Honeybear and Me: It’s Complicated

My relationship status with Honeybear the camper has moved from “head over heels in love, through think and thin, “Here’s looking at you, Kid’” to “it’s complicated.”

It hasn’t been an easy road and the road ahead is a Forrest Service road that strongly suggests four wheel drive.

It hasn’t been an easy road and the road ahead is a Forrest Service road that strongly suggests four wheel drive.

For the last month and a half, I’ve spent almost all my free hours working on Honeybear. I’ve worked by lantern light after my day job, I’ve put in 10 hour days during my time off, I’ve listened to entire podcast seasons fixing problems, and I’ve been to the hardware store more times than I can count (but I did count the day I went four times). When a water leak forced me to rebuild the back half of the camper from the frame up, I took it as a challenge. And with the help of my family, I had the camper back in shape within a couple of weeks. But now, I’m getting a little fed up with Ol’ Honeybear.

As it stands today, the air conditioner is pulling in more hot air than it’s making cold air, the old ac needs to be removed  (if there’s rotten wood under it, I’m going to pull my hair out in rage) and a skylight put in its place, the escape window is leaking water onto the bed I built from scratch when it rains (which is happening more and more as Florida’s monsoon season approaches), the door handle replaced, a new screen door built, and today I found out that the break lights I reconnected last week are no longer working (which means I can’t hitch it up Thursday for an appointment I scheduled two weeks ago to have the wheel bearings re-packed). It is starting to feel like the camper is working against me; like she doesn’t want to roam across the nation in search of drive-in movie theaters, but instead sit under an awning as an occasional antique toy.

My relationship status with Honeybear the camper has moved from “head over heels in love, through think and thin, “Here’s looking at you kid’” to “it’s complicated.”

I have help coming this weekend to figure a solution for the air conditioner. A two-way venting system might allow the unit to suck fresh air in one vent and push hot, used air out another but that’s going to probably require cutting into the aluminum wall. And like everything on the camper, the working space is uncomfortably tight. Even if we get it running, the unit might never be strong enough to cool the metal box that is my camper when the sun is at full strength, but a larger unit will overwhelm the electrical system and a new over the roof unit will run around a thousand dollars.

The escape window seems to be leaking because the bottom right corner isn’t latching properly but I can’t just buy a new latch because modern campers use emergency latches similar to what you’d find on a public bus and thirty-five years ago, campers used a much more primitive piece of metal to hold the window in place. So, I’ll have to keep taping a garbage bag over the window to help dam the deluge until I can figure a solution.  

The break lights…I have no idea.

The doors, I haven’t even really looked at yet.

Frankly, I’m tired of banging my head against Honeybear’s walls. I need to get out on the road to practice towing and my boondocking set up before heading out in June and every time I think I’m just one more weekend away from a test trip, something new comes up. I know every camper has issues and that a vintage camper means certain issues might appear more often, but this old lady needs to cut me a break or we’re going to have to have a serious talk.

Check back next week to see if we’re on speaking terms. I’m going to drink wine.