After getting the new roof down, I'm moving on to the back of the trailer, which I had not planned on having problems. I'm now pretty sure the corner seams are the source of the water. It just funnels down the poorly sealed seams and into the corners of the subfloor. As we pulled apart the lasagna of sheet metal, we got a better sense of the extent of the damage (which was worse that I originally thought it would be, but better than I started to fear!) on the floor and along some of the back frame. It did feel pretty daunting. The question is: with rain on the way, do I keep taking it apart and opening it up or stop, or . . . ? So I had to buy ANOTHER tarp that would cover the whole trailer so we could keep going. I picked up the supplies to rebuild a part of the frame, and some subfloor for this phase but the fixing will have to wait until the sun comes out again. Big thanks to Fernando for taking on the day's challenge.
When I took the Possum to the RV shop for a run down of its woes, the helpful staffer Chris estimated it would take 50 hours to replace the roof (which is why they would charge $5k to do it!) "It's not rocket science," he said, "it just takes a long time." After a great Day 1, I thought he must have exaggerated massively. After a slow-going day 2, I still felt pretty confident that we'd do it in half the time. After Day 3 and 4 . . . now 50 hours seems about right. BUT . . . the roof is now glued down. Woot! It's just going to take a while longer to get it locked down with the termination bars because now I have to take apart the front and back before I can put those brackets back on. These early fall rains are not bringing Hurricane Harvey like last year, but they make putting on a roof an exercise in tarp wrestling again and again. I was soaked through at least two more times.
I found a great video tutorial on replacing a travel trailer roof here. What an incredible help. Day 1 went swell, getting the awning off, unscrewing the termination bars that hold the old roof on, and removing the vents and A/C from the roof and getting the old roof peeled (eh, flaked) off. Day 2 is another story: stalled by a rotten patch of wood, come and go rain clouds, wrestling with a monstrous tarp once, twice, three times. I was soaked through and through on the outside, and admittedly my spirit was pretty waterlogged too.
Removing the linoleum revealed several crumbling edges of the subfloor near windows or storage openings that must've taken on water at some point. I took off the cabinet doors and hinges for repainting, cut away some bottom sections of the fiberboard cabinets that had swollen with past water, and removed the sink-side bench and storage wall at the bed end. A long day that ended with the dogs hopping through the storage door "time machine" several times (Dover went to 1920s Thailand, Maple to last week's garbage bag heist) and making Vietnamese vermicelli bowls.
I researched a truck that could tow the trailer--and stop it!--so I can (I hope) tow with confidence. So a few weeks ago I bought this used Nissan Titan. It has high miles but is in pretty good shape and after some extensive toothbrush scrubbing on every surface, the inside is looking a lot better. This truck is in the class with a Dodge Ram or Ford F150 in terms of its tow weight capacity, but has a smaller body thankfully. Switching from a 2003 Honda Civic to this truck has me feeling like a lumbering giant with pretty poor spacial sense at this point.
Well last week I learned that "The Possum" was the nickname of country music legend George Jones. This was not why I named the travel trailer "The Possum," but I suppose given that this whole experiment is unfolding in Texas, where Jones was born, the name now will have two levels.
As for the experiment, last week I was tasked with pulling the trailer out of the yard it is presently in--moving it out from one side of the yard and backing it in to the other side. I was not successful.
I was successful at being supremely frustrated, being flattened by a tidal wave of doubts, and having a good cry. On the up side, a couple neighbors over there on the eastside--Juan Antonio and his wife Rosa --(who I did not know), were driving by and saw my predicament and basically backed the trailer in place with a couple directions uttered in Spanish and some obvious years of experience. They were kind and encouraging and I was grateful.
I'll take their advice and return to some video tutorials and give it another shot before long. I suppose these are the growing pains of trying something new. But lest anyone out there think it's all rainbows and breezes over here . . .
This week I removed all the fabrics, took out the back bunks and back built-in cabinet. I tossed the curtains, removed the carpeted section under the table and took off all the cushion covers. I did keep the cushion covers in case I need them as patterns for new cushion covers in the future. I took off all the blinds, and most anything that was stuck to the wall with a screw.
In April, I purchased this used 2000 Keystone Cabana hybrid pop-up trailer for a good price to redo over the summer. In the midst of years of moving and the vicissitudes of academics, I've long wanted a way to ensure that I can live without rent or a mortgage if need be, as well as travel with my dog and cat companions for a sense of greater freedom and possibility. Tiny houses and Class B van-RVs posed their own problems and cost issues, so I started looking for a small pop-up or trailer. Anyway . . . here goes. I'll be doing the renovation on a budget and will post more pics soon so you can see the process as it progresses over the summer. I've named the trailer The Possum.