In a moment of insanity on the way to the Clark's annual Fourth of July picnic, we bought from some nice, elderly folks a fifth-wheel; that is, a mondo camper that is bigger than some houses I’ve lived in. The three-grand price tag seemed a good deal. It was clean with no mouse droppings and everything seemed to work. I had visions of turning it into a mobile hunt camp complete with built-in gun racks, antler displays, and camo throws and pillows. The powder blue couch and frilly curtains would have to go. I could always flip the RV to some other crazed hunter, I figured, who would love the sporting décor.
Mike spent the weekend crawling under his Toyota Tundra installing the rails and other stuff that is required to connect the bed of the pickup to the RV. The bolts were too short and things didn’t quite fit, but, of course, he made it all work.
Several days ago we went to pick it up in Bristol. The tires are very cracked and needed air, but the trip to Lincoln is just five or six miles. Getting it up the driveway to the only place where it can be parked was an adventure in near jack knifing and complicated maneuvers to avoid the ditch, trees, and other obstacles. I watched with terror thinking we should have bought one of those micro campers that sit on the truck bed as Mike contorted the truck and RV into yoga poses of the downward dog and feathered peacock.
The next day I started what I thought was going to be the beginning of my remodel job that would include new flooring, painting, re-upholstery and other cosmetic changes. What I found when I started peeling away the wallpaper was layers of rot, water, and daylight streaming through the shell in the bed area after I had stripped out the wall boarding and insulation. The pictures tell it all. As I clawed the hammer through the soggy ruins I kept wondering how we could have missed the telltale signs during our pre-purchase, ten-minute inspection. I remember thinking that it looked well cared for and the owner said he had fixed the roof leak.
I am not much of a carpenter, but I am good at ripping out stuff. It’s now completely stripped down to the studs. This weekend I’ll be learning how to reframe an RV with master craftsman Mike Burgess at the helm. I sort of got a taste when we built the shed last summer. Keep you posted. Cheers!