You’ve heard the term.
Relished the stories.
Endless blogs filled with smiling tanned faces of subsequent couples living in pure ecstasy with 3 kids in a 50 square foot space.
Across the country they travel, without a concern in the world…
You know… that life of living ” free “?
Well it isn’t as free as one might think.
Living a camper life can be far from free. In fact, it can be downright expensive.
Sure… once established and on the road, living such a lifestyle can be liberating, albeit once passed the many challenges.
No rent, no mortgage, no roots to any one place…
Yet gaining such freedom, it can be costly.
I’m certainly not there yet.
Free Is Not Free of Charge
Thousands of dollars into refurbing this camper and the roof leaked disastrously on its first run at a campsite.
This is meant to be my one and only home in between my travels. Which is why I had the camper roof professionally sealed.
- Reseal the roof and confirm the camper was watertight.
- Install a new water tank and water heater and check all water pipes, electrical and gas pipes and repair if needed.
- Inspect entire camper and inform of anything needed safety wise
- Confirm camper was road ready.
Then they discovered the carpenter ants.
Ants Ants Everywhere & Not a Drop to Drink
Although the 70s Fan camper was quite physically sound all in all, carpenter ants had eaten away a large portion of the floor where the water pump once lived.
Apparently, this is pretty common based on the onslaught of pictures of ant damage spawned from my post in a Fan camper group on Facebook.
Alas, I did not know this and did not notice the signs upon purchase of the darned camper. (It was also conveniently not mentioned by the seller)
The ant eradication, which I must mention was not wholly effective, and repair of the entire 1/3 backend underneath the flooring of the camper was not cheap.
I opted to keep the ugly vinyl flooring until I could afford what I wanted & hopefully do it myself.
Down the Hatch- A Bad Omen
The back hatch flew off on the freeway shortly after I left the RV repair place.
The road shoulder was too narrow to stop and try to collect it. Luckily it didn’t hit someone behind us.
Yet it seemed an omen in and of itself. If the RV repair place let the camper leave without the hatch locked properly, what else did they miss?
Then Came the Rain
A torrential downpour that lasted over 12 hours allowed water to enter the walls, which in turn caused the interior cabinets to droop.
It had been raining for days as I traveled to RI, so who knows how long water drained into the walls until it saturated through and made itself known.
The RV repair place that sealed the roof say they will repair all damage and fix the roof, but for now, here we are… tarped and damp in rural Rhode Island with it set to rain again on Thursday.
I’m returning the camper to Fredericksburg VA for repairs on Monday.
A friend in Rhode Island has kindly offered me a place to stay until I have my little home back.
This way I can continue to sell off my stuff from storage.
That this camper had very little water damage when I purchased it makes this situation all so much worse.
If I only had a place and tools to work on it myself I would, but it’s just too big and I would need help. So it’s turning into a bit of a money pit.
I’ll figure it out, but I’m totally bummed to have paid so much to have the roof fixed and sealed only for it to leak so badly.
By the Grace of Friends
My kind friend built a wooden hatch to replace it but it too is waterlogged. So the camper is essentially worse off than when I dropped it off to be repaired.
I’ll work it out! I always do! But living free, it isn’t free of charge. It is much more work than you might imagine.
Im totally up for it.
~Read more about my travels along with kitties Dusty ( @dustythecampfirecat ) and Dew on my blog www.rootlesroutes.com
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