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Home > Magazine > Motors > Thrills! The Old Trailer Came Outta the Bush

Thrills! The Old Trailer Came Outta the Bush
May 24, 2010

No photo for this one.

I went up north yesterday to haul our old vintage travel trailer outta the Baldwin bush and to pull it home for sprucing up. We plan on living in it up north this summer -- July/August -- while Martha does 7 art fairs. The plan is to have it planted mostly within Sutton's Bay, a walk from the beach, etc. Should be a wonder for the kiddies.

But we need to clean it, repaint and fix it up first. It needs firm new bunks and fresh upholstery. Coming up! Martha is psyched. She found a stash of good material at a big sale.

Friends and family warned us of dire consequences regarding the trailer. The tires would be flat and rotted. The bearings would be dry and need regreasing or they'd heat up and seize. Lights would be corroded. The frame would be rusted thru and saggy... Trees would be too close, sand too deep... Yikes!

Then I recalled how close a shave it was to get it IN. When I hit the gas with the Town Car to get a running start a neighbor lady who was watching gave a scream. I got it in but clipped an oak ever so slightly. (Earlier that day a hero bluegrass musician happened to be visiting and was going to help us get the trailer in, but our trailer jack balked, and we postponed the mission until after we'd delivered him to his show. When he saw the 2-track and the turn into our property he said the hand of the Lord must've been holding that jack down or he would've missed his show...)

I borrowed the inlaw's '87 F150 and headed north for the extraction.

I brought along my mtbike and some vittles and got a trout stamp on the way up (at Jay's). I was going to do some good hard work then unlax for a day.

On the way up, as I said, I stopped in at Jay's. Lotsa times we're mission-bound and can't stop. Or maybe it's just that neither Martha nor the kids are so hot for outdoor store windowshopping yet. I first checked out General Jim's -- they do have some great military surplus there. I'm enjoying my survey of MOLLE vest concepts. I think I'm getting close to a handier, cooler way to rig up for day-hiking.

The usual puppy tents were ringing the parking lot. Darn, it's nice to see the little critters. Somehow I think that a needy rescue or a proper ongoing relation with a nearby breeder are better options. But we'll cross that bridge again when we get to it. Frankly, po' folk don't have money or time. (It's not one or the other -- it's neither.) It seems like a pet (dog) would have to earn its keep -- put vittles on the table -- for us and for itself! I'm "game" for that -- but not sure there is even enough quality open territory in these parts anymore for such a mission. We'll see. If one of the kids starts getting some gumption in that direction, it might tip the scales. Then there's training -- time. Again, kid gumption would help. But really isn't dog training an elite skill? I recall it took all the sensitivity I had. But maybe it'd be good for a youngster to give it a try. We're almost in an Eskimo situation: where they have to catch their annual salmon to dry for dogfood. I recall my uncles smoking carp for their beagles. $30/mo in dogfood, and vet bills on top of that, picking up steam in later years...and the heartache after all that...whew. Well, we need a summer's breather anyway. I'd like to try chickens or rabbits, for pets AND meat. But there's travel worry with those. We don't travel much but pet-sitters are a concern.

So I test-fired a couple crossbows at Jay's. I never had before. Jay's is great because you can test things out. I tried a Ten-Point compact compound and an Excalibur recurve. The clerk said the staff all used Excaliburs, so that's saying something ($700 ea). It seemed to twang more. The 10-pt sure seemed crisp -- for $1k. He said all the other bows -- commonly $300-400 -- were quite a sizeable step down. Interesting concept, tho. Someday I'd like to explore further. Xbows seem like a good suburban (small lot) hunting solution...

I also checked out a fannypack with suspender setup -- nice one there for $25. They had a big one for $125. But nothing had my required waist-strap front-pouches. I saw a freaky tent-style ultralight daypack with pouches on the waist-strap. The pack was stayed and "inflated" with arching poles! A bit goofy. But I suppose it has its uses.

An iBOB put me onto -- they seem to have the goods I'm after: a low-riding load system. Basically a fannypack with suspenders. Seems like they have stowage in their "side wings."

The military gear solution is also kinda neat. There seem to be options in the $35 area. But the stuff is, of course, way overbuilt for civilian duty. These guys are lugging lead! Their vest and pouches empty might weigh 5-10 lbs. But I'll keep looking and hopefully try something out soon.

Well, when I arrived at our trailer, I soon realized that my plans for work then R&R wouldn't pan out. My mission was to extract the trailer. Nothing else mattered. There was a big risk for a snafu at every step on the way. Would the tires have air? Would the lights work? Could I pull it out of the narrow slot between trees on our narrow, soft-sand 2-track? It had been in the woods for, what, 7 years? I blasted it in with the old Town Car -- with an INCH to spare. Had any tree grown or leaned inward since then? Worries!

Tires had 50psi in them. Sweet! They had deep sidewall cracks but I think they always have. Hmmm. Fingers crossed and a spare at hand!

The lights all fired up! (My father-in-law thought his hookup was fried, no less.)

...And, with one judicious pre-application of the chainsaw, I pulled that sucker outta the woods!

There was no stopping. No slowing even. And no 2nd chances for this mission. There was steep drop-offs and erosion and deep sand and a hard left turn off a narrow slot exactly between 2 oaks onto a narrow 2-track between other close trees, plus with immediate said drop-offs RIGHT when I turned onto it. I had to drive over a bank dropoff and cut the wheels and not go off the dropoff. And pray that the rig missed everything. Get the picture?

There was no time or mental space or responsible window for any biking anywhere in this picture.

When I had the rig out on the main road. I pulled over and cheered. Then I walked back and on into the river and took a nice, long swim. THAT WAS RELAXATION.

Then I powered on home.

Stopped at Mishler's Drive-in in Evart on the way. The evening cooled off and the wheel-rims never even got warm.

Here's the trailer shortly after we first hauled it in (with a semi-youthful pooch).

Reader Comments - Add Your Own Comment
sisu - ann arbor, posted on May 25, 2010
I just want to comment that I appreciate the trailer-levelling that must have preceded this photo. Nice!