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Monday, November 27, 2017

Camper - A Blank Slate

It was love at first sight.  I wanted a FWC Fleet Shell model and there it was.  Only 1.5 hours from my house in superb condition.  

Only 2 previous owners and 2011 model matches the age of my Tacoma.  Other people wanted to buy it but had no way to come get it in Massachusetts and cost to ship was too much.  When I went to look at it I brought cash for a deposit in case I liked it.  I know FWC campers don’t last on the market long.

Minimal things had been done to the camper.  A cabinet for storage.  A deep cycle battery for some lighting and power for Engel compressor fridge, that was bigger than mine.  The battery is only charged from the truck’s engine.

The Engel was not only a larger model, it had the locking base and the two zone extension to make it an even bigger fridge.

Under the fridge was a propane install that supplies propane to a Wave 3 heater

The roof has a roof rack and two Fantastic vents.  The vent over the bed (further in Picture) is powered.  The one over the rear (closer to us) is passive (no fan - just a vent).

The original owner bought the camper from the FWC dealer in Wisconsin.  He lived in TN and had it for the majority of the time.  It was housed when in TN which accounts for the great condition.

The guy I bought the camper from in MA didn’t have it long using it for trips to the beach on MA south shore area (photo above).  He was selling as it didn’t work out the way he and his wife wished.

I paid a fair price for the camperat $9500.

I also knew when I bought it that I had my work cut out for me to outfit it the way I wanted for my 2018 travels.  

My future posts will take you through changes / modifications I have made.  This sounds simple but it wasn’t.  There were many things to learn, design, buy, and build/install to get it ready for January 2018.

Not included in the above, I will also cover preparations I made to my Tacoma to get it ready for the trip.

The reason I wanted a shell model with a blank slate was because I had studied the FWC and found them too heavy when the factory built them out.  

My goal during my build is the same I had when building my Prius in to a Vandwelling vehicle.  I wanted to have the same abilities in the Prius as I did in my Class B.  Now the Campervan will undergo a transition to provide as many of the abilities I had in the Prius.  Of course there will be some limitations, but there is a need for a goal.

I put the camper in my garage while working on it.

Thanks for following.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Planning For 2018 Travels

After 4 years of travels each winter, I decided to change my Vandwelling experience for 2018.

My first year of travels was in a 1994 Campervan.  I didn’t like the experience and knew the day I got back home in 2014 that I would sell it and buy a Prius.

I engineered my new to me Prius, and updated it to make it more functional and comfortable, each of my 3 years of travels. I bought it used with 8,000 miles and I now have 98,000 on it.  I totally love this vehicle and my Vandwelling experience in it during my 2015, 2016, and 2017 travels.

I am not getting rid of my Prius.  Those that have followed me know I have toyed with the idea of a light weight pop up camper for my Tacoma.  I even went to the Sacramento area to visit the Four Wheel Camper (FWC) factory and writ about it here.

Well, after a 2 week tour of Scotland and England in May, I came home and looked at Craigslist and there was a 2011 FWC Fleet camper, that was being sold in my state, made for a Tacoma.  It was a shell model and that meant that I could design my own environment for my 2018 travels.  It was like it was meant to be as FWC’s are rare on the east coast.  As you can see in the photo above I bought it and it’s been in my garage ever since while I engineer solutions based on my Prius travel experiences.  

There is a lot to catch you up on with reasoning for my decision to change up what I will travel in.  There are pros and cons.  The most obvious is that I loose MPG and I am no longer stealth.  To offset the loss of MPG and stealth, I gain too with the camper.  I plan to take you through all the pros and cons of my decision and take you through all my problems and engineering of solutions.

If my decision to make this change hasn’t caused you to cast me aside as a trader of Prius dwelling, you will get to follow me during my 2018 travels to places my Prius couldn’t go.

Like 2014 2018 will be an experiment with the camper and if I don’t like my change, my Prius awaits for me when I get home.

Those that have enjoyed my Prius designs should find my FWC designs equally as interesting.

For all my followers, just because I am switching doesn’t mean you can’t contact me and ask questions.  You will be surprised how my minimalist living in the Prius contributed to my design logic on the FWC.

I wanted to write a few more blog posts this summer but I’ve been very busy.  A family member had an accident.  I had a man week trip with my two wonderful sons ending with seeing the eclipse in ID on my birthday.  I took a family friend to New Orleans for a sightseeing trip.  Lastly, I just got back from a three week tour of China.

It’s now nose to the grindstone to get as much done on the camper by the end of December before I leave.  I know I will be still modifying when I’m in the road.

Thank you to all who contributed to 122,000+ blog views since I started my travels.  I hope to provide you all with a lot more starting in January.

Keep safe, and hope to see many at the RTR in January.