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We have just finished up renovating and moving into our beautiful class A motor home (lovingly known as Gurdy). We have just done quite the overhaul but let me back track a bit to get you up to speed. Luke (my husband) and I had been bitten by the travel bug since our trip to Cambodia in 2015.

The Beginning of a Dream

We were ready to go wherever but the timing just wasn’t quite right and life kept getting in the way. I finished my MSW in 2017, we got married, honeymooned in Ireland and then went on with regular old life. I worked as a school based mental health professional our first year of marriage then transitioned into nephrology social work in 2018. Luke was a commercial salesman at O’Reilly’s auto parts. Though both of us were pleased with our successes in day to day life we still felt the pull to do something…big and seemingly unreasonable I suppose?

We stumbled upon a documentary about young full time RVer’s working remotely and seeing all the country had to offer. That’s when it hit us, “Why not?”, “Why not us and why not now?”

A Call to Action

Working in dialysis I saw so many patients that I cared dearly for have to put dreams on the back burner because unfortunately their health had not held out. Tomorrow is not promised why not do exactly what we want now rather than 40 or 50 years from now? I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to hit the road, but honestly, when would it ever be easy?

Taking a Leap

Luke and I reflected on our possible future, the hope to become parents, continue building our careers, all the big life stuff we knew would take front and center in our lives in the next couple years. “Let’s do it.” we decided in January 2019, “Let’s hit the road as soon as possible.” .

“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”

— Eric Roth.

Luke and I went to an RV show for my 25th birthday to look at our options, I studied up on the costs, how we could make money on the road and budget, and how often we’d move campgrounds. In March 2019 we purchase our beautiful Gurdy, a 1993 Fleetwood Bounder and began the renovation.

Interior Renovation

My family ripped up the old carpet and painstakingly laid vinyl wood planks (which I stupidly thought would be a piece of cake, ha, but seriously if you ever need help with that you give me a call), we painted all of the interior cabin in Rustoleum white chalk paint and redid all the hinges and knobs from a 1990’s shiny gold to satin black. Luke updated light fixtures and the manly tasks. My mom did majority of the counter tops. I did back splash and all the pretty stuff!

My dear Mama Penny taking out the horrible carpeted window shades
Luke taking off doors and hardware to be painted

Luke spraying the doors with chalk paint
Luke spraying interior with chalk paint (on a miserably hot day in his paint suit)
We also painted the fridge though it was a different type of material than cabinetry, so far it’s held up!
Hardware painted using satin black spray paint
Freshly painted handles going back in!

Countertops

Butcher Block contact paper covers original countertops
Believe it or not this was a butcher block contact paper
Renovated Kitchen in 1993 Fleetwood Bounder using contact paper butcher block and peel and stick backsplash
Updated counter tops and back splash

Flooring

Vinyl wood planks replace carpet in 1993 Fleetwood Bounder
Vinyl wood planks going in, pro tip, use extra adhesive before laying floors.
Replaced flooring in 1993 Fleetwood Bounder with vinyl wood flooring planks
Beautiful, but much easier said than done!

Light Fixtures

Replaced light fixtures in 1993 Fleetwood Bounder using 12v Edison Bulbs. Luke Embry of Embry Adventure Co

Luke installing Edison bulb light fixtures, I found 12V Edison bulbs thanks to another RV blogger so we didn’t have to rewire anything!

Replaced light fixtures in 1993 Fleetwood Bounder using 12v Edison Bulbs

(Above) Our updated light fixturesOption 1. Option 2.

How To Replace Light Fixture:

You can use most any residential light fixture in your rig, the main thing to check is the voltage. Does your RV require 12v or 120v light bulbs? Checking the current bulbs should give you your answer, or count the wires! If it is 12v, there will be 2 wires behind the fixture, if it is 120v there will be 3. First, turn off the power! You’ll need to locate the electrical panel and flip the switches, then test to be sure it is off. Second, remove the canopy to expose the wiring. The canopy is the covering that lies flush to the wall and hides the wiring. This usually requires removing a screw or two holding the canopy in place. Once removed, the canopy will drop down. Third, you’ll then find 2 or 3 wires, black, white, and copper(120v). Unscrew the wire connectors and separate fixture wiring from the wall wiring. Boom! You’ve just removed a light fixture! Generally, your next step will be to replace the mounting bracket. Refer to instructions in the box here but if your fixture comes with a new bracket, you’ll want to use it. Fourth, it’s time to connect! Twist the wires of each matching color together using a wire connector on each of the three connected wires. It is a good idea to wrap these connections in electric tape or heat-shrink. Sometimes the copper wire will connect to a green grounding screw. Secure your new fixture and canopy to the wall and you are good to go! Don’t forget to turn back on the power and test out your beautiful new light(s). If you’re more of a video learner, check out the link below!

Bathroom Updates and More

1993 Fleetwood Bounder Bathroom redone sink, faucet, shower head, and Shower Curtain
The bathroom only got a few upgrades, new sink,faucet, shower head, and shower curtain. I highly recommend getting a new shower head to replace the one that came in your RV!
RV front curtains of 1993 Fleetwood Bounder dyed teal using Rit Dye
My mom and I dyed the dingy brown front curtains to a fresh teal, thanks Rit dye! (This was much easier than trying to make new super long curtains for the giant front windows)
Kelsey dying RV curtains
Me being a wishy washer woman AKA dying curtains.
Van Gogh Custom Roller Shade from Passenger Pigeon
We replaced all the carpeted shades with blackout roller shades, I sprang for a Van Gogh painting roller shade in the back bedroom.
Original checkered sliding doors 1993 Fleetwood Bounder RV
The checkered doors are original to the RV but I think they pop a lot more with the white!

Exterior Renovation

Then, we had to step back and look at the exterior, all the machines working together to move our new home and parts that aren’t quite as fun to spend money on. Gurdy had all new tires mounted, installed a tankless hot water heater (so we could continue to take long showers because you have to be boujee about something in life and if I have to choose it’s gonna be my shower)! Luke installed new airbags for a smoother ride, repaired a damaged rear view mirror, large awning, and a minor water leak. He re-sealed the ENTIRE roof. Seriously throughout this process I came to admire Luke and his work ethic more than I ever had before.

Peel and Stick Back Splash used for RV renovation
I went ahead and did the back splash on our entry step to tie it all together.

It takes a village, or a great husband…

Though I type “we” on a lot of these tasks, truly it was his sweat and a little blood (one mishap while dropping the gas tank) that got Gurdy looking like she does today. So, without further ado, may I introduce you to the one and only, Gurdy.

This is my first post on our new blog. I’m just getting it all figured out so stay tuned for more! Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Luke and Kelsey Embry of Embry Adventure Co
Luke and I (Kelsey) in front of newly purchased RV 2019

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15 Comments

  1. Gloria Compton says:

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures!!

    1. Thanks Gloria! We’re excited 🙂 we always welcome travel tips and recommendations too!

  2. Mary Summerville says:

    I am impressed. I wish you, Luke and Bobby safe and happy travels!

    1. Thanks Mary! 🥰

  3. Our family works in law enforcement so we, too, see tragedy. I can understand your mentality on making sure to life each moment to the fullest.

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      Certainly true! Thank you Chris!

  4. My dad wanted to do this with a van. He tried when I was younger with a VW Van (hippie van), now he decided to live off a bicycle lol- completely different! But the goal is the same, to travel!

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      Oh wow! Lol that would be intense on the bicycle,kudos to him! Thank you!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Your renovation is so beautiful!! I hope you guys have so much fun traveling because you’re right – there is no promise of tomorrow! My husband and I are looking into vans. We started a school bus renovation, but I really hated driving something that big. I was terrified. So a van should do us just fine. Can’t wait to follow your adventures!

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      Thank you so much Stephanie! I think a van would be great too 🙂 you can stealth camp and park almost anywhere you like! I’d have been scared to drive a school bus for sure, shoot it’s scary enough driving Gurdy! Good luck!

  6. Wow. I’ve always wanted to roadtrip in an RV but my hubby isn’t comfortable driving in such a huge vehicle. ::::le sigh:::: You’re going to have so many great adventures!

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      Thank you Patti! Maybe something like a small class c or van? 😉 a girl can dream!

  7. So excited you are living out your dream! Looks like it’s really starting to come together!

  8. Krissy says:

    We just got a Bounder as a gift from my parents. The roof is leaking and ceiling has damage and the carpet. How did you get the couch out to do the floor and where did you get the edge piece for the stairs?

    1. lillardkelsey says:

      Hi Krissy! That’s super exciting about your new bounder, its a large undertaking to renovate but so worth it! So for the couch we unbolted it from the floor and sat it on the bed/upside down on chairs. Basically just worked around it as we laid the floor. If you need to get it out the door, it’ll likely need to be partially disassembled. Our wouldn’t fit out the door lol. The edging for the stairs is just a metal trim (I believe it’s called aluminum angle) from Home Depot. You can also cut to fit stair edging, Home Depot and Lowe’s carry it too. We just had this on hand and my dad cut it for us. Hope this helps and good luck on your journey!

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