Friday, April 1, 2011

The Trailer Gods Smile

You can't have a gypsy wagon without the wagon part.
So my first order of business was to get a trailer to build on. This presented a bit of a problem, because I had very firm requirements:
  • It had to be a dual-axle trailer. (A dual-axle trailer is better than a single because it is rated to carry a higher weight, and it's more stable on the road. Also, I could put locking chocks between the two wheels on each side and it wouldn't roll ever.)
  • It had to be 6x12 (Any smaller would be too small; any larger and I couldn't be sure of fitting it into our campsite at Pennsic.)
  • It had to be used, (a new one would be too expensive), but also in good shape
  • It had to be $1000 or less to stay on budget.
So I started haunting Craigslist. You'd be surprised at how many trailers there were for sale, none of which was exactly right for my purpose. There were about 9 million 4x8's, a few thousand enclosed trailers of various sizes, a couple hundred 6x12 single axle jobbies, plus any number of home-made disasters.
Until the day I began to go over the older postings, and I found (in mid-March) a trailer that had been posted since the beginning of February:
A 6x12, dual axle trailer!
In Oakland!
He was asking $1200, but I was fairly sure I could get him down to $1000, if I played it right.

And then suddenly, everything seemed to come together perfectly:
Lars, our builder, only lived 1/2 hour away from Oakland, and had a gap in his busy schedule to meet us to look at the trailer. Norm and I got there to find him talking to the owner of the trailer, and jumping up & down to test the deck. Lars pronounced the trailer exactly what was needed, and I haggled the guy down to a grand. (He probably already had that amount in mind, it went very quickly and easily.) Before I knew it, we had it hitched up to Norm's truck and we were following Lars home to his place, where the vardo would be built.
We had no problems at all getting the trailer to Lars' house; I had been worried since Norm's truck is only a 2 wheel drive 4 cylinder, but it only strained a tiny bit, even up the incredible curved switchback road to Lars' house. Norm and Lars worked together expertly to back the trailer in (I was all impressed by their manly knowledge of such things) and ta-da! Done!
We left Lars to finish up his preparation for the movie shoot he was working, and went to have a celebratory burger at the Galaxy Diner on Rt. 23 (Pretty good food, I recommend it!)

Let me also point out that all this happened on a day that occurred during the only decent weather we've had in the last 6 weeks; as I write this, on April 1, it's friggin' snowing. Like I said, the Trailer Gods did smile, for a single shining moment, upon me.

Next Installment:
Jenny Has Fun With Windows and Hinges.