A few weeks ago, I bought a vintage camper to restore. I’ve been looking for nearly three years for what I wanted : a canned ham camper that really needed some love. I want one to use it as an admissions booth and billboard for the Markets. And they are stinkin’ cute; I need one.
I was drinking coffee and flipping through my Instagram feed when I saw her: my first glimpse of “Vera Jo.” And for under a thousand bucks, I bought her sight unseen, and headed down to Texas to pick her up.
To say she’s a little rough around the edges would be an understatement. Her previous owner had started some work, and had the camper more less gutted. And the front window was removed (this becomes waaaay relevant in a bit.) But I loved her already, so we hooked her up and took off, confident that she could be restored to her former glory.
Oh no, Vera Jo!
We made it about 20 miles before the aluminum cladding started to blow and rattle. Ten miles later, a semi-truck blew past us on a two lane highway. All that wind blew through the front window opening, and the back of the camper shell went airborne! Clearly, Vera Jo wasn’t gonna make it to Oklahoma, three hours away. So we had to leave her in Texas overnight.
The next day, we returned with tools in hand, and disassembled the trailer so we could get it to Oklahoma. Took about five hours of steady work, but we finally strapped everything to the trailer and headed home.
This weekend, I finally had some time to start the work of rebuilding and restoring the camper. On Saturday, I cleaned up quite a bit of the aluminum cladding. I beat out dents, stripped the latex paint, patched many, many holes & repaired a few tears. On Sunday I deconstructed the door and did the same thing again. I’d love to say I finished with the cladding but alas, no. I need another weekend’s worth of work, and two more cans of stripper, to finish it up.
The Vintage Camper Project Begins!
The next step in Vera Jo’s make over is to send the trailer for sandblasting, and use the cladding as a template to build a new frame. I’m also searching online for all the parts and pieces I need to get this finished. I was very tickled to find a Monitor logo that I can order! (I’m getting the red one.)
Be sure to follow along as we rebuild and restore this cute little camper. We’ll be making progress every week until we’re done!