ROAMEO

Throwback // Roameo Origins: Part V

ROAMEO ORIGINS: PART V

June 22nd, 2015

The more we dig into Roameo the more we are realizing that our trailer re-model has turned into a trailer re-build-the-whole-damn-thing. We’ve embraced it though and are so looking forward to finishing this crazy endeavor together, (whether it’s the last thing we do or not).

As we walk around on the floors we are noticing more and more spots that need to be replaced. As well as 3 of the 4 bottom corners of the wall. And the entire roof  and ceiling. We are salvaging everything that we can from Roameo in order to repurpose later and save us some cash. We don’t want to purchase any more than we have to, and there is a quite a lot of paneling and trim that is in perfectly usable condition. We are just dismantling a section, piling it in either the garage to use for later, or by the trash, and repeating.

Another fun detail about Roameo is that he came without a title. We put off getting the title for way longer than we should have, but did eventually manage to get our trailer titled and registered in our name. A way larger accomplishment than we anticipated. We now understand why it’s common practice to not even consider a vehicle that is being sold without its title. Because whatever it is, it is not worth the ensuing headache, and possible chance of not even being able to legally register it in your name. We were very fortunate to be successful in this aspect, especially considering we’ve already put a great deal of time and money into our little trailer and have grown quite attached (which we definitely should not have done). We were literally given a piece of paper at the DMV that was basically a scavenger hunt for forms we’d never heard of, that all required different information and appraisals and prerequisites and on and on. It took us 2 full days and 1 mental breakdown, but we finally sprinted across the finish lines minutes before the office closed for the day, and were awarded the title for our junky baby. Not fun.

If you are like us and can’t resist the temptation of buying a super sketchy title-less travel trailer, just make sure that getting that title is the FIRST thing you do. PERIOD. We were fortunate enough to secure our title but if we weren’t, it would have meant that the previous owner could show up at any time and demand Roameo back. We wouldn’t ever be able to prove he was ours for anything. Not a very nice thought, especially considering all the work we want to put into him (other than that, we fully support shady Craigslist deals).

 

Throwback // Roameo Origins: Part IV

ROAMEO ORIGINS: PART IV:

June 7th, 2015

Once again, the morning brought with it fresh hope and dreams of a beautifully re-done travel trailer. In the light of a new day, our amateur handiwork didn’t look too shabby at all! After all, we were only beginners! This was only our very first project! We allowed our hearts to be refilled with determination and optimism. And the important part, we told ourselves, was that the thing was STURDY. We would be covering up all the interior beams with fresh insulation and paneling anyway. Who cared if the craftsmanship on the inside was a little sub-par? At least the it wouldn’t be falling apart anytime soon. (We took some time to add extra security to the front end, a little more glue, a few more screws, just to make extra double sure.)

At some point we decided to haul all of the cabinetry out in order to begin the work that needed to be done on those, as repainting cabinets is an entire project in itself. We’ve decided we want to paint everything a clean, bright white, with gold hardware and dark wood flooring. So the cabinets need to be white! We unscrewed every hinge, handle, and drawer track out of Roameo, which turned out to be quite a lot, and got to work prepping for painting. Removing all the handles was very repetitive and weary work, but we got everything detached and soaking in a bowl of vinegar water before too long. The next step was cleaning everything and scraping the wallpaper out of the bottoms of the drawers. Yet another unexpectedly grueling task. By the time we wrapped up the cleaning phase we were totally spent. We pulled all the doors and drawers inside our house and left them in our kitchen to revisit with a paint brush another day.

Throwback // Roameo Origins: Part III

ROAMEO ORIGINS: PART III:

June 5th, 2015

It felt really good to be removing huge chunks of Roameo. The more we removed, the cleaner it felt. And the cleaner it felt, the more hope we were filled with, the easier we could imagine what he would look like when he was finished.

The next pieces that came out were the wooden frame that the bed laid on, the wooden bench seating frames, the microwaves, the AC unit cover, the bedside table, ALL the cabinetry doors/drawers/hardware, a few window frames….. and the entire front end. The front end was what we decided was the part that needed the most work done to it. Both corners had water damage, and the beams connecting the corners were weak from trying to support them. So we pulled off all the paneling here, stripped out all the insulation, shop-vacced, and took all the measurements needed in order to rebuild the section. It consisted of only a few wood beams creating a little grid that supported everything, which Andy re-created without too much trouble.

The trouble came whenever we went to replace the old piece with the new piece. For some reason, being the architectural newbies that we are, we thought we could just remove the old rotten piece and slip the new piece in no problem. What we DIDN’T think about was “How will the rest of the trailer support itself if we remove the bottom?”. So as soon as we removed the bottom of the front, the entire upper part began to slip and slide out of its position. When we realized what was happening we instantly nonverbally agreed that no matter how sad of a state our Roameo may be in, if we allowed the front end to completely collapse on itself it would be officially classified as “broken”.

I instinctively grabbed ahold of the part that was slipping and successfully stopped it from falling at the cost of my body now being the support beam for the entire front of the trailer. Classic Andy is choking down laughter as he shouted “hold on baby!” and tried to install his new support piece as quickly as humanly possible. We took turns being the human support beam and being the real-life Fix It Felix; frantically hammering and glueing (yes glueing) the new frame into place. It took several strenuous hours, but some how we pulled it off. As you can imagine, there are no photographs of this part.

At the end of the night, we took and exhausted look at our crude frankenstein repair job, and despite the success of keeping the thing from completely collapsing we felt defeated. Our visions of craftsmanship perfection were shattered, it was so, well, ugly! There were hodge-podged pieces all nailed together haphazardly and dripping with dried glue marks. We heaved a sigh and convinced ourselves that it was at least a success in that it was still TOGETHER, and not in a hopeless mess on the floor. It was with heavy hearts that we clocked out for the night, hoping that things wouldn’t be so bleak in the morning.

Throwback // Roameo Origins: Part II

ROAMEO ORIGINS: PART II:

June 2nd, 2015

The first night that we had Roameo home, we were so thrilled to begin cleaning him out we got started right away! We thought he just needed a thorough scrub down, a fresh paint job, couple new tires, and he’d be good as new! Unfortunately, as so many travel trailer renovators have said before us, it turned out to be wwwwaaayyy more work than we had initially anticipated.

Andy and I began by taking out the old mattress and taking down all the curtains. There were a few loose papers and miscellaneous things lying about that we removed as well. We began piling it all up in our garage to figure out later. Then we went to the seating area to pull out the old cushions. And that’s when things started to get ugly. Underneath not one but both of the seat benches, was what appeared to be a large bag of cat food that had been dumped out. Not stored and then ripped and spilled. DUMPED. OUT. The bag itself was nowhere to be seen, but the giant heap of old cat food could not be unseen. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, as we began shop-vaccing the heck out of it we discovered that during its time under the bench it had been converted into a lovely ant pile/rat house combination.

The night grew dark and ran late as we proceeded to pull out every drawer and unit and shelf and thing that could be pulled out of poor sick Roameo. We did not stop until we had shop vacc’d every reachable corner, made several more gruesome discoveries, chucked a bug bomb in there, slammed all the doors and ran for it. On one hand we felt very accomplished and proud of all we had done, and on the other hand we felt the dread of all that there really was left to do…..

Everything always seems brighter and less frightening in the morning sunshine. When we returned to Roameo the next day, we found him much cleaner and less bug filled than the previous night. We threw away the remnants of the bug bomb and did another vacuum pass. (That shop vac turned out to be a more useful tool than we could have ever imagined, the project literally could not be done without it).

At this point we began tackling some harder-to-remove-but-desparately-needed-out-of-there items, i.e., the shower unit. It was yellow, excuse me, PARCHMENT. Andy and I quickly discovered that 99% of RV accessories come in two colors: white, and parchment. Parchment sounds pretty cool in theory but in reality just looks like it used to be white. I’m sorry to all you parchment fans out there, but we just do NOT get that one! And of course all of Roameo’s innards were done in parchment.

So we unscrewed all the screws, exact-o-knife’d all the rubbery sealant strips out from around the edges, and began to gently pry it violently force it out. After the second gallon of sweat started pouring we figured we were throwing it in the trash anyway so EFF IT. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like a savage warlord as I did when we finally cast that crappy plastic shell out of the trailer door and out into the yard.

We would later realize that brand new RV tubs/shower surrounds were not even remotely in our budget, but that’s another chapter.

Throwback // Roameo Origins: Part I

Before I started started this blog, I kept a journal about some of Andy and I’s adventures whenever I felt inspired. The majority of those writings are centered around our travels and our experience with renovating a travel trailer from the ground up. I was reading through some of these old entries and thought it would be fun to do a series throwing back to those moments and highlighting some of the drama that unfolded during that time. Roameo is such a huge part of Andy and I’s story, and everyone likes prequels, right?

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ROAMEO ORIGINS: PART I

June 1st, 2015

Andy and I spent several weeks browsing Craigslist’s travel trailer section, pouring over tons and tons of advertisements in search of the right one. We knew when we had finally done it when we kept coming back and back to the same one, and at long last set up a meeting with the owner. We had to trek almost two hours north to reach the guy’s property, driving a friend’s car due to the fact that neither one of our vehicles have any sort of towing capacity (yes, we know the whole deal about putting the cart before the horse…). To say we were P U M P E D would be an understatement. For all the talking we did on the long drive up about not purchasing it unless it was perfect, I think we both subconsciously knew we were takin’ that bad boy with us no matter what. And to our credit, it looked outstanding when we finally got to meet it! Just needed some scrubbing down and a paint job, and he should be good as new (LOL)!

We hooked the little guy up, high fived the (previous!) owner, and were off on our merry way. And all was well for the majority of the trip. Andy and I were bubbling with excitement over all the adventures we would soon embark on with our new treasure, exchanging ideas and possibilities. And adventure certainly did strike! We had almost reached our exit on the highway when one of the tires blew out on the back of the trailer, and the Mission Impossible theme song started playing. Of course we had to merge over about three lanes to get off the highway, and our tail lights on the trailer were completely out and useless (ahem..) so our blinker was not helping.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a truck came up behind us, put its hazards on, and began guiding us slowly across the lanes of traffic and safely off the highway. We were so relieved and filled with gratitude for these strangers, and expected them to continue on their way once we made it off. But instead, they followed us completely off onto the access road and pulled up behind where we had come to a stop on the shoulder. Three men then proceeded to leap out of the truck carrying tools and changed out our busted tire for the spare! Andy and I just stood there in awe. We are pretty confident that they must have been a pit crew with NASCAR, the whole thing was done in less than three minutes. We didn’t even know what to do or say except gush our thanks on them. They brushed us off and said they were just excited to try out the new jack they had recently bought, got back in their truck, sped away, and left us standing on the side of the highway before we even knew what happened. Talk about a MIRACLE. In that moment we knew we had made an amazing decision purchasing this trailer, and that this was only the very, very beginning of our adventures to come.

 

Ro-me-freakin’-oh

Guys, it happened. Andy and I took our first ever road trip with Roameo.

I planned a secret road trip for Andy’s birthday. He knew we were going on a trip, just not where. I THOUGHT I could finish Roameo by myself too, in secret, when we live and work and spend every second together, and Roameo was currently located 55 minutes away at my parent’s property. Silly.

So we finished him together, and planned a time frame for a birthday trip, and I got to choose our route and itinerary in secret as a surprise. I love surprises!

Roameo has been sittin’ for awhiiiiile guys. Like, since pretty much the failed Nashville expedition. Even though that wasn’t technically Roameo’s fault (by the way, it was the CAR’S, it overheated because the transmission was gunky even though we paid like three different professionals to assure us it wasn’t gunky and then my dad was like um yeah this is your problem it’s all gunky), the wind was still super knocked out of our sails after that.

But in true Kandy fashion, WE RALLIED.

I would say we are a solid 90% done with this lovely tin box of ours. And Nala the Nissan has been de-gunkified and freshened up and is a new beast. We finished inserting the insulation, nailing up all the walls, laying down the vinyl flooring, re-attaching cabinet doors, re-installing the benches in the front, installing a new futon bed frame in the back, putting a fresh coat of white paint over everything on the inside, taping off our design and painting the OUTSIDE, installing most of the trim on the inside (missing a few pieces still), perfecting our plumbing and grey + black tank drains, tidying up some electrical, hanging up all the curtains on all the windows, and pressure washing the outside from where it’s been sitting under a tree for seven months (remember at the beginning when I said I had originally thought I could do all this in secret on my own?….).

Then came the fun part. Packing in cushions and pillows and throw blankets and pots and pans and card games and wine bottles and snacks and dog toys and rugs. I think I was ugly crying the entire time I was doing this. I thought that at any moment I would snap out of this vivid daydream and be back to sitting on the ground covered in dirt while haphazardly trying to scrap old glue off of tin panels and trying not to wound myself. But it didn’t happen, of course. We were really at this stage. We had really made it. We were really sitting at the benches with a temporary fold out table in between us laughing maniacally.

My mom and dad helped us out so much to push Roameo over the finish line. They let us keep him on their property since we moved out of Dallas, for one. They went on supplies runs for us so Andy and I could keep our heads down working, they surprised us by finishing all the green spray paint while we were gone one day after taping off the design, and most importantly they provided unrelenting moral support, and we are both so grateful.

As I said, he isn’t 100% yet, but he is dang close, and definitely good enough to take out on the road! Pretty much all that is left on our list is interior cosmetic things, like finishing up the trim and the kitchen cabinets, which we are going to jump right on and tackle next…. maybe right after we take a much deserved victory lap up north somewhere 😉

xx

 

The Maiden Voyage

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

I am to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding in Nashville, and so of course Andy and I decided to book a campground instead of a hotel and use that as motivation to sprint through the Roameo finish line. We made a timeline of checkpoints for the weeks leading up to the trip, and we hit every single one of them. The electricity works, the plumbing works, the exterior is all sealed up and waterproof, we put several interior walls up, some of our vinyl flooring laid down, and a clean coat of white paint on the outside. We hooked it up to our rad new-to-us 2004 Nissan Xterra that we purchased over the weekend, and after quite a bit of tinkering, got all the running and brake lights working. The horizon was looking bright, we threw a futon in the floor and hit the road singing and cheering.

2016-03-29 21.07.28-EDIT

We only got about 30 minutes down the road before our new car overheated and our trip came to an anticlimactic end. My parents had to come out in the middle of the night and save us, thank God for them. My dad brought his truck and towed Roameo back home. My mom brought Andy’s car and switched us for the Xterra. We re-embarked on our journey in our trusted Honda Accord. For the record, this mishap was at least not Roameo’s fault. He totally would have made it. Our new car flew in from left field and popped all the air out of our balloon.

I think this was a very crucial moment for us. We sat in our car for a long time that night without speaking, before we called my parents for help, unable to roll any further, just staring out the windshield and silently individually struggling with the “why” of the situation. Why did this happen? Why did we work so hard for so long, only to get so close, only to fail? We thought the stars had aligned for our trip, but instead at the very last minute the rug was pulled out from under us. It took us a long time to shake off this overwhelming sense of failure, and find a way to look on the bright side, but we did it. It wasn’t our place to know the “why”, even if there was one. It was our place to lift our hearts up and thank God nothing worse had happened. Although we will never know it, there was a reason we weren’t able to pull that trailer this weekend. And anyway, this wasn’t the end of our grand Roameo journey, just the end of his literal one to Tennessee. Our trip was about our friend’s wedding, not Roameo, and the next day we arrived in Nashville safe and sound in one piece. And that’s what really mattered.

We have no idea what Roameo or our car’s future is at the moment, but for now, we will not let the uncertainty of it all cast a shadow over our trip. We have confidence and faith that we will figure out the next steps when we get back to Dallas, and not before. For now, we have a wedding to celebrate.

xo

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