Fixing up the trailer.

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I have to credit my landlord Zack with coming up with the idea above. He made a joke about ”Next on this old Trailer” and then I thought that it would make a great column on my blog. So, my trailer redo’s/fixings/projects will now be called, “This Old Trailer.”

Along the trip, the trailer had a few times where it proved its age. It wasn’t the smartest idea to take a vintage trailer on our maiden voyage all across the country. We had taken it for a ten minute trip for an art fair, yet that didn’t really show us how it would be.

The first awkward thing to happen was the brakes going on when the headlights were activated. If we had to rewire right before going on out trip it may have been difficult. I was able to disconnect the brakes easily since I saw where we had reconnected them. This is something that I will try and figure out later.

The front of the trailer lost a few screws (which could have damaged the tires) and while we were on the dark road at Yellowstone at midnight one of the metal corners came loose and was scraping against the road. (This terrified us yet it was an easy thing to remove).

The pieces to the front of the trailer that held the rock guard on came loose. I was able to remove them and keep them safe in the trailer. One side of the trailer had a dent from the moving truck. It dented it in quite a bit and made the side of the window guard off. I tried to tap this back out as much as I could.

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The piece needed to be secured better this time. I purchased some exterior liquid nails and added this between the two areas. The edges I added some new Butyl tape. I then trimmed it and then added some flexible sealant to both this and the areas on the trim that had opened a bit during travel.

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The wall with door started to come loose from the flooring. Stuart helped to bang this back while we were in Indiana. I should have added more screws originally and this made it come loose while driving. Stuart already fixed this in an earlier post.

During travel the air conditioner that I installed was a little too much weight for the seating. The screws that held the wall up were not long enough and it didn’t hold it together well. It made a huge gouge in the wall. I am currently fixing this and will show the after later.

DSCN4984DSCN4987I also have no idea how these metal strips came out like this. This shows how much things were tossed around. I think they originally went under the green area. I ended up just folding them up against it and screwing it down.

This also happened to the walls. Here is where the awning poles were. They scraped against the trailer and created these marks. I am lucky that they didn’t create large enough sparks and start on fire. This is behind where there are curtains and I think that I am just going to leave them be. I wiped them off a bit, yet it isn’t worth the effort right now to try and fix it.

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The corners got quite torn up. I am probably going to replace the metal in the spring. For now, I just taped them up and placed objects in front of it. Who would know except for you right now?
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The trailer got a must needed bath. It did have the whole country’s worth of dirt on it.
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To the left is the clean side. I couldn’t believe the difference.
I put the table back in place and added the glue where that was needed as well. It is amazing how constant vibration will make something come apart. I didn’t realize how important glue was. Here it is now ready to work in. I already started the drawing for my post card that I will be sending out to my Kickstarter contributors.
It is amazing to be able to be in this space again and create again. It is an amazing feeling!

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Major News! The trailer is here!

My father has a truck and was able to bring my trailer from my Mother’s house to my current apartment. We went over and hooked it up. This moment was huge for me because finally after months of travel and settling in I was going to finally have my trailer.

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I got out my bike pump and made sure that the tires were at the right inflation.

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When we hooked up the trailer to the electrical hookup on the truck we noticed that there wasn’t much play. As we pulled out of the driveway we had my Mom check to see if it popped out. Of course it did. We pulled over along the road reattached it and then pulled into a nearby parking lot. My Dad had luckily brought his tools with him. He detached it and then reattached it with some zip ties closer to the trailer.

DSCF0499This worked out great and we got back on the road. My Dad said that the truck handled the trailer very well. He said that the hitch was really strong and now he knows why we were able to travel across the country without a problem with the lacking pin.

We made it in good time to my apartment and my Dad expertly pulled the trailer into the driveway. I think that Stuart was happy that there were other people who knew how to do this and that he didn’t need to do this.

The plan was to park it in one driveway and then in a few days move it over into the new home. The area is nicknamed “Brownfield” in reference to a place near were my landlord grew up.  Here is what it looks like before:

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This is how I cleaned it up to make it ready for the trailer.

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My landlord Zach had worked at a shiphard and had lots of experience moving large boats and was excited about the challenge. My Dad and him hooked up the trailer and they moved it over.

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Right now I am elated. Last night while at work I kept dancing around and aplogizing for my smiles. It is also a really funny thing to be happy about. I never thought I would be obsessed over a trailer. The process to get it to Maine has been a lenghthy one. First I had to decide if I wanted to bring the trailer with me or not. The most practical thing to have done would have been to sell the trailer. Thinking of this made me incredibly depressed though. I had put so much work into it and I wasn’t able to use it.

So, I created my Kickstarter video and presented it to those interested in watching it. This would decide if the trailer was coming with me or not. Because of the generosity of others I was able to bring it with me. It has been quite an adventure getting it here. There were moments of fear and excited along the way.

Now, the trailer is in it’s new home. I get to go out now and figure out what its new life will be here in Maine. This winter I will be able to sit in it and watch the snow fall and drink some hot chocolate. Once spring comes around I will probably be able to actually use it as a workable studio space. I am already excited to get started on the Kickstarter pieces in here. It will be a summer retreat for me and a place for friends to be able to stay in when they visit.

Now I get to go out and get it all fixed up after that long journey!

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Last Day of driving with the trailer and Uhual.

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Today was our last day of driving and we were looking forward to not worrying about the trailer for awhile. Our plan was to drive to my Mom’s house and leave it there till we would be able to find a location for it in Maine. We got up early and got started to try and beat the heat.

Well, it ended up being a good thing that we got an early start because we ended up with some Uhual trouble. We were four hours away from my Mom’s house….I will say this again…we had been on the road for 15 days at this point and only 4 hours away we had to call in the Uhual company. Our truck going up a hill in Troy, NH started to overheat. Stuart threw on the heater and opened the windows. This usually can cool down a vehicle. Well, this did not work. We pulled over at a gas station that was closed. This gave us some shade at least while we waited. In about an hour a service man came to check out the truck. He looked it over and noticed that the radiator had a leak. He said that he would call Uhual and they would decide if we would have the truck towed to their shop to fix or we would have to repack all of our stuff in a new truck. This is not what we wanted four hours away from the end of our trip.

Well, they decided to tow both the Uhual truck and my trailer. This wasn’t the best thing but way better than having to repack everything.

So, we had to unhook the trailer and they brought two tow trucks. One was really heavy duty in order to pull our Uhual. We watched as it was raised onto the truck and I could just picture everything in the trailer sliding onto our bikes. (Luckily they survived).

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Then they attached the trailer to their other truck. They asked for the pin to the trailer…..Well, I didn’t have a pin. They were shocked that we had made it that far without any trouble. My trailer had been gutted when I purchased it and I didn’t know that a pin was needed. It is mostly insurance in case the lock pops up. It makes complete sense to me now, but I was really naïve on this whole trip. Well, I did have a locking pin for it to be used when it is not attached to a vehicle. Well, we used this and it worked out just fine.

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They pulled both vehicles about a half hour away. Once there it took about three hours to get the truck fixed up. It was annoying but way better than breaking down on a back road in New England. Since Sacajawea was on our truck we felt like she was watching over us. She guided our journey safely. If we had broken down on some of the roads we later traveled on it could have been seriously dangerous.

So five hours later we are back on the road. We are tired from waiting, but we want to just get there.

The trip was only supposed to take six hours but instead it took twelve. We stopped and had dinner in Vermont because we needed some rest. We pulled our shiny trailer up to a shiny diner. It was a perfect match. We had a great meal and we ready for the evening commute.

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We got on the road and went up to Northern Vermont. We then entered New Hampshire and took a bunch of small roads. It was dark at this point and there was some rain. We didn’t want to drive at night or in the rain but we just wanted to get there.

Close to midnight we finally pull up to my Mom’s house. It felt so good to get there. It was an amazing journey and one that has changed us. For one thing it will take us a long time to get over that our vehicle is not as long as this and that we can make sharp turns. Anyone who has driven a trailer can understand this.

So, the trailer has been at my Mom’s house and it has been my “summer getaway” spot. This coming weekend my Dad is going to help me drive it to my current apartment. We are really lucky that we found a great apartment and it there is also room for me to be able to have my creative space.

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Day 14: Niagra Falls

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The park had a nice little pond and Topher enjoyed the walk around it. Near our trailer there was a bizarre sight. This trailer had 12 doors (6 on each side!) It is crazy how long this would be with a vehicle attached.

DSCN4854 DSCN4853 We started on our way and were soon in NY. We were wondering if we should make the classic road trip stop at Niagra. It would be a bit of a drive off of our route but we figured that we were doing the classic “American Road Trip” and that this would be a major stop. Well, we follow our phone’s navigation system and it drops us off in a creepy looking place that I guess is the town of Niagra Falls. I didn’t realize that it was an actual town. Well, we got out our maps and figured it out. It took us awhile to find out where we had to park because of our length. It was a hot day. It was such a hot day that we had our “grouchy pants” on. It wasn’t the most romantic thing that I had expected Niagra Falls to be like. I guess not all clichés are correct:) Well, the falls were interesting but I wasn’t fully impressed yet. I guess I was hot and just tired from the journey. DSCN4857DSCN4859DSCN4862DSCN4856

We needed to do something more. We were hot and there was the option of paying to go into one of the closer attractions near the water. Since we were really hot we decided that this was going to happen. We put Topher into the trailer (wasn’t for very long and it does stay pretty cool in there) and bought our tickets. We went to the attraction where you take an elevator down to the water and you get to be below one of the falls. They give you ponchos to wear yet we wanted to feel the coolness of the water. It seemed like the time to have a photo taken and got this: 2013-07-17_14-15-24_373 We walked up the falls and let the cool water drench us. It was great! It was exactly what we needed to fully feel like it was worth stopping.

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This cooled our tempers off greatly. It was what we needed to get back on the road.

That night we were going to find a place to stay in NY. We found a place in our RV travel book. We followed the phone directions and it brought us to some backwoods area. Don’t always trust the directions. We figured it out and found the place.

We got there and pulled into our spot. We went to plug in our electrical lines and found that it wasn’t the right plug. All of the other parks had two systems. This did not. I called even and she sounded confused that we didn’t have the right power. She tried to find a converter but did not have one.

Well, we were looking forward to plugging in our ac, but at least there was a pool there. We had that to look forward to later.

Well, one thing that I wanted to show on here was what it is actually like to travel across the country with a trailer. You would think that it would be easy to stop and get right into camping. Well, that wasn’t our situation. We overpacked and I also didn’t have the best construction skills. As the trip progressed items would move around and shift quite a bit.

Stuart is demonstrating our feelings every time we opened up the door after a day’s journey. We were not sure what it would be that would have moved around.

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This is what it actually looked like:

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The table eventually jumped from its wall holder, the seating screws were not strong enough, the ac unit was too heavy and caused the seating to move forward, everything from the above shelving unit would fall down and curtains would fly off. Well, we were good about keeping things off of counter tops and closing the cabinets. Things still would just fly everywhere. It would take about 20 minutes just to have things back into place.
With the heat we managed to get this set up.
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We had a quick drink and then decided to cool off in the pool. We got our bikes out of the Uhual and headed over. Well, we get there and the sign says that it had just closed 15 minutes prior. We were so upset. The pool was going to cool us down because we wouldn’t have ac or a fan to cool us down. Well, we walked over to the woman who had tried to help us with electrical and she said that we would be fine to jump in the pool. She understood completely how important it was for us.
So, we had a great cool down once again that day. It cooled us down enough to be able to have a great sleep to get ready for our last day of driving the trailer.

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Day 13: Fixing up the trailer.

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Well, on this day we were going to drive towards New England and spend the night in either Pennsylvania or New York State. Our morning though we had to get the trailer back together. While we were in Chicago we had to make a really fast stop. We heard the trailer make a noise and we didn’t know exactly what had happened.

Well, once we were stopped in Indiana I learned that part of the wall had started to become removed from the trailer. Some screws had been removed from the walls before I got it and I just never thought to add new ones. There is also an important metal floor piece that holds the door to the floor and of course I didn’t screw that back in. Thus, it started to move off of the frame.

Stuart and I managed to get the wall back in place somewhat. We bought some liquid glue from a hardware store and added this in between. We put some tape below this to catch the glue and did one final push back into place.

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We added the screws that were missing and it seemed to be in a much better space. We were lucky that it didn’t go any further.

It was in the 90′s this day and would dry pretty quickly. Around noon we headed back out on the road.

We had a few days left of our journey. We didn’t have any major stops that day. We were just going to get as far as we could in order to have a shorter drive the next.

We made it to Erie, Pennsylvania and decided to spend the night there.

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We had just one more night till we made it “home.”

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Day 12: 4-H Fair

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On our last full day in Indiana we went to the local Bluffton 4-H Fair.

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Stuart’s twin sister, Stefanie had her Food Cart at the event and the food was delicious!

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Inside the fair there were some 4-H contests that I thought were funny. This was a target practice. I guess this makes sense for country entertainment.

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What would a fair be without some Elephant Ears?

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Of course there was also a pageant and it was a lively event. The sun was starting to set and it was time for us to say our goodbyes. The next day we were going to fix the trailer a bit and move on our way. It was a great time with his family and it was great to finally know this side of Stuart’s life. Family is one of the reasons why I wanted to move back East and it was great to make this connection as well.

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Day 11: Berne, Indiana

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We had a few extra days accidentally with our Uhual. We decided to use those days with Stuart’s family. On this day we traveled to a local town called Berne. It has a very Swiss look to it. It was founded by Swiss Mennonites and has a very classic look to it. This is where Stuart’s grandmother lives and were our dog Topher got his teeth cleaned.

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In the center of Berne is a clocktower that was built to that is similar to one found in Berne, Switzerland. At noon the tower rings and has a little show that happens. I just researched how to make an animated .gif to best show how it moved.
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We visited Stuart’s grandmother and her husband. She still had her wits about her and it was great to meet even more of Stuart’s family.
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The town was really cute and I loved how random it was. We stopped at a few flea market type places and I found a great set of Pyrex containers.
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One of these flea markets had a really funny bathroom. There were signs on everything. The funniest was the sign on the dryer that says “Press or Hit Hard.”
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In the afternoon, we went to pick up Topher at the vet. He did really well with his teeth. I was a really nervous Dog mom because he had to be put under for this to happen. He was fine and ready to journey on.

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Day 10: Visiting a zoo.

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Today was our exciting trip with Stuart’s family and their kids to the zoo.

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Fort Wayne is a larger city near Bluffton, IN. It had a great zoo. It was a hot day out, yet there was ways of dealing with the heat for sure!

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Since I had been traveling in a trailer I had been thinking about camping and alternative forms of tents! This showed what it would be like to camp in an African Safari.

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You could pet and feed the giraffes.

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I did not expect to see giraffes on my cross country trip. It was great to add a new element to our adventure.

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Day 9

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Our plan for the day was to just have a bbq together and visit the 4H parade that went down the main street of Bluffton. I was glad to be able to catch the parade. The local farmer’s were showing off their big rigs and their vintage tractors. Dad, I took a lot of these photos for you!
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After the parade, we walked back to Jennifer’s house and had a great bbq. The next day was a plan to visit the Fort Wayne Zoo.

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Day 8: Meeting the family.

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We woke up rested at Stuart’s Mom’s house. It was lovely meeting Jennifer and I looked forward to meeting the rest of the crew. Topher instantly got along with her Chihuahua/Terrier mix, Holly. It was great for us because Topher can be choosy about which dogs he likes to hang out with. Holly always seemed to have a smile on her face!

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We met up with Stuart’s family at his brother’s new house. They were fantastic. It was great to finally meet them after all of these years.

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We had already been through a lot on the trip and it was nice to be settled for a bit.

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