Popup Camper Stepper Door Fix

So, on our last camping trip our stepper door latch failed and the door popped open while we were driving down the highway. Surprising to say the least! Paula and I grabbed the Gorilla Tape and made some hasty repairs and we made it home without further incident. However, after further inspection we determined that it was time to replace the door latch that the previous owners had installed. It was a garage door t-handle and it really was not working out. To make matters worse it would not lock and it would spin all the way around which is what caused the failure. If you moved the handle to far then the latch bars which are supposed to stick out of the door and engage the body of the camper can fall into the door.

So, after checking out my new favorite site The Popup Princess to see how they did it and then heading on over to Coleman Popup Parts I purchased a new locking handle and the spreader bars. I also picked up a new rivet gun and 3/16″ rivets from Amazon.com.

First I used a 3/16″ drill bit to drill out the original rivets all the way around the door.

This would allow the door skin to separate from the door and grant me access to the latch.

I had to remove the top plate on the door as well. That gave me better access to the interior so I could slide my hand inside and install the new hardware.

With the old handle out it was time to install the new one and the new spreader bars. The handle is secured on by two screws through the door skin and there was a small metal plate on the back as well to help add some strength. Unfortunately I forgot to get some pictures of it while I was working. This is the picture after the new handle and bars were already installed.

Now, when you are putting in the new spreader bar there are two things to make sure you do correctly. First make sure that the bar is lined up correctly with the square post on the handle so that when you turn the handle the bar swings the correct way and either extends or retracts the spreader bars. So how I did it was to turn the handle flat (as if it was closed) and then made sure the spreader bar was fully extended. The second thing to watch out for (I messed this one up!) is that the ends of the spreader bar are bent slightly to allow them to catch the slots on the body. If you put the bar on backwards so those bends are facing down toward the ground then they will never catch the slots when you close the door.
Instead make sure they point up so they are angled correctly when the door closes. See the picture below for the correct installation.

Once the handle is working correctly, you start by putting the top plate back on. This holds the flooring down on the step, and the skin fits into a slot on the top as well. I used a clamp to hold everything in place while I installed the rivets.

Once all the rivets were installed, the door was tested and it worked perfectly! I am so happy with how it came out!

I purchased all the hardware from Coleman Popup Parts they shipped quickly and everything fit perfectly.

Family Camping Trip

We took our pop up camper on a dry run this past weekend and went camping out in the Poconos. It was a great weekend with nice weather and the entire family had a good time. We learned a lot about the camper and how to use it as well. I think both Paula and I have nice long lists of things we want to do to make the camper even better!

New (old) Pop Up Camper

We recently acquired a 2001 Coleman Westlake Popup Camper. Paula and I had been talking planning for a trip to the Grand Canyon next summer and when this camper became available we couldn’t pass it up. So, now that we have the camper we can move ahead with our plans to visit the Grand Canyon! The camper needs some work and we’ll be documenting all that we do to it here on our website, in addition to our planning for our trip across country.

High Adventure Canoe Trip

This past July Alex and I went on a multi-day canoe trip in the Adirondacks with his Boy Scout Troop, Troop 888 of Smithtown. The trip consisted of a 40 mile paddle spread out over 4 days and on day 2 a 1.5 mile canoe portage to get around a waterfall. The trip started on Long Lake in New York, and ended on Tupper Lake and we camped overnight along the way. There were about 6 boys from the troop and myself and one other adult. We all had a great time and the experience was amazing.

Camp Yawgoog 2015

Once again, this past August the Troop went up to Rhode Island to Boy Scout Summer Camp at Camp Yawgoog. This year it was the Centennial Celebration for Yawgoog. They put together a great week of activities and events for the boys. It was also Nick’s first year going to Yawgoog. He had a great time and really got a lot accomplished while he was there. Alex also was the Senior Patrol Leader this year so he got to run the troop while we were up at Yawgoog. I think he did a great job and everyone seemed to have a good time. Here are some pictures from the week.

Alex’s Command Tent

One Rainy Morning – There was one day really early when a thunderstorm came through the camp. It was over by 8am and the rest of the week was sunny and beautiful.

Meal Time

Waiter Duty

Nap Time

Ashaway Aquatics Center

Saturday Night Show

Nokado Blue Belt Test

Congratulations to Nick for earning his Blue Belt at Nokado in Kings Park. He has been working hard and attending extra classes and its paid off. Mom and I are very proud of you.

Belt Presentation

Nick and Soke “O”

NH White Mountains Hut to Hut Hike

In the end of June Alex, Nick and I went with the Boy Scouts to the White Mountains of NH for a 3 day backpacking trip along the Presidential Range.

Our trip started on Saturday June 26th at the Highland Lodge in Crawford NH. We stayed overnight at the lodge and got an early start on Sunday morning, unfortunately it was raining and would continue to rain for two days. We hiked up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to Lakes of the Clouds Hut which is near the top of Mt Washington. It was a tough hike up but we were rewarded with a nice stay at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut and a warm welcome by the Hut Croo. We ate a hearty meal that night and slept well in our bunks. The next day we hiked Crawford Path / AT across Mt Monroe, Mt Franklin, Mt Eisenhower, and Mt Pierce to Mizpah Springs Hut where we stayed on our 3rd and final night. By the time we got to Mizpah Springs Hut everyone was ready to relax and we enjoyed good food and good company. The Hut Croo played a game of Jeopardy with everyone that night and all the boys enjoyed the competition.

Finally, we hiked down the Mizpah Cutoff to the Crawford Path and back to the Highland Center Lodge for our return trip home.
Even though the weather was rainy and the clouds kept us from seeing the spectacular views atop Mt Washington I think everyone had a good time. It was hard work but I am proud of everyone who did the hike and their accomplishments.

Here are a few pictures from the trip.
Highland Lodge

Nick Backpacking

Alex Backpacking

Crossing the Ammonoosuc River

Nice View

Lake of the Clouds Hut

Happy Hiking Crew

Happy Fathers Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day and we celebrated it by staying home and relaxing. We went swimming in the pool and hung out on the new deck. Alex put up my camping hammock and I was going to get in and relax a for few minutes but the weather changed and we had a pretty nasty thunderstorm for a little while. I have to say thank you to Paula for the gifts and for working so hard (she actually was out in the rain standing at the grill).

Alex on the other hand enjoyed the hammock while he could.

And 5 minutes later after the rain started.

New Deck

Our old deck had seen better days and was starting to show signs of needing repairs or replacement. So, this spring I decided to strip and rebuild it. I took a week off from work and spent the time removing the old boards and rebuilding the deck. It ended up being a family project and everyone chipped in to help out. It was a lot of hard work and its not completely finished yet but at least it looks better than it did. I can’t wait to be able to spend time outside enjoying it.

The old deck

Stripping the old deck

Building the new Deck

Memorial Day – ALMOST DONE