"Not all those who wander are lost"

The world’s most efficient camper

Even in the most difficult situation there is always, somehow, a way to triumph

-Ralph Marston


Nearly every day at home I worked on my car in some way.  I started with the conversion; making my car into suitable place to live for the next 6 months.  The first and most complicated task was to figure out a frame design.  Naturally being an engineer I designed the entire frame and had a detailed drawing of how to build it…hahaha, no.  I had an idea and just started going.  The problem with just building it was that I didn’t have any wood the right size and didn’t want to spend any more money than I had to.  Instead I started with a manky old 10ft 2×10 and some beat up short pieces of 2x4s and ripped, chopped, and sanded them into the pieces I needed.  Before I even finished figuring out how I would get the frame to mount over the passenger’s seat without being a pain when driving around I had built most of it.  The entire process of making and refinishing my own 2x2s that I used for the frame was tedious and very time consuming making the process take much longer than I anticipated.  When I finally finished the frame it was time to head out, I would have to wait to finish the rest later.

I came the next day to finish up expecting it to be a quick process since all I needed to do was make the deck out of plywood.  Lucky for me dad had a four foot square piece of thin plywood that he had shipped a glass table in.  The down side was that it had been sitting outside for a while.  This meant more refinishing for me.  The next several hours were spent sanding it smooth and cutting it down to the odd shape of the back of my car.  As I was about to finish the thunder storm that had been threatening to rain all day finally fulfilled its promise.  It started with a tiny sprinkle but within seconds had become a torrential downpour.  I dashed about frantically moving tools into the shed.  I managed to get the tools in the shed (all but the battery charger which I forgot about) before they got too wet, but got soaked in the process.  Even though the rain didn’t last long I had still switched to working in the wood shed with the car backed up into the opening.  I finished up drilling a 2×2 to extend out over the passenger seat.  Once again the entire process took much longer than expected, but this time I finished.

(Camp mode, all unpacked and bed extended)

(The extended bed)

(Stuff stored away)

(All packed up and ready to go)

(And it doesn’t interfere with the front seats)

With the storage/sleeping system built I moved my efforts to making the car actually run, or more descriptively actually stop.  To spare the painful details of the process to took me several days of not having the right tools, spraying PB blaster on nuts, jumping on socket wrenches, and pounding on rotors.  In the end I finally got the caliper bolts off with enough PB blaster and jumping on the socket wrench.  The rotor wasn’t as easy.  I spent over a day spraying PB blaster and pounding on it to no avail.  Eventually I found online instructions to get off rusted rotors and tightened bolts through the caliper bolt holes until the pried the rotor off.  After the new rotor, caliper, and pads I had to change my oil, and get an alignment.  Neither of these worked out well either.  The oil pan plug had a broken washer so it was slowly leaking.  The washer was cranked tight, the alignment was ignored, and best yet I lost the oil fill cap…and didn’t notice until I had already driven home and went to check my oil again the morning I was leaving for West Virginia.  I stuffed a sock in it and left anyway, meeting dad along the way to get the cap from his old truck.  Luckily it fit.  My car was finally in proper functioning condition.  Best yet, I WAS ON THE ROAD!  WV bound, then KY, AL, AR, and TX.

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