Camper Life – When Free Isn’t Free

Camper life.

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.

  • The mission of the RV repair place was to
    1. Reseal the roof and confirm the camper was watertight.
    1. Install a new water tank and water heater and check all water pipes, electrical and gas pipes and repair if needed.
    1. Inspect entire camper and inform of anything needed safety wise
    2. 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

    #camperlife #ontheroadwithcats #nomadiclife #usroadtrip2019 #truckstopcamping #fancamper #vintagecamper #traveltrailerlife #camperlifestyle #nomadam #ontheroad #travellife #routesoftherootless #rootlessroutes #dustyroadsthecat

    Posted by

    I was born with a gypsy heart. I have been wheeling & dealing my way through life, from as far back as I can recall. I have been referred to as a Maverick, more times than I can count. I am not quite sure, that I feel comfortable with that term. By trade I am a Tinker, Talent Scout & Technical Consultant. My tinker side curates vintage treasures. By blood I am a second generation American, Russian Jew. My Mom likes to call me her Wandering Jew. I am an semi avid"Foodie", Vinophile, Frankophile, Vikingophile, obsessed with celtic history and oddly war strategy. I am an obsessive researcher of facts. Semi neurotic about eating clean, humanely raised, organically and locally grown food and have been dedicated to it for more than 20 years. I strive to one day build and own a fully off grid, self sustainable home but it looks like, I'm going traveling first. I started my first business when I was 6. But that story is a story for another day. I went to school for Sound Engineering in San Francisco, in the 80s; started promoting punk bands and touring them, and it became a fairly thriving business for me. I left San Francisco and the music business, to raise my son in Florida, near his Gramma. We miraculously lived there for 10 years. When he turned 13, we took a 3 month journey across the US, to discover a new place to live, that landed us in Austin, Texas. When my son turned 17, I left Texas for New England and took up residence in an 150+ year old textile mill, on the Blackstone River. He now lives in Portland, Oregon with his girlfriend and his best friend, working in the legal marijuana industry and touring with his band Rotting Slab. Until I put everything in storage, in order to travel. I consulted in the video game, tech and entertainment industry and ran two (2) shops on etsy. www.etsy.com/shop/RenegadeRevival . www.lightlysaucedretro.com Maybe some day the Januarymoon blog will be active, but currently my main blog is about my travels www.rootlessroutes.com. Thanks for visiting. *~Eli

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