What started out as a small repair on the camper revealed itself to be a major mold problem, in more places than one. I knew I had a small leak but Oregon’s monsoon-like rains of spring 2012 prevented me from making the repairs to the camper skin that were needed, and the rain continued to get worse.
It was cold here in Oregon at the time and as I stoked the wood stove, there was a ubiquitous drip of condensation on the windows and sense of wet in the air inside the camper. A rainy season here in Portland will predictably and without fail grow moss on anything. Any and all available waterway, no matter how small, will avail itself to the pressure of our spring rains. Yet, it wasn’t the rain that brought down the Rocket…….. it was the wood stove!
When I built the camper I opted for a steel shell instead of aluminum. The cost of aluminum, at the time of construction was a little too much for my budget. So, the framing was covered with insulation and then the metal over that. For 9 years it lived happily just so, until the wood stove was installed. For the first time, the ambient temperature changed drastically. The camper began to sweat, that is to say, condensation was building up on the inside of the metal directly against the insulation and wood, creating a steam bath on the inside.
I had gone away for two weeks during January of that year leaving my camper for the first time, parked alone. When I returned from the trip, I found the neglected stagnant buildup of mold dust. It was actually so bad that the morning after sleeping in there, upon return, my nose was swelled up from inhaling whatever it was.
When I finally had a window of good weather I decided to investigate what I thought might be the area in which the worst was occurring. This required taking most of my belongings out. What I found was devastating: underneath my wood stove “hood”, was a trap where a small stream of water gathered combined with buildup of condensation on the inside of the metal. Beneath the bed area, which was the cab over part, I found that water had settled in the metal making a small pool of constant moisture.
How, after all these years with no problem, can this be so bad? I decided to skin it and look at the whole structure, starting with the front.
With rationality, and perhaps in moments of sad haste, I realized that this problem had rendered my structure unlivable. I dismantled it in one afternoon. I did realize that aside from the mold that grew in a very short time, the camper would have held together for a very long time. It was sturdy, well built, maintained with love, and had given it back.
It has been almost 2 years since that day, and still, I miss it with all my heart.
After deconstruction, I paid 26.00 to dump the wood and got 28.00 for the scrap metal.