The Next Phase (Aaron: Part II)

I've driven this RV twice. It was a challenge for sure, I've never driven any vehicle this size and especially one that weighs as much as it does. The RV does have a 440 dodge big block and can obviously pull a ton. I was expecting it to have a bit more power though. Now that we have removed so much out of it maybe it would be a little easier to drive. I am sure there are some things I can do to the engine and transmission to give it more horsepower.

First I need to focus on ensuring the engine and the vehicles standard operations are in tip top shape. I am going to get the carburetor rebuilt and a nice tune up done as well. Also the last six feet of exhaust is rusted through. I will have to custom order two pipes in a certain shape and have a buddy weld them on for me. I think then the beast will be sound mechanically, I hope.

After this phase is complete my focus will be on selecting my solar set up which comprises of so many elements, besides just panels and a battery, when it comes to powering a business on wheels. I have a strong idea in the direction I'm going to go when it comes time to buying everything. I believe will be the most expensive aspect of this project.

After I install the solar panels and components, it will be a day of cheer and happiness because then I can start wiring up my outlets and fixtures. I have never done any electrical work, but again I have watched a lot of videos and have brushed up on the basics on electricity. I am sure I will run into issues with this, though I have several friends that can help me sort out the issues when they present themselves. I am very confident though when it comes to it.  After this phase it starts to get more progressive. Reconstruction!  

We have plans to use a local carpenter to add some nice earthy flare and trace other resources when thinking of our flooring, walls and ceiling. I plan on putting in pallet board wood as our flooring. There is a local wood dump where I can get this all free. I believe the ceilings will be pallet board as well. To give the store a bright open feel the walls will be painted white. There are two ceiling fans I will remove and custom order a skylight cover to bring in more natural light. The RV has 11 windows so it will feel very open already. 

When I think of a bookstore, I see walls full of books where I feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to start. Sarah and I don't want to overwhelm our customers by overcrowding our store. Our plan is to have floating open shelves. I am dead set on gun metal grey plumbers piping as the basic structure for the shelves to sit on. I will use a local carpenter to build us some raw edged shelving that has a matching stain as the rest of the wood has. Bookstores generally don't have too much seating, so inside the RV we plan on having a couple cozy secluded nooks for people to get lost in reading during their stay. I'm unsure exactly what I want this to look like and unsure as well about the locations of these areas in the RV itself.  Aside from the few seats on the inside of the vehicle we will provide outdoor seating with small tables, so for instance if some people want to get together for a book club, we can accommodate them.  

Another really cool idea we had is to have a bar where people can order coffee (and hopefully wine) without having to go inside. We will have display cases of select books on the outside as well. There will be an awning to shade our guests on sunny days and a propane outdoor heater for when it gets a little chilly. We want to provide the most comfortable experience.

We plan to mostly keep our business parked locally (hopefully on commercial street). The great thing about our business being in an RV is that if we feel the location we are parked at isn't getting enough foot traffic we can move elsewhere. Also, we plan on going to different festivals and other events all across Missouri. This RV provides us to literally have our business anywhere we want. If we ever move out of state our business comes with us without having to deal with commercial building contracts and all the expenses that go along with that.  Our power will come from the sun, so that eliminates burning fossil fuels thus maintaining a self sustaining business. 


Hey, Aaron here.


So my wife has had a life long dream of owning her own book store. I embraced her passion and took it on as my own. Now the difficult part of this is I am not an avid reader of books. Where does this leave me? A supportive husband with a shared passion. Over the course of time we slowly planned and dreamed about what we would like our bookstore to be comprised of: a rustic yet modern appeal, homey but not like your grandmother's house. somewhere you could go and feel like you are outside yet still secluded in your own world. We gathered all these thoughts but didn't really have a sure plan.

An opportunity came to us to purchase an RV my grandmother had recently acquired. Suddenly it clicked. To achieve everything we wanted we could simply put our ideas for our bookstore into this mobile vehicle. Knowing nothing about RVs,  and on an impulse, we got a small loan and bought the 1979 Chrysler Beast. 31 feet long and a lovely fading cream and green in color, this vehicle was at its prime.

After its purchase we parked it at my parents house. At the time we had a basic idea of what we wanted to do with it and how its layout will look like. We still do but nothing is set in stone. And that is the whole thrill of it and probably some of the reason this project is taking longer than expected.

To start, we just started ripping out everything we could see because its all green carpet and pink curtains and dark brown cabinets..its an 80's mess. I wish now I would have slowed down a bit on my end of the demo. I would have taken into account some of the original aspects I now would have liked to keep. (Though when we are finished, I will have added a flare of its time to commemorate its soul)


We haven't yet decided to keep a bathroom in it yet, so I haven't taken out the toilet, and we haven't removed the cockpit. We started by tearing out the larger items like the cabinets and other storage areas, beds, tables, a few walls. Once the larger of the items were out we had a giant pile of old appliances and torn up particle board and glass. Luckily a lot of this we could burn, so we gradually added this to a burn pile, that luckily was nearby. Unfortunately everything but the refrigerator and the floor heaters were not salvageable so dad and I took it to the local dump and got rid of it. Now after we were finished getting everything big out we focused on tearing up the carpet (and the thousands of staples that came with tearing it up) It has been my least favorite aspect of all this so far.

We were hoping to salvage more out of the demolition than we did, but hopefully we can make up for that by using re-purposed wood and other materials from local sources. I also had the idea to run this RV off the grid using solar, so I tore out a lot of the old rotting wiring from the outdated fixtures and other devices that are to be replaced.

Now is the start of a new year and spring is right around the corner. The RV stands as a bare empty canvas awaiting a makeover. But I can't start constructing our dream just yet, there is so much to do! I have watched countless hours watching  conversions of RVs. Whether it's a food truck, or people living off the grid in their camper or cabin, and solar set ups. I am not an expert yet on any of this, but soon I will have the know how on all of this.

To Be Continued: The Next Phase

The Deconstruction, Part I

This has been my least favorite stage. We started by taking down doors and cabinets. It felt cluttered and chaotic. Like someone had just trashed the RV looking for expensive things to steal. Our initial plan had been to reuse as much as possible, to repurpose it, and ultimately save some cash. But as we went along, more and more was thrown out. "That piece is particle board. This one is rusted. And I don't even know what this is."

Early on I came across a dead creature and its nest. It had been living underneath the bed. Oh dear. Soon a hornet moved in to the ceiling area. To this day I haven't been able to get it out.   Or maybe it's just different hornets coming and going as they please. Either way you will hear at least one person scream per work day. And we have had a delay with removing the cabinets above the driver's seat when Aaron's arm broke out in a rash. 

We recruited my nephew to help us. He has been a huge blessing to us. I think he secretly likes destroying things. Tell him to tear down a wall and he goes at it like a bear is attacking him. His methods have led to some minor injuries but ultimately he shrugs it off and gets back to it. Thanks to him, a wall was removed and the shower ripped out.

Don't mind Aaron's face. He had probably just hit himself with a hammer or knocked his knees against a random object.

We have had to strip it down to the insulation.

The only parts that remain are the cockpit, and the toilet and storage closet. This whole process has been very slow with us only working 2-3 days a month. 

Next: The Descontruction, Part II: The Dreaded Cockpit.

The Executive

Let's talk about this RV. It's a thing of real beauty. A 1979 Executive Motorhome. As you can see, it's straight from the 1970s. Floral fabric, green carpet with hints of an orange carpet underneath, and brown cabinets.  First impressions? Dark, crowded, old, lots of carpet.

Aaron and I have no experience with RVs or remodeling anything on wheels. Everything we find and encounter will be followed with furious googling and phone calls to friends and family. 

Our goal from the beginning was to take everything out. Literally everything you see. We want to start with a blank slate. There is plenty of space and potential in this vehicle. The most difficult obstacle is the age of the vehicle. Even taking it down to the studs, those studs are going to be really old. We are taking a risk with using something this old and worn. I will describe in more detail in another post what we have come across in the deconstructing of the RV.

Looking at these pictures now, after we have begun the deconstructing process, I wonder how I even knew this would work. Ha! So much of what you see here is gone. I'm excited to show you but I'm going to hold off. 

Coming Up: The Deconstruction

An Introduction

Hello friend. My name is Sarah. And I am the owner of the Wayfarer. 

What is the Wayfarer? It is a mobile bookstore located in Springfield, Missouri that will operate exclusively from a 1979 Executive Motorhome. Why do I say will? Because we are in the process of remodeling the RV. When it is finished it will be a modern, moving bookstore on wheels selling used books and offering locally brewed coffee and tea.

For some time now I have dreamed of running my own business and I knew I wanted to sell books. As time went on that dreamed evolved and took on new life. I thought about an old school, stuffed to the brim store with piles of books and cats. I thought about the bookstore that served hipster coffee and tiny pastries. The ideas fell out of me but nothing stuck. Skip to last Thanksgiving and there it appeared. My husband's granny had an RV that she needed to sell. We decided to check it out on a whim. I knew before I stepped onto the green rug and laid my eyes upon those brown cabinets and sat on the floral couch that it would be perfect. No longer could I see the brick and mortar store of old but instead I could see the mobile bookstore. It was perfect.

Since purchasing the RV we have been focusing our energies on gutting it completely. Tearing out cabinets, pulling up carpet, and bringing down the walls. It will need to be stripped to the bare. It will be a hard and fun journey.

So what's this blog for? I am going to tell you everything! Yep. I'm going full disclosure and letting you all in on the process of starting the business, the physical work involved in remodeling the RV, and eventually opening the business. You can look forward to the details of how one starts a business and all the little unforeseen details that come about. You will see what it takes to remodel an RV and the mishaps that occur along the way. And you will see how we are going to transform it from an old RV to a mobile bookstore.

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Sarah. I am dreamer of this project. I grew up in northwest Missouri where I spent the majority of my time reading science fiction books, crooning to Jeff Buckley, and watching Japanese horror movies. I moved to Springfield 2004 for college and I never left. I love Springfield and it has become my home. My husband is Aaron and he is my partner in this endeavor. He grew up in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Iowa. He moved to Springfield in 2014, not long before we met. 

This is the Wayfarer on the day we bought it.

I truly hope you will follow us on this journey!