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Camper Renovation

The Travels (Travails) of Camper Woman

I’m a control freak. I admit it. I like everything to follow my rules and to go as I plan. Lately, it seems that every plan I make completely falls apart. If I’m to believe in the Proverb, God has been laughing at me a lot lately.

I Plan, God Laughs

Of my recent plans that God, apparently, thought funny –
Plan #1: Go to graduate school at 58, graduate, and get a job.

Graduate school in my late 50s was unbelievably difficult. But I did it and graduated. Nearly a year later I am still unemployed. So, I made a different plan.

Plan #2: Buy a trailer and travel across the United States with Poppy, my 10 month old puppy. Poppy and I were ready to go since I don’t have a job. But the trailer I bought has major structural rot that was hidden by the original seller. Buyer beware and all that. There’s not much I can do about it.

Black and white dog, Poppy, resting next to a gargoyle statue
Poppy, my faithful sidekick

So on to plan #3: Rebuild the trailer.

And plan #4: Keep applying for jobs.

And plan #5: STOP MAKING PLANS! Clearly there is something intended for me that I just can’t see yet. Keep moving and my path will become clear.

The Trailer

My trailer is a 2001, 21 foot Trail Vision camper with a full bathroom and kitchen, a small double bed (perfect for Poppy and me) and a dinette that can become a bed. Or at least it was all of that. In preparation for my trip, I began cleaning and peeling back the layers, starting with the bathroom.

The floor under the bathtub was completely rotten, and the floor supports were gone. Here’s the bathroom after I took the tub and toilet out. That’s a big hole, straight through to the ground.

Section of bathroom floor with tub and toilet removed, showing rotted subfloor
Bathroom floor, after removing the bathtub and toilet

The dinette area was also completely rotten. Here’s the dinette before, in the process of tearing out, and now.

Dinette area of trailer before demolition
Original dinette area
Dinette area of camper after furniture, floor tile and lower walls were removed. There is significant rot showing on floor and walls.
Dinette area in process
Dinette area of trailer after extensive demolition. Construction debris is covering the floor.
Dinette area now

The framing of the trailer was so rotten that I had to peel off the outside “skin” and remove the interior walls and insulation.

Rear of trailer covered by a tarp, inside view. Inside and outside walls are removed, leaving only the framing.
Back of trailer with no walls, covered by a tarp

About half the floor must also be removed, including insulation and floor boards. Here is a section of floor I began to rebuild in the rear of the trailer.

Section of rear trailer floor with subfloor removed. Some floor support boards have been replaced.
Floor boards replaced in rear section of floor

The good news is that, besides being a bit of a control freak, I am also pretty handy and very determined. Once I’ve decided I’m going to do something, I make it happen if at all possible. So now I am just focusing on rebuilding the trailer, and when I feel like it, applying for jobs. Because clearly, God has been laughing about all my other plans.

12 replies on “The Travels (Travails) of Camper Woman”

I am blown away by your drive and persistence! Can’t wait to see the finished trailer and I know you’ll have some great adventures with Poppy!

Kirsten, Joe and I are planning to do the same thing…see the US in a trailer (in about 2 years). But we will definitely not be renovating anything! Kudos to you for being so fearless. I will be following along!

You’re my hero! I love your persistence and sense of adventure! Can’t wait for your updates! Happy trails! Oh, and Poppy is the cutest!!!

Wow, that is quite a job you have taken on. But you’re being a “control freak” will pay off in the end! I can’t wait to see what you do with your home away from home.

I’m excited to read your blog! And, can totally relate to your plan #5: STOP MAKING PLANS! I’m learning that myself. You’ve got this!

Hi Kirsten,

Just came across your blog on the RV site. You have got the right attitude to complete your trailer project. Just hang in there and you will get it finished. They are tough to rebuild because they are not built in a logical way. So it’s a real brain twister when one tries to rebuild logicality. I have been around travel trailers all my life, bottom line ,they are built to leak. So I hope you have determined where the water was intruding.

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