The Atomic Camper
by: Bob Phillips
The camper is the handiwork of Bill Guernsey of Anchorage. Severe injuries sustained in a small plane crash in late 2012 gave him ample time during a lengthy recovery to design and build the camper, a 16-foot-long bright red rocket on wheels. An Anchorage newspaper article said it “looks more like a 1950s comic book character’s ride” rather than a camper.
How did it get the name? In the newspaper article, Guernsey put it this way: “Everything was atomic when I was growing up; the time of the nuclear age and the rockets and the bombs. Everything that came out was going to be powered by nuclear science. Atomic is like the turbo of today.”
It took Guernsey two full years to complete the camper, working 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. His recovery allowed him time to include fine wooden detail on the interior that manufactured campers can’t provide. That was part of attraction that led Victor to buy it.
He saw the camper posted for sale on the Anchorage Facebook Marketplace in May, called Guernsey about his interest and went to see it the next day after work. He was so impressed after a tour of the camper that he wrote a check that same day and picked it up later that week.
“I like sci-fi for starters,” he said. “When I saw it in person and Mr. Guernsey gave me the complete tour and details on its build I was very impressed by how much work and innovation he had put into it. I could tell it was built very solid. I think the uniqueness of this camper and that it can actually be taken camping clinched the deal.”
Victor has made a few improvements to the camper. “We reupholstered the sofa on the port side. It was changed from a light blue to a red color more in line with the color of the camper. I also added a camera on the back to watch traffic behind me as we are driving and towing it “
What he likes most about the camper is its uniqueness; there is none other like it.
“My girlfriend, Carrie, likes the galley,” he said. “It comes in handy when it’s raining out and we can choose to cook inside. I think my favorite thing is the solar power system that allows us to have some convenience off grid.