Trailer Living

Have I become “trailer trash”?

My TrailerI’m writing this from the dining table in my 21-foot pull trailer. I pulled it to Quincy, WA on the back of my 1994 Ford pickup truck from Wickenburg, AZ last week. You can read about each day of that journey here, here, and here. Now I’m camped out in the parking lot of a golf course built on a flat farm field. I have a full hookup — electricity, water, and sewer — and a tiny but lush green lawn between my camper and the big fifth wheel camper parked in the next spot.

The golf course’s “RV Park” is on the corner of two main farm roads. White Trail Road comes south from Route 28 and curves to the east past the golf course. Route 281 runs north-south between Quincy and George, where I-90 cuts through central Washington. These roads get a good amount of traffic that includes everything from farm tractors to 18-wheelers. Because White Trail Road has a stop sign at the corner, the big trucks often rely on engine braking as they coast past the RV park. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of those. Unfortunately, there is traffic on both roads from about 3:30 AM to 12:30 AM — in other words, most of the day and night. Oddly enough, the sound of the traffic doesn’t seem to keep me awake. (More on that in a moment.)

The golf course is surrounded by farmland. Huge fields with irrigation “circles” grow wheat, potatoes, and other crops. Across the road is a residential area with a row of houses and tall shade trees. There’s a small pasture filled with milking cows and I can often hear the sound of a horse’s whinny and a rooster’s crowing. There are also a lot of rabbits and unfamiliar birds.

The RV Park has five full hookup spots including mine. Four are filled. There are also a few electricity and water (but no sewer) sites, two of which are occupied. There’s room for at least 20 more campers here. But since the golf course doesn’t advertise the availability of the sites, they’re not likely to fill up.

My neighbors keep to themselves. The big fifth wheel’s occupant is normally gone for the day by 5 AM. The other two full-hookup trailers, which look as if they’re about as old as I am, don’t seem to be occupied at all. In the five days I’ve been here, I saw two trucks stop at one of them for the night. Otherwise, they’ve been empty.

I also had an overnight neighbor in the spot on the other side of my camper; they backed in with a big fifth wheel but never bothered to unhook it from their truck. Instead, the man and woman pulled out their golf clubs and hurried over to the pro shop to get in a game of golf. It was afternoon when they arrived, but since the sun doesn’t set here until 8:30 PM, they had plenty of time for their game. They stayed the night, but when I returned from my errands the next day, they were gone.

Front TrailerMy trailer is comfortable. It’s 21 feet long, but none of that floor space is taken up with beds. Instead, the beds drop down in their own little tent-like structures on the front and back of the camper. Each bed is slightly smaller than queen sized. Their mattresses are 6-inch foam. Because I only need one bed, I stacked two mattresses on the back bed and put linens on that. The other bed is open, but I’m using it for storage and for Alex’s cage.

The camper is definitely not designed for cold weather. Cold air comes right through its poorly insulated shell and the tents on each end. It has a forced hot air gas furnace that can does a pretty good job keeping up with the cold, but it’s very loud. It gets down into the 40s (F) here at night. I have a small electric heater that’s quiet and I set that up in the camper’s main area each night, mostly to keep Alex warm.

Trailer BackMy bed has flannel sheets and three blankets on it. Since I added the third blanket, I’ve been sleeping remarkably well. In fact, when I wake at sunrise (around 5 AM) with Alex’s first words, I feel cosy and refreshed. I don’t want to get out of bed. This is extremely unusual for me — at home, I jump out of bed as soon as I wake.

The camper has a three burner stove, oven, microwave, small double sink, and decent sized refrigerator and freezer. There’s also a tiny bathroom with sink, shower, and standard RV toilet. It has a reasonable amount of cabinet space and storage under the dining area’s benches. Both the dining area and sofa can be converted into beds for short people. There’s a special shelf for a television and an antenna on the roof, but I don’t have a television installed. I haven’t missed it yet. There’s a stereo with a CD slot and an MP3 input, so I can listen to NPR and my iPod. There’s also an air conditioner on the roof. We tested it before I left Wickenburg and it worked extremely well in Arizona’s hot sun. I’ve been told I’ll be using it soon, but so far, the weather has been unseasonably cool here.

My morning routine here is similar to at home. I make coffee with my one-cup electric drip coffee maker and cook Alex’s scrambled eggs in the microwave. I’m trying to blog each morning, but I’ve been busy with other settling in tasks, so I’ve neglected my blogging. Lately, I’ve been getting exercise by walking orchards. I brought my bicycle along and expect to get exercise riding it back and forth to the airport (4 miles) and the town of Quincy (5 miles) on mostly flat farm roads. I did walk around the golf course one morning and I expect to do that more often — perhaps when it’s too hot to ride my bike.

I’ve been eating entirely too much, mostly in the afternoon, when I’m done with my errands for the day. I’m working on getting that under control. I was really hoping to lose weight here — not gain it.

Today, I’m going to Seattle to pick up my helicopter and bring it to Quincy Airport. I’ve rented a hangar for two months, so I’ll spend the morning reassembling my helicopter tow bar and swap out my big trailer tow hitch ball for the smaller one that works with the tow bar. At 10 AM, a golf course employee will be picking me up there and taking me to Wenatchee Airport, where I’ll catch a flight to Sea-Tac. Then a cab to Boeing Field. Later today, I’ll fly up the Columbia River, detouring to meet another pilot at Mattawa before continuing up to Quincy. With luck, I’ll have the helicopter put away in its temporary home by 6 PM.

There’s rain in the forecast for tomorrow and Tuesday. Looks like I might finally get to work.

3 thoughts on “Trailer Living

  1. Hello, this is interesting – I wonder how your life in the trailer-home is progressing? I too may take up this lifestyle, but not right now.

    Enjoy the NWST. I was based at McChord AFB many moons ago.

    MJR

  2. I’m back home now in a real house.

    I enjoyed living in the trailer. It wasn’t always as comfortable as I’d like, but I certainly wasn’t suffering. And if you already own the trailer, living on the road can be pretty cheap; both of the RV parks I stayed in (2 months in Quincy, WA and 2 months in Page, AZ) charged only $300/month for a full hookup. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal on an apartment these days. And if you don’t need a full hookup, there are plenty of places you can overnight or even spend a week or to for free.

    I guess that’s an option for all the folks losing their homes. :-(

    Anyway, I look forward to the day when I can make this a regular seasonal lifestyle. It may be sooner than I think.

  3. Hi, Maria

    Your blog appears to me (a noobie) about as big as the Grand Canyon and about as tricky to navigate. I just found this page again by typing “trailer trash” in the search box.

    When do you sleep? I’m amazed anyone can do what you have done (and continue to do)?

    I’m going to spend the rest of the evening tracking thru your daily posts from July 15th.

    Happy Flying!

    Mark

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