Fixin’ her up

Fixin’ her up

Buying a second hand trailer, even from a dealership and with significant help and guidance, is still something of a lottery. It’s essentially a house on wheels, and what happens every time she’s towed is akin to a mini earthquake. As such, despite some good examinations from Steve and John at point of sale, we get her back to base in Virginia and immediately have work to do. I already knew I’d need to clean inside from top to bottom before we started kitting out with kitchen items and bedding, and John and Steve had a rotten floor to repair in the under compartments, so we had in our minds that we’d be a few days before we were ready to hit the road. Given the weather has taken a turn for the worse with the ripples of Hurricane Joaquin making themselves felt, it doesn’t feel like we were missing out on too much and so we set about a list of jobs to get the trailer in top shape for our first trip.

The day after we’d brought her home, I head out to the trailer early doors to get on with the cleaning, only to find the kitchen floor covered in water, which is dripping from the sink pipes. I am horror-struck! Fortunately, we have the master of all things RV in our corner, and so begins a crash course in RV plumbing for John. He and Steve head out to assess the damage, drive to Lowe’s (a hardware store that is fast becoming our second home), and return home with parts. They get straight on with fixing this leak, and, in the rain that continues to lash the mountain, discover a further three. Better that we find these now, rather than later when we’re on our own with no idea what to do (or so I am told when everyone sees my grouchy expression).

In all, and with help and guidance from Steve, John resolves the following list of chores, while I occupy myself with the important business of a.) cleaning and b.) researching and buying everything we need for the inside of the trailer:

  1. Fixing the leak under the sink
  2. Re-corking roof to fix the leak into the bathroom
  3. Fixing two leaks in the storage cavity under the trailer that had caused the floor there to rot
  4. Re-flooring that compartment
  5. Installing a new battery
  6. Fixing the propane hook-ups
  7. Installing a new plug on the connector to the car
  8. Replacing a shorn-off bolt on the slide mechanism


John sawing wood to replace the floor

I have to say, I’m impressed with how John manages to take this all in his stride. I am freaking out inside, imagining that our trailer will never be habitable, but he calmly takes guidance from Steve and between them they get the jobs done so that within a week we are ready to hit the road. It’s clear to me from just this early part of our experience that we have a lot to learn, and will hopefully return to the UK with some more practical skills under our belt.

Steve fixing the new floor

For my part, I have also managed to do everything we need to make the inside habitable: Washed, hoovered, and steam cleaned every surface, taken down some hideous green faux curtains, researched and bought bedding (if anyone needs guidance on the specifics of the US bed linen system, please feel free to get in touch!), kitted out the kitchen, including finding a two-slice toaster oven (my new favourite invention), and arranged all of our belongings from England in the miniature storage cupboards.  It feels a lot more homely and I’m excited about trying everything out on our first trip.

Me getting the bedroom clean


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