Saturday, May 23, 2020

Traveling with Terrapin - in a pop-up camper

Introducing the newest member to the Terrapin tribe, our cozy pop-up camper "Dutch Oven".  

We set out with a modest budget of $2,000 to fulfill our wildest camper dreams. We found Dutch Oven for a cool $1000 from a shady couple and to our surprise when we went to register the camper it hadn't even been reported stolen. 

Dutch Oven is a bit smaller than we were originally hoping for but she fits the bill. She's small enough to fit in the garage and light enough to be pulled with my mom-mobile. 

Before photo from listing

before photo from listing

With the leftover $1000 from our budget we painted, put in new flooring, bought new upholstery, and paid a teacher to create new cushion covers, made new curtains with lightweight tapestries and covered countertops with thick contact paper that looks like marble.

During the remodeling and refitting process of getting Dutch Oven ready for dry camping, Phil got in touch with his sailor self and now this glorified tent has solar, a charge controller, a water pump, all new electrical, special gas valves for cooking both inside and outside, 4 new fans and a new waterproof roof, oh and a 4 pack of bike racks. If it weren't for the quarantine I don't know that we would have finished the projects that we through would only take a few weekends and ended up taking months. 

We originally planned our trip pre-Coronavirus and have had to make some detours and changes to the itinerary. We will shuck and jive our way from Colorado to North Carolina for a beach week taking a southern route and plan to return driving a northern route. 

We've used a few different websites to help us navigate through free camping, private land camping,  BLM land, etc. 

Hipcamp- this is an awesome site where people list their private land for camper and RV use. We used this site to book a farm in Illinois and a camp friendly brewery in South Dakota. Has an app too.

Campendium- we used this website often to reference camping spots that we found but wanted to make sure they were up to snuff. It also provides free camping spots

The Dyrt - this website provides reviews of camping spots and makes for a good reference.

FreeRoam - this app offers up tools and a community for those wanting to boondock and is a popular resource for vanlifers. It also lists spots for RV's. 

If you're up for an adventure, then stay tuned as we stuff 4 people, 4 bikes, and 1 fat dog into a pop-up camper the size of a shoe for a 7-week expedition. What could possibly go wrong? 

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