I have been super busy this past week. I have had major items that I have been working on. First, I applied for a fund that may help me bring my trailer across country…ok, let me back up and say that we are officially moving to Portland, Maine in July. I keep talking about a move, and this is it. Stuart got into the art education program at the Maine College of art (where I got my BFA) and we are really excited for a major change.
This means that we are getting rid of all of our furniture and traveling with some clothing, art supplies, kitchen supplies (keep in mind that we have a lot of all of those things), Stuart’s Subaru wagon, my trailer and our little dog. We are trying to figure out how to bring everything. My goal is to raise money to buy a vehicle that can tow the trailer and move the rest of our stuff.
I applied for a grant through my undergrad that may help with making the trailer road worthy. Here are some of the compilations that I made for it:
I hope that I am able to get this grant. It would be a major help. Otherwise, I am starting to think about how I am going to set up a fundraiser to help fund it as well. This is the only way that I would be able to take this project with me.
Recently, I came across another artist who is being inspired by the open road as well. Her work is incredible! Her blog is called, The Barter Van. Angela Carlsen got rid of everything and has a van that she is traveling around the country with making art.
What she has made is incredibly inspiring. She is considering reworking a travel trailer as well. She asked me if I had any tips on rebuilding a trailer. Here they are:
1. Do pay attention to what the trailer is missing. I went into buying my trailer thinking that $500 would be the price that I could afford and that I would work with what it had. My trailer I believe was used for parts. It was missing lamps, table, running lights, faucets, etc. All of these needed to be purchased and this added up. There are many trailers for $500 that I have noticed lately that have everything. For this price though there is probably water damage. Most vintage trailers have water damage. Some have been lucky enough to be stored inside a garage but these end up costing a lot more money and it is quite obvious the difference.
2. Have a professional check out the tires, braking system, etc. I have read this over and over again on other blogs and it is a major thing. Originally I was just going to have my trailer sit in my yard. I didn’t need to worry about tires or brakes. Now that I want to take it with me I see how much money it will take to get it in proper working order. I need to replace the wheels, the tires and have a spare.
3. A trailer that has two axels may be better for long trips. A single axel has just two wheels and if one of the tire pops, it can put the trailer in an awkward position. This may mean that it is heavier though and I am not sure if you need that much space. It is just something to think about.
4. As for tips about being on the road, I can’t give those yet. The trailer was dropped off at my house by the former owner. I am going to get it out of the yard for an art event coming up next month and this is when I will have a better understanding of traveling with it. (Luckily this is only a ten minute drive up the road:) Also, to add to this, make sure to know how much your van can pull. Finding out how much the trailer weighs at a full load is important rather than with nothing in it.
5. Enjoy the process. Since you are an artist also, you can envision how something can be created. I loved imagining how my table was going to be designed before it was there, making it happen and now looking at it with great pride. This has been my biggest artist project to date and it feels as if it will be a major influence for my work for a long time.
I got most of my supplies for the trailer at:
Vintage Trailer Supply: They have a lot of the little parts that you may need for windows, exterior, etc. that are specific to a vintage trailer.
Camping World: Do buy the Good Sam discount card ($25) because it is a major saving boost. I renewed mine this year with a $20 in store coupon and at the same time they were offering a free stay at a Good Sam’s Club. This meant that I paid only $5 for it and have a free nights stay on the trip!
Jo-Anne’s Fabric: Sign up on their email list and only shop there when you have a coupon. There are usually 50% off coupons that are sent to you. I think that it was in January when I used a rare 60% off coupon to buy the fabric for my trailer curtains. This was from the home collection of fabric and is a little thicker than the cotton type used for quilting. Also, before you go, visit the website and go down to the bottom where it says Store Locater. When you find the store, click on the More Store Information tab. This will have another coupon pop up. This one may only be a $40 coupon, but it is better to have a few coupons than just one.
I also got the vintage light covers at a local rebuilding center. My vintage lamp covers were only $10 each!
At a Harbor Freight, get one of these Multifunction Oscillating Tools. It is a cheap tool, but it does a great job at getting rid of the rotted out wood, rusted nails, etc.
Once you do find and purchase a trailer, there are many people online that are a great resource. I have learned a lot from the former Aristocrat site and it really helped to have some guidance along the way from others who have been there already.
Fphew, I had more to say than I realized. I hope this helps.
If anyone else comes across this blog post and has anything to share about restoring trailers, that would be a great help for Angela.