Monday, June 24, 2013


Earlier this month the S.O. and I invested in a more-than-slightly-used travel trailer. Not sure exactly how old it is other than pushing 40, and it's definitely showing its age. If we had wanted a trailer to actually travel with, we'd have been idiots to buy this one. But travel isn't its proposed function. What I wanted was a basic box that might require some spiffying up but that would work just fine as a guest house once it's parked in its proposed permanent location. We'd been talking about doing a stick-built one bedroom cabin; fixing up this trailer is going to be a lot faster, cheaper, and easier. It's already wired and has plumbing. All we have to do is modify it and then park it where it's going to sit permanently.

We're starting on the front end and basically gutting that part. There's rot in the walls and floor from a plumbing problem years ago. My guess is a previous idiot owner didn't remember to drain the system before winter hit and a water tank burst. Previous repairs seem to have consisted of lots of duct tape and a few plywood patches. It's been what we refer to as Elmerized (in honor of an acquaintance named Elmer whose idea of a repair was always really, really strange and often potentially dangerous). We have a hunch the bathroom's been Elmerized, too, but we'll worry about that when we get to it. The biggest issue is that wet wood swells, and as a consequence the corners got pushed out a bit -- we need to pull them back in so the seams are tight again and there are no longer gaps big enough to see daylight through.

In any case, we're going to take out the upper bunk, that weird fold-down bed campers have that is always advertised as being the equivalent of a full-size bed but looks like you wouldn't want to ask anyone heavier than a large cat to sleep on, because we don't anticipate ever having guests who would have a use for it. We'll replace it with just an ordinary shelf. We'll do a built-in full-size bed with storage underneath, and we'll put in some decent carpeting. Once it's done, it won't be particularly posh, but staying in it will beat sleeping on an air mattress on our living room floor.


  1. When my wife and I traveled to Alaska in our camper we pulled into an RV site and parked next to an old camper similar to yours. I thought I smelled gas at one point but then it went away. The next morning the woman in the camper lit her stove and the camper blew up - they had to medivac her to the hospital. I thought a plane had crashed: it blew out our picture window and smashed our front door. We were insured and able to get repairs: but a long story short - have a gas company check out the LP plumbing.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  2. Who says we're even going to use a stove in there? As a guest cabin, all it needs is a watertight roof, a comfortable (but not too comfortable) bed, and a functioning toilet -- and even the toilet is optional when there's a perfectly good outhouse within easy walking distance. We might allow guests a coffee pot, but we have no desire to set the sucker up in a way that could encourage anyone to stay more than a few days, a week at most. It's going to be summer use only; soon as temps drop in the fall, the water will be disconnected.

  3. My 5th wheel is about forty years old and I've had to do a lot of work on it to keep it on the road but I got a good deal on it and the gas lines are in good order...


  4. BTW, putting some posts in the ground and a roof over that trailer will prolong it's lifespan greatly.

  5. Agree with BBC re posts and roof. Saw the pics on your SO's blog. It will be fun to fix up. I take it that winter guests are not expected?

  6. Seems like a smart and worthwhile project. How nice to have space for a little "guest cottage."


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