Where to begin? It all started innocently enough. I had a lead for a 1961 Shasta Airflyte that I had been following for about 6 months. Every now and then, I'd call up the guy, who'd once again tell me "No, it's not for sale" or "No, I'll need more than that!". Finally, after about a 3 month gap, I call him up, and finally he says "If you come up with $500 and get it out of my yard this weekend, you can have her!"
Victory!!! And I actually had the money! I was already planning on visiting some friends in Upstate NY near Albany, so I figured I'd just swing by and pick up the trailer on my way up (it was in western NY). If only things went that simply...
Upon picking the trailer up, I discovered that it was not nearly as "mint"as it was described, and needed work, but for the price I was more than happy to take on a project! We wrote up a bill of sale (take this to mean *cough* the trailer didn't have a title meaning I may not exactly have *cough* registered the trailer at that point). If any cops are reading this...that was a joke...right... Anyways, after paying and hooking the trailer up, the guy decides to tell me that the lights don't work after all (he had told me they worked before). Not the biggest deal, but it was already 5pm and I needed trailer lights! So I fired up the already-low-on-battery GPS and headed over to the nearest autozone. Cutting a looong story short, the trailer lights I bought at Autozone (that wire up to the truck) didn't work, so after 3 hours of cursing and fumbling, I resorted to the next logical step:
Flashlights! Or more specifically, three $2.99 flashlights duct-taped to the bumper with taillight lenses placed over them and the leftover acting as a "license plate light" (which may or may not have been my truck's rear plates)... So I was good as long as the batteries lasted!
I knew the trailer also needed tires, but in my mind if I just took things slow and careful I would make it the 3 hours to my friends in Troy, NY. Well, all this worrying may have been misplaced.
After an hour into my precarious trip (now around midnight), my truck suddenly got louder, and then didn't. I was driving up one of those looooong inclines, and just rolled over to the side with whatever momentum I had left. After hitting my head on the steering wheel numerous times, I turned the key and hoped.
RIP Old Girl...
"REH." That was it. No "reh-reh-reh-reuuuuumble" or even "reh-reh-reh". Nope. Just one REH of death. Going to call my friend, I couldn't help but laugh as my phone read "low battery" and then said in the most polite of robotic voices, "Goodbye." My laptop? Also dead. GPS? Dead. I couldn't believe it. How could all forms of technology fail me at the same time??!!
So I decided I would try to walk to a gas station. And when I was about a half mile away from my truck, it started pouring! Yep. It was one of those days. I ended up sleeping an awful night in the truck, waking up every time a tractor trailer flew by and shook the whole rig from side-to-side. I really didn't think things could get any worse. And then I woke up.
Or more specifically, got awoken. By a knock on the window. By a cop. And lemme tell ya, he was NOT happy. Soooomehow, I got out of any sort of ticket for the whole may-not-have-trailer-plates-thing (I think he felt bad for me to be honest), and I got a ride (albeit an awkward and slightly terrified one) to a local gas station.
Here is where I must thank my amaaazing friends Rod and Wendy, who drove all the way from Troy, took time off work, and came to rescue me! I don't know what I would have done without them. With their assistance, we got the trailer to the local gas station (who also amazingly said I could keep it in the back for as many days as I needed). I got AAA to tow the truck back to Troy for free (would have been a $700 tow fee), where I discovered the truck was toast. She apparently had a bad oil leak I wasn't aware of (yes I'm smacking myself in the head), and even though I had just had an oil change 2 weeks ago, she managed to leak it all out and seize the engine :(. To top it off (in an ironic use of the phrase), none of the gauges in the truck worked so I had no clue... I'll miss that truck... I only had her for 3-4 months, but we sure hauled a lot of vintage stuff together!
The trailer, meanwhile, was parked behind the gas station in Sanitaria Springs. And I have to say, when I finally got to look at it, it's so cute! It's all original inside, minus the fridge which someone replaced with a nasty 70's one (which I will be replacing with a 50's one ha!). The aqua formica countertops are all in very good shape, and even the original dinette is intact! The fabric may be falling apart and gross in its current state, but it's there! The light fixtures are adorable, and I have so many plans for her! She needs some water damage repair (as every vintage canned ham trailer of this time does), but she's actually pretty solid beneath the grime and dust. Her story is that she was simply left at a campground 30 years ago, at the top of a mountain! Poor old girl.... Like the little kid at Disney World who got left behind....permanently!
Part 2 to follow...