Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Another Summer Wondering What to Do

For the last few weeks, I've been searching around our area looking for a camper van (conversion done) so we can travel a bit this summer and at least get out once in a while, hopefully into some wilderness areas where there aren't a lot of people nearby.  

Most are in a price range we aren't willing to pay, but a few were within reason ... the problem is, the ones with reasonable prices in decent condition (I'm not looking for perfect at a lower price range, just something we can work with if need be) sell within a day of hitting the market.


 We've been a little slow on the draw with that, but many are being sold "sight unseen"  ... just from a picture and description and my other half, he isn't willing to do that. 

You aren't just buying a camper, but a vehicle as well. It wouldn't be much fun to get it home and find out it needs a whole new motor. I found myself pretty frustrated ... for some reason, I'd fallen in love with this one old van ... not terribly pretty, but the orange interior just tickled my fancy for some reason. I didn't save a pic of the inside but the two front seats and table set cushions had an orange leather that still looked brand new and for some reason, I was taken by it. The cost was very low compared to other similar offerings, leaving us room to have been able to update it. Unfortunately, this morning, it was marked as sold, and it wasn't us that bought it.

My stipulations are no hauling (so no camper trailer, or tent trailer), and no long and difficult to drive motorhomes. Really, I just want one that looks like a van ... has a place to sleep, a stove top or single burner, small fridge, and a pottie (not a fan of squatting in the woods thanks).

Most trips will be "day trips", or one night sleeping, 2 days driving. I'm not planning to live in the thing ... $50,000 to $100,000 is way more than we want to spend.  Let's face it, we're old folks. We might only be able to travel for a couple of years ... and that's partly why we're wanting to do it now ... before it's too late and we can't do it all.

Anyway, in my search for the right thing, I'm pretty much out of opportunities unless we want to drive to Quebec (and we don't), besides, at the moment, the way travel is a little restricted, it's best to stay in our own province this year.

I started looking at small campers - older types like shasta, scotty, and similar brands/sizes from the 50s to 70s. We have to be careful about the weight if we are going to tow (we have a half ton, but the Ford Eco-boost doesn't haul heavy weight uphill without straining), and about length (a little worry over how the hubby will handle hauling now).
Unik Camper, 1970s (us)

I found pinterest contains an interesting load of old vehicles ... some are cobbled together bits, and others are old ones restored to their grandeur, or refurbished in retro styles. But most need hauled around by something.  I must say, though, there are many old restored campers out there, just not necessarily for sale.

Some have been beautifully restored, and there are far more types than I knew existed - shapes and brand names I've never heard of before! It was fun to wander through these pages, but it didn't help me in my quest to find what I was really looking for.



At one point during my travels I found a truck with a camper on it ... a very old truck camper ... also something I'd not seen before. I kept thinking ... "it looks like someone attached part of a boat to the top of that camper".  I have to admit, I like things that are different, and price was reasonable so I showed it to the hubby. (http://aroundozwithstunshaz.yolasite.com/the-old-timers.php)

He was, shall we say, far less than impressed, hahahaha.  It didn't take long to sell though. Now, I'm wishing I had tried harder to talk him into it.

We've hauled stuff around before, a tent trailer, and two different travel trailers. My husband used to drive a school bus (the big ones), has driven a stake truck, and drove his parents longer trailer back home from Florida several times. Oh, yeah, and we had a slide-in truck camper at one point as well.  It isn't like we haven't done it, but with age ... things don't always work as well any more. Reflexes can slow a bit, and eyesight might not be as sharp, and hauling is just another thing you have to worry about.  

What I don't want to do is end up with both of us being stressed out by the trip ... we're supposed to enjoy it.

Most of what I've found is too long, too expensive, too much work needs done for the price, or just something you look at and go "ick".

This was one of many I ran across in similar condition (not terribly expensive, but expensive for what's there, which is literally nothing inside). Seriously, when you look at it, you wonder how much you might be able to get from the metal recyclers, lol.  The problem is, most of these older ones have a wooden frame under that metal sided exterior.

If the wood is rotted ... well, the exterior has to come off too, and you end up with a lot more restoration work just to make it safe, never mind what it would take to make it "pretty" again.
That being said, I find myself going back to look at this one again and again. I couldn't figure out why, but ... it's because I hadn't seen one before. The brand name is "Trotwood" and on first glimpse, it looks a little bit like today's fifth-wheels, except you tow it like a regular travel trailer with the hitch at the bottom.

In trying to figure out what the interior might originally have been like, I did a web search. I couldn't find one with that brand name, but Shasta made a similar style, though most I found look smaller than this one.

This one has two big holes in one side that I can't figure out ... no windows in them so maybe for a furnace vent or something. Inside, there are two large black pipes (not where the holes were) that I can't figure out either. The bed space looks as though it was at the back, and the dining area at the front ... nothing left but the ledge for holding the table, and the boxes for the seat cushions (well, the frames anyways). There is what appears to be part of a kitchen space across from the 2 big holes.

All in all, for some reason this old hulk intrigues me. If I were 40 instead of 65, I'd want to remodel it. Not really restore it, but redo everything in a clean modern look, with solar capabilities instead of propane.  The big problem is those 2 holes ... looks as though there's been water damage and part of the ceiling is rotted. I don't have it in me to have to strip everything down to the wood and maybe find a lot of the frame needs replaced.

It's too bad ... I think it could have been an amazing piece once redone.

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