Today, it’s not unusual for a family to rent or purchase a RV or travel trailer. Adventurous seniors especially enjoy this mode of travel. It’s a great way to take spur of the moment trips—when you own an RV or trailer, all you have to do is keep it stocked and off you can go in minutes. I have friends who, because of their lifestyle, have a large trailer that they pull with a truck and use as their permanent home.
Living In a Trailer and Moving Every Month to Six Weeks
When I was in my early teens, my father had a job that kept him on the road all the time. He would be in one place for about a month to six weeks before moving to a new job location. I was the only child still at home, so the family consisted of my father, mother, me – oh yes, and a dog and a cat.
It was hard on the family being separated all the time. My mother came up with the idea of the family buying a house trailer so that we could join my father on the road. She was a schoolteacher, which meant that she could handle my schooling while we traveled. She also reasoned that we could keep the dog and cat since we would have our own home going along with us. My dad’s reaction, “That’s a mighty expensive dog house!”
The Largest Trailer We Could Legally Haul with a Passenger Car
A lot of people from the baby boomer generation will have seen the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz movie, The Long, Long Trailer, made back in 1954. Younger adventurers may wonder who Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are, let alone have seen the movie. But if you are an adventurer of any age, you must see this movie. It is simply one of the funniest classics I have ever watched.
Okay, so what’s my point in mentioning the movie? My point is that most people just assume that the outlandish scenes in the movie are simply Hollywood trying to make a funny movie. Scenes like that could never happen in real life – right? Wrong! My family lived that movie.
Outfitting Our Trailer for the Maiden Voyage
If you’re used to today’s travel trailers, traveling with a trailer is no big deal. You just stock up on groceries, throw in some household items, personal clothing, games and electronics, and off you go. Similarly, purchasing a trailer hitch for your truck or van is also quite simple.
When we traveled, we were going to pull a house trailer with a passenger car; thus, a heavy-duty car and hitch were needed. Because of the size and the weight of the rig we were hauling, the hand gear for the trailer bakes had to be applied first, before the car brakes. If the car brakes were applied first, the trailer and car could jackknife. My poor father had to learn how to drive all over again. Many were the days when I would be sitting in the back of the car hearing my mother’s frantic voice saying, “Trailer brakes, trailer brakes!” as we rolled up to a stop.
Backing up the trailer also proved to be a huge challenge. Again, my father found that he had to think somewhat backwards when turning the wheel. Often my mother would have to get out of the car and coach him as he tried to position the trailer just right when we parked for the night. Then, there were the nights between trailer parks when we had to spend the night at a truck stop without electric or sanitation hookup.
We traveled and lived that way for a few years before we finally lived in a house again. If asked, I would say that the adventure of trailer travel and living was an experience I’m glad I had while growing up.
Although, truth be told, being on terra firma again is always better!