Once upon a time, in a world not unlike our own, two endearingly optimistic young folks purchased a ramshackle little travel trailer. Ramshackle is a cute word that otherwise means in a state of severe disrepair. As they had no means to tow it, they borrowed a friend’s vehicle to transport their tin box full of dreams away from the questionable seller they met online and to its new home in their backyard. Having a tire blowout on the highway on that first journey did nothing but bolster their spirits that they were indeed in for a marvelous adventure.
They decided to name him Roameo, inspired by the Shakespearean Romeo, a classic symbol of romance (overlooking all the daggers and poison), and their plans to roam and wander the country. The couple envisioned taking a couple of months, giving Roameo a thorough cleanse, patching up a few spots here and there, and brushing on a new coat of paint before hitting the open road.
Flash forward eight months, and Roameo has finally begun to take the form of something other than a 4-wheeled pile of impending soul-crushing heartbreak. When we initially purchased and began working on his physical condition and all the legal paperwork, we were literally laughed at by professionals. Andy and I embarked on the mission of registering Roameo and getting his title transferred into our name with all the zeal you could imagine, only to be shutdown and discouraged and have the first seeds of doubt planted in our minds. One of the many steps of this process was to get our travel trailer appraised by a professional in order to assign value to it. The professional we went to laughed in our faces when we showed him Roameo, wrote down a value of $50 (“Because $0.00 isn’t technically an option”), and waved us on our way with a skeptical “good luck”. Andy and I laughed then, too. We’ll show you, hater.
Truthfully, Mr. RV Professional wasn’t entirely wrong to doubt us, although condescendingly laughing at two young city dwelling adults taking on a large work-with-your-hands-and-learn-something-other-than-how-to-snapchat project is probably detrimental to society. Roameo needed much, much more work done than a bottle of 409 and paintbrush could handle. It wasn’t a facelift, it was a complete body reconstruction. We had read about it, heard it said before, and yet still we found ourselves repeating those words of those who had come before us.
“Renovating a travel trailer turned out to be much more work than I had initially anticipated.” – Everyone who has ever tried
Today, Andy and I feel as though we have seen everything there is to see when it comes to travel trailer renovation. Indeed, we feel pretty confident we could renovate a house at this point (more on that later). We replaced most of the floor, the entire ceiling and roof, all of the walls, all of the electricity, most of the plumbing, and all of the tires. We removed every appliance, cabinet, countertop, bench, and wall outlet. We cleaned and repaired what we could, and threw the rest away. We’ve redesigned the layout, repainted every surface, and rebuilt and reinstalled all the things that make Roameo what he is. We’ve learned how to drill a hole in wood before you put a screw through it, use a caulk gun, and a staple gun, how to properly sand a surface, stain a surface, paint a surface, seal a surface. How to trace and replace electrical wires, how to make a light switch flip on and off, what the heck a daisy chain is, what the heck pex piping is. And perhaps most importantly, how truly vital wet/dry shop vacc’s are.
The journey we have been on for the last 8 months is one that despite the late nights, the injuries, and the huge, exhausting learning curve, is one I wouldn’t trade for anything. I feel like for the first time in my life I truly appreciate and respect the idea of “one step forward, two steps back.” It is the most frustrating and sanity-testing experience. But, it is also the most rewarding. On multiple occasions we’ve had experienced RV’ers commend us for our persistence, saying “Wow, you guys are doing this as boyfriend/girlfriend? Well, if you can survive restoring a travel trailer together, than you will be able to survive most anything together.” That may sound a little dramatic, but as we near our journey’s end, I can really attest to that. Andy and I feel so empowered as a couple to have (almost) accomplished the biggest project either of us have taken on in our lives. And we did it together. As a team. We easily could have lost sight of our dream somewhere in between never-ending ants streaming out of the walls, water pouring out of the roof, and all of our celebrations of finally fixing something only to have it break it again, but we didn’t. We stayed true to it. We stayed true to each other.
In the end, the entire project will have taken us almost a solid year, which is far longer than we originally anticipated. But we have also learned and discovered so much more than we originally anticipated. Plus, our maiden road trip and those before-and-after pictures are gonna be so worth it.
More to come, cheers!