Month: June 2017

A Midsummer Night’s Update (Or How We Tried to Stop Worrying and Write a Blog)

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted because…well…things have been interesting. We’re trying to keep a good balance between our anxiety and being optimistic, and I’d say we’re doing a decent job as you can see from this chart:

How I'm Feeling
The biggest hurdle we’re facing right now is selling our house. Two weeks ago we had a contract with a buyer signed and we were excited to hit the road at the end of July! Unfortunately, the deal ended up falling through, so we’ve had to relist and start the search over. This means keeping the house clean, dealing with showings, and all that real estatey goodness.

There are other stresses as well: no longer receiving a paycheck and having a mortgage to pay, the fear of the Affordable Care Act being stripped down which would make our health insurance while on the road more expensive, and trying to decide which type of frozen pizza to buy from the grocery store. But those are all minor compared to the stress of selling a house.

We’re still optimistic we can hit the road this summer. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some freelance web design work to bring in some money as needed, and we might start eating frozen pizza for 2 meals each day instead of just one. Which wouldn’t be half bad 🙂

In all seriousness, sure, life has been a bit stressful. But we’re not being forced out of our home, we’re not one of 22 million people at risk of losing health insurance entirely, we’re not being shot because of the color of our skin, and we’re incredibly privileged to even have the opportunity to think about this sort of adventure.

Saying Goodbye to Our House

One of the hardest parts about setting off on our upcoming adventure is saying goodbye to our house. Here are some of my favorite memories from the past 4 and a half years living here.

Beautiful in the winter time – I won’t miss clearing the long driveway!

Welcoming Quintin and Eliza into the world and into our home. Both children were born during our time living here. Kimberlee designed an awesome nursery – including a changing table that her dad modified from a dresser for her when she was a baby (and which we again updated for our kids).

So many wonderful memories with these two sweeties.

The finished nursery. Kimberlee found the globes years ago on Craigslist for FREE!

The Frost/Redmond Christmas Light Show. I remember seeing an automated light show when I was a kid, and always dreamed of doing the same on my house. We had a blast sharing this with friends, family, and (very tolerant) neighbors.

Renovations Galore! We put so many hours of hard work (and plenty of money) into fixing up our house. I learned more than I ever needed to know about sump pumps, and we learned so many new skills as we made the house our own.

The family room before (top) and after (bottom)

The kitchen before(top) and after (bottom).

The most significant memories, however, have simply been the times we’ve spent together with each other. As we head off, the backdrop of our time together will change. We will hold this house dearly in our hearts, and we also look forward to making new memories on the road. Most of all, we remember that it’s time together that’s most important. In the words of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: “home is wherever I’m with you.”

Our new trailer license plate.

The Cost of Fixing Up Our Vintage Travel Trailer

When we bought our trailer off of Craigslist (a 1969 Shasta Loflyte), we thought we were getting a deal! Only 600 bucks! Awesome! It was in decent shape, and we figured with a little bit of work we could fix it up to a pretty nice trailer for a few thousand dollars and a month or two of work. How wrong we were! The cost in both dollars and hours turned out to be way more than we ever expected!

This (left) to this (right) equals $$$

This (left) to this (right) equals $$$

Including the purchase price, we ended up putting a little over $10,000 and 500 hours of labor into our trailer over 3 summers (and that doesn’t include the new tools we also had to purchase or the number of hours spent driving to Home Depot and Menards!)

We’re really happy how it turned out, but went in a bit blind regarding the actual costs. Granted, if we had actually known what we were doing and had spent more time shopping for deals, we probably could’ve saved $1-2k. Thankfully, we now know how to fix almost anything on the trailer if things break while on the road!

We’ve included links to many of the parts we used. None of these are affiliate links – we’re just sharing what we found helpful! Links are from Amazon (amz), Vintage Trailer Supply (vts), Menards (m), Home Depot (hd) and etrailer (et). Let us know if you want details on anything that doesn’t have a link.

That said, here’s total breakdown of our expenses, hours of labor we put in, and what we did to update the trailer:

Aluminum Skin, Paint, and Framing

  • Removed exterior skin and replaced rotten wood around skirt and rear/front windows – $138
  • Removed all j-rail and cleaned & polished – $38
  • Cleaned exterior, painted using HVLP sprayer and tractor paint (see our post about painting here) – $365
  • Removed old butyl tape and replaced it with new butyl (used both amz and vts) around the windows, j-rail, and door- $164
  • Replaced over 1,000! exterior screws with stainless steel screws (vts), used stainless steel staples (amz) where skin was stapled on – $136
  • Replaced entire roof skin with single piece of .040 aluminum – $229
  • Replaced damaged skin on front of trailer – $40

Total aluminum skin, paint, and framing cost – $1,110

Estimated labor – 125 hours


Total window cost – $426

Estimated labor – 60 hours

Exterior (Misc)

Total exterior (misc) cost – $468

Estimated labor – 15 hours

Underside and Tongue

Total underside and tongue cost – $1,326

Estimated labor – 27 hours

Brakes and Wheels

Total brakes and wheels cost – $581

Estimated labor – 16 hours

12v Electrical

Total 12v electrical cost – $1,346

Estimated labor – 39 hours

110v Electrical

  • Installed new breaker box (m) and breakers – $34
  • Upgraded to 30a service from 20a (new wiring, new plug) – $92
  • Installed new interior outlets – $92
  • Installed exterior outlet and new exterior covers (amz) – $50

Total 110v electrical cost – $268

Estimated labor – 13 hours


Total propane cost – $433

Estimated labor – 12 hours


Total plumbing cost – $1,066

Estimated labor – 25 hours

Interior (Walls)

Total interior (walls) cost – $606

Estimated labor – 53 hours

Interior (Kitchen)

  • Rebuilt dinette table with new laminate (hd) and aluminum trim – $163
  • Replaced laminate (hd) on kitchen counter – $81
  • Added Smart Tiles to backsplash – $90
  • New aluminum trim between counter and backsplash – $35
  • Cleaned oven – $5

Total interior (kitchen) cost – $374

Estimated labor – 30 hours

Interior (Cabinets, Curtains, Cushions)

  • Rebuilt two new cabinet doors to replace missing doors under the kitchen counter – $62
  • Rebuilt cabinet where fridge used to be (water damage from the roof above) – $80
  • Expanded closet/fridge space to create small bathroom. Built new door – $107
  • Installed new handles. Cleaned and painted old hinges. New hinges on seats – $134
  • Bought new high density foam and sewed new cushion covers for dinette and couch – $672
  • Sewed new curtains for windows, new curtain rods – $285

Total interior (cabinets, curtains, cushions) cost – $1,340

Estimated labor – 88 hours

Interior (Floor)

  • Removed old vinyl flooring. Replaced with new vinyl wood interlocking planks – $194
  • Removed and cleaned old aluminum edging, added new aluminum edging and quarter round – $57

Total interior (floor) cost – $251

Estimated labor – 29 hours



Purchase Price – $600

Total cost put into trailer – $10,195

Total estimated labor – 532 hours

Before/After Interior