I did make progress this week, but it really felt slow yesterday. We pulled the support beams out of one side. Then we ran into a half-dozen hurdles. We have the new support beams cut and ready to be installed, but couldn't figure out how to get the bolts in under the existing wall before daylight ran out. Drats and double drats. It wasn't a physically overwhelming day, but it went on and on, and we never really reached the peak of what we set out to do. So it goes sometimes, I guess.
On the up side, the physical work and problem solving helped me take my mind off the uncertainties of the future, which seem to be looming larger these days. So the "drats" are balanced out by the gratitude of doing the work, of a friend to help, of dog companions, and a lot of other things easy to overlook when mental grey clouds gather.
Some of my spring break afternoons will be spent on The Possum. Today was a big day. Fernando rigged up a tarp over the trailer in case the clouds let loose. Then we removed the pop-out, the front wall and metal siding, entry door, and side window. Bummer (number 42) was that one of the door-side walls will have to be reframed due to water damage (my old friend by now). BUT . . . I'm feeling much closer to getting the foundational beams replaced at the bottom, which will hopefully start soon.
I started dismantling the front of the trailer this week. It was pretty daunting actually. I can see the damage now that I suspected was there. I'm not yet sure how to fix it (smile), but I can see it. Small steps, right?
New year, new trailer? It's actually still feeling pretty old at this point--and I still ask myself if it might not be better to just set it on the curb with a "free" sign, but not yet...
This week we cut out all the floor that needs replacing. My pal Fernando lent some muscle and know-how, which was essential for this two-person task (Thank you!). The real trouble is that the subfloor extends all the way to the very edge of the trailer, meaning that it is sandwiched between the walls and base of the trailer frame. So, how will we get the new piece back in that sandwich? I don't know the answer to that yet, but am doing some research.
After three months of neglecting the trailer because of other priorities, I'm back to The Possum again. In preparing to remove the floor, I decided to remove all the built-in elements on the sink-side of the trailer to have easier access. I'm not sure what this means for the future of the sink and stove, but one step at a time.
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.