Otherwise christened ‘the adventure trailer’ at a Hoover Dam checkpoint by the DHS agent who directed me aside, more to check it out than suspecting I might have something in it which would threaten the security of the homeland; Waldo has been in tow since 2001. On the occasion of it’s renovation I’ve backtracked along the trail to see where he’s been…
From humble parentage as a simple enclosed cargo trailer on Beaver Island, Michigan (and before my days with a digital camera), Waldo wound up in New Mexico. One of the first customizations was a painstakingly crafted cherry and Baltic birch side hatch which quickly peeled apart in the constant bright dry climate of the Southwest. At some point during an adobe house restoration adventure I even tried to sell it, but by now it had become to strange for the woodhaulers in the neighborhood to appreciate. The sliding side window is from the Emerald Isle, a commercial ferry on Lake Michigan that had to have solid windows installed on the forward passenger cabin, these sliders leaked like busted fire hydrants in rough weather. Being a lowly deckhand but also the ships carpenter I was given one of the old windows which I had a fine use for as I began to plot my escape from the gales of November and general gloom of Michigan winters.
A much to early trout fishing expedition to the San Juan Mts. of southwest Colorado was occasion to appreciate snug quarters while waiting for the trout to thaw out of their winter snowbanks; likewise a late spring snowstorm in Utah was reason to sidle up against a boulder and enjoy shelter from a raw wind.
The badly weathered wood hatch replaced with a crude box of pine and plywood, the trailer had now become my home. Working seasonally for the US Forest Service as a wildland firefighter and trail crew foreman; I lived in it during the summer months at various duty stations in New Mexico and California and spent one winter in the southern Rio Grande Valley, hopping from state park to state park every 21 days as per snowbird rules and regulations.
A steel-frame tarp-covered storage shed was modified and attached to the trailer, and in this I spent my first two winters on the central Oregon coast. A whole lot o’ shakin’ goin’ on during some of the winter storms, the ‘tent’ had to be roped to the little picnic table inside to keep from being blown away.
Taking advantage of a long stretch of dry and sunny weather this past month, I’ve nearly completed a significant renovation. Waldo no longer has the funky red, white and black attire we’re accustomed to and is now a coordinated grey to better blend in with the alders and coming somber days of life on the Pacific coast.
The best side hatch yet! Sliding window, stainless steel hinges and everything! A few more finishing touches and it’s ready to hit the road. Gotta look sharp, there’s some tough competition out there on the highways…