Before I dive into remodeling and adapting Boots Kimiko to my needs, I want to make sure everyone has a chance to see just how gorgeously well maintained she is.
Her convertible bed/bench is in excellent condition with original cushions, and the 1976 shag carpet preserved by clear plastic. The canvas of the pop up is rather delicate around the zippered windows, but otherwise free of mold and operates well.
The fridge was taken out at some point and replaced with a small air conditioning unit (connected to AC power) and a custom shelf for a plastic cooler. Part of the original cabinetry was remodeled to create a swinging counter that reveals a small chemical toilet. There was also a slight modification to the above cab mini bed area, a custom shelf built to hold the table and bed pieces.
The Chinook's original design made excellent use of a small space, and when I first purchased the rig in September I had no intention of an interior overhaul. Her previous owner was thrilled that I wanted to keep her authentic interior, so Phin, if you come across this post, I am sorry, but I have some necessary adjustments!
After spending a night with her out in the deep woods, many hours sitting inside thinking, getting the feel for the place, and a difficult late night set up for friends on Thanksgiving (read - after much whiskey) I've realized that the bed design is just not going to work for me. To move around various table surfaces, cushions, and legs in such a small space every day is defeating the simplicity of the Chinook. The design is such that the made up bed takes up most of the interior, so you can't logically leave it down all day. And the bench alone is not wide enough for an adult to comfortably sleep on.
Yesterday I dismantled the bench, careful to save any useable legs and hinges. I also hope to find a new home for the cushions with someone who still has the original seating in their Chinook.
I was sitting in a hotel room at 3 AM on the Oregon coast when I dreamed up a design for a new bed to bench that will make better use of the space. It will also set up much faster!
The 70's shag carpeting has been wearing on me as well. I mean what kind of disturbing stuff is living in 40 year old carpet...
Ideally I'd like to rip the rug out, lay down a layer of insulation, a new plywood base, and then bamboo flooring. I had hoped not to pull out the heater, sink and electrical AC system (not original, not sure how to use) until next summer when I am on the east coast and have more experienced hands to help. Those are all located along the left hand side of the camper, and also have carpet under and around them. Now that the bench is out it does seem like a good time to do the whole floor.
This month I put in a new engine battery and tightened some connections myself, but I wanted to bring her to more experienced eyes to feel out any major repairs coming our way. I was incredibly lucky to have been handed a folder with most of the Chinook's service history upon purchase. That information helped me find a willing mechanic, as my own shop doesn't service vehicles that old, nor do any of the other shops I called in the area. I found a receipt in my folder for West Seattle Autoworks, turns out they had seen my rig 4 years ago and were willing to work on her again.
I had the oil changed, some links added to the timing chain, and I have a list of small repairs to take care of before we set out in the spring. Otherwise she has new tires and a clean bill of health to tackle adventures this winter.