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Thursday, October 13, 2022

Hello From Sunny Arizona! And a sneak peek at our little trailer refitted for comfort!

Travel is always interesting! With new sights and so much to do! New people to meet and lots to explore. And hopefully no problems along the way...But sometimes the unexpected happens and you blow a tire, yikes!

We traveled almost 1200 miles in three days, stopping only for fuel, to let the grandson play a bit and get some wiggles out, and of course to sleep. We even planned ahead and made sandwiches for the next day's lunch after dinner. Little did we know how lucky we were when the tire blew, we were within a few miles of our landing spot at Catalina State Park, while we waited for our volunteer shifts to begin. 

For some reason having a tire blow out has been a repeat for my husband. You may recall he blew a tire on the SUV he was driving coming back from Butte Mt while we waited for the truck to be fixed! But this time it was a tire on our little 5thwheel trailer. Since we have dual tires I didn't really feel a thing when it blew. But fortunately a kind Arizonian motioned for me to roll down my window as we entered the freeway. And I am so glad I did, he let us know we had just blown a tire. Perfect timing since we had not gotten back up to full speed...

Now I will admit that blowing a tire is never a good thing. This one happened on a busy freeway, but that is better than an empty highway with no one around to help! Our 5th wheel is small at only 24.5 feet long, but it is still difficult to change a tire under a hot, low to the ground chassis on a busy freeway. And while we do not count on help (because we try to be prepared), once again we were aided by the kindness of two strangers! That might be the best part of traveling, seeing time and time again how many wonderful people there are all around!

I am grateful we had 12 days in camp, here at Catalina State Park because we had a lot of organizing to do to get our trailer ready for living in during our volunteer time. Why? Well you see, we had removed all of the original factory furniture and were now ready to re-fit with all the furnishings we wanted. And that are a lot more comfortable. 

  • The dining booth? Gone! It took up a large footprint of space, plus I had a hard time reaching the cupboards directly above it. And those booth seats were hard to find any comfort at all when sitting  in them. 
  • The Jack-knife sofa? Gone! In our opinion, only a small child can find any comfort on a Jack-knife sofa. Plus all the furniture in our little trailer was original and about 15 years old, so while it looked new, it was not!
  • The RV Queen bed? Gone! Due to the size of our 5thwheel, the bedroom "suite" had a very low ceiling. Quite a bit like climbing into a camper bed. Honestly, you really could not stand up straight without bumping your head! But all that open space is perfect for storing everything you need while traveling. Plus once settled, it is easy to set it up as a sitting room with comfy chairs, books, games and a TV. 

Not only were all three items were uncomfortable, none of them fit our needs. Since this will be our home for the next 5 months, and as long as we continue to travel, we decided to go for comfort! When I first proposed this idea to my husband, really, he just went along. But the other day once it was all set up, he confessed that he really hadn't thought it would work out as well as it did. And it all turned out to be as comfortable as I had hoped it would be. Good thing, since all those original pieces are long gone! 

So how do we sit and eat a meal, or even sleep? Come and take a look...Yikes, look past the crocked curtain rod, we did get that figured out as the day went on.

The dining booth was traded out for a small table and two chairs. The table was new, but we found used chairs for a great price. For shared meals with family and friends, we will use the picnic table at our campsite. Having the table face the window, we can look out, but more importantly, I can easily reach the cupboards above. And I have more work space if needed when cooking.

The bed you see is actually a dense foam "flip couch". My husband built a sliding frame for it to sit on whether it is a couch or a bed. I do have the option of flipping it to a couch each day, but I don't mind the made up bed at all. As a matter of face, much like a studio apartment, it is cozy and laid out very well for everything we need close by. For traveling, we fold it up, and it fits just fine in the slide room. Plus the TV is easily stored between the cushions, for travel. Which I will come back and update with photos...

The bedroom area was turned into this sitting room! We each have a comfy chair, (because these outdoor chairs sit so low, I put a pillow in the seat) a small book shelf for books, movies, games and music. Plus having a separate sitting room allows us each to be comfortable should someone need to lay down or go to bed earlier than the other. For this area we already had most of the items, completing this area with no major expenses. 

We also removed all the factory installed valances and blinds. 

The kitchen is fully stocked with all the appliances we needed, which was a selling point on this smaller trailer, when we downsized. It has a double sink, lots of storage, a 3 burner gas stove and oven, refrigerator and a microwave. 

But we did put together this small pantry with a couple of wire shelves. The plastic storage containers are easy to store for travel, but the shelves fit right perfectly in the floor space right by the slide room. The shelves do not have to be unpacked before taking off. I do sit the coffeemaker and basket of snacks between the legs of the kitchen chair during travel. 

Personalizing your home space for camping can be a frugal project or you can spend a lot of money. The choice is completely up to each camper. We (naturally!) chose the frugal route, and we have been quite comfortable these past few days! Who knows, maybe you will find an idea or two to improve your own camping comfort.

During our time on hold at Catalina, we have been cooking most of our meals in the kid's trailer and visiting with the grandson at the same time. But once at Lost Dutchman we will be setting up an outdoor kitchen and I can't wait to once again share some great recipes with you! If you have any questions about any recipe or idea found here at Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household, just drop me a line. We have great internet at our disposal! 

I thought I would come back and update this post to show how easy the flip couch is to fold up! 

When the backrest is folded down, the foot stools fit right in the open spot to make a tidy and firm bed.

The frame was made by my husband, he scanned a few pins on Pinterest and custom made this one for our space. Everything about the couch, and the frame is light weight enough that one person can comfortable fold up the bed and get it ready for traveling.

It seats two comfortable, and the foot stools are comfortable!

Our TV is freestanding, but it fits and travels safely right here between the cushions!

Full disclosure: after a couple of nights on the road we did stop and get a 3 inch memory foam topper for the bed. Some days, these old bones need a little bit more comfort than this gives...

Bedroom area with curtains. 

Dining area with curtains, and yes, this is where I write my blog posts while on the road. 

And as always, thanks for for visiting and offering all your comments, I appreciate it so much more than you know. 



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  1. Oh, no! Look at that tire! We have friends who blew a tire which caused their truck to wreck. He got banged up but she now has brain damage. You all were lucky it didn't pull the truck and cause a bad accident. I love your redo on the camper! I see folks redoing theirs on social media. Makes it so much more homey especially if you're going to live in it for a while. Enjoy your time at Catalina and share more posts about your adventures while there. Thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 85. Shared.

  2. Wow, that's quite a tire blowout!! I go to Tucson often as my sister lives there. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty.

  3. I haven't been camping for years!! I really love your mugs #ALittleBitofEverything

  4. Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 86. Shared.

  5. What a great idea to retrofit your camper to better suit your needs. It makes life so much easier when you don't have to "fight" the space in order to do what you want/need to do. Thanks for sharing your post with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)


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