Well, I picked up my daughter this afternoon, then dropped by and showed her the trailer.  She seems ready to do some camping this summer ... this time in the Red Dale.  (It makes it easier to coax a teenage daughter to go camping if they have their own toilet and facilities.  Ha!)

We hooked it up and pulled it into town where we took it to the car wash and thoroughly cleaned her off.  40 + years of Oklahoma red dirt had been blown into all the little crevices and caked-on under all the undersides of things.  It was her first time out of her old home yard in all of these years, and she pulled just fine.  I didn't know how my 2004 F-150 would handle this 26-foot trailer, but the truck handled it well.  Pulled right along.

Now she's in the driveway, here, at our house, and the neighbors have come by to see what I've brought home.  Needless to say they are amazed at her condition, especially at how the inside is like brand-new.

I can tell that there are a few things needed to be done, though.  The old electrical inlet is so old that it's out of date, so I need to install a new one of those, and get a new chord.  Also, the wiring for the battery hook-up and the trailer lights is somewhat sun-rotted, so I'll replace those.

Next I'll take a scrub brush, rag, and soap, and go over her really well.  Then clean the windows, then clean all their accompanying trim and hardware with cleaner and a toothbrush, to get any old red dirt and/or mildew etc. out of there.  I also need to clean the skylights, as they have accumulated much dirt, bugs, and bird droppings over the past 40 years.

She is also going to need tires.  Sitting for so long, I'm surprised that only one tire was too dry-rotted to hold air.  So I bought a good used tire and put it on her so I could bring her to her new home, but I'll still need to buy new tires.  I've been told that in these old trailers, one should buy the old-style two-ply tires, and not radials, since there is not much room between the tire and the fender well, and that radials will expand as speed increases, causing problems in that area.  Any advice from anyone on this?  I'm clueless, since I'm new to all of this.

I also know I'll need to pull the wheels and pack the bearings - no doubt they are somewhat dry after sitting so long through the hot summers and cold winters.

There is one curtain on the front, left side where the trailer was exposed to sunlight, even though it was under cover.  I think the same material is available.  I could take the decorative tassels/edging off of those curtains and pay someone to make new curtains with the new material and the old tassels, keeping it all original.  I'd need to do something similar to the curtain on the door window.

Well, I guess that's about it for now.  Lots to do, but not difficult.  I'm not sure how much I'll get done this weekend and coming week, since my daughter is here for spring break and we have some things planned, but maybe I'll get her to spend some time together with me, doing some of these things ... making it feel a part of her summer-to-be.

If anyone has advice for me on anything, please speak-up.  I'm all for learning.

Take care,

J.

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Comment by William Briggs on April 11, 2011 at 4:46pm
Seems to be excellent condition for its age.
Comment by Okie j. on March 13, 2011 at 6:50pm

Thank you, Pete.  You're right - all these things age and need to be checked and replaced ... especially tires, etc.  I've already found a couple of other things like this that need replacement.

I'm really looking forward to time with my daughter this summer ... I think it will be good for us.

You haven't dampened my spirit.  I'll take all the eye-opening I can get.

Comment by Pete Peterson on March 13, 2011 at 10:53am
I don't have any experience with trailers so I can't be much help.  You are in the right place because there are lots of folks here with good advice and experience.  I can mention a couple of things that are universal.  First, remember you are dealing with a unit that is a number of years old.  Although our old beauties have not always traveled, they like some of us have still aged.  Tires have a manufacture date on the side walls, any tire dealer can identify when they were made.  Don't let the looks fool you, they are not safe after a certain time period. As you travel down the road, everything moves every direction and shakes rattles and rolls.  It requires rechecking all the time to make sure it has not come loose or failed.  Remember, this unit is old and everything in it is too...not that it is a bad thing, it's just a fact.  It's kind of like my neighbors 1984 Lincoln.  It has 27k miles but the brake lines, belts and everything else is 27 years old.  I believe you mentioned you are using a half ton pickup as a tow vehicle?  Be sure to check the capacity and talk to some folks about anti sway...I  myself can't help.  I hope I have not dampened your spirit, I have been using vintage camping equipment for over 30 years and camped and traveled with family and friends of all ages.  On the worst day it was still good and worth the extra effort to have been able to spend the time together.  One last thing, about teens.  We have children and grandchildren that are now grown.  During their teens they liked the idea of places designed for their entertainment and the company of their friends.  We did that, but we also spent time together with just them.  Now that they are grown, they remember ALL the times...most often, they talk about the things we did together.

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