Wednesday, January 21, 2009


The first time I ever hooked up a trailer was the day I bought My Safari. It wasn't hard to do with the guidance of the P.O. I had only seen the load-leveling hitches before, I had never used one. The hard part came when I had to watch my wife drive off with it in tow. We had taken seperate cars to the sellers house and she was the one with the truck. So I watched as she drove around the corner, good so far, and then around another corner, alright, looking good. Then she turned again, the wrong way! We were headed away from the freeway entrance, and it was getting dark. She proceeded a few blocks, not knowing she was headed in the wrong direction, so I called her phone to let her know to turn around when she could. We were able to turn around at a shopping center and we headed back towards the freeway again. By this time I was also frazzled, and instead of turning right, towards the entrance ramp, I turned left and found a whole new part of town I'd never seen before. There were no places to turn around for many blocks, and by the time I found one I was so far from the freeway I had been aiming for that I decided to just proceed to the next main road to take me back towards home. What a fiasco. What should have been three minutes getting to the freeway became thirty minutes, lost, with a trailer we were not used to pulling, in the dark.

Eventually, we found ourselves, and our way home. By the time we arrived in our neighborhood it was quite dark, and not wanting to try going up our one lane road in the dark with our new-to-us trailer, we decided to leave it at the store at the bottom of our hill. I checked with the owner and he said that it wouldn't be a problem to leave it there, so we unhitched it and checked all of the locks and went home to sleep on it.

The next day was a work day, so I wasn't able to get home until about 5pm to finish moving our Safari into the driveway. I had not driven yet with the trailer attached so I took my time getting it hooked up and checked everything three times before pulling out on the road. The road to my house is very narrow and steep, so I took it slowly, up to the house across from ours, and then got out to survey the rest of the move. I would have to turn the whole rig around to get it up to my driveway and have it facing the right way. I pulled up past our neighbor's driveway, and then backed down into it as far as I could go. I couldn't make the front of the truck turn sharply enough to make the turn without unhitching, so I disconnected the truck and turned it around by itself, then hitched up again, and backed the trailer up the last part of the road to our house. It still wasn't in the driveway, but I was so tired I decided to finish the last part of the move the next day. It had taken 1-1/2 hours to move from the store to our house, about 1/2 mile. The following day I hitched the truck up again, and proceeded to back the trailer up into our driveway at last!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Preview

Prior to Burningman 2007 I was looking for a travel trailer for use at the festival. I never liked the typical white box type of trailer and I am into "nostalgia-americana" so I naturally found myself looking at Airstream trailers. Not the dull, new ones, but the shiny old ones. After searching for about three months without any luck, I decided to give up on the idea, at least for the time being, and I rented a motorhome from a friend instead. Well, I met up with some very good friends at the Burn and having the motorhome was really a bonus for us all, as it gave us a place to sleep during the day and to stay out of the numerous dust storms. We also had several members of our group that got ill at the event and were able to sleep it off in the rv. After returning, I decided that I was still in the market for a trailer, so I perused Craigslist like an aluminum junkie, looking for a big fixx.

In early October I found a '64 Safari on Craigslist for $6,450.00, which was a bit more than I could afford to spend. My criteria for a trailer was pretty basic, really: I wanted a small (less than 24" long) trailer with air conditioning, a bed and a refrigerator. The driveway to my house was the deciding factor as far as the length. We have a steep and winding one lane road for the last 1/4 mile to our house in Boulder Creek, California. I really didn't think I would be able to get a 22" rig up there without leaving some new trenches in the road. The air conditioning would be necessary for us to survive the next Burn, and the refrigerator is a requirement for keeping the drinks cold, of course, and The bed is just for fun.

I decided to have a look at the Safari, even though the price was out of my range, and it didn't have an air conditioner. I was hoping to use it as a learning experience, to do a thorough inspection and evaluation procedure on it, and hone my knowledge a bit. I met with the owner, I'll call him "Fred Flintstone", and looked at the trailer with him. We discussed the work he had done on the Safari since he bought it: a new axle and tires were the main high points, and we discussed the price a little. I told him I was looking at no more than $5000.00 and he told me he would not go below $5,900.oo, which is about what I expected it to be worth. I was very happy with the experience of meeting and looking over the trailer. I expected that it would sell soon for about $6,000.00 or so, and I told him so, and wished him luck with his sale.

About a week later I got a call from "Fred" saying that he had not sold the Safari yet, and was I still interested? After a couple of more calls we agreed on a price of $5,200.00, as long as my wife, Britt would agree with the value of the trailer. So, the next evening, Monday October 27th, my wife and I went to look at the Safari together. All day I was thinking "I should call Fred and ask him to clean up the inside a little bit and cover the hole where there were some tiles missing from, etc, etc. But I also thought "I should just let this thing happen, or not." so I left it to fate. That evening, when we arrived I noticed that the inside was cleaned up and there was a door mat over the spot where the tiles were missing from. Fred even put some cardboard down for us to cross his wet lawn to the trailer door. Well, when I saw how nice it all looked I knew that we would be bringing it home with us, and I was right! Britt was pleased with the whole package, as was I. We made our exchange and hitched up to our 2006 Toyota Tacoma, and off we went with our new baby!