Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to Dry Out a Camper

When we bought our camper, it looked well cared for and clean.  One thing to remember if you are thinking of buying your own house on wheels, is that looks are deceiving.   Very, very deceiving. 

Once we got home, we really started to look the old girl over.  I noticed some discoloration on the vinyl floor next to the bunk beds.  I started investigating and saw there was also some in the bathroom.  I tried to convince myself it was a factory defect but I knew what it meant.  Water.

Our only option was to open up any area that was wet and let it dry out.  So, we gutted the bathroom, took out a bunk bed, the queen bed, the couch and a night stand.  Then we ripped up all the floor coverings (carpet and vinyl).  Once we uncovered all the wet areas, we rigged up fans and a dehumidifier (see it in the picture?).  It ran for a week and a half and we pulled out over 6 gallons of water.  Craziness.

Even though this totally SUCKED,  I will not have to wonder about the condition of our camper (I am quite aware).  I know when my littlest is crawling all over, he will not be crawling through other people's yuck (we ripped it all out).  Best of all, I get brand new flooring.  The original stuff was cheap vinyl and carpet (who thought carpet in a camper was a good idea?).  For the new stuff, I went to Lumber Liquidators and bought durable and easy to clean laminate.  Guess what I will be doing this weekend?  You got it.  Installing laminate in a camper!  I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Leaky Camper Blues

If you read yesterday's post, you already know I bought a camper AND you already know it leaks (if not I have now informed you thusly).  Before I tell you how we fixed it, I am going to show you all the loveliness the leaking caused.  Ready?

This is the area we would have originally referred to as the bathroom.  The back wall had a tiny tub, the area where the dehumidifier is had a small sink and you can see the hole in the floor where the toilet was.  As you can see the water soaked most of the bathroom sub-floor.
This is the bunk area.  The water continued through the closet you see in the center (the bathroom is on the right) and under the bunk bed area.  There are three bunks, with one sitting pretty much on the ground that had to be temporarily removed (more on that later).

Once we found that mess, we became highly suspicious and began investigating EVERYWHERE.  I noticed the wall board at the far corner of the big bed looked odd.  We discovered the worst leak of all along the whole front wall of the camper.  We had to remove the bed platform lid to really get at is as you can see.  The larger section (where you can see the outside) is a storage area you access through doors on each side.  The sub-floor inside of each door looks like
this, and
Clearly the top picture is much worse for the wear, but each side has a lot of water penetration.
The water continued under the bed platform, and under the nightstand which used to be here.
It finally stopped (in this section at least) under the couch, which was in this corner, when it hit the furnace (the silver box).
The last area we found was by the door and adjacent to one of the dinette benches.  This area and the areas by the doors to the storage area, are the only spots where the sub-floor has been compromised.
Now comes the fun part.  Deciding what to do.  We started with the no brainer... dry out the camper.  Tomorrow, I will enlighten you on that gross and slow process.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Craft Like a Man

I love to camp.  I mean loooooooove to camp.  I love playing outside, I love exploring new places, I love spending uninterrupted time with my family, I love schmoes (if you don't know what that is, you clearly have not watched enough Toy Story), I love the smell of a campfire, I love the sounds of the woods at night, I could go on and on.

My husband loves to camp too....  IF and only IF you can guarantee him it will NOT rain.  We live in Ohio.  It is sunny, rainy, humid, snowy and windy.  Sometimes in the same day.  The weather is NEVER a sure thing.  Therefore, getting him to camp is not easy.

I finally convinced him to go and he realized camping might be the perfect trip for him.  He gets to build things and then set some of it on fire.  In his world, that is a perfect day.  The only problem?  We live in Ohio (see above).  In the middle of the first night, we got what the meteorologist called a light shower.  I would liken it more to a downpour, but whatever.  As I am sure you are aware, fabric can only resist so much water.  Our tent leaked.  Our blankets got wet.  Our picnic tent collapsed... onto our sleeping tent.  Then it leaked more.

I was sure this would solidify my husbands opinion that camping was to risky of a venture and I would never enjoy it again.  He loves to be right (unfortunately he frequently is).  However, I was reminded of why I love him.  He said "Start looking for a camper".

At the time, I was overjoyed and imagining how cute I could make our mini home on wheels.  We found the perfect travel trailer and immediately bought her.  With triple bunks in the back, a queen bed in the front and a booth and couch that both turn into beds, we would have plenty of space for us and whatever friends tag along.  At 26 feet, she is light and easy (relative) to manage.

We got her home and started stocking her up for our travels.  I noticed some discoloration of the vinyl in the back end.  Our sweet little camper was leaking... everywhere.

Since my life is currently consumed by camper rehab, guess what you get to hear about?  That's right!  Adventures in camper rehab starts tomorrow!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Beer Bread

Feeding hungry people is a big part of my life.  I am stuck in a constant cycle of making food, feeding food and cleaning up food.  With all this food related work (not to mention laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, moping, straightening, scrubbing, and on and on) I am always looking for quick and easy (and yummy) options to add to my bag of tricks.
I have been making this particular recipe since I was 19.  It is one of the easiest quick breads I have ever made and it has a great depth from the yeasty, hoppy addition of beer.  My kids love it with dinner and toasted with eggs the next morning.  I love it because it takes less time to stir together than it takes for the oven to pre-heat!

Beer Bread
12 oz. beer
3 c. self-rising flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. melted butter
Stir together flour and sugar.
Pour in beer and stir to form a sticky dough.
Spread into a greased loaf pan and pour butter over top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.