We found our camper, a 29 foot Wildwood, on Craig’s List in April. It was very clean and had a floor plan that would suit our needs. Being 10 years old, it wasn’t perfect but it would do.
You just don’t buy a camper for a trip across the country and into Alaska, pack it up and leave. We knew we would need a lot of preparation, planning, and trial runs. The first thing we did was to spend several nights in the camper while it was parked in our driveway. Fortunately, it was very cold outside so we could test our plan for heat. We soon felt ready to take off to a park deciding to stay close to home so we could easily run back if we needed anything. This was more than just camping but a time to try to think of everything we would need once on the road for good.
With all our planning things didn’t always go very smoothly. In fact, the first trips were rough. So rough, that there were times that I thought our dream was more like a nightmare. We had an extremely rainy spring. Days and days and days of heavy rain! On a trip to Wisconsin, we noticed water, mud, pebbles and sand in the camper at every stop. At first we thought we had messed up our black water. Yikes! Fortunately, it wasn’t that but it wasn’t good either. The new tires that the previous owner had just put on the camper before we bought it were too big. This caused the tires to wear holes in the wheel wells. Thus all the sludge! The oversize tires also created a problem with our suspension. The leaf springs were worn flat and had to be completely replaced. We literally dragged the camper to Madison, WI, (about an hour from my parents) where they fixed it enough for us to get home to Michigan where we could have the job completed.
Then there were problems with no water at all, no hot water, a leak in our holding tank, a leak in the roof, and of course, more rain (and more rain and more rain…). I purposefully didn’t blog during this time because it would have been a depressing read. Every day we were in the camper was hard. Every day we worked like dogs. Every day there were major, wet messes to clean. Every day there was a new obstacle but with it a new lesson. I’m really glad that that we stuck with it and eventually worked out all the bugs (literally in some cases but that’s another post).
We cleaned up our last big water mess at the beginning of June. As I threw the last of the rags away, I said to our oldest daughter, “You know what sums up this experience so far? Water, water, and more water!”
She replied, “At least it hasn’t been, poop, poop and more poop!”
She was absolutely right!