishtowels and anything else stored in the drawers.  Nasty!  I started out carefully removing all those damn ‘bow-tie’ screws that are so popular with camper factories but soon gave up on that.   The crowbar became my tool of choice and the cabinets came out in pieces.

Nadine has always been full of surprises and the electrical was no exception.   As was the lack of insulation and the ancient bird nest that fell out of the ceiling.

Safety Note:  Always, always, always wear a dust mask, eye protection and gloves when your doing demolition in an old camper!!!  (There are even times when a full body Hazmat suit could come in handy too but that’s another story.)

Since this rebuild is geared toward keeping things simple I have decided to also remove some of the sewer vents too.  There were 4 of them – kitchen sink, shower, toilet and bathroom sink.  Is all of that really necessary?  I hope not because with the help of a reciprocating saw we are now down to the one for the toilet.

The shower is gone and the kitchen sink will have a simple drain down by the tires as the older campers did so those vents are not needed anymore.  I haven’t decided if I want to keep the bathroom sink or not but since it’s so close to the toilet the same vent should work for both of them.  This left 3 holes to patch on the roof along with the large vent for the stove hood which was removed shortly after the stove.  Hail had done a number on all these vents so sealing them up has already stopped most of the air and water leaks in her shell.

The water lines had been redone (by a real plumber) right after I bought her so they are still good but the aluminum water tank (which was original to her) had sprung a major leak on her last camping trip about 3 years ago.  I knew the tank had to go but by the look of the floor underneath it the leak had started long before we saw it.

Out came the chipboard flooring and two of the supports which were rotted through.

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When it comes to old camper it’s just easier to start ripping out stuff.  And don’t stop until all the damage is gone.  Get to the bottom of it before you start rebuilding or you will have problems with it forever.

In Nadine’s case, her whole front end had problems.  There was a leak along the first seam of the roof panels, a large leak on the top of the front window and the right front corner of the floor was pretty much destroyed by the constant leak from the water tank.

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This was one of the roof beams.

There was also some water damage from the clearance lights above the front window and almost nothing left of the wood under an outside access storage door.  There has been a lot of removal and replacement of wood – one board at a time.

While working on the roof leak I also learned that silicone caulking is truly a ‘Tool of the Devil’.

Someone in Nadine’s past had desperately tried to stop the roof leak with silicone.  And from the looks of it, it must have worked for awhile but over time the leak came back and more multicolored layers were applied.  I’m betting their theory was ‘if a little is good, a whole lot must be better’.

All I know is that Nadine had more silicone injections than half the starlets in Hollywood – combined!!!

For the record, I would also like to state that I really hate removing silicone caulking.  Maybe there’s an easy way to get rid of it but if there is, I haven’t found it yet.  There are still several days of working on ladders ahead of me before it’s all gone so I will keep at it and let you know how it goes.

I have big plans for this camper including a ‘fix’ to take care of this spot where someone had ripped off some of her siding.  To bad I didn’t get to hear that story…

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They did patch it but I’m hoping to do better.

Nadine has lots of potential and even the cats seem to enjoy her.  They almost look like some weird kind of decoration spaced out on her back bumper enjoying the morning sun.

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But then again, maybe they’re just pointing out that matching tail lights would help too.

Oh, so much to do and so little time before the camping season kicks off.  I guess I better get to it!

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I know – you’ve all been wondering what’s happening with Nadine – our favorite camper in the whole wide world.  I have been working on dear, sweet Nadine but things are moving kinda slow.  The weather has not been cooperating very well and it has been too cold and wet to do somethings but I will show you what I have gotten done.

First off – remember that hole in the floor by the door?

 

 All patched up and solid as a rock thanks to Nadine’s new best friend – water putty.

I’m not sure what they put in this stuff but I certainly wouldn’t want to confuse it with pancake flour!  This is gooooood stuff.  Just like it says – it sticks, it stays put and it will not shrink.  Sounds like my idea of a great guy.  (Git your mind out of the gutter!)  Mix it with a little water and you can fill holes and cracks in just about anything – knot holes in wood, nail holes in walls, cracks in plaster and you can use it to tighten loose joints in furniture.  I know for a fact you can even fill the finger holes in a bowling ball with this stuff if the mood strikes. 

(I’ll tell you about that someday)

 I have used this stuff for years and I highly recommend it (as does the local hardware store) and not just because of the picture of the ‘stud’ on the front – Mister Durham’s Rock Hard All Around Champ, himself.  Admit it – he’s a stud and he knows it. 

Just looking at this label made me run to my computer and check out their website.  Usually, things with advertising like this are either really good or only sold in specialty stores (if you get my drift…) but there’s some very interesting stuff I didn’t know – like the Champ’s name is “Rocky”.  (of course it’s Rocky – what else would it be?)  I also learned you can fill empty egg shells to fool large exotic birds in zoos and cast replicas of ancient Native American pottery. 

Who’d a thunk? 

 And I won’t spoil it here but if you wish to see a new and ‘beefier”‘ Rocky complete with hairy arms and legs you’ll just have to check out the web site yourself.   www.waterputty.com   Then you too can impress your friends with your amazing knowledge of water putty just like me. 

(sometimes I’m so weird I actually scare myself)

Yep – from the looks of things, Nadine just might develop a ‘solid’ relationship with Rocky by the time we finish this project. 

On to the next problem.

I’m not sure if even Rocky can help with this one… 

We seem to have a small hole in the bathroom floor. 

OK –  half of it is missing.

When I peeled off the linoleum, the particle board underneath was very, very rotten.  And by the time I cleaned out all the rotten stuff I had a pretty good view of the septic tank.  Lovely – isn’t it?  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to fix this one but I’m working on it.  The main thing is that it has to be solid enough to support me as I’m sitting there contemplating the meaning of life.   I would really hate, in the middle of the night, to end up in the tank. 

A thing like that could really spoil your whole outlook on life. 

I’m sure we will figure out something but until then I must admit there have been a couple of ‘redneck’ repairs going on too.

The window was broke…    I fixed it…

Duct tape is a wonderful thing.  

Can I get an ‘Amen’ from the choir?

I’m really surprised Martha Stewart doesn’t use more of it. 

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I have ever seen duct tape mentioned in her magazine or on her show.  She obviously hasn’t researched the vast and varied uses of duct tape.  Perhaps someone should drop her a note and let her in on this little secret.  I’m sure her whole Christmas theme would take a detour into the wonderful world of duct tape next year and just imagine what she could do for Halloween.

Sorry – I kind of took a detour there myself. 

Meanwhile, back to the window –

Don’t panic, this really isn’t the final repair for the window.  I wouldn’t do that to Nadine but at least it will keep the moisture and snow out until I can get her licensed and pull her somewhere to get it fixed right.  It’s not permanent but it will work just fine for now.

Nadine also has new ‘redneck’ lawn furniture too! 

What makes it ‘redneck’ lawn furniture?  You ask…

It’s ‘redneck’ because I found it in the road ditch last night.

No – really…  I did.

Looks pretty good for road kill. 

It must have flipped out of the back of someone’s pickup and obviously, it didn’t ‘bounce’ very well because the parts were scattered on both sides of the road.  It was beside a very busy Wyoming highway but I risked it.  Fortunately, it was after rush hour. 

Ha Ha Ha!!!   Rush hour in north-east Wyoming?  Ha Ha Ha!!!

That’s a good one!!!

I had just enough time (about 37 minutes) to gathered up the pieces before anyone else drove by and called the cops to report a crazy lady in the road ditch, wandering aimlessly and looking lost and disoriented.

(Hey, it’s happened before)

Once I got the parts home I took out the twisted screws and put her back together with shiny new ones.  Now it looks pretty spiffy sitting next to Nadine.  Maybe next week I can find an old toilet to plant herbs in. 

 Yes, (I hang my head in shame) I’ve done that before too.

Now, I don’t want you thinking I’m the only one in this family who drags home ‘interesting’ things, this is also parked in front of my garden shed and I didn’t put it there.

She’s a classic!!! 

It may not look like much but it runs like a scalded dog. 

Our youngest son found this treasure and he has plans to fix it up. 

I say all it needs is a couple of cans of spray paint then we could hitch her up to Nadine and hit the road.  Heck, we could even strap the new lawn chair to the flat-bed and I could ride in style –  just like Granny Clampet.

“A little faster, Jethro.  Yee Haw!”

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