Hello from Vermont where its high summer, our favorite time of year. Because of the sailing seasons in the various places in the world we sailed to, we haven't been here for any of these months for 7 years so its nice to see it again. It's been great to catch up with my parents and do some Vermont things like bike rides, parades and chicken BBQ's.
We'd been chomping at the bit to leave N Carolina because it had gotten so hot there and we were ready to move the truck north to start work on it but were waiting for the tire rims to arrive at the port in Baltimore. As soon as they did, we left to go pick them up. Everything went smoothly with that and the trucking company loaded the palate on our truck and even helped us tie everything down. It is a bit nerve racking to have things tied to the chassis rails going over all kinds of bumps for hundreds of miles. But we made it here with our cargo still attached and didn't kill anyone. We stopped in Philadephia to visit friends Kevin & Claire. Being on their boat right in downtown reminded us of all the years we lived aboard in downtown Boston with the city at our doorstep. It was great to catch up and see something of the city. I was envious of their new camper, all ready to have fun.
We had some issues with sludge in the fuel tank on the way up which required a fuel filter change and some stress. Jon had already changed the filter before we left to be sure it was all ready to go. That will be corrected with the new tanks and fuel lines that we'll be installing. Along with A/C and a new interior truck cabin, it should be a lot more comfortable for the next long haul in the months to come. We've just ordered some new air suspension seats too which will be welcome!
It took some time to get our lives somewhat in order to spend the summer here working on the truck. Getting our car back on the road, the Scamp camper resurrected & registered (it's so cute I love this thing) and setting up a workshop for the build were first priority after getting caught up with my parents. We spend a lot of time dreaming of having the ideal place to do a project like this but we know it isn't going to happen so we are making do. We did arrange to rent a hangar at the airport in Newport, VT for September/October when the fiberglass camper box is due to arrive so that we'll have a well lit, indoor space to assemble it. We couldn't find many options close by to where we are now. And going up to look at the space meant we got a weekend in Newport to use the Scamp for what its meant for and see some of Jon's cousins and aunt. It felt so funny to be staying in the lakeside campground that we've run by hundreds of times and wondered what it would be like to stay at.
The reason why I haven't written in so long is we've been very busy struggling to line up the things we need for the RV build but we also don't have internet when at our land in VT which makes things more of a hassle. We are about 4 miles too far from the nearest tower! I always think that is incredible to contemplate given all the crazy remote islands and locales that we've been to which might not have screaming fast internet, but there's something at least! Oh well.
So we have quite the compound going here with all of our tools set up, the truck torn apart, and our camper & grill set up. I tell Jon I feel like I'm backpacking & camping minus all the fun of hiking all day! We finally had to attack our storage building that we have on our land that has received lots of donations from us for the 21 years we've lived aboard our sailboat, but virtually no cleanouts! Because we needed to find & get at all of the tools in an organized way, we took a couple of days to go through some of our stuff and pull out what we'll be needing. I feel much better knowing things are somewhat more organized.
I don't have many pictures and my plan to do a weekly update on the progess of the RV build is sadly not really feasible right now given our lack of internet. Not to mention any free time we have we use for exercise or something fun! But, things have been happening if not at the brakeneck speed we'd like them to.
Jon tore the interior of the truck apart in preparation to redo the interior. This required lots of baggies of screws and fittings that we hope he'll remember where they live when we put it all back together. Now I am cleaning 30 years of grime and undercoating off of it. He got the last of the lights and antennas off the roof that we won't need and plugged the holes. The truck cab is in the process of being sanded for its coat of white paint that will match the fiberglass camper box. And we got the paint & supplies. The fenders are off too for paint. Twice we went to the parts dealers to try out seats since we wanted to make a good decision on which to get. I finally ordered them yesterday. They'll have an air suspension since we know from riding all the way up here from Florida that not having it is a bumpier ride. We have the interior paints, headliner, sound deadening, vinyl and carpet to install.
Jon got the subframe off the truck and slid back onto sawhorses which amazingly he didn't lose a limb doing and he started cutting off wedges off the wings of the frame to make a slimmer, lighter profile. We could have had the welder who built the subframe do this if we'd have had a fatter wallet. But the metal cutting saw that Jon was using from Eastwood broke on the first day, he got a replacement part, used it for like another hour and then it broke again, so we got another one under warranty and we're waiting for that to arrive. There aren't really a lot of options for tools to make these cuts. When he gets the rest of the wings cut we can prep & prime it for paint. He also removed the leaf springs from the truck so we could have those sanded & painted. In doing so, one was broken, so we we made a trip to a spring shop 2 hours away and got a replacement made in minutes.
I painted the new u-bolts today that we had made in Florida.
A big hurdle was getting the chassis of the truck sand blasted and ready for paint. We hired Matt from Vermont Dustless Blasting to do this and he came right to our place for the day and worked like a dog to get it done. All the parts that he did looked great and we only wish his equipment would allow him to get in all the tight spots that we now have to prep ourselves to complete the job. The media is crushed, old bottles and it smelled like dirty old bottles when he was blasting. But what a nice finish those old bottles give! We have decided that it is really dust less blasting, not dustless, for we will be removing the sandy bottle dust for quite a while...
So the past 3 days we've been painting a lot! Jon sprayed the primer & paint on the chassis & leaf springs, I did some touching up on the Scamp camper and now I'm prepping some of the chassis parts before they go back on.
The fiberglass camper box or "habitat" as they call it, is ordered. We are excited about the design that Jon worked really hard on and although there will inevitably be things that come up that we wish we'd thought of, it seems like it'll be really nice. 17 feet long by 8 feet wide. Queen size bed, nice sitting area with enough room to stretch out our legs with table, kitchen w/ 3 burner stove & oven, small washing machine, probably composting head, wet bath, over 1000watts of solar, good sized windows and hatches, lots of nice things to make a comfy home. Hopefully it will all come together well.
We also pulled out my parents' O'Day daysailor, the boat we had while we were living in Miami so long ago. We all have lots of great memories sailing in this boat, eating BBQ chicken, fritos and mangoes and snorkeling around in Biscayne Bay. All four of us have been working on it the past few weeks spiffing it up to sell and I listed it tonight. Here it is all shined up!
So we're hoping to get the chassis paint completed, the springs reattached with new shocks and the subframe painted & back on & bolted. The truck cab painted, the interior re-done with new nagivation/stereo installed and then hopefully A/C but that will take some more research and planning and we might run out of time. We also plan to get tires put on the rims and those installed, which will convert the rear wheels to singles rather than dual. Then be ready to receive the habitat kit and put it together so that it is bolted on the truck (with an empty interior) before the snow flies!
We plan to continue the building out of the interior in NC over the winter. And amid all this, we hope to spend more time with family & friends! So as you can see, we have our work cut out for us.