Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Free Again

Last October, we took our last vacation in our fifth-wheel trailer, the one we traded our deteriorating toy-hauler for in the late summer of 2012.  It was a comfortable tiny house...  For three years, I did my best to fill it with good memories of me and my faithful dog, spitting in the face of fear and shadows of Criminal Minds (I have since stopped watching that show) in our portable outpost under the stars. 

But that trailer just never did work.  For us.  For me.  In the end, it wasn't nearly portable enough.  All the prep involved in getting it on the road--taking the insanely heavy canopy off the pick-up and installing the insanely heavy fifth-wheel hitch in the truck bed,  even driving and maneuvering the thing, getting it off the truck and setting up all the jacks once in camp, was simply beyond my ability to do alone. 

Which I had originally thought would not be a problem.  The whole idea of the fifth-wheel had been an exercise in getting the husband involved in the camping thing..  I deferred to his choice when we bought the trailer (I wanted one that was smaller and theoretically more within my capacity to deal with alone.)  I imagined that the Universe was telling me it was time to curtail solitary activities and cast my lot back in with my life's partner. 

Unfortunately that's exactly what it turned out to be:  my imagination (or wishful thinking) creating a mandate from the Spirit.  It turned out that the trailer mostly sat in the driveway, because the husband didn't have or couldn't get enough time off from  work to be able to use the trailer more than once a year, if that.  We fell into this habit of having him drive the rig out to wherever on the weekend, then come back for me the following weekend...which sucked.  I felt like an incompetent idiot; I couldn't just hook it up and drag it out to a campground when I wanted to, which I could do (and did) with the old toy hauler.

So last fall, we gave up and put the trailer on Craig's list.  On a soggy day in early November, husband pocketed $2200 and towed our tiny home out to its new owners over on Sauvie Island.  For the first time in twelve years--and one of the few times in our entire married life--we were without some vehicle in which to camp.  I was sad, but I thought, "What the hell.  We weren't using it anyway.  Maybe we just don't camp anymore." 

And yet, we have haunted Craiglist ever since, searching for the right replacement, one that would meet our needs much better than the fifth wheel.  We've driven all over hell's half acre, from Eugene to Lorraine to Vancouver to Troutdale to Gresham to Oregon City, all the months of fall and winter.  Alternately deciding to bag the whole idea and just staying home for a couple of weeks, and then finding what could be the "perfect" answer to our needs, digging out the Garmin and taking off on another of what turned out to be multiple wild goose chases.   We looked at trailers, motor homes, pick-up campers, even second-hand busses.  We drove away from what seemed like a thousand different obscure properties within a 200-mile radius, disappointed, disgusted, grossed out, frustrated.  What we wanted just was not out there, and we seemed unable to "make do" with what was. 

And the longer we went without that trusty means of escape sitting in the driveway, the more melancholy I became.  I never would have thought that I would feel so trapped, so buried under my troubles with no escape...so much as if I had my wings clipped and could now only wander sadly around the barnyard staring up at the sky with longing.  It's not like I was likely to be heading out in the trailer in the middle of winter, anyway.  But just the knowledge that I couldn't put me on an amazing bummer. 

Finally, last Friday night, I came upon what looked like a promising ad on Craigslist, and practically held a gun to the husband's head to get an appointment to see the thing almost at sunrise the next day.  The minute I walked in the door, I knew this was it.  It was clean.  It was fairly solid (for a 17-year-old trailer.)  We had enough money to buy it.

It was mine. 

We drove it home that same day.

It's been a pretty miserable winter, full of weird little bouts of illness and days-long anxiety attacks (fodder for another post.)

But now...

For at least a little while...

I'm happy.



  1. Looks like a comfy perfect fit for you or the two of you! You really should take some pictures and share your maiden voyage in it with us.Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  2. Lisa it sounds to me that you have a vagabond spirit. Happy travels and adventures are in your future.

  3. I'm glad you found what you were looking for. May you have many happy travels. :-) Sheila

  4. Wow! (I could live in that.) Congratulations on finding it.