Oh dear God, what have we done?
We have always wanted an RV. Well, we wanted a camper, and my husband wanted something with a bathroom in it.
We purchased a 1995 Dutchmen Duck pop-up camper from a co-worker for $500. It was in good shape, as these things go – except for a soft spot on the floor, which we discovered was because there was a bit of damage to the roof, which we discovered went a lot further than we anticipated and now that camper is lidless while we make a brand new lid for it.
It also had no curtains (but for $500 the fact that the trailer and lift system are in great shape is worth the $500 right there!) and one spot of the canvas near the door needed a little repair. (Replacement canvas runs $1,200, so $500 for something with GOOD canvas is also a deal!) All in all, it is a great fixer-upper with two full beds and a dinette that makes a twin. Great for a small family. Not so great when we take up a king size bed together, and are empty nesters.
I didn’t care about the curtains – that meant I could haul out my sewing machine and do some making and use up some fabric! (BWAHAHAHAHA) but all of that got put on hold when we discovered the roof issue wasn’t a simple patch, it was going to be a complete re-do.
Oh, and did I mention we have no TOW VEHICLE? I bought a used Honda Pilot, in good shape, only to discover the hitch attachment points are too rusted to put a hitch on it. So $10,000 for a car I love that I can drive safely and confidently in New England in the winter, but I can’t tow our camper with it. This little pop-up camper has taught me a lot about what to look for when buying a new vehicle to tow.
Eric’s minivan has over 250,000 miles on it, so we were looking at replacing that with a truck to tow the camper, and the eventual larger camper with a toilet in it that Eric wants. A couple of weeks ago, it looked as if we had a golden opportunity to do just that. The roofing company in the building next to my office was selling a Dodge 150 Ram crew cab truck, with hitch, in GREAT shape – for $4,500. It had been there a month, and I’d mentioned it to my husband, but it wasn’t until I sent him the pictures that he got interested. The day before the owner sold it for $3,500.
I was disappointed. I was really looking forward to fixing up that pop-up camper and taking it somewhere this year, possibly to the beach campgrounds. Alas, it was not meant to be.
One week later, my Facebook Marketplace search pinged me that there was a camper for sale for $2,500. I showed it to my husband, and he said: “contact the guy and see if it’s available.” It was. We went the next day. There was a family looking at it when I got there. The engine was running, he was demonstrating that the generator runs but needs a carb cleaning, and I was concerned that my husband wasn’t going to find the place.
We dithered a bit – the interior needs LOTS of work.
It took Eric 4 hours to get it home because he kept stopping to find a place to fill the air on the tires and it’s got dual tires in the back – not easy to reach with a short air chuck. He had to buy windshield wipers for it. Get it home he did, and it is now parked in front of our barn, awaiting our return from vacation to be cleaned up, get it inspected, and start work on the interior.
Watch this space for more!