Stick figures of Chloe, Andrew and Henderson with their camper parked in front of Blue Mountain beside the Susquehanna River. Playful Curiosity.

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Planning the layout - And why?
(October 2006)

Bicycle pulling and Airstream. Lucy falling out of a camper.
We ended up in a little horse behind the cart action. Not really a mis-step though.

We reserved a cabin at Pinchot Park to see if we both still liked camping. Neither one of us had camped in years. I did a lot of camping when I was younger and Chloe had several really good experiences. We both had re-discovered one of Pennsylvania's greatest assests - the Pennsylvania State Park and State Forest system - and had been spending time hiking and renting boats.

But I now had a bad back. Tent camping was not an option. I did four years of physical therapy and moved on to doing tai chi daily - even becoming a Tai Chi Teacher

Here's the horse cart back to front dilemma. Between the time we reserved the cabin and the time we went to Pinchot, we A) Convinced ourselves this was a good idea and B) Had committed to buying Vern's camper but hadn't picked it up yet.

Pinchot Lake from our campsite.
Pinchot Park. Camped here a lot as a kid.

Camping at Pinchot Park.
Chloe building a fire. We got a bit carried away with the toys on this trip.

The good news is that we both really liked camping.

And we found out some crucial information from our cabin time.

A). The beds suck. Makes sense. Every day of the camping season, kids jump on the thing.

B). I need a good chair to sit in. Folding camp furniture and cheap trailer furniture were not going to fly.

C). Having your own bathroom is way awesome. This was the hardest thing to solve and biggest compromise we would make.

We did some sketches and tossed around ideas that weekend. We cut it short because my back hurt too much and without a decent bed or chair there was no way to reset it. Besides, in two weeks we would go pick up our Airstream.

Chloe planning the new layout of the Airstream.
Trying to match our needs and sketches to our reality.

Shot of our enormous Doberman in the camper.
Zach helping by showing where he would fit.

Zach came from Doberman Rescue. We were told and guessed his age to be about 3 when I got him and his brother, Goose (who died at four years old from cancer). Zach was one of those dogs. Annoying, intelligent, gassy. Hard to love and impossible not to.

He was diagnosed with a tumor pushing on his heart shortly after these shots were taken. Zach already had a very narrow chest from poor breeding and a scad of those fat bulges. He wasn't supposed to live until we eloped. Guess he liked the camper too much because he made it through the year of prep, the elopement (he had too come because we weren't prepared for him to be alive), two other camping trips and into the following spring. Died at 14.

We were together for 11 years but I think he enjoyed the last few the best - after he and I and Chloe moved into the river house. Chloe was the love of his life. He would dance and celebrate he returns. He only picked up his rope once a day - when she came home. He'd grab it, run up and down the house shaking it until the knot conked him on the head (every time) then drop it and wait at the door.

He did this up until two days before he died. The running slowed down at the end. For me? I was lucky if he lifted his head and grunted.

Zach leaving the camper looking scrawny and his fat bumps showing.
Zach had enough of planning. Poor guy's showing his age in this shot.

Chloe smiling at the camper.
Looking pretty pleased with the whole deal.

I needed a real bed. Not a folding bed and not camper foam. So first big element to incorporate was the double bed in back. (Right top corner in below pic.) This is where the 57 Caravanner would have been nice.

Front side of camper layout taped onto the floor.
It was hard to translate sketches to camper so we taped it on the floor.

Next I needed chairs. We left the space in the front of the camper for regular house chairs. (Space across the top of the picture below.)

We left the refrigerator in its original position but moved the stove to the sink side. (Left side below.)

Back side of camper layout taped onto the floor.
Our entire camper interior fit in our living room.

Camper layout with boxes for dimension.
Next we tried adding some deepth and dimension.

No matter what we tried we could not find a configuration that preserved the bathroom. It originally ran all the way across the back - enough room for a toilet and acceptable shower.

We tried putting the bed in the front (where the chairs ended up) but it blocked the door. Moving the whole bathroom didn't work. Eventually we compromised and made a very small bathroom.

Going to the toilet isn't bad - but we're both slim people. Showering in there would be unpleasant but doable in a fix. We usually just shower in the campground showers and use the commode in the camper. Some day I'll install an external shower.

Front of the camper stripped of cabinets.
Meanwhile, Mike started stripping the interior.

Cabinets and fixtures removed at the back of the camper.

Floor rot in the bathroom. Common in Airstreams.
That's when we found the dread floor rot and everything changed.