First, I want to build a tiny travel trailer to take to Southern events, author events and for visiting some of the marvelous state parks in the South. I want a little miniature house to carry with us behind our vehicle, or our own hotel room, as it were. Although I don't want to camp so much as I want to tour, aka travel, a little boondocking now and then sounds pretty good.
Originally, I wanted to buy a new, or newish, trailer -- until I saw how much they cost (and how they are made). So... used then. Older used.
I found a sixteen-foot Nomad at a used trailer place on Highway 98 back when I drove that route twice a week to work in Ft. Walton Beach. It was a cutie, from the 1970s. A couch in front that opened to make a full size bed; behind that a dinette curbside and a kitchen streetside. In the corner behind the kitchen, a small bath with shower; and in the other corner, the closet and the entry door That became one of my favorite layouts for small trailers.
|These images are from different campers, but are typical of the front and back layouts..|
We weren't able to buy the little Nomad, or any trailer, at the time -- I simply didn't know enough about it -- so I had to content myself with learning about things online. And while I was learning, I was bit by another bug I came across ... restoring vintage travel trailers. Maybe even building one, using plans from old Popular Mechanics-type magazines. I even bought a CD of vintage plans off ebay, and learned a lot about trailer building from them.
|The Vacationer, from Mechanix Illusrated, May 1957|
What I learned about trailers and building them years ago has been coming back quite clearly in this recent resurgence, so I know what I want as far as a little trailer goes. How to get it? Restoring a vintage trailer (a little canned ham, maybe), remodeling/refreshing a not-so-vintage one, or building from scratch -- these are all viable options.
In fact, I even have quite a few small-trailer components on hand I can use in whatever option works out.
About 2003, I found a 1970 or so Aristocrat Lo-Liner that was for sale by a fellow Confederate in Virginia that I knew from an online forum. We made a deal, and agreed to meet in Charleston for the Hunley funeral in 2004, and I picked up the trailer then. My sis and brother-in-law accompanied me to South Carolina.
|Lo-Liner, in need of a power-wash|
Back home, I got as far as dismantling the trailer, redesigning the new build, and having the metal trailer frame sandblasted, primed and painted, when all work ceased, from a combination of factors ... my parents, who lived in a retirement cottage behind our house, required more and more care from me and my sis; I was laid off, and no jobs were to be had in Pensacola. I began writing my first novel... and my involvement in Confederate heritage grew ... my knees got worse ... and some time later, I lost both my parents in the same year ...
|Sanded, primed painted...and fixin' a flat.|
But there appears to be a remedy for the knee problems in the not-too-distant future, and with that possibility, the trailer-building interest has made a powerful come-back. And I'm nailing down exactly what I want.
But what has taken me by surprise is the very recent resurgence of a second interest I thought long dead and gone.
Building a boat.
(Stay tune for Parts 2, 3 and maybe 4....)