I haven’t been able to write on here for about a month now. We have been packing, traveling in a moving truck pulling a vintage travel trailer, finding a place and now settling in. Right now I really should be unpacking some things, yet I wanted to finally share some moments from our trip.
If you already know my blog, you understand that I am an artist who just moved from Portland, Oregon back to Portland, Maine. I created a Kickstarter that raised money for me to be able to take my vintage travel trailer studio with me on my trip. I was amazed by the support that this brought. Once I get fully unpacked I will be able to start on the pieces for my supporters.
We traveled across the country in a way that only artists could imagine. Most people pull a trailer with a pick-up truck. We decided to pull ours with a large 17′ Uhual that held all of our belongings. I am also going to explain that this basically the maiden journey. We did take it to a craft fair but that was only 10 minutes away from my house. This may not have been the smartest idea since we were also pulling ALL of our stuff. So, we learned quite a bit about vintage travel trailering on this trip and I will talk about this as I share the photos.
Without further ado, here is the start of our cross country adventure!
The first day of our journey we had hoped to leave early in the morning. Well, we still ended up finishing loading up our Uhual, cleaning our apartment and trying to get rid of the last of our unwanted furniture. Thankfully our great neighbor Autumn was able to load up her truck for us and dispose of it for us. We wouldn’t have been able to do this ourselves!
Well, once we got everything finished it was already five pm. There wasn’t much we could do about this, but this would affect our timing arriving at our reservation at Yellowstone. This story is something that I will greatly talk about in a later post!
Anyway, we were able to successfully attach the trailer to the Uhual and hook up the lights. This appeared to work properly. As we pulled out onto the road, my next door neighbor Mary (the sweetest woman in her 80′s who would always joke with us saying “Don’t work too hard!) came out onto her porch and waved us off. This brought tears to my eyes and made the journey feel as if it was finally real. We had been planning it for so long and now it was finally happening.
Stuart was driving and unknown to him, he would remain the driver for the whole trip. The original plan was for us to take turns, but when it came down to it, I was too scared. I am the type of person that reacts quickly to something and those kind of movements are not possible when pulling a vintage trailer. I felt that for the safety of the both of us and the people driving around us that he remain the driver. I did drive quickly in the Badlands but this was for probably five minutes. More on that later.
So, we began our journey driving on 84 east out of Portland. Luckily Stuart already had some experience driving a box truck from when he had a job working for a wine distributor. We had our dog Topher sitting in his bed between us and everything strapped in behind us. This journey seemed to be starting off in the right direction.
At this point we had been driving a few hours. It was starting to get darker and Stuart decided to turn on the head lights. When he did this though all of a sudden we could feel the whole truck slow down. It wasn’t incredibly drastic but it was something that we knew wasn’t right. He turned to lights off and we decided to stop off at the next rest stop.
Now that I have driven in a transport that totaled 39 feet I love rest stops that have pull through spots for truckers. It is hard to drive around this length of truck and it makes it so much easier to park!
Well, we got back into the truck and stuart decided to put the lights on. With the excitement of the journey we forgot to test this out again. We go to pull out, yet it feels stuck. He is able to get it moving yet it doesn’t feel right. We stop and try and back it into one of the spaces. Of course at this point I don’t know how to direct him, but this is something that we learned how to do better over the trip. We were used to pulling it with our Subaru which is low and unfortunately we jackknifed into the trailer a bit on one side. This had already happened with it prior to us owning it and now we understood that you have to make more smaller moves.
I see a trucker run over to us as we do this. He begins to tell me that the vintage trailer tires were smoking! We are holding up trucks from leaving and the truck driver expertly directs Stuart into a spot. I watch and make notes in my head.
When we rented the Uhual we were told that the brakes won’t work in the trailer because there is no controller. For some reason it looked like when the lights came on, it sent a message to the brakes to lock. This was something that I didn’t think to check. Still not entirely sure why it did this. Well, since I had worked with Jeremy on the wiring I knew exactly where we had connected them. I just went over and disconnected them.
The truck driver told us that the Uhual engine is so powerful that we could have continued to drive like this for a long time and it would have ruined my new tires. We are glad that we got this sorted out quickly. I was also glad that I had been able to figure it out myself and not have to pay for something to come out and figure it out.
Once these were no longer connected we were able to drive properly with the head lights on. We started back on our journey glad that we were able to figure this out without too much damage.
The drive through Oregon was beautiful in the John Day area.
I had my trusty books with me ready in case I needed them. I had a United States Atlas, a book that listed what was on each highway exit and rv campgrounds. All of these came in very useful!
We decided to just spend the night at the Pendleton Walmart parking lot. We figured this would save us some money and it would be easy to find and get back on the road in the morning. We parked off the side and it actually was a great spot. The Walmart was in a field and we would wake in the morning to find a great view.
We settled in for the night. Since we were in Pendleton, we got out our Pendleton brand blanket that we recently scored at a flea market. It seemed fitting to do.
Our first day we were off to a great start. There was a bit of a technical failure, yet we were able to get it sorted out quickly.
We had to get started early the next morning because our reservation for Yellowstone was still 12 hours away. This ended up actually being 16….but more on that in the next post!