These past several weeks I’ve been camping where my cell signal was weak and I couldn’t do much online.
I use my phone as a hotspot (to get internet to my laptop) and there wasn’t enough internet juice to log in to my blog and publish a post.
A Lot Has Happened Recently
This would be a super duper long post If I were to share all the nitty-gritty details of the story about how (in April) I ordered a cargo trailer (to convert into a home on wheels) and it would take the Company 12-14 weeks to fulfill my order but (the end of May) I cancelled the order because the Company pushed me too far…
I gave up on ever finding better climate control and decided to stick with my van and deal with whatever climate came my way…
(In early June) I headed to the west coast for the summer (to try and stay cool) but after spending one day in the unexpected heat wave from Hades I headed back to The Homeland…
On the way back to The Homeland there were so many detour signs I got confused and ended up near an RV place north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin…
I wasn’t planning on stopping at the RV place so I just drove past it but something kept nagging at me to go back and check it out so I turned back, pulled into the parking lot and went inside…
I found my new cozy little home on wheels!
It’s funny how, I was looking intently for a new home on wheels and nothing was going my way. When I finally let go of it… poof… that’s when the magic happened.
My New Digs On Wheels
My new cozy little home on wheels is a 2021 Jayco Jay Flight 145RB travel trailer.
I’m sure she will have a name sooner or later but she’s 16′ 8″ long and weighs in at 2400 (dry weight).
My Ford Transit cargo van can tow 5300 pounds. I’m not in the market to get rid of the van so finding a light-weight trailer was the perfect solution.
The Untouched Interior
It’s difficult to take pictures in a small space but I managed to get a few before I began moving in. I’m not sure why I didn’t do a video but at least I got pictures!
The (above) picture shows the 2 burner propane stove, sink and part of the counter top.
Below the counter is the furnace, a storage cabinet and the fridge (with a freezer).
A side view of the kitchen area.
The upper part of the kitchen has a range hood (with vent), a small microware, a window style air conditioner and more cabinets.
Below the air conditioner is a screened window (I have the blinds closed so I could take better pictures).
In the back of my tiny trailer is the dinette with bench seats.
The table folds down and the seat cushions make into a full-sized bed.
The cushion directly across from the fridge is part of the sofa (which has storage underneath).
Above the sofa is a large screened window, more storage cabinets and a radio with in-house speakers.
This picture shows the outer edge of the sofa and the door to outside.
The door in the middle of the picture is a storage closet (there’s lots of storage!).
The door on the right leads to the bathroom.
The bathroom has a toilet, mirror, small tub and shower.
Some Changes I’ve Made
I’m sure there will be little changes made in the future but there were a couple of things I wanted done as soon as possible.
The full-sized bed took up a lot of room and I only needed my twin mattress from the van. I planned to remove the table and go to Home Depot to have some boards cut to fit under my twin mattress (in place of the table).
While camping at Lake Lenwood Beach and Campground in West Bend WI one of my neighbor’s always asked how I was doing, if I needed anything, etc. One day I shared my plans for the bed.
The next thing I know… another neighbor was at my door asking for measurements. He said his wife wanted ice cream and he would get my boards for me while he was out.
He came back later with the boards cut to size and the edges were sanded.
The boards fit perfectly and my bed was done!
The guy said I didn’t need to pay him for the boards but I did. But he would only take what the boards cost and wouldn’t take the extra I tried to give him for doing the work.
Below is a little schematic of what I did…
Below is the same picture without all the text and arrows.
My new$15 comforter is a little crinkly and poofy LOL.
Another thing that greatly annoyed me was the bathroom door.
It was always in the way whether it was open or closed. So, I removed the door and replaced it with a curtain.
I also added a couple of towel racks in the bathroom but I didn’t want to put screws or nails in the wall. I went with small towel racks made by the company that created Command hooks.
The picture below shows the updated bathroom without all the text and arrows…
Men, Women and Children – Oh My!
In the few weeks that I’ve had the trailer I’ve been told by a pair of 4 and 6 year old boys that my trailer is too small. They travel in a large Class A with their Mom and Dad so I understand their point and their honesty made me smile!
The women usually comment that my trailer is soooo cute and some have asked if they could see the inside.
The men typically wonder why I don’t just use the van and a few try to inform me that my van is bigger than the trailer (even though they’ve never seen the inside of either one).
My Van Is Not Bigger Than My Trailer
Looks can be deceiving.
In terms of living space the trailer is actually bigger than the van.
To keep it simple. the trailer living area is 14.5 feet by 7 feet and the van living area is 10.5 feet by 6 feet.
The trailer interior is also taller than the van (not to mention it has more amenities!).
I haven’t driven enough to check the mileage but I can tell that towing my tiny trailer affects the mileage.
However, my gas mileage is only affected when I’m towing. For the most part, the trailer will be parked more than it will be towed.
What About MCS?
Any home on wheels has to pass the MCS test.
I’ve been looking at trailers ever since I left Nikki (back in February) and most trailers flunked the test. This is the biggest obstacle I ran up against as I searched and it was frustrating!
There are MCS safe travel trailers but the price tags are more than double my budget.
I researched the building materials of other travel trailers and found a few brands that used better building materials that might be safer-for-me.
The only way to know was to check them out in person.
My Theory On Why I Didn’t React To The Jayco
I can’t give a specific reason because I don’t know the specific reason. But I do have some theories on why I didn’t have a reaction to this particular trailer:
- Jayco may use different and/or safer-for-me building materials than other brands.
- Jayco may use materials that I’m not hyper-sensitive to.
- This trailer had been on the lot for a while and possibly off-gassed enough for me to tolerate it.
- The unexpected heat wave helped with the off-gassing.
- All of the above.
Off-gassing is the release of toxic fumes or particles. This should be important to everyone but it’s very important to someone with MCS. High heat can help or speed up the process of off-gassing. However, some items take much longer to off-gas than other’s and some items never off-gas to a tolerable level.
When I first hit the road (back in 2015) I strongly considered a trailer. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted so I decided to hit the road in the van knowing I could add a trailer later.
Adding a travel trailer to the mix is simply a trade-off.
I’m trading the pros-n-cons of Van Life for the pros-n-cons of Trailer Life.
Making a significant change is scary. But it can also be mixed with excitement.
My pressing issue is learning how to back the trailer in to a campsite. I’ve been getting pull-thru campsites but I don’t want to rely on a pull-thru always being available so I WILL figure this out!
Each time I leave a campground I find an empty lot and practice backing up. I’ve figure it out up to a point but I need to gain more confidence (which will come with time).
The bottom line is, how I live and travel will change.
On the other hand, how I live and travel needed to change.
Thanks for following along!