Build Day 4 – Projects Completed: 6

Oh to bask in the soft orange glow of electric light! I finally finished wiring up the Shasta and I am beside myself with pride. I help people at work all day long with how to wire this and what they need to connect that but this is the first serious electric project I have completed on my own. The first time I flipped on that breaker and the lights came on I couldn’t help myself but yell out for joy and make a victory lap around the camper! We’ve had a few days to get some work done and I am so proud of us for what we’ve completed. We have run 10/2 romex wire down the side wall beneath the bench and added a 20 amp outlet to the rear wall so that we have a dedicated circuit for the air conditioner. We had the old unit repaired and installing it in the window was one of the first things we completed. It only blows low cool but that is plenty for the inside of the Shasta. We also ran some 12/2 romex straight down from the breaker box and added a 15 amp outlet for the microwave and the refrigerator. That outlet is on the same circuit that the lights are on. I’m not sure how much load it will require but if we have to turn the lights out to microwave our ramen noodles then that’s something we’re just going to have to work around. I would replace the breaker but we re-used an old breaker box and finding replacements is more of a challenge than I thought. We also put in the new sink faucet and got it connected to the new water inlet. There is no hot water but I didn’t want to question which knob to turn every time so I put a dual outlet valve onto the inlet and connected both sides of the faucet to the cold. This way I will get a chuckle ever time someone let’s the water run waiting on it to get warm.

It appears that the manufacturing tolerances of the late 60’s weren’t what they are today because nothing inside the Shasta is square. When we were building the cabinets and cutting the lids, close became close enough real quick. The only tools we have are a circular saw, a tape measure, a miter saw, and a drill; no table saw, no chalk line, no carpenter’s square. Accurate cuts are out of the question. “It’s just a camper” has become the official motto of the build but given what we are working with I am very proud of what we’ve done. We framed in the new bench over the wheel well. We built a rear wall that helps support the air conditioner. We cut lids for the dinette, the side benches, and the rear bench. We put on hinges and added extra supports to all of the seats. There are actually places to sit down in there now. Finishing the inside is going to take a lot of trim pieces,  liberal use of wood putty and more sanding than I want to even think about, but when all is said and done she’s going to be perfect.

We got to enjoy our first meal in the Shasta late Sunday night. The box of Popeye’s chicken and a cold Coors light accented perfectly the smell of sweat and fresh cut wood.


Build Day 1 – Projects Completed: 0

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Our first day working on the Shasta was a resounding success. We started by pulling out all of the things that we didn’t want or were replacing. First thing out was the propane stove. The previous owner said that the stove worked fine but to me it looked like a 40 year old fire hazard. It had to go. A turn of the wrench here, and a tug there and it was gone. Having it out will open up room for a refrigerator and microwave which seems like a fair trade-off. Next out was the platform the previous owner had built over the rear bench seat. It was big enough to hold a queen size air mattress but it dominated all of the good seating in the back of the trailer. It’s exciting how much room opened up once we removed it; I sense a Shasta dance party in the near future. After the platform was out we removed the air conditioner and delivered it to the repair shop. It looked fairly new to us and the technician said all that it needed was a new switch so we had him order it for us. It’s a 5,000 btu window unit so I expect to be able to hang meat in there once we get it put back in. Beneath the dinette bench there was a water tank that wasn’t connected to anything so we pulled it out.  We have no need to store water and the idea of having to care for and maintain a water supply holds no excitement for me. The biggest job of the day was removing the cabinet that was right inside the door and to the left. Taking it out opened the camper up visually and makes it seem a lot larger on the inside. I love all of the extra elbow room that it opened up. We will be able to extend the bench over the wheel well and seat at least two more people. We also had to remove a bit of the paneling that had warped due to water damage. The last thing we worked on was running the wire for the tail lights. There were two brand new LED tail lights bolted to the rear bumper but no wires to connect them to. I had a trailer light kit in my shop so we put the Shasta up on a pair of ramps and I climbed underneath and ran the wire. I didn’t have any self tapping screws to connect the ground wires so that’s another project that sits unfinished. All in all it was a very satisfying work day. We completed a lot of steps toward finishing some projects but I don’t feel that any of them can be marked done. My favorite part of the day was sitting on the rear bench after all of the work was done and talking about all of our ideas for moving forward. I’m just as excited about the Shasta as the day we got her.

1968 Shasta Loflyte

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This is the beginning of a journey. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her. She’s has the perfect balance between size and comfort. Any larger and she would be a pain in the neck to haul, any smaller and you wouldn’t have enough room to turn around inside. Seeing her there behind the fence, towered over by a neglected yacht, my imagination went flush with the possibilities. I could see so much potential beneath that tarnished shell. She had to be rescued. Once I got a look at the interior I knew she would be mine. A lot of elbow grease and a bit of ingenuity and we will have the perfect little pull-behind. This is my first vintage camper and I look forward to the challenge. Sadly I don’t know much about her history. I’ve met two of her previous owners. The earliest worked at a pawn shop and used the Shasta as hunting camp. He’d leave her parked out in the woods year round, only visiting her a few weekends out of the year. From what I can figure he owned her for two years. According to the next owner, he didn’t take very good car of her. She went without routine maintenance and was wasting away. The next owner was the man I purchased her from. He seemed like a clean guy and he used her the same as the last. The difference is he pulled her out of the woods in the off season and took that chance to do maintenance. Every outside seam is thickly coated with what appears to be roof sealer. He installed a queen size platform over the rear bench and did some repairs to the damaged areas. That’s all I know of her history. 40 years of missing story. What a shame. This is her story now.