An In Depth Review (or “What the Crap Was I Thinking?”)

So, Clyde came home with us in November, 2010. It was absolutely freezing!!! So, we really didn’t get to do much on him. We pulled the original, 1970’s, terrifying (and possibly full) che

mical potty out of its little cabinet and threw it into a dumpster as quickly as possible!

You know you are uptown when your potty matches your floor!

Then, Mom and I went to town tearing out all the weird stuff in the camper. There were lots of things we didn’t need. Scary, beat-up lawn chairs, moth-eaten pieces of foam (that were cut out to be the couch bottom, but never covered with fabric.. ick), 2 rolls of toilet paper, an umbrella, and about 300 pounds of dirt. Then, we scrubbed everything with pinesol. Because, hey… even if it was still dirty, it’d smell clean!!!

I must confess, at this point, that I truly still thought all we’d need was to make a few cushions for the “couch” and get a mattress for the back and we’d be good to go. Then, came Chad and Dad, the team also known as “Men Who Understand How Things Work.” Yeah, they pointed out a few small things that might delay the maiden voyage.

There might have been some wiring issues. These were all just laying out under the "couch".

The bed frame, which had been added by a previous owner, looked solid, until you lifted it up, and realized it was just econo-paneling and furring strips. A pretty flimsy design.

Then, we got into the scary issues. The propane system, which the previous owner claimed to be using, was falling apart. All copper tubing, but it was disconnected in places and split in others. So, that is a small, deadly issue. And, it’s the heat, cooking and refrigeration system.

It was determined quickly that there was no way we’d be able to camp anytime soon. So, we began to research. We discovered that getting the propane system up to date was going to cost $500. And, the fridge was a busted up mess, the cooktop was disgustingly dirty and the propane heater was far too damaged to use. To buy all of these we’d have to pay well over $2000, as they are all specialty camper items. So, our $600 camper was going to cost us several thousand to get safe and usable, just from the propane perspective (this is before we got into the structural issues, more on that in another post).

So, we realized that the reason everything in a camper is propane-based is so that people can wilderness camp. Off the grid. In the wild. In the back of beyond, you could still make yourself some pancakes and keep your beer cold. A good theory…

Have I mentioned that I hate nature? Oh, Chad loves it. He’s all about going to waterfalls and hiking and all that. I personally think nature is hot, sticky, messy, and often tries to kill you. Clyde would NEVER be used for wilderness camping. So, why are we looking at fixing this crap? Because we were thinking you had to do what had already been done. That’s just kinda stupid, so we quit that right off the bat.

We decided we’d just go right ahead and make it an all electric camper. And, in addition, since we were not planning on Wilderness camping, we also decided to make the whole thing run on 110, which is what you plug into at the campground. Most campers have 12 volt wiring, which runs off the battery (again, so you can use it in the wild). Clyde had a battery box and an inverter, so the juice coming in from the campground got converted to 12volt. The battery looked horrible. So, that got chunked, too. This way, we can use normal, household wiring, electric outlets and so forth. Also, we’ll be able to buy a regular fridge, cook top, etc.

Of course, realizing that we were not going to use the propane items, and that we’d go with regular 110 wiring and that the bed was a death trap, and that the cabinets were made to hold all these things we weren’t going to use, we decided to gut him. Yup, tear out the crappy looking cabinets, the make-shift bed, all the appliances, all the visible wiring and pretty much leave the walls, the wall-to-wall couch (added later, by a former owner, but made sturdy) and the shelf above it. Yup, we were leaving 2 things and tearing the rest out. It was too cold to do much, but we had a plan! ‘At this point, Clyde went to sleep at my cousin’s house, behind her garage, and we waited ’til it got warm!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sillyliss
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 21:47:53

    I personally think nature is hot, sticky, messy, and often tries to kill you.

    Best line ever, and I could not agree more!


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