Tracks

Recently I watched a Netflix called film ‘Tracks’. It is also available elsewhere online. Based on a book of the same title written by a woman named Robyn Davidson, it is a great movie. The world first learned of her in a National Geographic article in 1978. As a young woman this tenacious character decided to trek 2000 miles of the Australian Outback in the company of the few camels she needed to pack her supplies and gear. Managing the camels was no small feat let alone enduring the ordeal of desert survival. It is a brilliant film and the sort of folks who read this blog would enjoy seeing it. A quote from that film says “Some nomads are never home and some always are.”

A bumper sticker I’ve seen says “Not all wanderers are lost.” If I find one, I may smack it onto the back of my little trailer which is now essentially complete. I must throw in a plug here for a small RV dealer in Southwestern Ontario. They’re so down home-small that they don’t have a website. In 2015 that’s an accomplishment! I discovered them on Kijiji while looking for some small windows for the doors on my trailer.

Nor-O-Tech Trailers Inc. (519-468-8772) are located in Norwich Ontario, a little east of London on Norwich Rd. Google Map shows that when you pass through Hinks Corners, you’re getting close. Mine was a small order, due in part to their very reasonable prices, but they treated me like a king. The windows were carefully packed and shipped safely lickety-split via UPS (Three days from east of Hinks Corners!) It is sad that integrity and good service are remarkable and noteworthy. Victoria and Don definitely deserve kudus. If you need RV stuff (That I couldn’t find online in BC!) check these folks out.

My new back door windows.  The lower fitting on the door allows it to be locked open

My new back door windows. The lower fitting on the door allows it to be locked open

I’m now ready to do south again with a trailer. I’m supposed to be a sailor and this blog is about getting my boat ‘Seafire’ south but somewhere along the way I became distracted by the idea of teardrop trailers. One day by chance I saw a lovely home-made one for sale and I was hooked. I rationalized that I could also use the teardrop to haul my tools between jobs. The deal was completed and soon I was tinkering up that little wagon to suit my needs.

My beloved teardrop on the beach in Mexico last year

My beloved teardrop on the beach in Mexico last year

Along the way I met a lot of truly wonderful people who were drawn to the little trailer and it was easy enough to pull behind my four-cylinder truck. Despite some blunders on my part, it was a wonderful trip down to Jalisco State and back. Waking up on the beach in Mexico in that mobile bed was marvellous but I began to rationalize. Tip-toeing barefoot in the dark to appease Captain Bladder among the scorpions wasn’t really that romantic and I began to think of the decadence of standing up inside a trailer to enjoy the luxury of a bucket. On the drive home I began to consider converting a small cargo trailer or even a horse trailer. It was not an original idea I soon learned, other people commonly refer to these as “Stealth trailers”. The teardrop sold and I began to peruse online marketing sites.

The New Rig. Apart from the windows and the awning, it doesn't shout "Look at me."

The New Rig. Apart from the windows and the awning, it doesn’t shout “Look at me.” The yellow thing is a security device that came with the trailer.

 

Eventually I found a 6×12 almost-new trailer with dual axles and torsion-bar suspension, perfect for towing off-road. It had been camperized by a dealer and came with an awning, a screen door, windows, insulation, wiring, some nice cabinets and a fair price. It would tow easily and was far more road-worthy than any recreational trailer I looked at. With the versatility of a cargo trailer I could also use it as a mobile work shop, storage shed and general haul away to hide away. I’ve had some time on my hands lately and so I’ve finished the trailer to suit my whims. I’ve panelled the sides to match the existing cabinetry and installed a little laminate flooring forward to make it seem homier. The main portion of the huge bed doubles as a workbench with a smaller portion on one side which lifts up or can be stored away as required. My little windows are now fitted in the back door so I have a view directly out from the bed as well as a little more passive ventilation. I’ve installed a drop bar on those doors. I can secure them from inside. A lock for the door handle outside prevents being locked in. That bar also clips onto the top of the open doors. With a simple curtain I have a private shower area.

The interior. The bed/workbench with removable portion in place, storage underneath. Shelving with reading lights overhead. Curtains and mattress coming soon.

The interior.
The bed/workbench with removable portion in place, storage underneath. Shelving with reading lights overhead. Curtains and mattress coming soon.

There are now overhead shelves along either side over the bed each fitted with LED reading lights. There is massive storage space on the shelves beneath the bed/workbench. The centrepiece that inspired the whole project is a portapotty which nestles inside a reworked wooden box. It doubles as a foot stool and seat. Everything must be multi-functional. That, of course, will be known as ‘Pandora’s box’. There’s a stereo and a small 12 volt refrigerator. As much material as possible was salvaged from places like ‘Restore’. One of those treasures is a table I found and adapted as a removable outdoor table which clips onto the side of the trailer. Two drywall jacks have been cut down and transformed into adjustable legs. I’m quite pleased with the overall result.

Pandora's Box revealed. The pop-up table is where future blogs will be written

Pandora’s Box revealed. The pop-up table is where future blogs will be written

I nag myself that the expense and effort should have been focused into the boat but I’ve discovered that there is a wonderful world inland beyond sight and smell of the sea. Last year I watched as the gringo cruising boats anchored in beautiful little bays dictated to their crews about what they could not do if able to go ashore. Security, surf and holding ground for the anchor made for a classic situation of how stuff ends up owning and controlling the owner. I love my boat and the idea of having a home afloat in which I’m free to go when and where I like. It is a financial albatross. Certainly, I’ll admit, I do consider compromises but this old salt can’t imagine a landlubber’s existence and for the moment, maintaining the foundation of my dreams is imperative. Every day I go aboard, inhale her fragrant unique aroma and see all that I’ve put into her, I know that I am the willing slave of old ‘Seafire.’ Eventually I hope to have both boat and trailer south. They will compliment each other so that this gringo could stay all year.

Forward storage. I had to find and finishing panelling to match.  Fridge and stereo work great!

Forward storage. I had to find and finish the panelling to match. Fridge and stereo work great!

A recycled table bought as if made to order for $15. I added the mounting clips and modified the drywall jacks for adjustable legs. They fold and lock away for storage. A few margaritas and cervesas will be spilled here.

A recycled table bought as if made to order for $15. I added the mounting clips and modified the drywall jacks for adjustable legs. They fold and lock away for storage. A few margaritas and cervesas may be spilled here and a novel written as well.

That being said, I marvel at folk’s determination that bigger is better. Huge cruising boats still have an average crew of only two and seem to spend a majority of their time incarcerated in a marina with all the other look-at-me-boats. It’s the same on the highway. Huge mobile condos are dragged along behind a monstrous diesel truck. Bus-sized motor homes tow suvs or boats. Usually these RVs carry only two people. Some holiday! I am certain that for many people, owning one of these monstrosities is more about making an impression on strangers than it is about travel and discovery. Look at my big box! Maybe it makes them feel manly. Certainly you can’t get far off the pavement into the real world without getting stuck or shaken to bits. There must be a huge contingent of Rvers who travel only from Walmart to Walmart. It’s safe, convenient, free and dreadfully monotonous. It certainly does not look like an edifying or pleasant experience for me.

View from Manzanilla toward Tenacatita. The sunsets are incredible.

View from Manzanilla toward Tenacatita. The sunsets are incredible.

Minimalism, alternate lifestyles and under-the-radar discretion. Good enough. Freedom is understanding how little you need. With adequate room to stand up, lay down, and be safe from the elements what else do you really need? Someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to…while doing as little harm as possible.

There’s a lot to be said for a camel and a blanket.

The road less travelled. on the way to Barra De Navidad

The road less travelled. On the way to Barra De Navidad

8 responses to “Tracks

  1. Thanks. I watched tracks and had a major meltdown when she had to shoot the dog. Just like that scene in I Am Legend.
    :…….(

  2. Hi Tania! I’ve had too many people die before my eyes or in my arms, but nothing makes my face leak like the lose of a dog. Mind you, I felt a bit sorry for those randy old camels trying to do their job.
    As the Aussies say, “Bugga!”

  3. Re future blogs will be written OR future bogs will be shitten

  4. Go, go, go…wheels on fire. Despite the many challenges you are doing it. Goood on ya mate.

  5. Fred,
    The trailer looks amazing!
    I enjoy following your blog.

    • Hola Alicia!

      I was regretting that I didn’t know how to get you pictures of what was happening to your old trailer and there you are!
      Thanks for following my blog! Unfortunately the trailer is working for a living but hopefully I soon have a chance to drag it away south for a while.
      Great to hear from you.
      Best, Fred

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