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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Oh, today…  It was a long one.

I got about 2 hours from Equinunk, took a pretty pic of Lackawanna Valley at a scenic stop, and then one of my camper tires blew to smithereens on the highway.  I was able to pull over onto the right shoulder immediately and call AAA to the rescue.   The state cops were there within minutes and gave me the number of the barracks just in case.  In the time it took AAA towing to get there (which was pretty speedy) the force of the big rigs whizzing by started to peel the aluminum siding from the back of Taco!  Tom, an absolute dreamboat savior, arrived to the scene only to point in horror at the back of the camper, wondering if I had been hit.  I, with my head between my knees in the highway brush, was too stunned to have even noticed Taco’s strip-tease.  Tom wrangled Taco up the ramp, secured her, and led the way to the nearest garage.  The first garage basically pointed and laughed and said that they wouldn’t even know where to start looking for a replacement wheel.  Tom led me to the next garage in Wilkes-Barre.

McCarthy Tire and Automotive Center took the challenge and called around until they located 2 old Chevy wheels that would fit my camper.  They spent all day tracking them down, switched the old ones out and gave everything a once over.  They even checked out my truck at no cost (everything was fine).  I spent the entire day there.  Mike Flynn, the manager of Tire Services, and an aficionado of campers and RVs, treated me like a daughter and wouldn’t let me leave until everything was running smoothly.

While I waited, I took a trip up the road to Wide World RV Center and shopped around for hitching needs.  They were super helpful and pointed out the Walmarts and the casino that I could park in overnight.

The casino was tempting, but I decided against it when I imagined sleeping in the parking lot.  Walmart it is!  I got a bunch of items in the “superstore” to tune-up my ride and had a burger and a beer at the Red Robin across the lot.  Starbucks in the morning and all systems go!

Akron, OH – take 2…

The first stop on my trek was to visit friends in Equinunk, PA – on the Delaware river.  Less than 300 miles from home, it was the perfect first leg for my little truck and camper to attempt.  I was anxious and white-knuckled through much of the drive, but arrived before dark and a NASTY thunder and lightning storm.  The only casualties were half a bottle of bourbon (no, I wasn’t drinking and driving – it toppled in the cabinet during the first 15 minutes, giving my camper the stench of a distillery), and a pane of glass in the camper that got poked out by my truck racks while trying to park the thing in the driveway.  I will say I parked like a champ up a hairpin turn on a dirt road (in the boonies!).

I slept like a baby.

Very early the next morning, Kinsley and Eva left for work at a nearby farm, so I made some coffee on my camper stove in my stove-top percolator and settled down to do some writing.  Not 10 minutes into my blogging, the power went out.  I thought I had overloaded the circuit and was chastising myself for breaking their house.  They don’t get cell phone reception and after checking the circuit breakers, I gave up and headed into town where I hoped to get a signal for my phone and make some calls to try to get everything fixed.  The last night’s storm was the culprit.  My drive into town was obstructed in several places by downed trees and workers trying to restore power – whew!

SIDENOTE:  During my first full day in Equinunk, I set up my portable solar panel to charge my power inverter battery pack.  It works like a charm and I am totally self sufficient in my camper.  There is enough charge to power my lights, laptop, and other essentials through the night!

In preparation for my trip, I had purchased a heavy-duty under-mount trailer hitch that I should have installed on my truck before I embarked, but of course I ran out of time and didn’t – figuring my factory hitch would do.  It didn’t.  I found a garage in Callicoon, NY (with power) and had them install the new hitch.  Roche’s Garage hooked me up in a jiffy and made sure I had all the parts I needed for a safe journey.  The waiting room of the office was filled with memorabilia of Roches past and present in addition to myriads of Ronald Reagan “pin-ups”.

Thanks Roche’s Garage!

My first task as Handyman was to make flower boxes for the patio –

Later that afternoon, I visited Willow Wisp Organic Farm, where Eva and Kinsley work.

And on to trail-blazing along the Delaware River.

The next day, we went thrifting and foraging in Caliicoon, NY.

Love this place and it’s “family” owned…

Callicoon Supply had the replacement plexi for my camper window, and then we went on to the farmer’s market in Callicoon Center.

Party time!

Thanks, Kinsley, Eva and Buddy, for an incredible start to my journey!

After much ado…  The renovation was more involved than I had anticipated (always is).  After I removed all of the rot and unwanted bits, I began reconstructing the floor and ceiling.

The floor had lots of water damage and after I had stripped it down to the metal pan in places, I decided not to put more rot-able wood down – instead, I used 2″ thick rigid foam insulation and covered it with 1/2″ plywood.  I put the bench seats back in (with storage and hiding places for Sophie, the cat), and sanded and painted all existing doors, cabinets and walls a cheery yellow-white (ginseng root by Benjamin Moore).  Accent walls were painted “Tropicana Cabana”!  I used some vinyl, stick-down tiles in the dining area and the bathroom; hickory stained floating laminate floor for the rest.

The ceiling had been stripped down to the “rafters” – curved 2 x 3’s that keep the roof domed and provide a substrate for the sheathing.  I filled the bays with cellulose insulation (a vapor barrier to hold it all in) and sheathed it all with 1/8″ luan plywood.  I found a product on line that provides a bit more insulation and is cute as all hell.  Styrofoam tiles (looking like take-out trays) with moon craters came 20″ x 20″, super light weight, and adhered fantastically to the luan with an adhesive designed for styrofoam.  The directions were in Russian (I think), but it was all very self explanatory. After the ceiling was in place, I added my light fixture and roof vent trimmings.  Once all that was in place, I coated the roof with an alkyd rubberized sealant to keep the weather out.

Next, my favorite – decor!

– Linda Ronstadt’s “Living In the USA” picture album clock 🙂

– Zulu short spear (given to me by my neighbor/”uncle”, Robert – along with a sack of survival goodies).

– “God Bless Our Camper” plate, gorgeous handcrafted quilt, and curtains by my honey bee, Kelly.

– Baby Greenman magnets (my sisters and I) by Mom (ages ago!)

– Odds and ends from IKEA

I salvaged all of the hardware, appliances (I did, however, upgrade the propane heater to a ventless, ceramic one) and most of the light fixtures.

Ready to roll!

Check out the full transformation on the “Metamorphosis” page!