Silk purses and sow’s ears…

Once we had the trailer home, we started trying to figure out just what to do with it!  The only “standard” equipment in it was a fiberglass closet beside the door (passenger side), which helped to support the roof.  The previous owner had also cut a couple of pieces of wood for the other side to also offer roof support, and he’d started making a platform in the back for a permanent bed.  All good things….

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We were really curious about the history of the trailer and wondered why it had never had propane, appliances, lights, and other things that you typically see in Scamp trailers.  The previous owner told us that he’d bought it from a construction company that had used it as a mobile office, and from other information we found, it’s possible that it was sold–as a shell–to the military in the mid-1990s to use as a mobile command center.

It HAD originally had the “rat fur” fabric on the walls, but the guy we bought it from had ripped it all out, saying it was awfully dirty.  Ack, maybe so, but it probably could have been cleaned…  At least it still had the “bubble wrap” insulation in it!

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But the vent was damaged, so we knew we’d have to have that replaced, and we just didn’t have the skills to do the wiring, in order to add lights and outlets….

We called a couple of RV repair shops (the closest one was an hour away) and everyone wanted to see it before even giving a ballpark estimate for the most critical work that needed to be done.  Wayne then asked a camping friend if he could recommend a shop, and as fate would have it the guy’s nephew had his OWN repair shop–just over the mountain from us!

We called him, and he drove over a few days later to take a look at it.  The initial estimate he gave us seemed do-able, and so we hitched it up and took it over to Valley RV Service.  Game on!

 

November 2, 2014: We’ve got a Scamp!

We drove to the Midlothian area of Virginia on a Sunday morning and got our first glimpse of the 16 ft. Scamp that had been advertised on Craigslist.  Even though I knew we’d look it over thoroughly before writing a check, also I knew we’d be leaving with it. 🙂

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It looked safe to pull, but there would be challenges….  The vent wasn’t securely attached, so we’d have to pull it with a hole in the roof.  There was no wiring harness, and all of the wires TO the lights and brakes had been cut.  (WHY?!)  While there seemed to be some power coming to the lights, we couldn’t get them to work consistently.  We made a quick trip to a local Wal-Mart to buy temporary towing lights, various connectors and duct tape.  Plenty of duct tape….  We used some of the tape to attach the temporary towing lights to the spare tire holder on the back of the trailer, since there was no spare tire mounted.  But transaction completed and with title in hand, we started the slow trip home.

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We stopped the first time while we were still in the seller’s neighborhood–and discovered that the wiring harness had come undone.  Well, darn–we wrapped up the connection with duct tape and set out again.  When we stopped a second time (maybe after about 10 miles), we discovered that we’d lost one of the marker lights!

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When we stopped a third time (after about another 10 miles), we were surprised to see that the license plate had fallen off!

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And EVERY time we stopped, we found that the wiring harness had become disconnected!  But WOW–we finally had a trailer!

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Even if it WAS held together with bright orange duct tape!

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Finding our Trailer

We love Virginia’s State Parks!  Each one that we’ve visited is like a little gem, and we hope to eventually visit all 36 of them!  Some parks, however, are simply too far away for a day trip, so a couple of years ago we decided to start looking for a small travel trailer.

We rationalized that if we had some sort of camper, we’d be able to do a longer drive on a Saturday, stay at the park over night, and drive home on a Sunday afternoon. With my Honda CR-V as a tow vehicle, however, we knew our options were really limited, but a 13 ft. Scamp trailer–constructed of fiberglass and designed to be very lightweight–would be the ideal choice.

Can you say, “Needle in a haystack”?  After checking Craigslist and other RV listings several times a day for many, many months, we still hadn’t found a 13 ft. Scamp within a day’s drive or within our budget.   As the 2014 camping season slipped away, we bought a 2000 Toyota 4Runner.  Even though we still hoped to find a Scamp–especially after learning so much about them during our months of research!–the 4Runner’s greater towing capacity would give us more options.

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Shortly after buying our new “tug” or “TV” (tow vehicle), we looked at a couple of  small “vintage” trailers.   Despite being advertised as clean and ready to go, one had significant water damage, and another one was simply too small…

One day in late October 2014, I saw a 1995 16 ft. Scamp listed on Craigslist–and it was only about an hour and a half away!  I immediately contacted the owner, but–what? It was essentially an empty Scamp shell? Seriously?!

At first we hesitated; how could we fix up an empty trailer?  With winter coming on, no garage to work in, no specific RV renovation skills, and our crazy schedules, it just didn’t seem do-able.  But after talking about it, we started wondering….  What if?  What if we COULD totally customize a trailer and still stick to our original budget for a trailer?

Once our decision was made, I called the seller back, only to learn that another buyer had gotten there, first.  We were disappointed, of course, but not too surprised; these rare older Scamp trailers tend to sell very, very quickly….

But then to our TOTAL surprise, the first deal fell through, the trailer was available again, and we were next in line to purchase it.  And so on Sunday, November 2, 2014–the day after my birthday–we headed out to finally buy our trailer!  Happy, happy birthday to me!