So, some of you have met my father. This blog post is going to come as no surprise.

Some of you haven’t met the man yet, so let me tell you a few stories to give you a picture. This is the man who has given us several cars and then purchased them back from us years later. He claims this makes perfect sense. We always needed the money and didn’t argue too hard.

This is the man who, in 1995, drove four hours straight into the bowels of Indiana for me because my 1988 Escort named Gloria was acting up, and it was two days before my final exams of my sophomore year. He traded the crappy Escort for the good family car and then nursed it another four hours straight home, on a cold December night. I finished my exams then drove home in comfort at the end of the week.

This is the man who picked up hitchhikers all through the 1980’s, brought them home, and fed them soup. (He doesn’t do that anymore, because ax murderers like our woodsy rural environment very much.)

This is the man who rewired my entire old house, paying for all the materials and then doing all the labor for free. This labor included crawling through the dark, damp, spider-infested crawl space under much of the house.

All I’m saying is that my dad loves to help people, and he loves a big assignment.

Which brings us to the camper sitting in his barn.

This is my mom and daughter, enjoying the new fresh scent of the camper (bleach and Bounce dryer sheets).
This is my mom and daughter, enjoying the new fresh scent of the camper (bleach and Bounce dryer sheets).

Akin to the aforementioned giving and re-buying of cars, a woman he knows from church needed to get rid of the camper. He took a look at it, decided it was beyond his skills, and politely declined.

But he couldn’t quite get the project out of his head. Truth be told, he’s out of projects around the house. He volunteers a few days a week but what’s life without a huge hulking piece of metal waiting for his attention in the barn?

So he paid the woman (he probably should have charged her instead) and found a way to drag the poor beast home. My mother raised her eyebrows but realizes this is safer than an ax murderer at the dining room table, so she has made her peace with it.

rotted camper veneerAnd now, oh glory, we have a camper to restore. I say we, but we really all know this means he. It’s not like I’m going to be able to drive 45 minutes home twice a week to hang out in the barn with Dad. But I do plan on helping, once he gets a plan in place. We’re talking major renovations, here. The roof has been leaking for years, the interior veneers are shot, the tires are different sizes, the heater is an explosion/carbon monoxide poisoning hazard, and various rodents have made this place their loving home.

Pray for us.

Do I actually like camping? No. I don’t. But I do love little houses, and I love anything retro. I’m hoping to con my dad into finishing this into a glorious 1960’s time capsule and then parking it right on their farm. I will come and “vacation” at my parents’ house, which means I will use their modern plumbing, eat their food, and then go sleep in their living room when I get scared outside.

This is my vision. But whiter, and with more blue. I'm not sure what Dad thinks...
I took this photo at the Red Barn show this year, and this is my vision. I’m not sure what Dad thinks…

But until then, Dad and I will have many hours of happy planning, researching, and gutting ahead of us. Family time, one moldy kitchen cabinet at a time.

Anyone else out there taken on a huge project recently?

13 Comments on Simply Impossible: Jessie and Her Dad Take on a Camper Restoration

  1. David
    September 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm (3 years ago)

    If your Dad needs any home projects send him over to us for a few months!

  2. Luanne
    September 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm (3 years ago)

    This looks like so much fun! I cannot wait for future blog entries, and tons of photos to go with said entries, chronicling the adventures of restoring this bit of history. It’s a bit like turning coal into diamonds, though, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Jessie Clemence
    September 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm (3 years ago)

    I should probably mention my father tends to throw things when he gets mad and yell “raunchy sucker!”

    This series is going to be epic.

    And we will be 92 when it’s finally over. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Jessie Clemence
    September 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm (3 years ago)

    I’ll let him know, but he tends to stick pretty close to the farm. My mother on the other handโ€ฆshe likes to get out.

  5. Anne
    September 9, 2014 at 9:23 am (3 years ago)

    This is thrilling! Dads are the best.

  6. Jessie Clemence
    September 9, 2014 at 11:03 am (3 years ago)

    They are, aren’t they!

  7. Chuck Morgan
    September 9, 2014 at 6:34 pm (3 years ago)

    I’ve met your dad a time or two. I see this ending with you/Eric buying a recently renovated camper (with rebuilt truck to tow it). 2 years later you’ll sell it back to some unsuspecting retiree in SW Michigan.

    “raunchy sucker!”

  8. Jessie Clemence
    September 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm (3 years ago)

    You see the situation so clearly, it’s almost like you know usโ€ฆ

    Or maybe we’ll sell the rig to an unsuspecting architect and his wife. HaHA.

    September 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm (3 years ago)

    So at some point the the whole Clemence gang is going to take a roadtrip. Enjoy helping the restoration. By the way, my doorbell isn’t working. I’d be happy to have your dad’s help.

  10. julie
    September 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Your mother is a saint!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Jessie Clemence
    September 18, 2014 at 3:36 pm (3 years ago)

    Ha! And who knows, maybe the camper can be used to house out of state cousins who drop by occasionally. I don’t plan to hog it.

  12. Jenni McWright
    September 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm (3 years ago)

    I just stumbled across this and completely love it! Good luck with the project and your parents’ farm sounds like a great place to have built and continue to build memories. “Raunchy sucker” makes me giggle. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Jessie Clemence
    September 21, 2014 at 6:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks, Jenni! I’m so glad you looked me up. The Morgan readership on this blog is growing, which is super exciting. ๐Ÿ™‚